Monday, July 25, 2016

Is virtue signalling feminine?

This a just a personal observation which may or may not hold true across the board. I've encountered several blatant "virtue signalling" episodes at work lately and they have each followed a pattern.

Each time the initiating group has been the handful of young childless women I work with. They will suddenly raise an issue like Trump or Sonia Kruger and immediately step into group enforcement mode. What I mean by this is that if a man were to raise a political issue he might say something like "Hey, how about that Donald Trump guy?" According to his politics he may expect the others to say something negative or positive about Trump, he may even make it clear that he expects something negative or positive. But it begins with a relatively open-ended topic-raising comment.

But with the young childless women the intention from the beginning is very clearly to shut off any kind of discussion. It will be something along the lines of "Hey, what about all those dumbass Americans who support Trump. They're all stupid hicks. I've never met anyone stupid enough to support Trump. Everyone I know has basic morals." Then one of the other young childless women will pipe in enthusiastically in support and say something similar. Then another one.

The level of interest in thinking about the issue is zero. The level of interest in relating the issue to real world events is zero. The interest is, first, in signalling one's own virtue by holding to the "right" political views. But, secondly, I think it might also reflect young women enforcing social boundaries within the group and doing so in a way that I don't think would happen in an all male workplace (i.e. it is an expression of a certain kind of young female instinct to ostracise or "group patrol").

Anyway, after the young childless women have set the scene, a few of the younger apolitical men will join in, albeit more half-heartedly. So it is a case of the youngest, least invested, least experienced women leading men.

One of the difficulties in countering all this is that men like myself are more used to there being an opportunity to "make an argument" - but this is precluded by what happens at the very beginning. The expected entry point for argument never happens. What I have found works instead is not to directly oppose the virtue signalling but to simply raise for discussion something that undermines it. If the virtue signalling was "Sonia Kruger is bad/mad for raising concerns about Muslim immigration" I'll throw in something like "Hey, did you hear what happened yesterday in ......" It immediately switches the conversation to a real world event, which then begins to allow discussion, which then allows others (usually the older staff members) to voice their ideas.

What I am doing, I suppose, is to create an entry point for discussion that the virtue signallers are doing their best to avoid.

The women with children are generally (not always) more genuinely concerned with the real world effects of politics than the childless women. I don't know if this is because they identify more with the political concerns of their husbands or because they are concerned about the future safety of their children, but the distinction does seem to be there.

25 comments:

  1. Virtual signaling is a form of narcissism.

    http://nypost.com/2016/06/17/they-call-trump-a-narcissist-but-his-enemies-are-worse/

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    1. The New York Post writer describes virtue signalling very well, although he calls it "moral narcissism":

      Briefly stated, moral narcissism is this: What you say you believe or claim you believe — not how you actually behave — defines who you are and makes you “virtuous” in your own eyes and the eyes of others. Almost always, this is without regard to the consequences of those beliefs, because actual real-world results are immaterial and often ignored.

      If you have the right opinions and say the right things, people will remember your pronouncements, not your actions or what happened because of them.


      I think it's very much the case that "real world results are immaterial" for virtue signallers/moral narcissists.

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  2. This is also true of barren older women. In fact, I've written elsewhere on the Web about how I find them worse.

    Not only will they insist everyone fall into lockstep with their opinions, but they have no qualms about demonizing others as racist for simply questioning the party line. This is why I find it impossible to communicate with them on Facebook. One wrong word and you're "racist" for all the public to see for eternity. Hence, I have no more female friends online over age 40.

    Moving off-topic, slightly:
    I think the idea of suppressing dissent is female in nature. Which is why our schools became so awful once they started to be run by and for females. Back when I was in college I used to wonder why I did so much better there than in high school, even though high school was easier. In hindsight I realize it's because my professors were mostly male while my high school teachers were mostly female. There was a major difference in how they deal with students and the way of female teachers never sat right with me. I see the ghosts of these teachers in the childless women you speak of.

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    1. I expect you're right about older childless women, I just don't work with any so I have no direct experience of it. (I was fortunate to have old school style high school teachers and uni professors, though by the time I went back to uni to do a higher degree things had clearly changed.)

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  3. Crushing dissent is very much a female thing. Women do not tolerate dissent at all.

    If you disagree with a woman you are making a personal attack on her and you are therefore a sexist and a misogynist.

    If a woman tells you that 2+2=5 the safest thing is to agree with her. If her feelings tell her that 2+2=5 then it must be true.

    Maybe that's the secret. Men can tolerate disagreement because they're open to rational argument. Women cannot tolerate disagreement because their beliefs are entirely based on emotion. No argument is possible.

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    1. If her feelings tell her that 2+2=5 then it must be true.

      Well, I have met women like this. I will never forget when one woman said to me, with absolute conviction, "This is how I feel, so this is my truth."

      I do think, though, that there is a kind of line, with the most emotional reasoning women at one end, and the women most able to separate thought and emotion at the other.

      But your general point stands. If someone says to you "you are wrong" and you receive this as "your idea is wrong for reason x" you won't react as negatively as if someone says to you "you are wrong" and you receive this as "you are wrong in what you are feeling" i.e. in your being. Hence things can get personalised quickly in arguing with the emotional reasoning type of woman and, yes, I suppose one tactic can be to defuse things by agreeing.

