Why it isn’t useful to fuel the arms race of exaggeration
Here are some things about which, according to the headlines, it’s “time to panic”: the threat of big technology, the failure of capitalism, the appointment of John Bolton as US national security adviser, and the performance of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team. Oh, and climate change. “We live during a time of extreme rhetorical inflation,” the commentator Damon Linker wrote, noting how absurd it was for Donald Trump to declare a “national emergency” over immigration, or for others to deem China an “existential threat” to the US.
Then again, few of us are immune. The fact that Brexit looks set to be a calamity doesn’t mean it’s not tempting, for remainers on social media, to predict it’ll be even more of a calamity than that. For reasons of consistency, I shouldn’t claim that this epidemic of alarmism is the worst crisis in the history of human civilisation. Still, it’s pretty bad – not least because it’s far from clear that panicking ever makes anything better.
It’s almost certainly not time to panic | Oliver Burkeman