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What Does "Radical Right" Mean?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 17, 2024
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The term “radical right” typically refers to individuals who are part of the extreme right-wing conservative movement within a political landscape. This is often used in a negative or pejorative manner to indicate someone who has views that are far right within conservative politics and beliefs. Individuals who are part of the “radical right” are often in favor of individual rights and freedoms rather than government regulations and rules. More extreme forms of political belief and ideology, however, can include discriminatory practices against groups such as immigrants and homosexuals, as well as potentially violent action against organizations or those who lead non-conservative professional or personal lives.

It can be difficult to perfectly define the “radical right” because as a group they can be fairly complex. In general, however, right-wing philosophy and beliefs are often associated with conservative values and ideas, frequently aligning with various moral judgments and observations based on certain religious ideas. Many people within the radical right consider themselves to be Christians, though this can be a subject of tremendous debate. The potentially negative and sometimes hateful rhetoric of some members of the far right can cause other Christians to not want to be associated with them.

One of the major elements of the radical right is a belief in the merits of personal freedom and choice over political action and government rule. This often goes beyond a simple preference for smaller government, and can lead to the belief that there should be no government whatsoever. Such views are often taken by certain radical right establishments such as secessionists and militias that may include members who believe their country has been taken over by foreign interests. This form of anti-government rhetoric is often accompanied by opinions regarding the morality and worth of individuals of various religious backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexual orientations.

There are, however, some individuals within the radical right who are personally interested in their own ability to survive and be free without impeding the rights of others. It is important to understand that people within this movement, much like any other political or social organization, can believe in a wide range of ideals. In some ways, the radical right movement is strongly fundamentalist, and seeks a major change in politics and society toward a moral ideal in keeping with strongly conservative views. The most fundamentalist and violently conservative members of this organization, however, are often seen as members of a fringe group who should not be considered representative of the entire movement.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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