“A delusion starts like any other idea, as an egg. Identical on the outside, perfectly formed. From the shell, you’d never know anything was wrong. It’s what’s inside that matters.” - Legion, Season 2 Episode 9
As this quote suggests, no matter how benign an idea may seem to be initially, it may quickly evolve in to a radical belief system demanding cult-like following. The Yellow Vests movement that began Nov. 17, 2018, in Paris, France, is one such example of this.
The movement began to spread as a response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s choice to increase taxes on diesel and gasoline, for the sake of spreading his agenda focused on forcing people to Go Green or Go Home, even at the cost of alienating the country’s middle and lower class citizens.
Forcing views on people is almost never good, no matter how rational and logical they might seem to supporters.
Environmentalism shares this potential for extremism with all others, be it in the greener aspects of the Yellow Vests or the groups like PETA relevant to our own experiences in the United States.
Although the first mention of the Yellow Vests was back in May via a Twitter post, the protests and riots related to the movement didn’t begin until November.
Within the first week of this outcry, more than 2,000 completely separate gatherings occurred across France. Citizens in urban, suburban, and rural areas have all joined the movement to show support in their own ways.
Politicians have even joined in on the action, such as the leader of the anti-open borders National Front movement, Steeve Briois, and Marine Le Pen, who ran against Macron in the 2017 French presidential election.
Despite initially starting solely due to the increased taxes, many other groups have now thrown their lot in with the protestors for different reasons.
Self-titled far-right neo-Nazis and far-left neo-Bolsheviks have joined with the movement for purposes of anarcho-communism and eco-fascism, while members of the federal riot police in France are turning against Macron due to their low wages.
Extremism related to nature and its preservation has been an issue in many parts of the world for quite some time. While it is important not to let pollution overtake our world, there is a line that certain people tend to cross.
Animal rights activists like PETA have taken a step (or 10) in the wrong direction by euthanizing domesticated animals for the purpose of demonstrations and trying to act as a form of thought police when it comes to freedom of speech.
To some people, veganism and environmentalism is their lifestyle, which is fine on its own. Making efforts to shove that ideology in to every aspect of society is when the problem begins to grow in to extremism.
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