Ick Or Ethics? The Nauseating Social Media Meme

I have a long-time friend whose spouse has the above Facebook meme as a social media avatar. As a result, I have serious reservations about having any further interaction with either of them.

Once again, I am bedeviled by the phenomenon of public virtue-signaling, a non-virus epidemic that mostly manifests itself among smug progressives. There is no question in my mind that such ostentatious declarations are obnoxious and nausea-inducing, and thus offensive. But are they unethical?

The last time I addressed this issue was when these signs, mercifully short-lived, starting popping up on my neighbors’ lawns.

Then, I see that I was adamant, writing in part,

The sign is dishonest, unfair and divisive. It is also political, while pretending not to be.

First, the sign is not what it represents itself as being. It is not written for an actual neighbor. If it were, the sign would be remote and rude. I welcome new neighbors personally, not by putting garish signs on my lawn.  The sign is blatant virtue-signalling, telling the neighborhood that this household is in favor of diversity, love, and immigration…as if lots of other people are not… the sign is a straw man. I’m sure, however, that Hispanic-Americans or Muslim-Americans who see these signs on lawns might be moved to think: Wait, does this mean that many people in this community DON’T welcome us as neighbors? How are we to recognize them?…the sign is really a tacit insult to those who a) think that our immigration laws should be enforced, and b) those who think people who pledge fealty to Islam and Sharia are a little bit more risky to have in the neighborhood than the average Catholic, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist or Presbyterian—which, in fact, they are. Neither of these concerns mean that such citizens object to neighbors based on “where they are from,” but rather according to whether they broke laws to get here and are breaking laws by staying here, and whether they are waiting for their chance to kill us because their cultish religion tells them to. Framing these legitimate and fact-based concern as irrational xenophobia and bigotry is intentionally misleading, and meant to stifle dissent…The message is also irresponsible, slathering back-patting virtue-signalling to obscure legitimate issue that should be considered without emotional static. 

No equivocation there, I see! Why then am I hesitant to come to the same verdict regarding the meme, which is arguably even worse? It will be seen by more eyes than the signs. It touches on more coded topics signaling virtuous and uncompromising wokeness and political correctness. It is divisive and intended to be divisive: those of you who don’t support affirmative action, reject white privilege, seek to end income inequality, welcome illegal immigrants, want to empty the prisons and sacrifice your living standards to defeat climate change, it says to me, you are all full of hate, cruelty and selfishness, unlike me, and people like me.

Ack, gag, barf, yecch. A verdict of ick is justified beyond a reasonable doubt (for more Ick Factor discourse, go here), but unlike the signs, the “love” meme does not directly impugn anyone to the  degree that those signs did by casting suspicion on homes not displaying them.  I am also beginning to think that the meme might even be  ethical in its transparency.

Anyone who voluntarily broadcasts a message like that is telling the world that he or she is an arrogant and intolerant jerk (and probably a hypocrite, since such lovers have been routinely spewing hate for the elected President and about half the American public for the last three years). It’s good to know, when you think about it.

I’ll consider myself warned.

25 thoughts on “Ick Or Ethics? The Nauseating Social Media Meme

  1. Two comments from me today – probably a record.

    One of my neighbors has that sign in their yard. Not to mention there are several of those, “No Room for Hate Here” signs or whatever they say – I’ve been ignoring them for so long I forgot the exact wording. Every time I see them I’m reminded of that exact post you referenced here. We live in an upscale neighborhood and I bet if they new my wife and I were conservatives they might find room for hate. This is a very diverse neighborhood and I’m sure all the residents here immigrated legally. I’m sure the people who have the sign immigrated legally – are they now advocating for open borders by displaying that sign?

    Overall, I think this area in NY is conservative – our representative is Tom Reed II – During the 2016 election year, Trump signs outnumber Hillary signs by about 4 to 1 in this area / county.

  2. And let’s not forget the “No Human is Illegal” signs or the “Mother of Exiles” bumper stickers. All the same ‘right side of issues and history’ claiming while also implying if you’re a Constitutionalist you are a horrible person.

