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Moderate or Extremist: Understanding the Key Differences

Introduction to Moderate vs Extremist

We live in a world where there are different ideologies, beliefs, values, and norms. Some people are moderate, while others are extremist, and there are those who fall somewhere in between.

However, what separates a moderate from an extremist? What are the differences between them?

Who can be considered as moderate? In this article, we will explore these questions and more to help you understand the distinction between moderate and extremist perspectives.

Definition of Moderate and Extremist

A moderate person is someone who espouses views or values that are not extreme or radical. Moderates tend to support gradual change, social reforms, and they often play the role of mediator in political or social conflicts.

Moderates are usually willing to compromise and look for common ground to facilitate progress, whether it be in politics, religion, or everyday life. On the other hand, an extremist is someone who holds extreme views, often disrupting the peace and harmony of society.

Extreme views are ideologically rigid and incapable of compromise. They demand strict adherence to certain beliefs, norms, and values that often cause them to clash with those who don’t share their perspective.

Extremism can lead to political instability, social conflicts, and even violence, which is why it is crucial to differentiate between moderate and extremist perspectives.

Differences between Moderate and Extremist

One of the primary differences between moderates and extremists is their approach to social norms. Moderates tend to look at social norms as a way for society to maintain stability and harmony.

As such, they usually don’t object to too much change too quickly, as this can cause unnecessary disruption. Alternatively, extremists view social norms as a burden cast by society to keep them in check, and they often disregard them, leading to clashes with the rest of society.

Another defining difference between the two perspectives is the willingness to compromise. Moderates are usually willing to make concessions to other people’s beliefs or ideas.

In contrast, extremists tend to refuse even to consider other people’s perspectives, often causing clashes and conflicts between them. Who is a Moderate?

A moderate can be anyone who holds views that are not extreme, but for the most part, it refers to a specific political perspective. Moderate political views are typically centrist, sitting between the left and right-wing extremes, and often result from the need to seek a balance between the opposing ideals of the left and the right-wing.

A person’s background or belief system doesn’t necessarily determine their moderation. As we stated earlier, moderates often possess the ability to empathize and to understand different perspectives, making them more receptive to opposing views than their extremist counterparts.

Examples of Moderates in Politics and Religion

Several well-known figures in society, from different fields, are known for being moderates. In the political arena, President Joe Biden is a well-known moderate, seeking to find a middle ground between the opposing views of the left and right-wing.

On the religious front, the Dalai Lama, who promotes Buddhism worldwide while respecting religious freedom, is considered a moderate in his beliefs. Some societies are taught to be moderate from a young age.

For example, the prophet Muhammad instructed his followers to be moderate in all aspects of life, including religion. Islam’s five pillars from a religious perspective, are centered around the concept of Moderation, i.e., the balanced way of living life.


Moderates and extremists possess different perspectives and approaches to life, often leading to opposing views and ideologies. However, it is important to note that moderate perspectives often result in balance, stability, and unity, while extreme perspectives can lead to political, religious, and social instability, violence, and conflicts.

It is therefore necessary for us to understand the distinction between moderate and extreme perspectives, a vital step in promoting peaceful coexistence in society. Who is an Extremist?

Extremist beliefs are characterized by an absolute and often rigid adherence to a particular ideology or dogma. It is characterized by strong devotion and an uncompromising approach to one’s beliefs or values, often leading to actions that are disruptive or violent.

In this section, we’ll delve into who an extremist is, how to identify them, and examples of extremist ideologies.

Identification of an Extremist

Extremists tend to hold extreme views on specific political, religious, or social issues, often pushing the boundaries of what is permissible within their respective societies. They reject the norms of their society and place their ideology or values above all else.

They often see themselves as defenders of their beliefs and aggressively promote them, often to the point of violent confrontation. An extremist is usually characterized by an irrational appearance, exhibiting extreme behaviors and language, continuously promoting a radical or extremist ideology to persuade others to follow their beliefs.

Examples of Extremism

There are several well-known examples of extremist groups or individuals in today’s world. These groups or individuals promote their radical or extremist ideology through violence and social disruption.

Some examples of extremist ideologies include:

– Terrorist Organizations: They aim to advance their extremist ideologies by staging terror attacks by targeting civilians, infrastructure, and political institutions. Groups like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, and Boko Haram, among others, use violence to promote their extremist agendas.

– Right-wing extremists: Groups like the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups in the US have advanced a racist ideology that divides their society and undermines the rights of others they see as inferior. – Left-wing extremists: These groups often promote extremist ideologies that are decidedly anti-capitalism and reject the forces of globalization characteristic of modernity.

Groups like the Animal Liberation Front and Antifa, among others, often use violence and property damage to promote their ideology.

Difference between Moderate and Extremist

Moderates and extremists differ in their views, behavior, and perception of issues. Here are some of the notable differences between the two:

Difference in views

Moderates typically have milder views and try to find common ground instead of advocating for extreme positions. Because they tend to be more open-minded, moderates are often willing to compromise and work with others to achieve resolutions and bring about positive change.

On the other hand, extremists have extreme views and believe in the absolute primacy of their ideology. They usually have a rigid attitude towards different perspectives and view any criticism of their views as an attack.

Difference in actions

Moderates typically adhere to societal norms and abide by the laws of their country. They promote peaceful coexistence and compromise rather than using violence to advance their agenda.

In contrast, extremists are willing to break the law and disregard societal norms, even if their actions lead to violence or disruption.

Difference in perception

Moderates usually have a clear idea of what is moral or immoral, and they do not blur the lines between the two. They typically make decisions based on ethical and fair standards, and they value human rights and social justice.

In contrast, extremists are more likely to blur the line between right and wrong, promoting ideas that could undermine the ethical fabric of society.


Moderates and extremists represent opposite ends of the political and social spectrum. Moderates promote social cohesion and order through compromise and dialogue and are generally regarded as responsible and reasonable.

In contrast, extremism promotes violence and disruption, sowing discord and disharmony. Effective political leaders must be aware of the harmful effects of extremist views, recognize it, and combat the breed of discord that comes with extremist ideologies.

In conclusion, the distinction between moderate and extremist views is critical in promoting social harmony and stability. While moderates usually advocate for compromise, social reforms, and balance, extremists adhere to absolute positions and often resort to violence and disruption to push their ideology or values.

Differentiating moderate and extremist views can help promote tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and respect for opposing views. It is imperative to recognize the potential harm of extremist views and ideologies to society and the need to counter it effectively by promoting social tolerance, dialogue, and peaceful coexistence.

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