I used to have a longer blog entry here bloviating on my irrelevant anecdotal experience, but I’ve replaced it with this shorter one, hopefully more to the point.
There are many ideologies and political movements (“groups”) with radical factions. It’s confusing, because all groups say the same thing about their radical factions: “But that’s just a tiny sect of outliers! They don’t represent us!” And the radical factions have radical factions too. The only way to parse the confusion is to ask questions like these:
- What is the size of a radical faction in proportion to its group? How big is it overall?
- Should this size be measured in people? In online presence? In real-world influence or impact? Some other way?
- What is the ideological relationship between a radical faction and the rest of its group?
- How concerned should we be about a radical faction? How closely do we need to look at it before we can confidently make a determination about what it stands for and whether it is representative of the group? By what method should we look?
I’m sure nobody will ask these questions, whether they’re talking about Islam, Black Lives Matter, the Alt Right, or any other group. Instead, people will find evidence to confirm their existing biases. Politicians will make hay with it. The world keeps turning.