  3. The one I really dislike is when they claim to read from the Koran Surah 5:32 and say “If anyone killed a person…it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if one saved a life, it would be as if he saved all mankind.” This is a favorite verse of the Hollywood crowd. It has been read many times as proof that Islam is the religion of peace.

    This saying actually comes from the Talmud, but is repeated in the Koran with modification. What I hate about that is that the Koran verse has to be edited to give it the meaning they want.

    Koran, Surah 5, verses 32-33.
    32. Because of this, We ordained for the Children of Israel: that whoever kills a person—unless it is for murder or corruption on earth—it is as though he killed the whole of humankind; and whoever saves it, it is as though he saved the whole of humankind. Our messengers came to them with clarifications, but even after that, many of them continue to commit excesses in the land.

    33. The punishment for those who fight God and His Messenger, and strive to work corruption on earth, is that they be killed, or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides, or be banished from the land. That is to disgrace them in this life. And in the Hereafter, they will have a terrible punishment.

    All Americans (through our tax dollars) have fought Allah and his messenger by sending armies to Muslim lands and ‘causing mischief’. All non-Muslims work ‘corruption on earth’ by resisting the will of Allah. All who read this verse are calling for my death (or mutilation).

    I believe all those signs are like this verse. They say one thing, but mean another.

  4. And then there’s the “Co-exist” bumper sticker. Yuck. That one strikes me as particularly annoying and “holier than thou.” Stupid and arrogant. Foolish. Obnoxious. Smarmy. Unhelpful. Words fail me.

  5. No matter where you’re from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor…

    But please, keep the music down and if possible never play rap. We also do not wish to see sofas on the porch. Please make sure your sons & daughters are respectful and clothed properly. Tell your daughters ‘No twerking, ever’. Learn to speak English. This is not *your country* it is *our country*. Respect our rules, the laws, and our social conventions. We welcome you but — we have trouble saying this — ask that you adopt our ways. Don’t sacrifice goats and other animals in strange voodoo-like ceremonies. Did we mention the thing about rap? Well, you get the picture . . .

    Et cetera . . . 😉

    • How about ‘Don’t throw your trash in the back yard to rot and mix with the smell of the dog poop you don’t pick up and don’t let your dogs run wild and attack my children in my yard’? That was a fun neighbor.

  6. Fourth attempt to post this, so if there are many duplicates, I’m so sorry!)

    Today I am wearing a shirt that reads:

    Inconceivable. Adj.
    1. Not capable of being imagined or grasped.
    2. Not what you think it means.

    The problem with memes like the above is that it is disingenuous. What do you mean by love? Do you mean philia? Eros? Caritas? Squishy feel-goodness, for which I don’t know a Latin equivalent? In general, especially given what I’ve observed of the people who post such memes, I don’t think “love” means what they think it means. I certainly don’t think they see love as selflessly willing the good of the other, but maybe that’s because I’m cynical and see this meme as not willing the good of someone else, but trying to proclaim one’s own virtue.

    What is meant by inclusion? Is there nothing someone could ever do to warrant exclusion? Or is there a little asterisk pointing one to the fine print, where we don’t include the scum of the earth, like religious white men, sex offenders, and Trump supporters?

    I don’t have much to say about empathy or compassion. Equality always begs the question: “Equal how?” Because again, people keep using that word, and I do not think it means what they think it means. Equal before the law? Equal in dignity? Equal in socioeconomic status? Equal in success? Or how about created equally, and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, including (but not limited to) life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

    I have no problem with dignity, but what about diversity and community? There is unavoidable tension in the community when there is diversity. We might not like that fact, but it is there. As soon as you have two people of different opinions in the room, there is tension, and by and large what we’ve seen is that people are less and less tolerant of tension. I wouldn’t say they are less tolerant of differences of opinion, as long as those opinions keep to themselves and don’t bother other people. It is the tension that people are finding unbearable. Maybe it is because we are no longer equipped to have our opinions or viewpoints challenged. But I also have a hard time believing anyone believes in community, when so many are nose down I electronics (as I am as I write this) and all my friends belong to the same echo chamber as myself.

