Virtue Signaling is utilizing a display of disgust at those “other people” to indicate how good you are and how bad they are. It has little to do with the actual underlying merit of a thing or idea. Because in truth there are few things in this world that are all good or all bad. Moreover, the goodness or badness of something is dependent on what you value.
Nonetheless, such virtue signaling is rampant in our modern world. People are eager to signal to others that they are “good” and “virtuous”. Facebook and Twitter are basically a playground for such virtue signaling … a constant stream of Outrage Culture devoid of any real discussion about the pros and cons of various ideas.
And if you spend any time on Facebook at the moment, you quickly learn that Trump is Hitler and Bernie is a communist and Hilary also might somehow be Hitler (but a lying one) … the other side is EVIL. Discourse at the level of a 4th grader is a hallmark of Virtue Signaling.
It’s ironic, cause Friedrich Hayek’s whole book “Road to Serfdom” (published 70 years ago) is all about how people like to blame their opponents for failures, when those failures are often the unintended consequences of their own policies or beliefs.
Imagine you are driving down the road, and you see up on your right (in America at least) a car trying to pull out of a parking lot into traffic. Suddenly the car in front of you slams on their brakes, comes to a complete stop, just to let the car out. Is what they did a “kind” act? Was it “good”?
Now some may say “yes”, it was polite and courteous to pause and let someone go first. But what about the other cars behind the suddenly stopped car in the middle of moving traffic? They would have to slam on their brakes too, unexpectedly. Chances are some driver 2-3 cars back may have got rear-ended, even if the original stopped car was fine. And, moreover, the car pulling out of the parking lot that they let in will one day be back behind some other car that may stop suddenly to let another car in. The “kind” act today may come back to leave them rear-ended in the future.
But you might say, if they don’t let them in, then that car may have to wait to pull out for a very long time … how is that fair?
The reality is that, in this scenario, there is no situation where everyone wins. No matter what the original driver chooses to do – stop and let the car in, or go on and reduce the risk for drivers behind them – someone will win and someone will lose.
And this, my friends, is the failure of Virtue Signaling … it believes in an everyone-wins scenario. But in real life, just like the car driving example, those scenarios do not exist. They only exist when you ignore the plight of the cars behind you. There will always be winners and losers, no matter what you do.
The Apex Fallacy is the notion that the strength, power, or privilege of a group is judged based on the top individual of that group, rather than the true average. For instance, judging the power and privilege of men based on that of Fortune 500 CEOs or NBA athletes, even though 99.99% of men are not CEOs or famous athletes.
The Apex Fallacy is often used as justification for the forced disenfranchisement of one group, even if not every member of that group actually enjoys the privileges of that group. Think poor white boy from Appalachia … not every white male is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Punishing the poor white boy is fundamentally unfair … and people intuitively sense that, regardless what the Progressives say.
Even within the sexual marketplace, such cognitive distortions reign supreme … e.g. the assumption that most men are like Brad Pitt and go out and take whatever they want whenever they want. For most men, however, life is hard work. As much rejection as success. Very little given for free. Most has to scrapped and clawed for. And men are hyper-competitive with each other, even success is just a reason for others to try to pull you down.
And this brings us to the unique kind of Virtue Signaling often seen on social media or real-life: men supporting feminism or defending women as oppressed or other sorts of White-Knighting. This sort of virtue signaling derives directly from the Apex Fallacy … the notion that there can be no male “losers” because all men have already won.
And just as in the car example, they ignore the plight of those cars behind them. They believe inherently in the fallacy of a “win-win” solution in real life.
The point is – whether it be in politics, or driving a car, or in intersexual dating dynamics – such Virtue Signaling depends on a willful ignorance of the unintended consequences. A word of warning to the men out there: when someone tells you to “do the right thing” when it comes to women … there is no “right thing”. Someone will bear the consequences … more than likely a man. It might even be you yourself. As such, virtue signaling might prove your own undoing.