I wondered if this inconsistency applied to leftist extremists as well. Do they also embrace some of the appearances of radicalism while holding views which, taken from a purely intellectual POV, are not especially liberal or might even be conservative? I immediately found examples of this among the environmentalists and antiglobalists, and propose the following understanding of extremist groups: they do not exhibit an intellectual consistency, but display a remarkable consistency in their symbolism. We should hardly be surprised. That sort of extremism is often an attempt to find (or invent) an identity, not follow an ideal. Contrast this with Ron Bailey's libertarian comment on life extension:
A long healthy life is a moral good. More life is better.One might disagree with the argument or find it oversimple, but it is clearly an example of coming to a conclusion on the basis of a principle, not the feeling it gives you or the hipness of other people who support it. Paranoid groups do the opposite - everything is in the seeming and intuiting.
The waters are muddied around all the extremist groups on the issues of natural foods and alternative medicine. Left, right, religious, or social, there seems this gravitation to symbolic ideas of purity and rejection of modern technology. While we most rapidly associate organic food and new-agey approaches with leftists, there are in fact plenty of religious or right-wing groups which are vitaminoid, law-of-attraction, or Luddite types. One can certainly invent an immediate reason why those areas would particularly favored by those with a paranoid air. Human beings are quite reasonably concerned with the safety of their food, feel helpless in the face of disease, and are suspicious of technologies they do not fully understand.
Almost two years ago I suggested that the worry about toxins is a replacement for the concept of sin, and shortly after frowned when Christian and nutritional myths coincide.
Example: The tax protester movement tends strongly toward conservative symbolism. But Reno Gonzalez made it a point to join Cindy Sheehan's protests, Elaine Brown is a holistic dentist and master herbalist in a wind/solar home, and the group in general spills over into the 9/11 Truther and Bush/Fascist wings of the left. Sure they love guns and camo, and talking about the Constitution, but how different are their protests and rhetoric from the WTO protesters in Seattle? Just different costumes.
An additional disquieting piece: once a group gets good and paranoid, they work the Jews into it somehow. No matter where it starts off, paranoia seems to circle that drain eventually.