They exist in every medium as we all know. And they are generally looked down upon, even reviled (and sometimes for good reason).
But, extremists are my favorites to read. They show you with absolute clarity the outcome of whatever area, whatever concept, they represent taken as far as it can go. They are the ones who are constantly pushing the boundaries.
Thought isn't stimulated by moderates. What's truly thought provoking about a moderates opinion? They are the ones who look at the extremists and then integrate it back in with the conventional we're all familiar with. They tone the ideas down to something that can be consumed. And oppression can hide so easily behind a "moderate" viewpoint. But how quickly do we grow complacent with nothing but moderates about?
The worth in an extremists opinion is letting yourself see something in a new way, letting yourself think about something differently than before. It's not to necessarily come around to their ideas, or rather, their interpretation of their ideas. Not at all even. But to expand your mind, and not reach your own opinions and conclusions solely from a stagnant pond of convention and tradition.
They are the shit disturbers, who stir things up in those stagnant ponds.
In a complementary vein is the idea of polarity. Inspiration arises through polarity.... Polarity is a concept I've been reading about in "A Witches Bible" recently... It's a concept I'm really going to have to expand on at a later date because I haven't fully assimilated the various implications of it.
But it is something I think I'm familiar with... I firmly believe the only reason the Suffragist movement was successful when it was, was because of the polarity between Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul. Without these two going about the same task in utterly different ways, I don't think it would have worked.
We see these extremists and their polarities... And we bemoan the strife, the challenges that arise in trying to reconcile to a usable middle. But perhaps it's through the strife and the challenges that a worthwhile, lasting, middle is reached.
Read more on the importance of polarity, strength through diversity.