Popular wisdom has it that moderates are more reasonable than extremists. And generally that may be true. But sometimes a radical solution is better than compromising. Sometimes extreme positions are the real and good ones. Some examples to follow.
As the Dutch saying goes: Soft doctors make stinking wounds. Sometimes, one needs to do something extreme to save someone’s life.
A physician should not seek a compromise with a cigarette-smoking patient, like: you start smoking half the amount and I will bother you only half the time. The change must come from the patient only, to cut out tobacco completely. Any other deal kills.
In an abusive relationship the abused should leave, not give in again and again and again until breathing becomes a problem. Because the abuser will never compromise. There is no middle ground. “Reasonable” relationship therapy may make an abuser even more dangerous.
If one person says “no group of people is better than the rest” and the other says “I disagree,” truth doesn’t lie in the middle. In an oppressive friendship, it is important that the person in the privileged position starts listening and stops commenting, say five hours a week. Domination is one-directional (in each superiority system) and the solution must be too.
For peace for Israel, it is important that Arab Palestinian leaders stop preaching “Death to the Jews.” If hard choices from both sides are important, Israel has done plenty of them (as I mentioned: here). Mildness vis-à-vis genocidal murder mentality may make haters even more dangerous.
The only danger of a Trump Peace Plan could be that it could try to be “reasonable.” So far, Trump has been not “evenhanded” at all, thank G-d. Let’s hope that that was not a bait for Israel, but rather a prelude, to return in the main theme of the rest of the composition.
Yet, moderates usually are more pleasant people (except when they pretend to be more moderate to hide that they are in fact extremists). When truth demands that we take an extreme position, we must make sure that we are not trashing others, not angry (but rather concerned) and do not sound as if we are unreasonable — or the message we’re sending will not come across to people who fell for “moderation.”