A friend just posted a definition of “virtue signalling” and asked, “Is this supposed to be a bad thing?”
His definition: “the action 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.” (I also found it on Google, attributed to Oxford Languages.)
It’s not supposed
to be a bad thing. But in the real world, it too often is.
The definition I found on Dictionary.com
touches on the important distinction: the righteousness and superiority of the virtuous.
“the sharing of one’s point of view on a social or political issue, often on social media, in order to garner praise or acknowledgment of one’s righteousness from others who share that point of view, or to passively rebuke those who do not. “
Instead of “tolerance,” the virtuous demand positive affirmation of their superiority, and in fact seem (to me) to be expecting and finding offence.
It’s too often weaponised, used to “cancel” previously unsuspecting people, especially on social media.