Virtue signaling isn’t exactly new. Limousine Liberals have been doing it for decades. Either by hosting fancy fundraisers or attaching themselves to various causes for the associated good karma, this has always been common in elite liberal circles.
But what is new is how rank and file Democrats are all caught up in the same virtue signaling. Even worse is how this new widespread virtue signaling has taken over virtually every aspect of the lives of most Progressives.
From what companies they choose, to what sports they watch, to even the actors they can enjoy, Progressives must make a “virtuous” choice in whatever they choose to consume, watch, or enjoy. But this is not a private choice, it must be conspicuous and they must be vocal about it. If the owner of a company has beliefs that are not perfectly aligned with their own, they must shout from the roof tops (or Tweet) that this company must now be blacklisted.
But how did it get this bad to where Progressives now obsess over every aspect of their lives making sure whatever choice or decision they make reflects perfectly back on how virtuous of a person they are?
The most likely answer is social media. From the early days of social media, those who jumped on board to post photos or comments quickly realized that their “feed” was in essence their brand. Every person suddenly became the manager of their own personal brand. Did they want to promote themselves a funny, adventurous, or maybe something else. Whatever it was, by simply carefully curating their timeline they could represent themselves however they wanted.
People became obsessed with this form of personal brand management. It even became so obvious that it was soon a parody of itself as people would copy the style of posts that seemed to build the best brand image. One of the most popular styles early on was posting a photo of yourself in a peaceful spot, such as rock overlooking a beach, then combine it with a simple caption such as “The important things in life” or other such nonsense. The whole point was just to try to promote a fake image of yourself. It may seem silly, but it was the beginning of everybody becoming a full-time brand manager.
Sadly, that same mentality has taken on a new form as it has now mixed with political virtue signaling. After years of training themselves to carefully and methodically curate their social media feeds, those people are now super sensitive to how any action they take will be viewed. It has set up the perfect storm where now it is impossible for logical or even rational dialogue to take place. Instead, every issue is immediately set up as a false dichotomy, where one side is the virtuous and moral choice, and the other side then becomes the immoral and wrong choice. Now suddenly everyone who wants to curate their personality on social media has no choice but to voice their support for the “moral” and right opinion.
Of course, these issues often contain no moral component at all, it is just inserted by Progressives for the sake of virtue signaling.
A perfect example is the current ridiculous mask debate. Instead of debating the effectiveness of masks and promoting proper mask usage, Progressives have once again turned an issue into a moral debate. According to them, if you don’t wear a mask you are suddenly an immoral and selfish person. If you do wear a mask and implore others to wear one, suddenly you are a selfless and a morally superior person.
This same trick has now infected every single issue that arises in modern culture. Woke Progressives immediately set up a moral and immoral position, then flood social media with their support for the “moral” position simply to virtue signal. But the problem is, it completely muddies any real discussion, and any public discourse is now almost impossible.
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