Everyone is familiar with the virtue-signal – the public pronouncement of wholesomeness in place of actual virtuous behavior. Under the veneer of activism, such behavior is meant to appear as productive and righteous, but makes most people roll their eyes and continue scrolling.
Rather than going out into the world and being a good person, it is often more practicable to remind everyone on social media that you have the correct opinions on all the trendy topics. It’s less effort, and relieves one of personal responsibility – there is no shortage of people behaving badly in the world, so there is plenty of content to riff off when the virtue-signaler feels the call to tweet.
The proliferation of these web outlets have given nearly everybody an opportunity to add their two cents. We are clean into 2019, thoroughly saturated by it – how is the would-be keyboard warrior meant to stand out from the crowd?
One option is to seek out ever smaller persecuted minorities to stand for, adding to the growing list of underprivileged classes. Of this list, we have recently discovered that introverts, the overweight, asexuals, and the socially anxious are now legitimately aggrieved. Where does this stop exactly? One has to think this is unsustainable.
Another option is to vary the genre of your signaling. Let’s imagine you don’t desire to be a leftist harpy, yet you still have that nagging sense that someone, somewhere, doesn’t know how wonderful you are. Thus, I give you…
One of the oldest forms of virtue-signaling is public patriotism: When someone adorns their public profile, online or offline, with the national symbolism such as the flag, or by glorifying the military with corny catch phrases like “I support our brave men and women…”
Let’s dump the debate as to whether patriotism is a reasonable value for now – whatever your view on that is, for your dedication to this value to have any weight, there has to be some kind of sacrifice. Telling everyone how much you love the military incurs no penalty. Everyone thinks soldiers are brave.
We’re much more likely to believe that you’re patriotic if you have skin in the game – some form of action on behalf of your country that represents a sacrifice of something that you want. By signaling, you aim for the plaudits with no risk.
Yes, you might get a few likes. You’ll get a handful of platitudes in the comments. But these people are simply doing the same as you – patriotism signaling. Don’t be fooled that they’re actually impressed by you.
In response to continued calls for gun control in the United States, second amendment supporters have made an issue of constructing pictures of themselves with lovely weaponry. It works better if the model is a young, attractive woman because it adds an aura of femininity to what is usually seen as a masculine cause.
I support the Second Amendment too, but let’s be honest, this is as much virtue-signalling as harping on about using the correct gender pronouns. You know what would be genuinely impressive? Defending someone in a real life situation.
How many Twitter profiles have you seen like this?:
“42, proud mother of two…”
Let me be clear, there’s nothing wrong with motherhood or being proud of your children. But being proud of your children requires little to no effort. It can’t be considered an achievement worthy of special, knock-me-over note.
It’s a biological instinct. You’re meant to be proud of your children. It’s like saying “Proud lover of nourishment and shelter.”
We all have a friend like this. Someone so into science they want to let you know how much they’re into science as often as humanly possible.
“People into science” are a step above most simple-minded peons (when in fact it’s difficult to find someone in the Western world who doesn’t believe in the efficacy of the scientific method). They’re not so much virtue-signaling as notifying us of the enormity of their brains.
Neil Dygrasse Tyson makes a living of this. We get it man, you’re rational and woke.
The problem here is not interest in science, obviously, but the implication that interest in science makes one a special sort of human. So too they imply that interest in other fields of human inquiry, such as philosophy or mathematics, is not as important. Scientism at its most embarrassing.
There’s a crossover here with the idiots that claim that anyone who disagrees with them is “anti-science.” This kind of person ought to drink radioactive waste.
Gym bros, DIY people, MMA junkies, hikers, and professional bikers have a message for you: they’re manly. Got that?
Nobody told this guy about the benefits of economic specialization. The reason why the average man can’t fix a leaky pipe is not because of a culture of anti-masculinity. Now that most men can source an expert that knows how to fix this crap, these skills have quite rightly been on the wane.
Maybe back in 1939, when it was difficult to find someone that you could pay to get all the inconveniences of obsolescence fixed, this might have been a relevant point. In 2018, simply learning how to code to earn enough money to hire handymen instead of learning plumbing, gardening, roofing, plastering, and carpentry, is just being efficient.
If there’s such a thing called “toxic masculinity,” this is it. Though since it is most damaging to the man that uses it, it might be better named “micropenis reinforcement.”
Let me know how you get on – don’t delay as if you’re not out there peacocking, someone else is!