Virtue Signaling: The Frantic Plea for Social Capital

Micro-aggressions, cultural appropriation, diversity, safe spaces, privilege, NPC, cisgender, non-binary, intersectionality, social constructions, social justice warriors, etc.

American society has generated an impressive amount of new terms, some are new inventions and others are merely old greatest hits that have been injected with new meanings.
They are all tinged with political significance. Often, terms are developed by one political tribe to subtly (or not-so-subtly) disparage the opposing faction.
The left uses the terms ‘transphobic,’ ‘misogynist’ and ‘hate speech’ to intimidate anyone with differing views from voicing them.
The right uses ‘woke,’ ‘NPC’ and ‘welfare’ to mock what they view as the left’s collectivist group think uniformity.
Ten years ago, we had the ‘tea-baggers’ and ‘libtard’ monikers. The country’s political vocabulary will never stop evolving, which means Americans can look forward to many more backhanded terms in the future.
Social capital is the currency required for advancement in the social hierarchy of any institution or society.
Human want their peers to see them as enlightened, both in terms of sophistication and virtue.

There’s one phrase that has originated recently and, while some could interpret it to be a veiled insult, it’s a near-perfect label for the phenomenon it designates: virtue-signaling.

Tolerance has been declared the supreme virtue by the political left and the political right has largely seconded the motion due to fear of being slapped with the intolerant label.
Virtue-signaling occurs when a person declares allegiance and/or support to a concept, group, cause or belief that his or her affiliated social networks hold in high esteem.
When a person toes the party line, they are rewarded with an injection of social capital.
Social capital is an umbrella term that became popular in academia during the 1990s and entered the public lexicon after Robert Putnam’s 2000 book, Bowling Alone.
Google’s definition for social capital is: “the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.” Societal social capital is comprised of the social capital of the individual members of the populations.
Humans want so badly to be part of a grand cause, something greater than themselves, but just as powerful, is the need to make other people believe that each of us is a virtuous and consequential person. Life is one big job interview and a person is constantly vying for their social peers’ approval and acceptance.
The need to be perceived as virtuous is part of human nature. Our emotions are neurochemically regulated based on where we perceive our social rank to be relative to our peers. However, like many natural impulses, the urge to virtue signal can cause destruction, especially when mob mentality amplifies the madness. Unconditional tolerance has, over the past thirty years, been declared the zenith of all human virtues by the political left. But the blind pursuit of any noble goal can lead to harm.
In the 20th & 21st centuries, virtue-signaling has led to genocidal revolutions, unjust witch hunts and the corruption of higher education. Watch the video and tell us what you think.
The race for virtue supremacy often causes chain reactions and rhetorical escalations. It has led to death & disaster many times throughout history.
Sadly, Trump University isn't the only recent example of intellectual and ethical bankruptcy in higher education.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.