Virtue signalling is defined as the act, or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue.
The easiest way to describe virtue signalling is displaying, rather than believing. It is a display of belief, faith, sympathy, concern, disgust, or whatever else, to be in people’s right book.
Years ago, I would have struggled to believe that virtue signalling was a thing, but over the last couple of years, with increased morality-policing on “wokeness” and political correctness, lots of people now choose to display the attitude and response that they believe people expect of them.
Rather than learning and understanding a situation, then picking a side of the argument and standing by it until superior argument convinces them otherwise, people will instead sniff out what is the popular position to take on an issue, jump on it, and then double down on it.
Next, they will speak loudly so others can register their position on this issue. They’ll send out the necessary tweets, call for a boycott or cancelling of the offender, then share a meme or print a shirt that catchphrases their position.
Thanks to Twitter, a thesis or three-hour conversation can be condensed into 240 characters and one meme.
On the opposing end of virtue signalling is the Pop Busters. They are anti-whatever is the popular opinion right now. To them, the minutest detail of what is wrong with a popular position is more important than whatever the world stands to gain from it.
In their opinion, there is always a “but”. People do not know enough to decide what is best for them. They always know something the public does not know.
Virtue signallers meanwhile just want to be seen to be right. They might not know why they are right, they might never be able to explain their position, they may even be standing against what they personally believe in, all of that doesn’t count.
What counts is that people can perceive that they are aligned with what is popularly right.
At the end of the day, what you believe in matters, why you believe in it matters just as much.
Pop culture and popular opinion shifts. As information gets unearthed, reality changes.
When people realize that you are constantly changing your position based on what is currently popular and you never have your own opinion or anything you stand for or believe in, they will lose respect for you.
You are not just virtue signalling, you actually bring no value to the table. You are a glorified Yes-Man. Mr Anywhere Belle Face. Chief Na So Them Talk.
I’m not saying you should jump to conclusions or be obstinate and never change opinion. Rather, learn. Educate yourself. Gather as much information as you can. Then analyze it yourself.
When you get asked why do you think this is right, you will have something instructive, memorable and meaningful to say.