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A Distressing Tendency to “Cry Wolf”

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The radical wing of today’s Democratic Party displays a distressing tendency to “cry wolf”—warning of cataclysmic consequences of climate change, gun violence, racial inequities, and approaching fascism by the populist right.

LA Times opinion writer David Ulin, for instance, insists the “we must refer to the government’s detention centers as ‘concentration camps’” right now or else we’ll go the way of Nazi Germany. He cites historian Andrea Pitzer’s definition that concentration camps are “places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity” and claims this precisely describes “what’s happening at the border.”

Actually, Pitzer’s definition emphasizes “FORCED relocation.” America has never forced anyone to leave Central America to seek U.S. asylum, hoping instead that many refugees will ultimately return home. Treating real problems as if they always become apocalyptic crises only generates fear and desperation that block constructive responses.

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