While browsing though Wikipedia, I ran across a wonderful quote by the great abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison:
I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; – but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest – I will not equivocate – I will not excuse – I will not retreat a single inch – AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.
This is a nice quote to keep in mind for the next time I hear someone say that the problems of the world are caused by "extremists." It's true that the Islamic fundamentalists who murder innocent people are "extreme" in their views, but so are the heroes of history - Galileo, Newton, Locke, Jefferson, Adams, Rand. "Moderation" has come to be understood as a virtue, "extremism" as a danger. The importance of an idea itself has been supplanted with its measurement; it is not the concept that matters, but its intensity.
Thus, we have the perverse condition that the justice or injustice of a policy is irrelevant, so long as it's not "extreme." It doesn't matter if a man is honest or dishonest, as long as he is not "extremely" so.