Is it possible to quantitively assess the degree of extremism in a society? How to define it? How to set the criteria?
Can we design an “extremism index”? 0 % would be for a very tolerant and open society, 100 % would be for an extremist and very closed one?
These questions came after several discussions I have had with friends from Tunisia: “extremism is everywhere”, “people are now very radical”, “it is hard to have a reational and a calm discussion”, “people want everything now”, ” we should calm down”…
But how to make the distinction between what some people perceive it as “extremism” and the “reality”?
Why don’t we have an “extremism index” , published monthly, that will allow to assess the “general way of thinking” of people in the society on a monthly basis: are the whole society more radical this month than 6 months ago? is there less or more extremist groups and people? are we going in the right direction in terms of tolerance and open-minded mentality?
To set this index, we might undertake monthly polls with specific questions, add it to the number of violent demonstrations, then do an average , and come out with a number. Any ideas of the questions we should ask? the criteria to set?