Thursday, March 01, 2018

On Virtue Signaling

Virtue signaling has become the effective new fad of the 21st Century.

Virtue signaling, if you do not know, is the idea that one cannot just be silent in any issue.  One has show one's support by saying something or doing something that is visible on social media that supports the position.  It now seems to have reached the point that one "must" virtue signal if one wants to be perceived as a right thinking member of society.

Virtue signaling is never something that is done by the true believers in a position.  It is done by those who are concerned they might be seen as "against" something and so have to prove their loyalty to the cause by speaking or posting.  Again and again and again.

As you might guess, I am not fan.

Why?  Because virtue signaling is always conducted from a position of weakness.  It indicates on the one hand a true belief in your position and on the other, the belief that one needs to have those that disagree with you "like" or support you - or at least not consider you an ignoramus through your lack of support.  It manages to offend those who might be your allies but does not convince those that disagree with you that you are "on their side" (trust me - they can see right through it and will stick a shiv in your back at the convenient time).  And really, it is display of how "righteous" the virtue signaler is vis-a-vis the issue in question ("Thank goodness I am not one of those {fill in the blank}).

Social media has driven this trend, of course - one can now almost instantly see who is for something and by default, who is "against" it (silence now means you are a collaborator).    It has also sadly removed any hint of actual real thought or discussion on any issue.  It is far easier to "support" something in hopes you will not get attacked rather than simply keep silent or defend it.

But the most abysmal part, of course, is exactly what Franklin posted above:  to virtue signal is to make yourself a sheep:  a follower, someone who is trying to be non-offensive and not be attacked.  Unfortunately, the wolves never seem to get the message.


Glen Filthie said...

I might disagree on some trivialities.

Virtue signalling is the chimp's way of saying 'I am of the tribe. I am useful to the tribe.' Everyone does it, even us: we stand for the national anthem, we do charitable works, we support the troops, we support law enforcement, we practice restraint and chivalry. There is nothing wrong with any of that. All of it is done from a position of strength, actually.

It's when you can be shot for not throwing out your arm and doing the 'Zieg Heil', or you can be shot for telling a joke about the politburo, or you can be tortured for heresy for speaking out against the cathedral - that virtue signalling takes an unhealthy turn.

Our political left has gone nuts. Just as they've redefined sexuality, racism and sexism, they have redefined virtue signalling. They are demanding censorship, curtailment of freedom, and inciting violence as part of their code of virtue. There is only one way to deal with people like that.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Hmmm. Interesting thoughts, as I would not think of standing for the anthem as a form of virtue signaling but as a symbol of respect for the flag of one's nation and what it represents.

And what I see as is less the extreme cases you list (which I concur with)but the fact one "feels" (egad how I hate that word) that one has to prove "I am useful and a fellow traveler" or else one will get angrily denounced (at this point, any way). Not checked, it moves quickly to the scenario you present.

You are correct about the demands of the new "signs" of freedom as well - censorship, reduction of freedom, threats of (or acts of) violence. This does not end well at all.