    Skipping ahead to justice, I was reading about justice in the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and it made me think about justice a little differently. The OCE article was almost entirely about the just acquisitions and disposal of private property (and the Catholic Church is actually a staunch defender of private property, if anyone is interested). But when concerned with the matters of the law, Catholic teaching says that the lawbreaker incurs debt to society, and that as society owns that debt, society can choose to dispose of it as it pleases. So if society does choose to forgive the debt of illegally crossing borders, that is both merciful and just, because society is rightfully allowed to dispense of what it owns as it sees fit. But it is also just if society insists the law breaker pays back his debt. The problem is, who is society? A plurality of opinion? The lawmakers and the law enforcers? As an individual, I am not all of society, so I do not have the authority to declare someone’s debt to society forgiven, because the debt is not mine, or at least not mine alone. So how does justice actually square with the meme? How does it square with people who like the idea of abolishing private property in favor of a nanny state? How does it square with people actually required to pay back their debts to society?

    Facts. Another word that doesn’t mean what they think it means. And that is because facts are messy things to really pin down. I like math, because math is rife with facts. But just about everything else is subject to that little demon called interpretation. Most of what we deal with in the sciences is statistical, and statistics can tell us a great deal, but they can also lead us down blind alleys. They can distort our perception of things, and our perception can distort the statistics. I have a coworker who gets really frustrated with me because I can at times question him down to the point of whether we actually know anything at all. Certainly the classes I took in philosophy leave me doubting whether we can ever truly know anything with the same certainty as mathematical truths. And that becomes manifest as we repeatedly see “facts” subject to revision as more information becomes available. Again, I’m cynical, but I find most people are more willing to change the facts to fit what they believe than to change what they believe to fit the facts. And try to pin anyone down on what they even mean by facts, and they sound like Pilate, who famously asked “What is truth?”

    Peace. It is nice, but not if it comes at the cost of the perpetuation of great evils. It should be of note that the same person who said “My peace I give you, which the world cannot give” also said “I have not come to bring peace but a sword.” A false peace that is based on superficialities ought to be destroyed.

    The Planet? I suppose I’m supposed to interpret that as meaning the poster chooses to be a good steward of the world and it’s resources, but unlike the other words thrown out, this one is not a word directly understood as a virtue. I know I didn’t choose the planet, because I was born on it and have no other options open to me. I’m certainly not going to choose the planet over humanity, especially not in the extreme sense of the human extinction project. But isn’t it interesting that the meme puts choosing the planet before choosing humanity? Now, this list is probably not in any order of importance, but what am to reason when when you speak of choosing the planet, and the quickly reaffirm you choose humanity? Now, hopefully no one argues that we need to be good stewards of the planet, but what does it mean to be good stewards? Does it mean not letting any species currently in existence go extinct (unless we’re talking mosquitos and Jerusalem crickets)? Does it mean not polluting? Does it mean not impacting the climate? Or does it mean utilizing the planet’s resources in a sustainable fashion for the benefit of humanity?

    As for humanity… A zygote is a distinct member of the human species, and given the proper environment and nourishment will do everything any other human individual will do. How does that impact your choosing humanity?

    What virtue does this list exhibit? I wouldn’t say it exhibits any. It is a practice in vainglory, which may be the old term for virtue signaling. It is vague enough to require no commitment and thus requires no courage to accept or fortitude to defend. Moreover, the fundamental implication is not the meme’s poster’s beliefs, but the castigation of anyone who won’t “like” this creed. My verdict is unethical.

      • Thank you, Jack!

        I worked on my response while my wife and I were in the pre-surgery wing at the hospital, waiting for her to undergo a tonsillectomy. I was typing on my iPhone — never to be recommended — and for some reason, it seems the Safari browser doesn’t play nice with WordPress, and I tried and failed to post several times. So then I copied the comment into an e-mail, sent it to myself, and then opened the browser on my Kindle, and tried to post there. The Silk browser played a little nicer, but there’s always a question of whether WordPress will go ahead and post my comment right at the time of logging into WordPress for the first time from a particular device. It didn’t take the first time on my Kindle, but dang it, I worked hard on that comment! So I tried again, and WordPress told me “It looks like you already posted this comment!” So I closed the browser and reopened it (in classic IT fashion), pasted the comment for the umpteenth time (I stopped increment post attempts after four), and finally it made it through. And just in time for the surgeon to come out of the operating room to tell me that the tonsillectomy was a success and my wife was recovering from the anesthesia.

