Jamie Palmer: Flag-Shaming in Response to Terrorism

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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10 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    Ahh yes Virtue signaling. A simple and often obvious idea that turns to meaningless blather when used for every use of symbolic expression. Like gee do you think signaling is meant to convey a signal when used by creatures that communicate through use of symbols. Add virtue signaling to socialism, communism, racism, political correctness, etc that are used so much that lose meaning.Report

    • Is this the same kind of idiocy as complaining that a politician is a traitor for not wearing a flag lapel pin, or the opposite kind?Report

    • j r in reply to greginak says:

      I disagree. The amount of empty virtue signalling still far outpaces the instances of people calling out empty virtue signaling. The ratio is falling, but it has a long way to go before the latter equals, much less surpasses the former.

      And the problem isn’t about signalling. Signalling is fine and often useful. The problem is empty virtue signalling masquerading as work.Report

      • greginak in reply to j r says:

        Oh yeah the virtue signaling critique is a thing for smarty pants intertoobz types. So how do you tell the difference between empty virtue signaling and whatever isn’t VS. My 1st wifes dad died a few days ago and i posted a condolence on facebook. Real condolences or empty virtue signaling? Both?

        I’m not saying virtue signaling isn’t a thing just that it also an easy critique to throw at other people with no distinguishing characteristics. People are social, we exchange symbols as communication for all sorts of reason, often for multiple reasons.Report

      • James K in reply to j r says:


        I hesitate to even call it signalling. The whole point of signalling is that it is costly enough to be credible.Report

      • j r in reply to j r says:


        I think that we’ve had this conversation before. I get the reluctance to call this signalling in the Spence/credible and costly conveyence of information usage of the term. So, call it virtue signalling. Call it Hansonian signalling. Call it something that doesn’t use the word “signal” at all. It’s still a thing. It even has a Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtue_signalling


        So how do you tell the difference between empty virtue signaling and whatever isn’t VS.

        The same way that you tell the difference between any two things that contain some similarities and some differences. Observation. Consideration. Judgment.

        I have a hard time believing that condolences for your father-in-law is the example that you would legitimately come up with to use as an example of something that could fall into either side of the line between empty virtue signalling and legitimate expression of feelings or emotion. Seems an awful lot like an attempt at a reduction to absurdity.Report

      • Guy in reply to j r says:

        Trouble is, calling out virtue signalling, like most other callouts, is usually … virtue signalling.Report