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Extremism is a term used to describe the actions or ideologies of individuals or groups outside political center of a society; or otherwise claimed to violate common standards of ethics and reciprocity. It is usually considered by those to whom it is applied to be a pejorative term. It is typically used in reference to political and social ideologies seen as irrational, counterproductive, unjustifiable, or otherwise unacceptable to a civil society. The term connotes the illegitimacy of certain ideas or methods.

The terms "extremism" or "extremist" are almost always exonymic—i.e. applied by others rather than by a group labeling itself. Rather than labeling themselves "extremist", those labeled as such tend to see the need for militant ideas or actions in a particular situation. For example, there is no political party that calls itself "right-wing extremist" or "left-wing extremist", and there is no sect of any religion that calls itself "Extremism."

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