Tuesday, October 17, 2017
I have written in past posts about the perverse tendency in much public discourse to label as bad things that are in fact honorable, like honesty, inclusion, and the pursuit of the common good. While I knew this existed, and had an inkling that it was due to an odd mix of cynicism and contrarianism and antipathy, I have only recently discovered a term that encapsulates this twisting of the honorable into something reprehensible: "virtue signaling". I had never heard this before, but it perfectly captures the charge of those who would ridicule any advocacy for good things. Anyway, here is an article that I agree with, which argues that the problem with our modern discourse is not in fact virtue signaling but rather the cynicism that insists that any sincerely held position is merely "virtue signaling" (while lauding as honorably forthright any advocacy of the basest, most incoherent instincts like racism and oppression).