In a society, over a period of time, whenever the rise of an extremist fringe (of a self-identitying group) becomes more destructive, more criminal, more impositional on the society around them - how much of that growth is fuelled by the inactivity of its moderates in that group?
Examples of such groups exist, or have existed, within religion, politics and sport: Islam, pre-war German national socialism, football supporters, gender/abortion/animal activism.
What happens when the behaviour by a fringe in the group is so bad that it's moderates feel compelled to do something publicly?
Often the moderates believe it is sufficient action to make statements, perhaps even to dissociate themselves from the fringe. In an ideal world that would be enough: the fringe realises it's errors, behaviours improve and the fringe declines over time.
But this is not the reality.
The Case for Moderate Ownership of the Problem
To effectively minimize dangerous behaviour by an extremist fringe, the process to do so has to be driven by the moderates.
When this does not happen, the extremist fringe
- attracts moderates, fuelling member growth
- grows in confidence
- becomes more extreme and damaging
- decreases safety and freedom of society
- encourages the creation of other extremist fringe groups
- damages tolerance and support of society towards the main group and their beliefs
- Effective education within the group
- Stop supplying moderates to the extremist fringe
- Dismantle the means from within by which extremists are fostered
- Make regular, growing public protests against the fringe - never missing an opportunity whenever the fringe makes a public appearance. e.g. if the fringe makes a public protest, then the moderates go make a much stronger, counter protest against the fringe in person, so the fringe sees that their parent group truly abhors what they are doing: that the belief of tacit support is untenable.