The Power and Prevalence of Virtue Signaling

Until this week William McKinley thought he was home free.

One key to understanding much of the bewildering behavior we see around us is to recognize the power and popularity of “virtue signaling.” Keeping virtue signaling in mind will help you understand a lot of behavior that otherwise makes no sense.

What, for example, is the point of removing Confederate statues or attempting to disown the country’s Founding Fathers because some were slave owners? It makes sense if your objective is to be sanctimonious. You make yourself feel better by looking down your nose at Thomas Jefferson.

Virtue signaling is the modern version of what St. Augustine in the 5th century referred to as “outward signs of inward grace.” A major difference, however, is the kind of grace he referred to actually meant something.

A precondition to needing to virtue signal is guilt. Virtue signaling is one of the left’s package deals that typically involve two steps. Firstly, make people who have done nothing wrong feel guilty. Then, offer them ways to assuage that guilt. It’s little more than a con game but it has worked amazingly well for liberals.

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