Nowadays, it’s easier to not only attack your enemy but to score points for it. And that’s where it becomes very dangerous – the whole idea of virtue signaling on both sides. A lot of people on the right will say that people on the left are the ones that virtue signal. Places like the Daily Wire can virtue signal just as much. Our society is focused on the wrong things, and we need to be reoriented if we want to build a virtuous society.
Virtue Signaling to Go Viral
In an ideal society, we would all do our part to take the level of discourse down a notch. In terms of the rhetoric, we would make sure that we interact with people as people. We could agree to disagree, which I think is a part of manliness. Really, it is just a part of humanity that is sorely lacking these days. We could take a step back and we could all realize that if we do our part, we work together better as a society or as a community.
The issue, though, is a tragedy of the Commons situation. The problem with our discourse is too big of a problem. Everyone is looking for notoriety, and you know by virtue signaling, you can score points. It can go viral and you think, “Oh, man, people are actually paying attention to what I’m doing.” And that can feel really good to see that happen. But, it’s not real.
Problem With Going Viral
It’s very different than it was 150 years ago, when there were a few people who could become famous because there was only so much news. And, the ability to disperse news was much lower than it is today when a tweet can reach a million people easily. Even the best books of the 19th century didn’t have the reach of a viral tweet. This emphasis on virtue signaling, rather than actual virtue, is something the Vital Masculinity Podcast discussed in the past.
And so I think that search for notoriety, looking for fame, is something that our culture is so focused on instead of doing the ordinary things. Just 150 years ago, everyone had to go about their daily life, basically knowing their family and friends. They didn't have 1000 Facebook friends or more reading everything they posted. So, they were less inclined to virtue signal or show off.