March 4, 2024

In defense of “Virtue Signaling.”

When haters like Trump, Poilievre, or DeSantis pretend to be offended by “woke” or virtue signaling. ~ Waylon Lewis

Don’t let those who don’t give a care silence those who do.

“Virtue signalling is not a perversion of morality. It has always been a vital device for condemning immoral behaviour and promoting social progress, albeit one that can fall prey to hypocrisy.” ~ a study

“Virtue signaling” is an often meaningless term used to bludgeon liberals, or activists. You’re sitting up in your ivory tower pretending to care about things!

Thing is, we should use our communication (signaling) toward societal pressure in a wholesome direction—you all know the study about how the single most effective way to get more folks to vote was if neighbors knew their neighbors had voted.

The problem with virtue signaling, of course, if there’s no virtue behind it. No caring. That often manifests as greenwashing, or LGTQ rightswashing, etc, as in Pride Month, or when BP pretends to care about carbon footprints, when really they’re shoveling the blame onto us, instead of taking on any themselves.

We should use any privilege we have, any caring, to make it clear that this space is safe for vulnerable populations, or that we care about X or Y.

If there’s real virtue, or caring, and we communicate that, that’s all to the good. If there’s a lack of either, that’s selfish, or at least missing the point.

And when haters like Trump or Poilievre or DeSantis pretend to be offended by “woke” notions like caring about others or virtue signaling, what they’re really doing is bullying our culture into acquiescence instead of activism in response to injustice. Often, they holler against division while dividing. They holler about censorship while silencing others they’re offended by. They holler about cancel culture while boycotting companies and people they’re offended by.They holler about problems, without proposing workable solutions.

If we’re signalling without the virtue of actually caring and action behind it, fine, be irritated. But if we’re irritated at folks communicating lived values…that says more about us than them.

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