Alarmism isn’t just annoying.
Yes, it’s a great marketing ploy—insisting, to others and to yourself, that we live in the worst of times and that whatever evil we’re now facing threatens to topple the entire human race.
But it’s bad for us. There are just some things you shouldn’t do, even in the name of your sincerely held belief. Alarmist rhetoric is one of those things.
When we tell ourselves and those around us that what we’re witnessing is of momentous and drastic consequence, we open the door ever more slightly for momentous and drastic action. We move the Overton Window, so to speak, to allow for changes to our long-held and organic traditions.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
But are we really living in desperate times? Is that for certain? And aren’t desperate measures something we should avoid if at all possible?
Yes to the third question, which means we should be careful before insisting that we are, in fact, living in desperate times.
In one way, this is the definition of maturity—not over-reacting or under-reacting, but keeping everything in perspective (or, at least, trying to).
Alarmism is immature. It’s not helpful. And it’s more than just annoying—it’s an unwarranted threat to traditional values that exist for a reason. Values that protect us from the darker corners of our nature.