The Little Book of Non-Violent Extremists

To mark the launch of our new publication ‘The Little Book of Non-Violent Extremists’, the Institute will be highlighting famous people who were vilified in their own day, but who are now regarded as heroes.

People like William Wilberforce, John Wesley, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.

These were all people willing to be in a minority of one. People who shook up the consensus of the day. People to whom a tremendous debt of gratitude is owed.

Heroes or villains?

If these pioneers were campaigning in the UK today, they could well be labelled extremists once again under the Government’s current counter-extremism proposals.

The Government wants to introduce a new law to silence people it deems to be non-violent extremists. These are people classified as showing “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values”.

The Government’s dangerously vague language on extremism means that simply holding socially conservative beliefs could mean Christians are identified as potential extremists.

Democracy needs dissent

Proposed Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs) could have led to our list of heroes being gagged or punished if they were alive today.

Democracy needs dissent

But sometimes unpopular ideas are just what a society needs.

Ideas that rail against the politically correct views of the age, put forward by people once thought seditious or even dangerous.

Democracy needs dissent, and silencing it undermines the very foundations of a free society.

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