I've done a fair amount of virtue signalling in my time.
When I was a young man and grew my hair out long - in hindsight - that was virtue signalling.
Lately when I wore a mask in compliance with public health mandates, that was virtue signalling too.
I was signalling awareness of the pandemic and my willingness to comply with public health regulations.
I look at the MAFA crowd - they are virtue signalling too.
I look at the Proud Boys and all their regalia and poses - they are virtue signalling too.
I mean - parading around with an AR15 is certainly a signal. And they -claim- that that represents virtue.
Of course, what is a virtue to one person is a sin to another which complicates things.
But virtue signalling can serve a positive role when it shows people that they are not alone - that other people share their values.
This assumes that the signal is honest.
These days oil companies signal their environmentally conscious virtues. They are not being honest. Many companies in many industries do it - it's called 'greenwashing'.
During the pandemic I was mostly sending a signal. I have a bushy beard and facemasks aren't very effective (though every little bit helps).
I was signalling that there's a pandemic happening and we have to keep our distance from each other.
The purpose of virtue signalling is the same in all cases. People do not want to be alone. They need to know that others agree with them.
I've seen that right wing people use virtue signalling as a pejorative. That is, they don't think my signal is an honest signal. They think that I'm blatantly trying to manipulate with a lie. To which I can only say "A liar thinks everyone is a liar".
What do you think