Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Virtue signalling is all about words, not deeds.

I don't normally read The Mail, but it was the only newspaper available after my massage this morning.

Sarah Vine's article on International Women's Day came as somewhat of a surprise. I found myself agreeing with most of what was written, beginning with

The main reason I hate IWD is because I am not stupid enough to think that such a shallow outpouring of faux solidarity will, for one single second, improve the lives of women genuinely suffering around the world.

It is simply an exercise in self-congratulation for a pampered, preachy and increasingly peevish sisterhood that has lost its way and is fast losing sympathy with even its staunchest supporters.
One of the great malaises of our age is ‘virtue signalling. This is finding ways of letting the world know how good and compassionate you are - without actually doing anything to help anyone.

Instead of volunteering at your local church, or signing up for shifts at your neighbourhood animal care centre (i.e getting your hands dirty), you wear a wristband indicating your support for some fashionable cause, or sign an online petition, or tweet something.

The extent to which some social media (I'm looking at you, Facebook and Twitter) is full of people sharing 'support' for world events and 'special days', has become more than irritating. I've long held the opinion that people re-tweet and share to signal their solidarity with various causes because they have lost sight of what supporting fellow human beings (and other living creatures) is all about.

My Dad believed that charity begins at home. By that, he didn't just mean the family home, or giving money to charities. From Roman times up until recently, "charity" was a state of mind, a mentality of kindness and benevolence.)

After he retired, Dad worked as a volunteer in his local residents' association office, helping the 'old folk' get things done on the estate, be it a broken window, a failed  boiler, tax or pension problems or other matters.  He continued in this role until chronic illness kept him housebound a couple of years before he died. A labour supporter and former trade union rep, he'd put into practice what he'd preached throughout his life.