    • A very substantial post. I am curious if by Old Catholic Encyclopedia you meant the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia?

      Justice

      So if society does choose to forgive the debt of illegally crossing borders, that is both merciful and just, because society is rightfully allowed to dispense of what it owns as it sees fit.

      It was through Christian and Catholic definitions that I began to believe that the mood or decision to restrict immigration, and limit it to *people like us* (I mean the original stock of the US), could well be fit into Christian and Catholic moral categories. It is completely right, and completely justified, that a given people, any people, have the right to defend their sovereignty. And the principle of *property rights* is a large part of the argument why both excessive (and unwanted) immigration and certainly illegal immigration is out of accord with a Catholic notion of justice.

      • Alizia,

        I believe, if I’m reading the site correctly, that for a time New Advent made it part of their mission to make the Catholic Encyclopedia, published between 1907 and 1914, available online. There’s a newer Catholic Encyclopedia, I believe developed in 2001 or so, and so I’ve seen that one dubbed the “New Catholic Encyclopedia”, and the one published circa 1914 the “Old Catholic Encyclopedia”. I’ve found that in some circles, the OCE is venerated, and the NCE is demonized, but that might be because many Catholics are skeptical of anything that has come forth since the Council of Trent…

        It is completely right, and completely justified, that a given people, any people, have the right to defend their sovereignty. And the principle of *property rights* is a large part of the argument why both excessive (and unwanted) immigration and certainly illegal immigration is out of accord with a Catholic notion of justice.

        Indeed. But that admittedly has to be balanced against the need to care for the poor. Pope Leo XIII, who wrote in Rerum Novarum that socialism has no place in the Christian life, and that man rightly deserves his property, also states (loosely) “Once the demands of necessity and propriety are met, the rest of what one owns belongs to the poor.” But he qualifies this by saying that this obligation is not out of justice (i.e. he does not strictly mean the poor have ownership rights over what we have above and beyond what we need), but of Christian charity. Furthermore, what is needed and what is becoming are matters of prudence and particular to each person. Thus a rich man will spend a great deal more of his money on things becoming a person of his station — a CEO, for example, may be expected to dress much nicer than a field operator in the corporation, and he may be expected to provide a company Christmas Party, which is certainly beyond the budget of said field operator.

        The question of how to handle illegal immigrants is not one of justice, since we understand quite easily that someone breaking the law now incurs a debt against the nation into which he has intruded. Rather, it is one of prudence. We can certainly choose to be merciful and charitable, and it could be of great credit to us to do so. But as prudence is one of the cardinal virtues, we would not do ourselves good by beggaring ourselves trying to aid others, only to then be incapable of aiding those who are our direct responsibility. To pare down the scope, if I were to give all I had to the poor, I would be committing a grave injustice to my wife and daughters, because I have an obligation to provide for them. However, were I like St. Francis of Assisi, who did not have a wife and children, I could give all I have and live as a mendicant, and it would be credited to me as righteousness. In between, I could identify a certain amount of money that I could give away to those in need, but once that is exhausted, I would then be justified in not handing out further contributions, even if there are still poor people present before me.

        In other words, the case is not cut and dried. Personally, I think out of charity we as a nation should open the doors to more immigrants, and help make the path for legal immigration more streamlined, but I do not think we could allow in everyone who wants to immigrant to our nation without unduly burdening our systems. But this still does not address additional prudential matters. It maybe that our best use of money isn’t providing for those poor migrants trying to escape hardship, but in working to fix the problems in the old country that driving those migrants out. Yet even that would be a case by case basis.

        And that is why I think trite little memes like the on that sparked this conversation are so bad. These problems need serious conversation and thorough analysis, not slogans.

        • I’ve found that in some circles, the OCE is venerated, and the NCE is demonized, but that might be because many Catholics are skeptical of anything that has come forth since the Council of Trent…

          First I thought you were being somewhat ironical. Because most traditional Catholics have more issues with Vatican ll and the radical changes that resulted from it. However, in my limited researches it seems obvious to me that the *whole problem* arises out of the modernism defined by Pope Pius X in PascendiI Dominici Gregis. Whatever murky and perhaps unplanned things came out of Vatican ll seemed to me only further results from an original problem, that of modernism (and one cannot understand what he meant by that term unless one had read the encyclical: not an easy one at all).

          Indeed. But that admittedly has to be balanced against the need to care for the poor. Pope Leo XIII, who wrote in Rerum Novarum that socialism has no place in the Christian life, and that man rightly deserves his property, also states (loosely) “Once the demands of necessity and propriety are met, the rest of what one owns belongs to the poor.”

          So many problems are encountered in this realm or issue. First, a unified Christian community is required for Christians to then act with charity. But the surrounding culture is (I think this is entirely fair to say) hardly Christian in any essential sense. In fact it is non-Christian and also sometimes anti-Christian. This complicates the whole notion of ‘justice’ and ‘charity’. And if a given culture, or the surrounding culture, is in fact *pagan*, and if the inner sense of paganism is taken in a more strict traditional Catholic sense, what then are a Christian’s obligations to that community?

          I have also been very interested in the notion of ‘giving to the poor’. Living as I do now in a Catholic country I can say that the inculcated idea ‘You must give to me’ is totally destructive. In fact it seems to lead rather directly to the social atmosphere in which ‘socialism’ is understood to be a good. Here in Colombia, I came to see, the creeping socialism seems unavoidable because people see it as ‘good’, and there are good aspects naturally, but in fact it leads to solidification of social stratification. However, in observing the social situations especially in the lower strata, and discussing it with my husband and our community, we concluded that every poor person requires, in fact, an investment of a certain quantity of money. I would say that the amount, here, is a minimum of $20,000.00

          What is required with that *investment* is remedial education of the most basic sort. Then some basic neglected health care. Teeth especially but then dietary instruction. Then of course an investment in post-high school education like trade school or university if that person is prepared for that and wants it. When we thought this through we realized that when we go out among the crowds we are, in fact, going out into the impoverished masses: it is a kind of starvation or emaciation.

          So, maybe a year before I first signed on to EA (to become the resident bane, a task that I set myself to with dedication and of course *love*) ( 🙂 ) we attempted an interesting experiment (not exactly the right way to phrase it): We knew an able young woman who worked selling cellular phones at a kiosk up the street. She was a single mother living in one of the most poor barrios in the city, a dangerous and wretched place. But she had all the characteristic of a person who could succeed and would take the opportunity in addition to being simply a very fine person.

          So we got to know her, and understand her situation, and then we offered to put her through law school (a 4 year program here). We also opted to pay for her boy (of 5) to attend a Catholic private school and of course we provided basic living expenses over all that period of time. To make a long story short she completely took advantage of what was offered and after about 5 total years, and after she did her required *social service*, then got a job with the municipality. She now earns her own living, pays for the continuing education of her boy, and is doing well. What is very interesting from my perspective is to have observed how her presentation of herself — her appearance, but I means something more — changed as she got the required education and if I can put it like this *attention*. There is a difference between how peasants or the lower strata hold themselves. They way they talk. I can only describe it as a sort of ‘dullness’ that seems part of their aura. But, knowledge and growth, in combination with inner spiritual advancement, actually produces a brightening in that person. They eyes change.

          The total investment was $60,000.00 ($12,000.00 a year more or less) very little by N American standards). But we learned something extraordinary from this. There is simply no person, in any strata of society, and certainly of any particular race or ethnicity, that cannot be brought into what we call *civilization* if there is a proper investment in that person. Yet an investment is required.

          But there are two additional factors: one is that the person absolutely has to want it, and has to be willing to work steadily. So, they have to have accepted that their function is in *service*. That is, they cannot be rebellious types. They have to take their place within a positive-oriented social structure. And the second factor, in the case I just described, is that the woman we helped was dedicated to Catholicism. Not merely superficially as many are. But she became profoundly interested in understanding her own religion better.

          The whole experience changed how I view things. To understand social emaciation. To conceive of social *injustice* in more concrete terms. The responsibility (or the lack of concern) on the part of upper echelons to assist the lower echelons. Without going further in this what the *upper echelons* here do, with repeated frequency, is use their social and political positions for robbery. It’s a mess. If there is a God in Heaven, and if Dante had any part of it right, some people are going to repay their debt under very unfavorable terms . . .

          • First I thought you were being somewhat ironical. Because most traditional Catholics have more issues with Vatican ll and the radical changes that resulted from it.

            As I am prone to deadpan exaggeration, I am happy your first impression was the ironical, because that was the vein in which to take my statement. Of course the irony is that the Tridentine Mass, which many of the ultra-conservative Catholics believe is divinely inspired and for which it is a mortal sin to replace with the Novus Ordo, was promulgated in the aftermath of the Council of Trent…

            First, a unified Christian community is required for Christians to then act with charity.

            I think you’re speaking imprecisely here. Christians can act with charity no matter the community around them (and once upon a time, Christian charity so awed the others in the community that it inspired them to become Christians). I think what you’re implying is that our society would have to be a unified Christian culture for Christians, as a subset of society, to dispel the debt owed to society for an infraction such as illegal immigration.

            what then are a Christian’s obligations to that community?

            The Christian’s obligation is to render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God. As long as a society’s laws are not in contrast to natural or Divine law, a Christian is obligated to obey the laws of the land. If society’s laws demand the breaking of natural or Divine law, a Christian is obligated to break society’s law, and then accept the consequences of doing so. How does this translate to illegal immigration? A Christian can certainly offer food and shelter to illegal immigrants, the basic necessities that we all agree are rights, but a Christian should not act as a sanctuary against the nation’s immigration laws. I’ve not encountered any treatise on natural law or statement ex cathedra or anything else that leads me to believe that restricting the flow of immigrants, in and of itself, is contrary to any moral principle.

            I am also in awe of your experiment with helping a poor mother out of an undesirable situation. I would hope that someday I could be so generous.

            • . . . the irony is that the Tridentine Mass, which many of the ultra-conservative Catholics believe is divinely inspired and for which it is a mortal sin to replace with the Novus Ordo, was promulgated in the aftermath of the Council of Trent…

              Sure, they might not realize that it was created and added to over time. But I suggest that the Tridentine Mass is so totally different from the Novus Ordo mass as to be incomparable. And that the only Mass that is a Mass is the *original* Tridentine Mass. The Novus Ordo Mass is . . . just noise. The Novus Ordo Mass destroys Catholic faith. (I know that many don’t agree). So, it certainly can be examined critically.

              I am also in awe of your experiment with helping a poor mother out of an undesirable situation. I would hope that someday I could be so generous.

              We do ‘fix and flips’ in Panama City (Panama). We had some very good years. My monthly portion was under $400.00 so it really was not such a sacrifice. (It was something 4 people contributed to, my sister being one of them).

              I also learned: far easier to give money than to actually participate in someone’s life. Giving money is easy.

              I think you’re speaking imprecisely here. Christians can act with charity no matter the community around them (and once upon a time, Christian charity so awed the others in the community that it inspired them to become Christians).

              Well, what I actually mean is that *society* demands punishment, not reward, and that this factor complicates the whole notion of ‘giving charity’ or ‘being charitable’.

              If Christians are to be charitable, that charity — for Meso-Americans — must take place in their own lands. In a real sense it is ‘un-charitable’ to attract them with offers of better treatment here when they should work to transform their own societies there.

        • The question of how to handle illegal immigrants is not one of justice, since we understand quite easily that someone breaking the law now incurs a debt against the nation.

          To *cut to the chase* as the saying goes: I think it is ethically and morally questionable for a society to engineer itself into a multicultural society. Because this involves an imprudent choice to bring people of different social, cultural and biological trajectories into communication that, as all social communication does, results in blending.

          Therefore, in a defined *prudence* and a prudence defined within solid and realized theological and spiritual values, there can exist and there must exist a rational means to oppose immigration from certain places. And there must also exist social, theological and spiritual arguments that accord with proper Christian and Catholic doctrine to help maintain social boundaries.

          Whatever ‘liberal’ philosophy brings about the change in people’s thinking that a multi-cultural society becomes desired and normal, can be fairly opposed. And it can be done ethically and morally.

          There are two factors. The Mexican (and Meso-American) invasion of the US came about because certain classes wanted cheap labor to exploit. So, they initiated the problem. It was known, and it was stated, by some people in the Postwar government that the influence of Mexicans, coming in mass, to the US would not be good for American civil society. It was known and it was stated. But it happened anyway. And it has been a contributing factor to the destruction of civil society.

          Therefore, the notion of *prudence* seems especially important. But then ‘charity’ as well. Those who engineered this committed destructive and anti-social acts.

          So, here the entire notion of What America is and Who owns it? comes to the fore. And then there must take place a conversation that investigates and analyzes the *social injustice* that has come about through certain policies (the 1965 immigration reform for example) and then the whole quasi-religious Civil Rights Movement with all its dubious predicates. These have funneled

          So, the argument based in *property rights* is brought forward. But then *property* is extended much further. For example to that of the defense of ‘biological sovereignty’. Simply to be able to define what is implied there requires some radical revision of popular ideas.

          But in America today everything is utterly confused. America is not a ‘Christian country’ it is a pagan country or a very post-Christian country. What rules apply there? Can Christian categories be imposed on a non-Christian people?

          Prudence? Justice? these are categories of concern that hardly apply to a people quite literally going off the rails. This is what happens when one’s *proper roots* are rejected.

  7. I think the insidious thing about virtue signalling is that it seems to inherently involve asserting that one’s feelings or behaviors are both 1) a minimum standard for being a decent human being, and 2) something that not all human beings have, whether or not either of those points are actually true. This gives people license to write off anyone they disagree with as being an evil monster, and everyone knows that you should treat evil monsters with scorn, contempt, and hostility rather than ethics and kindness.

    Of course, the people preaching hostility draw their authority from historical figures who exhorted kindness towards everyone, including monsters, but I think people just don’t understand why kindness without exception is important, so they rationalize away any such ideas.

    For example, take those smarmy memes that make a bunch of facile statements (including, “Science is real.” As a being of science and philosophy I cringe at such vacuousness and pretension to enlightenment… what exactly do these people mean by “science” or “real”? I doubt they could give a coherent answer, but I digress.)

    The version I saw capped it all off with “Kindness is everything.” When you read the words unwritten, it becomes, “Kindness is everything, you scum.” I realize many people may not intend it like that, but if we cast every difference of opinion as a character flaw, our attempts at mutual understanding are doomed to failure.

  8. As wo is way more left of center than the average reader of this blog, I am happy to say that I am on board with everyone’s annoyance about these signs. But I think they’re emblematic of the larger personal branding and armchair activism problem we have in this country. We’d all be better off working on being better versions of ourselves instead of trying to convince everyone else that that we’re better than the average joe.

    Does raise some interesting questions though about what exactly constitutes “virtue signaling”. I’ve always liked this quote from George Carlin:

    “I don’t get all choked up about yellow ribbons and American flags. I consider them to be symbols and I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.”

    • I often wondered if Carlin was really as cynical as his on-stage persona was. He might have been, but so many comics are nothing like their public face. I was amazed to learn that George’s model as a young performer was Danny Kaye, who was as unlike Carlin in skill set and approach as a comic could be. However, Kaye was also nothing like his comic persona.

      • I’m sure he amped it up a bit but everything I saw from him made it seem like his persona was pretty much who he was. He was also a big Lenny Bruce guy. If you’ve never heard his interviews from “George Carlin on Comedy” it’s a really interesting listen.

        • I have, and he was a great interview. I’ve been thinking about Bruce lately because he is a character on “The Magnificent Mrs. Maisel.” “Lenny” was a show I wanted to do in my theater company, but it never happened. I did research the play, though. I never found a recording of Bruce that I found especially funny. I know that can’t be right–legends are legends for a reason–but its stil tue. I heard another routine over the weekend. It was Carlin-like, except that George was much, much sharper.

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