What is so ‘radical’ about being radical?

I was thinking about, the other day, that of all the labels I apply to myself is one that I like least. Now, don’t get me wrong here, it isn’t about the fact that I’m ashamed of being a radical. Not so. What I don’t like about it is the fact that I shouldn’t be a radical.

It shouldn’t be radical to believe in equality and freedom for all people. It really shouldn’t. My opinions and views shouldn’t be so controversial that I need to protect my identity on the Internet (mostly to avoid the vast amounts of hate mail I’m sure could come my way). I also worry about future employers Googling me and seeing this blog and not hiring me. Or firing me.

And, yet, I ask again: what is so radical and controversial about believing that every human being should be free and equal?

I know that some might say that it is because of how I’m defining ‘freedom’ and ‘equality.’ Although, I’m not sure how else you can define these words. I’ll admit that people might disagree about the path to these goals. That there may be better or worse ways to accomplish these things. But what is freedom other than no single human being living under oppression? What is equality other than ever person being assessed on their qualities, skills, and merits? To allow everyone to be themselves?

Of course, the sad fact is: we live in an unequal society rife with oppression. Which means that there are many people jealously guarding whichever privilege they have (pretty much anybody has some privilege). Somehow, this means that I’m a radical for believing in freedom and equality. This actually makes me sad and a little distressed.

If my views are so fringe as to be radical, then change will only come slowly (as it as been coming slowly for years and by years I mean centuries).

Believing in equality and freedom really shouldn’t be radical. No, really. It should be so common place as to be unremarkable. It should go without saying. So many people should be committed to them that we all actually become free and equal.

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