The Five Worst Types of Virtue-Signaling

Virtue-signaling is one of the lowest forms of opportunism, but not all attempts are equal.  Here are the five worst types: 

1. Virtue-signaling the implausible, for cheap applause 

In the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed concerns about the potential economic damage of banning citizens from working by claiming, "if everything we can do saves just one life, I'll be happy." 

A few days later, Cuomo tweeted, "My mother is not expendable.  Your mother is not expendable.  We will not put a dollar figure on human life." 

It might be surprising that an ardent supporter of unrestricted abortion would profess such a commitment to saving lives, but even if we ignore Cuomo's abortion stance, his statements instantly qualify as among the worst of its kind.

This type of virtue-signaling is particularly egregious because upholding this newly declared standard is so impractical that it's obviously insincere.

If Cuomo truly believed that any economic sacrifice is justified so long as it preserves "just one life" then we should also abolish cars, planes, surgeries, helicopters, alcohol, swimming, laundry detergent, sex, and prescription drugs because they all kill people.

The implausibility of adhering to his virtue-signaling not only reveals how disingenuous Andrew Cuomo is but also displays the character of those who pursue cheap applause.  A comfortability with blatant dishonesty is required to play this game.

If anyone confronts Cuomo for his specious assertions, virtue-signaling has a built-in defense system of their superior motives to neutralize criticism about facts.   

2. Virtue-signaling their battle against invisible enemies 

When Elizabeth Warren chastises racism for murdering Michael Brown, she is capitalizing on the perfect virtue-signaling opportunity.

Even though Michael Brown did not have his hands up, and his death was not the result of racism, all virtue-signaling regarding the ordeal is immune to criticism.

If the claim turns out to be a lie, it remains viable because the incident highlights the "larger societal issue."  If it wasn't true, it should have been.

Professing their unrelenting resolve to continue fighting invisible oppressors is the key.

Stacey Abrams complaining that she lost the Georgia election because of racism and voter suppression was a complete lie, but her "refusal to give up" still makes her a civil rights hero.

Jussie Smollett, Mattress Girl, Christine Blasey-Ford, Covington Catholic, the college rape epidemic, and migrant children at the border — the list goes on.

In each case, the battle may have been false, but the struggle is real.

A similar catastrophe occurred in the U.S. Women's Soccer lawsuit over "equal pay."

Virtually every Democratic presidential candidate tweeted ad nauseum about their outrage over the abhorrent discrimination against female soccer players.

The ruling of the lawsuit disclosed that the women's team earned more money than their male counterparts.  This tiny fact would not put a dent in the discrimination claim, but only require shifting the goalposts.  The women proceeded to argue that despite their higher earnings, they would have made more money if they had the same collective bargaining agreement as the men, and therefore, discrimination had occurred.

But the truth was revealed when the judge pointed out that the women's team "rejected a pay-for-play model identical to the men" in return for $100,000 guaranteed salaries.  The women could have accepted the same offer as the men but opted for a higher base salary with smaller bonuses during their negotiations.  The women's team chose a more secure compensation package as opposed to the riskier agreement the men selected.

The discrimination claim was a fraud.

But for those committed to signaling their virtue, the solution is always more.  

Following the ruling, Megan Rapinoe would tweet, "we will never stop fighting for EQUALITY."  Another player, Alex Morgan, tweeted, "this will not discourage us in our fight for equality."

Joe Biden would show his solidarity with women by tweeting they should not "give up this fight" while threatening to withdraw funding for U.S. soccer if those anti-women bigots don't pay women equally.

The fight against invisible enemies pays dividends for Democrats because if the monster doesn't exist, it can never be defeated.

In a never-ending battle, insatiable generals always have something to do. 

3. Virtue-signaling for policies they don't support — and doubling-down 

Since Democrat virtue-signaling is rarely authentic, its purveyors are quick to scurry when challenged to support their claims beyond mere words.

What makes this form of virtue-signaling, especially distasteful, is that it's commonly accompanied by an audacious return to the very same platitudes once the awareness of their hypocritical retreat subsides.  

For months, Democrats glorified the Green New Deal. Any opposition was only the result of greedy capitalists who didn't want people to have clean air or water.

Everyone saw how Democrats really felt when precisely zero of them voted in favor of the legislation.

But Joe Biden continued expressing his support for the Green New Deal, and even double-down by saying the proposal didn't o far enough.

4. Soliciting the applause for their virtue

Some Democrats have learned to be more proactive and overtly solicit the cheers for their admirable stance, so the audience understands how altruistic they are.

An example of this occurred when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared on CNN to lecture us on why supporting Medicare-for-all takes "moral courage."

Perhaps, this is an attempt to keep a safe distance from discussions about costs and not a deliberate effort to steer the conversation towards her noble motives, but I doubt it.  It would be far too generous to assume that Ocasio-Cortez had any thoughtful strategy before words came out of her mouth.

Still, explicitly stating why her moral superiority outweighs any counterargument about fiscal realities is an effective strategy for receiving applause. 

When Corey Booker insists that Congress has a "moral obligation" to impeach Trump, he is executing the strategy to perfection. 

Everyone knows it takes an unwavering commitment to the moral high ground for Democrats to overcome their reluctance to takeover industries or remove Republicans from office.

5. Virtue-signaling for free  

Democrats professing their altruistic motives without any expectation of having to change their behavior is what makes being a Democrat so great!

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he sympathizes with Bernie Sanders' view on billionaires and agrees that "no one deserves to have that much money."  NBA champion Andre Iguodala, actors Jim Carey and Mark Ruffalo, and even millionaire filmmaker Michael Moore openly voice their support for Socialism. 

There is still no evidence any of them have given away their wealth for the greater good.

In a party swarming with opportunists eager to promote how generous they are, the offers keep getting sweeter.  Universal basic income is no longer enough — a guaranteed income is now the goal.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls it barbarism that America does not guarantee a right to (free) housing. To Ocasio-Cortez, paying for shelter is barbaric — the enlightened can whine their way into a new condo.

Virtue-signaling is a shallow practice for the lazy and deceitful.  If you want to feel good about yourself with minimal effort, virtue-signaling is right for you.

Bode Lang is a Conservative blogger who regularly produces conservative videos on YouTube. You can find him at

Image: Pat Arnow via Flickr.

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