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So what actually is 'Virtue Signalling?'

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2 hours ago, Rock The Boat said:

Yes, this is what I would have said. Virtue Signalling is to indicate a stance on a given issue solely for the purpose of promoting one's alleged higher moral standing to others, regardless of whether or not one actually believes in the issue in question.

For example, knowing that cake is bad for you, one might virtue signal by saying, 'oh but you would never catch me eating cake'. Which may or may not be true but achieves the purpose of gaining moral brownie points.

Hypocrisy is slightly different. For example, in the cake situation if the person was to be discovered eating cake after claiming they would never eat cake then they would be a hypocrite.

Virtue signalling is a narcissistic trait. 

With all due respect, the eating or otherwise of cake is not a moral issue (although I did rather like the connected reference to "brownie points", I hope that was intentional).

What kind of screwed up culture have we become if it becomes impossible for someone to advance an opinion on moral matters without incurring a default accusation of "virtue signalling". To make a moral claim is de facto to make a claim that some ways of behaving are indeed superior to others. That has been a centrally important activity throughout the history and development of all civilisations. Anti-slave trade proponents were absolutely right to claim that their position was morally superior to those of the enslavers (were they "woke virtue signallers"?). Similarly, the current view that the Russians are morally wrong to invade Ukraine is surely to be regarded as superior to the Putin alternative. If you believe that an individual is lying about their avowal of a commitment to certain moral values then by all means demonstrate them to be false and a hypocrite. However, the lazy resort to labelling any moral view that one doesn't agree with as "virtue signalling" is nothing more than an ad hominem attack on the speaker, and disingenuously used as a way to avoid moral debate about the claim being made. As such it is both ignorant and corrosive to the possibility of moral progress.

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6 hours ago, horsefly said:

With all due respect, the eating or otherwise of cake is not a moral issue (although I did rather like the connected reference to "brownie points", I hope that was intentional).

What kind of screwed up culture have we become if it becomes impossible for someone to advance an opinion on moral matters without incurring a default accusation of "virtue signalling". To make a moral claim is de facto to make a claim that some ways of behaving are indeed superior to others. That has been a centrally important activity throughout the history and development of all civilisations. Anti-slave trade proponents were absolutely right to claim that their position was morally superior to those of the enslavers (were they "woke virtue signallers"?). Similarly, the current view that the Russians are morally wrong to invade Ukraine is surely to be regarded as superior to the Putin alternative. If you believe that an individual is lying about their avowal of a commitment to certain moral values then by all means demonstrate them to be false and a hypocrite. However, the lazy resort to labelling any moral view that one doesn't agree with as "virtue signalling" is nothing more than an ad hominem attack on the speaker, and disingenuously used as a way to avoid moral debate about the claim being made. As such it is both ignorant and corrosive to the possibility of moral progress.

I think the essence of virtue signalling is that the motivation for taking a given position is wanting to be morally superior and not because the given position is a right or moral position to take. So going back to wearing a poppy; it is not virtue signalling if your motivation is to give to charity or to show support to veterans, but it is virtue signalling if your motivation is to gain prestige from your peers. In order to detect virtue signalling one might have to observe associative behaviours in order to gain insight into motivation.

Luke 18:9-14 Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Early example of virtue signalling.

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7 hours ago, Rock The Boat said:

I think the essence of virtue signalling is that the motivation for taking a given position is wanting to be morally superior and not because the given position is a right or moral position to take. So going back to wearing a poppy; it is not virtue signalling if your motivation is to give to charity or to show support to veterans, but it is virtue signalling if your motivation is to gain prestige from your peers. In order to detect virtue signalling one might have to observe associative behaviours in order to gain insight into motivation.

Luke 18:9-14 Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Early example of virtue signalling.

That rather nicely demonstrates my point that the use of the term "virtue signalling" is itself typically a lazy and disingenuous attempt to disguise disagreement with, or dislike of an individual. The term gets thrown around profusely, yet there is seldom any attempt to provide substantive evidence for why it is aimed at some particular individual. To take your own example, could you explain to me what evidence you would search for to show that the wearing of a poppy by some particular individual was "virtue signalling"? The term has become a cheap and tawdry way to attack an individual ad hominem rather than deal with the issues at stake. Speculation about the motivation for another person's support for some moral position by calling it "virtue signalling" has become the default practice for those desperate to stoke up a corrosive culture war rather than engage in genuine dialogue about important issues.

