It is important that we prevent radicalization. Sadly we have seen more and more polarisation and division in politics. This is how we can put an end to that.
As a journalist I have followed the political discourse for years, and I am seeing things that make me increasingly worried for the future of democracy. I am seeing parallels with 20s and 30s Germany. People are being radicalized both on the far-left and on the far-right in a frightening pace.
These two groups are constantly pushing each other to the extremes, and they are no strangers to using political violence to reach their goals as we sadly have seen more and more.It is up to us as responsible citizens and decent human beings to figure out how we can combat this and prevent extremism from growing.
To do this, we need to understand how these people feel. To an extent, they feel marginalized. They feel like democracy and society has failed them.
We are seeing increasing censorship in society, people are told that certain subjects is off limits, you cannot criticize mass migration without being labelled “racist”. People can lose their livelihoods and have their voices silenced simply for exercising their freedom of speech. We often hear talks about diversity and tolerance. What happened to diversity and tolerance of opinions?
When something becomes forbidden, people will always want to do just that. The most important thing to prevent radicalization in the first place is free speech.
What do we do with people who have already become radicalized with the far-left and far-right? The worst thing one can do is exclude them from society. That will only lead to further radicalization. What we should do on the other hand is educate them.
During a period of a few months when I was young, I unfortunately speculated in some conspiracy theories. What got me out of that was meeting excellent people from diverse backgrounds who did not exclude me, contrary they welcomed me and helped educate me.
If we exclude people from society, that will only lead to further radicalization. They will then feel like they have no hope in democracy. They will become bitter and angry.
That is why it is so important for society to welcome, educate and help people who have fallen on the wrong path in life, and when we de-radicalize people and they come on the straight and narrow, we as a society should praise that and welcome them with open arms.
Because if we don’t what incentive do we give for people to leave extremist environments? If we as a society shun them, they will feel that their only friends are those in the extremist circles and they might risk returning back.
No, we as a society should be open, inclusive, tolerant and welcoming. That’s how we stop radicalization.