I was asked recently if there was anything I have an extreme opinion on.
It is true that I attempt to take the middle ground on most issues: I tend to find extremism detrimental, regardless the issue, and find that seeking balance is often the most satisfactory path. Diplomacy and reason have always served me better than polarization and extremism, and I try always to take that position.
That said, yes, there is one issue on which I hold an extremist view. Personal freedom. I believe with every ounce of my being that an individual -- any individual -- has complete and absolute autonomy over their own being. Interestingly, I've found that, when stated that way, no one takes issue with my position. When I say, simply, "one should have complete control over their own being", everyone agrees. As soon as the discussion moves even a single step forward, however, views begin to change. "Does this mean one should have the right to take drugs?". Yes. "Does this mean abortion should be legal?". Yes. "Does this mean one should have the right to marry someone of the same gender, get a sex change, have three husbands?". Yes. "Does this mean one should be permitted to tattoo their entire body, brand their forehead, bleach their skin?". Yes. I believe in complete and total personal freedom. If one is not harming others through their actions, there is absolutely no reason to deny them their rights. Even more than that, I think harm must be defined harshly. One may argue that your father getting a sex change harms you, or that your sister getting an abortion harms you. Well, tough shit. Sorry, but those things will impact the person in question far more than you, so their decision is, and should be, the final say. Until one's actions reach the point of tangible, undeniable, extreme harm to others, it should be no one's business what others engage in.
Simply put, if it doesn't impact your life directly, it's none of your fucking business. And I mean real impact. I don't mean that bullshit "it makes me feel icky that two men can get married", or "I think drugs are bad, therefore, no one should do them" kind of impact, I mean, you must prove that your life is somehow directly and negatively effected by another's actions. Show me how gay marriage will lower your income or deprive your children or make it harder for your spouse to retire. Show me how a 30 year old man smoking a joint will make gas prices go up or your health insurance harder to pay for or your credit rating go down. Show me how a rape victim getting an abortion will make your mortgage harder to pay or your religion harder to adhere to or your baby get less food. Show me how these personal decisions effect your life. If you can't, I strongly suggest you shut the fuck up and let others make their own decisions, their own mistakes, their own progress and their own destinies.
I will loudly, proudly, boldly defend decisions that I entirely disagree with in the interest of personal freedom. This is the most daunting and most telling task of anyone that holds to a truth: that it remains true, even when you don't like it. I will gladly shout from the rooftops that you -- yes YOU -- have the right to do things that I abhor, you have the right to exist in any way you see fit, so long as it does not interfere in your neighbour's ability to do the same. And I will tell anyone who disagrees with me that they are wrong. Rarely is my position so extreme, rarely will I make a truth claim or a declared ideal, but in the interest of personal freedom, I will gladly contradict myself. I will staunchly defend my position as right and yours as wrong. And I will do so with not a hint of remorse, as my position is a defense of you, as well. Whether you realize it or not, your position is completely dependent on your personal freedom. You disagree with me because you are able to. No one is putting a gun to your head, demanding you support this or that. No one is threatening your family, should you dare disagree. You are free to disagree with me, and that is precisely what personal freedom comes down to. You can make your decisions, and I can make mine, and unless my decisions alter your life somehow, we retain that right.
And I think it is precisely this that we all forget at times. I think we are all, by nature, tempted to impose our will on others -- we all desire to see people living in a way we think is right. Tempting as it may be, however, one of the oldest and most well known rules of life tells us why this is wrong: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You know damn well that you don't want my beliefs imposed on you. So why try to impose yours on me? Until our lives begin to effect one another, why shouldn't we just live and let live?
So I guess you could say I'm an extremist non-extremist. I view it as an act of extremism to impose one's will on another for no justifiable reason, and I am opposed to it fully and completely. This life is yours, and you have every right to live it as you see fit.