To take another example, I see that James Corden has already been accused of "virtue signalling" by some for having publicly said that he, "stands in solidarity with women" making their own decisions about their bodies (https://uk.news.yahoo.com/james-corden-stands-solidarity-women-120000525.html). There is absolutely no evidence to believe Corden does not sincerely hold strong beliefs on the rights of women to have access to abortion, thus ad hominem attacks on him for "virtue signalling" at best do nothing more than express a personal dislike/hatred for the man, and provide a distraction from discussion of the crucially important issues. Absolutely we should be calling out hypocrites who say one thing and do another, particularly in the sphere of politics and public life where such individuals seriously impact the lives of others. Similarly where one has evidence that someone has said something foolish and demonstrably false, they should be called out for such transgressions in the name of reason and truth. However, the ubiquitous throwing around of a vague term like "virtue signalling" does nothing other than promote rancour and obscure genuine discussion and investigation. Short-circuiting debate by using terms like "virtue signalling" and "fake news" are the stock in trade of those who have no interest in truth or dialogue, they are designed specifically to close off debate by ridiculing the other, nothing more.

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Posted (edited)
On 07/05/2022 at 07:33, horsefly said:

That rather nicely demonstrates my point that the use of the term "virtue signalling" is itself typically a lazy and disingenuous attempt to disguise disagreement with, or dislike of an individual. The term gets thrown around profusely, yet there is seldom any attempt to provide substantive evidence for why it is aimed at some particular individual. To take your own example, could you explain to me what evidence you would search for to show that the wearing of a poppy by some particular individual was "virtue signalling"? The term has become a cheap and tawdry way to attack an individual ad hominem rather than deal with the issues at stake. Speculation about the motivation for another person's support for some moral position by calling it "virtue signalling" has become the default practice for those desperate to stoke up a corrosive culture war rather than engage in genuine dialogue about important issues.

To take another example, I see that James Corden has already been accused of "virtue signalling" by some for having publicly said that he, "stands in solidarity with women" making their own decisions about their bodies (https://uk.news.yahoo.com/james-corden-stands-solidarity-women-120000525.html). There is absolutely no evidence to believe Corden does not sincerely hold strong beliefs on the rights of women to have access to abortion, thus ad hominem attacks on him for "virtue signalling" at best do nothing more than express a personal dislike/hatred for the man, and provide a distraction from discussion of the crucially important issues. Absolutely we should be calling out hypocrites who say one thing and do another, particularly in the sphere of politics and public life where such individuals seriously impact the lives of others. Similarly where one has evidence that someone has said something foolish and demonstrably false, they should be called out for such transgressions in the name of reason and truth. However, the ubiquitous throwing around of a vague term like "virtue signalling" does nothing other than promote rancour and obscure genuine discussion and investigation. Short-circuiting debate by using terms like "virtue signalling" and "fake news" are the stock in trade of those who have no interest in truth or dialogue, they are designed specifically to close off debate by ridiculing the other, nothing more.

You can find short-circuits of debate all over the political spectrum, to be fair. I have a vivid recollection of a Newsnight panel discussion on something to do with race where David Starkey, the historian, made some comment about the empire, can't remember what exactly but it wasn't anything person, merely an observation and he saw it, and the young black female historian on the panel told him he should 'check his white privilege'. That's definitely a lazy tactic to shut down a discussion as well. 

Edit: Looking back on some old footage of it on YouTube, he was bordering on ad-hominem himself in the run up to her comments. 

 

 

Edited by littleyellowbirdie

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10 hours ago, littleyellowbirdie said:

You can find short-circuits of debate all over the political spectrum, to be fair.

Indeed! It seems to be a very common tactic, that has only got worse in an age where social media encourages superficial assertion rather than in-depth, reasoned analysis. The "whataboutery" of Bort on the Ukraine threads is a good example.

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2 hours ago, horsefly said:

Indeed! It seems to be a very common tactic, that has only got worse in an age where social media encourages superficial assertion rather than in-depth, reasoned analysis. The "whataboutery" of Bort on the Ukraine threads is a good example.

Twitter is especially bad for this all over the political spectrum.

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9 minutes ago, A Load of Squit said:

Still very dissappointed that no-one enjoyed my semaphore post on page 1. 

Well us lefties hate flag wavers! (nothing to do with not knowing semaphore).

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7 minutes ago, Yellow Fever said:

Virtue Signalling.

Cuckoo, cuckoo

Boris Johnson at Downing Street party

It's a lesser-spotted twa*t!

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1 hour ago, A Load of Squit said:

Still very dissappointed that no-one enjoyed my semaphore post on page 1. 

I would have liked your post if you’d used rainbow coloured flags 😀

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Posted (edited)

It's when you start tracking back when the ball is already about to hit the back of your own net. Then you throw your hands up at your unsupported defensive line.

I perfected the whole routine as the lazy winger I was.

Edited by 1902
  • Haha 1

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On 24/05/2022 at 12:45, Yellow Fever said:

Cuckoo, cuckoo

The Cuckoo is a renowned parasite...spot the difference? 🤔😅

Apples

  • Haha 1

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Posted (edited)

The cuckoo also leaves its kids in someone else's nest and fu*ks off. Now who does that remind me of?

Edited by horsefly
  • Haha 1

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