Imagine that the peasants started to voice their belief that “The King is a Fool.” What would the King do? He couldn’t come out and claim not to be a fool – that’d seem foolish. If he appeared to be censoring and attacking the peasants because they called him a fool, he’d seem to be not only a fool but also a tyrant. Really he has to come up with some scam to defame these peasants as being some kind of “extremists” first, then he can attack them on the basis of that scam.
In our era we don’t have Kings, we have “experts” and “authorities.” A growing number of us think that a substantial number of them are fools. They hate that. They want to keep their prestige and the wealth that comes with it intact, by any means necessary. Even if it means lying or worse. Ergo the nonsense accusations that substantial portions of the populace are “alt-right” or “racist” or “anti-science.”
It’s the same gambit the powerful fools used against Socrates. They forced him drink the hemlock because he was allegedly “corrupting the youth”, but in fact he was only embarrassing the corrupt power structures of his era by pointing out their foolishness. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Indeed, if you were the fool in charge, why wouldn’t you be afraid of being identified as a fool? Anyone would be. It’s only human. But, not everyone would resort to vile tactics in order to cling to power. Not everyone would trade their soul, or the hard-won values that define their country, for money and power.