For the second time this week I find myself grafting substantial sections of an archived Ethics Alarms post to a new one. (I promise not to make a habit of it.) The occasion is the appearance on one of my Alexandria, Virginia neighbors’ lawn the idiotic sign above. Once again I was seized with the desire to ring the house’s doorbell and cross examine the residents. Can they explain and justify what’s on that sign? I am almost certain that they cannot, just as my other neighbor who STILL displays a medieval suit of armor next to a 5 x 4 hand-made, painted wooden sign reading BLACK LIVES MATTER in block letters could not justify that obnoxious lawn ornament, since it is, after all, more indefensible than ever now that the movement it stands for has been exposed as cynical hustle.
In 2021, New York Times’ woke propaganda agent Amanda Hess was given a rare slot on her paper’s front page to opine on the sign above, which was apparently the beginning of the the viral Announce to your neighbors that you’re a smug, simple-minded idiot!” epidemic. Ethics Alarms has had several posts about similar signs, but I did not realize that I had missed Patient Zero.
Hess’s analysis by turns informed readers that the sign has “curious power” (to make me detest the homeowner?); that the mottoes are “progressive maxims” (so progressives really are that facile and shallow!), that “Donald Trump is out of office…But nevertheless, this sign has persisted” (Oh! It’s all Trump’s fault?), that the sign is “directed at the adults in the room, reminding them of their own mission” (Really? Open borders? Man-boy love? Anti-white discrimination? Marxism? Why is a sign aimed at adults so naive and childish? ), that it is “the epitome of virtue signaling: an actual sign enumerating the owner’s virtues. There is something refreshing, actually, about the straightforwardness of that.” (There is something refreshing about smug idiots placing signs on their laws that say, “I am a smug idiot”?).
I learned other things from that article:
- The text was the creation of Kristin Garvey, a librarian in Wisconsin, who wrote it out on a piece of cardboard in a post 2016 election freak-out. A friend turned her masterpiece into a professional, if nauseating, yard sign for mass production, and “its message became a mantra among liberals who felt lost in Trump’s America.” This means that they paid no attention to what Trump did: black lives prospered more under Trump than Obama (or Biden); all previous Presidents have taken an oath to enforce immigration laws, which means that those illegally immigrating are illegal immigrants; and Trump opposed neither gay rights nor same sex marriages.
- Mashable called the sign “more bold and memorable than anything the Democratic party has come up with in the last four years.” This is the equivalent of a rationalization that “Democrats could have been worse.”
- Profits from the sign’s sales go to support abortions! Ah. That explains why “Life is Life” didn’t make the cut, along with “The unborn’s rights are human rights.”
What Hess didn’t do, either because she lacks the guts or because she is a fool, is to point out that the sign is really, really dumb as well as annoying. (This is why my quiz for the homeowner across the street will be so difficult.) To only cover the last item, “Kindness is Everything”: this is ethics ignorance of the first water. Kindness is important and an ethical value, but it has far lower priority than integrity, fairness, responsibility, competence and accountability, among others. A society in which kindness overrules all other considerations would not work; indeed, it wouldn’t even be kind.
The questions I am itching to ask the silly person who posted that sign include,
- Re “Black Lives Matter”: What do you think that slogan means? To whom in this neighborhood (or anywhere) do black lives not matter? Have you followed the news reports of the organization’s organizers and leaders using contributions for their own enrichment and pleasure? Do you make a distinction between the organization and the clever “When did you stop beating your wife?”-style catch phrase that fuels it? Since black-on-black crime represents the greatest danger to black lives, why isn’t the slogan aggressively promoted to the black community?
- Re “Women’s rights are human rights”: What human rights are you referring to? Do you believe that any human has the right to take the life of another, weaker, innocent human? Do you believe that women alone have such rights? Why? If your argument is that an unborn child 1) isn’t alive, 2) isn’t human or 3) is both but has no human rights itself, please defend that proposition. Have you read the Dobbs decision? Had you ever read Row v. Wade before it was reversed? Do women have the human right to kill a viable human embryo right up to the moment of birth? Under what circumstances? Have you seriously thought about these issues, or just followed the rhetoric of your friends?
- Re “No Human Is Illegal”: Is that just a linguistic cavil, asserting that “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” shouldn’t be shortened to “illegal”? If so, do you concede that those who engage in illegal immigration by breaking U.S. laws are in fact illegal immigrants? If you don’t so concede, please explain. Do you believe that the U.S. should not have immigration laws? If so, you agree that such laws are necessary, how do you justify allowing non-citizens to break them? Is your reasoning that they are in need, so breaking our laws is justified in their case? Do you hold that same principle to be true regarding U.S. citizens and their violation of other laws?
- Re “Science is real”: What do you mean by that? Do you know anyone who doesn’t think science is real? Are you saying that whatever a scientist says is true and accurate and should dictate national policy? Are you aware of the scientific cheats, lies, blunders and mistakes of scientists in the health field during the Wuhan virus pandemic? Was that science “real”? Are you referring to cliamte change science? Please explain your understanding of climate change and your background in climatology. How many scientific treatises have you read on the subject?
- Re “Love is Love”: Do you really think a tautology is an argument? So love is love: does that mean that all love is desirable, moral and ethical? Does it mean all actions motivated by love are legitimate and right? Should the law never limit what can be done out of love? The German people loved Hitler. Junkies love heroin. Pedophiles love little children. Beastiality fans love having sex with animals. Serial killers love murdering people.
- Re “Kindness is Everything”: Are you really that stupid?
9 thoughts on “Reflections On The First Stupid, Virtue-Signaling Lawn Sign Of Spring….”
This made it into my “Best of Jack Marshall” archive in record time, after three forwards…
Nice deconstruction of what is essentially middle school thinking.
There seems to be a missing line on the sign.
IN THIS HOUSE, WE BELIEVE — The MSM Speaks Truth
If the first line, will help explain all the others.
This was a sign that came out in response to the above…
Well, I guess the crocuses are starting to come out of the ground as well. I guess March really is the cruelest month.
Crocuses? What; no Snow Drops…?
Tulips, Jonquil/Narcissus/Daffodils/Hyacinths popping up here.
Lilac, Meteor Cherry, & Korean Viburnum budding, Daylily, Iris, & Garlic shoot/spears sharpening; heck, even li’l cabbages, AKA Autumn Joy Sedum, if you prefer.
Preliminary indoor Waltham Butternut Squarsh, Zuke, Pepper, Cuke, & Basil planting commences this Friday.
They don’t mean science, they mean ‘The Science’. ‘The Science’ is related to science the way that Dwayne Johnson is related to rocks.
Yeah, I’m bookmarking this post as well. It’s a brilliant dissection of that sign, which I still see from time to time.
The Babylon Bee seems to get it: