“Virtue-signaling” was going to be the 2017 Ethics Alarms “Unethical Trend of the Year” if I had ever had time to compile that year’s “Ethics Alarms Best and Worst” lists. Until it was overtaken by “presumed racism” in 2020, it was probably the winner in 2018 and 2019 as well. Now it’s on the rise again, thanks to corporations beclowning themselves and abusing their societal roles by taking political stands based on nothing but a desire to appeal to the woke social media mobs.
Signaling one’s virtue, real or imaginary, is not necessarily unethical, but it is always obnoxious. Just as smart people don’t have claim that they are smart, good people and organizations that ostentatiously trumpet what they think will get them societal brownie points should start ethics alarms faintly ringing. I don’t trust such organizations. They are usually sucking up to what they perceive as majorities, meaning that they have no ethical principles themselves, and, sadly, most businesses don’t. At its best, virtue-signaling shows a deficit in humility, modesty, and self-restraint. Its worst is nicely demonstrated by the recent statement by Fred Ridley, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.
Since Major League Baseball immolated itself and gratuitously harmed the Atlanta community by relocating the 2021 All Star Game as its demonstration of unethical virtue-signaling, activist have been pushing the PGA to do the same with the Masters. Is “lemminging” a word?
The responsible course for the Masters and related parties to take would be to shut up, firmly. It is a sports organization, and should not have any position on political matters and partisan debates. But Ridley, who is especially worthless in this matter because for his golf club to lose the Masters would be a disaster of biblical proportions—“Dogs and cats, playing golf together!”—, so he has a conflict of interest, apparently couldn’t help himself, or was forced into blathering by some of his club’s more influential and less intelligent members.
“I believe, as does everyone in our organization, that the right to vote is fundamental in our democratic society,” Ridley said. “No one should be disadvantaged in exercising that right. It is critical that all citizens have confidence in the electoral process.”
Ramalamadingdong, “Give peace a chance.”
Nobody doesn’t believe that the right to vote isn’t “fundamental in a democratic society.” That is not what the debate over the Georgia law is about, but spewing such verbal pablum in connection with the controversy pretends to take a side without doing so. Reasonable restrictions on voting do not undermine the right to vote. Ensuring the integrity of elections makes that right real rather than illusory. Ethics principles breached:
- Respect. This is an insultingly simple-minded statement, intended for fools
- Incompetence. The statement sounds desperate and manipulative, because it is.
- Responsibility. Leaders of organizations should not confuse public debate by throwing out platitudes that contribute nothing and blur focus.
No one should be “disadvantaged”? That’s another incompetent, irresponsible assertion. What’s disadvantaged, Fred? Is a non-citizen disadvantaged? Is any rule or standard affecting a citizen’s manner of voting a “disadvantage”? If a citizen wants to vote by shouting her choice in Esperanto at the polling place, or writing a name on toilet paper and throwing it on the floor, is prohibiting that “disadvantaging” that citizen? Should it be regarded as a disadvantage to require voters to register, or to vote where they live, or to use their own names?
Then this useless functionary does a double back-flip and says, “It is critical that all citizens have confidence in the electoral process.” Well which is it, Fred? Do we ensure confidence in the process, which means ensuring security, verification, and process, or do we eliminate “disadvantages,” like letting anyone vote based on the honor system?
Fred just took both sides of the debate simultaneously, and thinks that means he’s a good American. No, it means he’s a dumb, lazy, cowardly and irresponsible American, and dishonest to boot. He’s trying to fool the public into believing that he has something to contribute to the debate, when all he cares about is his golf club.
Then, hilariously, Ridley declined an invitation to say whether he supports or opposes the Georgia law, saying, “I don’t think that my opinion on this legislation should shape discussion.I just don’t think that’s going to be helpful to ultimately reaching a resolution…”
Well, ya got THAT right, as they say in Fargo.