This can be filed under “no kidding”, but a study from the American Psychological Association has determined that people who virtue signal are more likely to have one the “dark triad” of unsavory traits, which are manipulativeness, narcissism, and psychopathy.
I’ve pointed out before that Democrats have virtue signaled on race issues from a position of guilt, having skeletons in their closets. I suspect that projection may be at play, with them making assumptions that other people have the same flaws. It’s kind of like the awkward male feminist who, as it turns out, has a history of behaving like a creep towards women, or the antisocial at WalMart who views new people as child abuse waiting to happen, but actually has done just that.
But now, as the study points out, virtue signaling is a new vehicle with which those with unsavory traits procure something of value, either material or not, that they’d otherwise have to earn through more merit-based endeavors. So yeah, it’s little more than stuff that people post to social media in an effort to look good.
“Check it out, internet! I nicknamed a bunch of throwaway pokemon to make the world a better place!” -Armchair activists
In light of the George Floyd riots (remember that guy?), virtue signaling has taken on a whole new motive: now it’s a way of telling the world, “I’m on your side, so please don’t loot my business or invade my home!” Or course, the motive isn’t genuine, it’s from a threatened position of self-preservation.
However, we’re now coming to the point that virtue signaling no longer has its intended payoff. An excellent example of virtue signaling backfiring can be seen in the June ratings plunge of ESPN to the lowest point in the network’s 42-year history. How did they bring this about? By turning their programming into racial politics. This might not have been a big deal if the network were CNN, MSNBC, or any other flavor of thinly-veiled leftist propaganda, but there’s something that people expect when they tune in to ESPN.
Sports. People tune into ESPN for sports.
So when people tune in to a sports network and the programming is about some form of activism, people will naturally change the channel and watch something else, thinking something like “Maybe I’ll come back when they get back to sports.”
But there’s something else that virtue signalers such as ESPN didn’t account for: politically-charged content and virtue signaling tend to make people feel uncomfortable. Maybe people wanted to watch sports to get away from the world’s problems, not for another reminder of those problems, which are becoming increasingly trivial to find.
This is something to keep in mind if you have a podcast or a YouTube channel, or otherwise have a media outlet focused on non-political content, because while you might have been wound up into thinking that activism is something you’re obligated to do by some social justice platitude that was specifically-designed to recruit you, the fact is, your viewership might just go somewhere else for the content that they were looking for.
And you can’t count on them to come back.
As the study points out, people who virtue signal tend to be manipulative and narcissistic. Yet another simple observation made by normal people has been validated by yet more rigorous observation on the part of researchers. It sounds superfluous. But hey, yet another officially-published weapon to use against the forces of stupidity and ignorance.
“If you haven’t done anything wrong, do not apologize.”