Virtue & Virtue Signaling

I’m musing on meaning today, after going over my social media feeds. The meaning of virtue, and the virtue signaling I see these days. The fact that everyone’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is filled with evidence to construct a gingerbread, candy cane, and sweet-sugar icing version of their lives.

I wanted to know what virtue means to me, so I started writing.

Virtue Signaling Virtue
Follows the group Leads the group

“If not me, who? If now now, when?” ~ Rabbi Hillel

Public 陰徳 (Intoku) “Good done in secret”

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” ~ Matthew 6:6

No skin in the game Risk of loss; skin in the game
Primarily to raise one’s own in-group status Likely outcome is loss of in-group status
Low energy investment (re-sharing on social media) high energy investment (traveling to a place/ actually explaining a viewpoint/making concrete change in the world)
Takes the popular side Takes the unpopular side
Motivated by desire/ego Motivated by deep conviction
Usually as part of a group (lynch mob, committee decision, board statement, etc.), so no individual is exposed to blame

And so that everyone else can see you’re participating.

Usually individual (slaying a dragon), sometimes small group (startup, small protest, etc.)
Pretending to be in the arena The man in the arena
Cowardly. Afraid to play the game. “Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” ~ Atticus Finch
Expedient Right

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