There is a ghastly trend gaining strength today: The practice of “virtue signaling” or showing everyone else how totally awesome you are by performing a meaningless gesture that serves no other purpose. Indeed, it’s all the “rage” now.
To be fair, anyone who has even put a bumper sticker on their car, bought an article of clothing solely for the logo, or put a candidate’s sign in their yard has done this. After all, no one is going to decide to vote for someone because of your yard sign. And disarming our nuclear arsenal may be a good thing in certain circumstances, one of those is most certainly not because “You Can’t Hug Children with Nuclear Arms”. So, this is not new. But it seems we are taking it to new levels.
Social media causes some of this: Remember the “99% of people won’t post this” postings that ran rampant a few years ago on social media? Yes, “99% of people” won’t post whatever it is because it’s (fill in the blank – religious, controversial, bold, whatever), and these people are (again, choose one or more – cowards, bigots, morons, whatever) but doggone it, I will post it and that makes me awesome! Sorry, you 99% losers, you suck compared to me.
Or take the recently minted “Just Be Kind” signs. Please. No one except the most naïve simpleton is going to think that a Bad Person – on their way to be a Very Bad Thing – is going to see this sign and change their minds. This sign – like the English, Spanish and Arabian language signs post-2016 election declaring strangers to be welcome – is all about the virtuousness of the person posting the sign. That person is kind; those without signs are hateful haters who hate.
If mere annoyance was the worst of it, the increase in virtue signaling would be bearable. Unfortunately, it takes on far more sinister – and frankly, deadly – forms. For example, let’s look at everyone’s favorite school policy, the “gun free zone”. This is virtue signaling at its most idiotic and dangerous. Like the Just Be Kind signs, only a fool thinks that making schools “gun free” will prevent a determined maniac from entering the school armed and to devastating effect. It’s a progressive fantasy of the highest order that an armed intruder, upon viewing a “gun free zone” sign, will turn around, drop their guns, and have a good hug and cry with the staff.
Let’s look at this another way. I design mechanical and electrical systems, some of which are outside. In these instances, we install fencing around the equipment. Why? For one, to keep vandals out. But also, to keep people and wildlife away from dangerous equipment. No one wants to have an accident where someone is killed by electrical shock.
But taking the logic of the gun free zones, why do we need a fence? Would not signs do? Why do we need fences around electrical substations? For that matter, why do we need x-ray machines at the airport? Or baggage screeners? Or security guards at banks? If mere signs are expected to do the trick at schools, why can’t signs be counted on everywhere?
And it’s now worse still. The left, in its latest fit of unhinged rage, is showing its “virtue” by berating those they disagree with in a bizarre form of “shaming”. This is truly ironic, since it’s the political left that for decades told us that “shame” has no place in society. Egged on by congresswoman Maxine Waters and others, people are encouraged to show how enlightened thy are by shouting, disrupting and otherwise making nuisances of themselves. In other words, their virtue is such that they are permitted – no, encouraged, even commanded – to engage in the most non-virtuous behaviors to make their point.
It will never work: Minds will never be changed by someone screaming at them. Nor are minds changed by violence or the threat thereof. Scream, threaten or throw your tantrums. No one will listen, and no one will change.
It’s like a Very Wise Man once said long ago of His day’s own virtue signalers, “they have their reward”. So be it with today’s.
Beware the wolves in sheep’s clothing…