The boy who cried wolf is one of the most relevant stories for the popular culture of outrage that we are in right now.
Since the election of Trump, if you turn on the news or check in with your social media you will find legions yelling at others for being racists, fascists, or sexual predators.
If we rush to label everything we don’t like as racist or fascist, we'll find that when the actual racists and fascists become a threat, we have no way to alert others.
Each of those is a powerful claim, and they certainly have the power to harm reputations (as they should). But as those terms are used more and more in connection with people and events that are not racist or fascist or sexual assault, the words lose their power.
Like the boy crying wolf, when the wolf does eventually show up, no one will bother to look anymore because they don’t believe the threat.
Racism, fascism, and sexual assault are all very serious problems that exist and harm people in our communities today. But when we rush to label people with those terms we slowly give away the power that those words have.
We should be able to identify racists and label them as such, but when people like Sam Harris and Ben Shapiro get labeled as racists, it allows actual racists to cruise under the radar. We lose the power to identify and label the actual racists.
If we rush to label everything we don’t like as racist or fascist, we will eventually find that when the actual racists and fascists become a threat, we have no way to alert others.