Are we now fighting extremism or militancy? I rather think that we are worried about militancy rather than extremism.
There are extremists and they can be passive too. There are moderates and they can militant too.
But extremists cover both ends of the spectrum - the ultra right and the ultra left. This is exactly what happened recently in Paris - the militant reaction of the ultra right to the militancy of the ultra left.
All perfectionists are also extremists - they strive to the best of the best, at all costs, often regardless of their own lives. When we teach our children to the best, we are teaching them miltancy - and we think it is for good, and often it is. But the greatest geniuses of the world of the physical science created for the human race the weapons of mass destruction as well as the weapons of destruction by remote control - starting with the bow and arrow, the blowpipe and the gun.
At home, we have the call to "arms" of the moderates and hence the rise of the militancy of the moderates. Moderates are now bombarding the media with their messages of moderation, and presumably to the destruction of extremism of all kinds.
The great distinguishing factor in all human lives and activities is ethics - the knowledge of right and wrong. In the progression of the genes of the human race, right is the preservation of the human race and the wrong is the destruction of the human race.
But in war, there has been wars against mother nature - the control and subjugation of the natural elements - so that human beings are at peace to procreate, multiply and live long lives. All animals are considered wild and need to be tame. We are friends with domesticated animals and enemies with the wild.
The greatest battle is always people against people. So long as the ego comes in and distinction is pronounced, the battle begins. All those who are not with us are against us. We fight against the enemies. In battles, one side is enemy of the other side.
The fight among human communities are often, if not always, economic warfare. The survival of the fittest. Those who are lacking in brawn must use their wits and supplemented with weapons and tricks. This is militancy, pure and simple.
The way out of all these troubles is adaptation and resourcefulness, which is often achieved by co-operation. The challenge is to do the greatest good for the greatest number. Failure to adapt and be resourceful means death to oneself, and the only way to survive in such a situation is to kill the other side for the means to survival or to steal.
The only great path to walk in this world is ethics and morality, which means helping each other to find happiness in this world. Moral values play an important role in all decent communities. Good morals and good values are being promoted by all enlightened communities. Those who promote good morals are usually those who do not worry about material well-being. They learn to adapt and be resourceful.
What is usually considered "bad" is the systematic attempt at the destruction of communities whose way of life is not similar to ours.
The ultimate right is individual right which is at a higher level than communal right. The ultimate statement on individual right is by John Stuart Mill: Every individual has the right to live his or her life in the best way that he or she sees fit, so long as he or she does not prevent others from doing the same.
It is understanding and wisdom, not just tolerance. It is not outright militancy, or physical or verbal coercion. It is simply live and let live. What is so hard about this?