The Virtue Signalling of Social Justice

virtue-signalI had somewhat decided to end my series on Social Justice Warriors with the last installment on the view of history used by social justice warriors. In a sense, I thought that I’d come full circle as I had covered both the methodology and ideology quite adequately, and once the history was covered to demonstrate how poor methodology applied to cherry picked examples are the engine of the movement, I could consider the series complete. However, then Nassim Nicholas Taleb tweeted out a question about virtue signalling, and I realized that this was a major gap in my series. Everyone engages in signalling, from the man who through posture and composure signals his status, to the woman who through her painted face and hourglass figure signal health and fertility.

However, the concept of signalling one’s virtue, is a relative new concept, first identified among the religious, where piety was the virtue most signaled, however much of human verbal and non-verbal communication is signalling on some level. Ranging from choices one makes in grooming, clothing, the manner in which one writes or speaks and many others. However, this differs somewhat from the signalling of virtue, as the former are honest signals, the latter may be argued to be dishonest signals.

Social Justice Warriors without virtue signalling are as hunters without weapons or a bank without money, it simply does not work. Virtue signaling to this community is not only a primary means of communicating status, and one’s allegiance to the group, it is also the means by which enemies are designated and then attacked. It forms the core of means, where I have previously covered motive and methodology. Virtue signalling has been a central element of many groups, from religious communes to atheist dictatorships, from Europe to the Americas and Africa, it is a central part of our communication as a species. Continue reading

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The Philosophical Foundation of Social Justice

postmodernismI once sat next to an elderly gentleman on a transatlantic flight, and as I often do, I engaged in conversation with him for the duration of the flight. As we spoke, we shared our educational and professional backgrounds, he was retired but he had been active in multiple businesses during his professional life, and his educational background was in philosophy. Somewhat taken aback by this, I inquired as to his reasoning for electing philosophy above many of the other educational directions a man of his intellect could have pursued.

His answer was that anything that ever takes place within human society is powered by philosophy, from how we approach our personal life to how we perceive the world is dependent on our philosophy. A person who values empiricism will view the world differently from a post-modernist, a person who subscribes to deontological ethics will view behavior from a different perspective than a person who values virtue or consequentialist ethics.  Few places today is this as clear as the case of Social Justice Warriors against the rest of society. Continue reading