      Here's another way of putting much the same thing. Men are attuned to interacting with each other in a way that doesn't provoke violence. This isn't that hard these days, with men not having the same sense of personal honour they once had. Maybe women have to become attuned to interacting with each other in a way that doesn't personalise disagreements. But this isn't so easy, as some women will take disagreement itself personally. So maybe it's easier if everyone agrees to agree within the same social network.

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    2. Maybe women have to become attuned to interacting with each other in a way that doesn't personalise disagreements.

      It would be a blessing if they could. The problem is that women don't see that they have a problem. They won't change because they see no need to.

      The real problem is that men have become so emasculated and have allowed women to get away with this nonsense. Men are too terrified to point out to women that often they're talking absolute rubbish.

      And of course the more men allow women to ride roughshod over them the more women despise men and the problem just keeps snowballing.

      One thing that men these days just don't seem to get - if you show weakness a woman will always despise you for it.

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  4. When I get this re Trump it's easy to counter by pointing out that he calls for an end to the USA attacking other countries. Not many Liberals are willing to make a case in favour of the Iraq War, which Trump consistently opposed. I can then use Steve Sailer's term and say "Invade the World/Invite the World has got to stop". I might mention the military-industrial complex.

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    1. Yes, I can see that working as a way of disrupting "the signal". With the groups I deal with, there is very little real interest in politics, so finding a relatively agreeable way of starting a political discussion would work exceptionally well I think. You could say in a laughing way "Well, at least Trump...." and then start talking real politics using real world evidence.

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    2. I can then use Steve Sailer's term and say "Invade the World/Invite the World has got to stop". I might mention the military-industrial complex.

      Both good tactics. I think it's essential whenever the subject of immigration comes up to link opposition to immigration with opposition to invading and bombing other countries. And to point out that invading and bombing other countries is not just counter-productive but morally wrong - and to point out that the casualties are most likely to be innocent civilians and of course children.

      It's a good way to take the moral high ground.

      It's also worthwhile when the subject comes up to point out that if we stopped invading and bombing other countries there wouldn't be a refugee problem in the first place.

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  5. "This is why I find it impossible to communicate with them on Facebook. One wrong word and you're "racist" for all the public to see for eternity."

    I live in a small beach community in the United States. The city has been trying to revitalize the pier, but some residents are opposed to the current plans. Someone on Facebook made the comment that he supported the plan because currently local residents do not go to the pier (it's mostly people from inner cities) and opt to go to neighboring beach cities instead. The people opposed to the plan immediately called him racist. They said "inner city" was code word for Mexican and black and "local resident" was code word for white. The simple fact that a resident of the city wants a pier that residents of the city will go to and enjoy was enough to immortalize this person as racist for all to see.

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  6. The same kind of virtue-signalling also plays out around my workplace coffee table on a fairly regular basis, and is usually triggered by the headline story/picture in our communal copy of 'The Courier Mail'. Most of the time I'm rendered speechless, not just by the lack of an entry point, but also by the sheer arrogance of my virtue-signalling colleagues. I'm always taken aback at their apparent inability to consider the possibility that there might be people at the table who don't think Donald Trump is a wanker or who think there's actually more to Tony Abbott than his predilection for wearing budgie-smugglers.

    I agree that women, as a rule, do not tolerate dissent, and I say that as a (married with children) woman. I have had at least six (probably more) female Facebook friends 'unfriend' me over the years for politely expressing a different opinion to theirs. I have not had a single male Facebook friend do the same, and trust me, most of them are also on the Left. On social media, women can avoid real discussions by unfriending, muting or remaining silent. I'm not particularly keen to find out what the workplace equivalent is of being unfriended, so as much as I like your idea of creating an entry point to discussion, I'm still hesitant to try it.
    Simone

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    1. Anon, thanks for your comment. I hadn't thought of it from the angle of arrogance before, but you're right that it does show an extraordinary arrogance to make such comments in front of an audience whose views you do not really know (Buck O makes a similar point in a comment below).

      As for workplace discussion, I have to admit I am still careful in how I go about changing the direction of a conversation. I don't do it carelessly in a way that would undermine good relationships with my work colleagues. It's taken me a while, but I've found entry points that work reasonably well (e.g. if it's about Labor vs Liberal I'll say something innocent like "Aren't they much the same?" which then throws the signalling off for long enough for others to jump in with opinions on how they are different or similar, which then leads to a real discussion which I don't really have to carry alone.)

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    2. Funnily enough, the conversation at the lunch table yesterday did become political in nature, and whilst I know I didn't change any hearts or minds, I do think I managed to steer the conversation in a slightly different direction and even stopped one of the virtue-signallers in her tracks.
      The conversation started with one woman asking if anyone had heard about Donald Trump's grammatically incorrect tweets, which naturally led to various remarks being made about how stupid Trump is. I suggested that maybe, rather than it being a sign of his stupidity, the grammatical mistakes could in fact be a very deliberate and clever tactic on Trump's part, a way to cast himself as as the anti-politician (unpolished and real, just like the rest of us) in a world that is becoming increasingly sick of bland and predictable, smooth-talking politicians. Okay, it didn't turn anyone into a Trump supporter, but I did at least manage to change the course of the conversation.
      Simone

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    3. That's good - you disrupted the signalling and made it possible to talk politics. And you found a way to do it without breaking apart work relationships. It's a little easier for me as there are some others at my workplace who I know will jump in and put in their two cents worth once I open up a conversation

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  7. A decades long friend and neighbor sold his house and is moving far away. He and his wife had a final going-away pool party on Saturday. He is remarkably a-political. His wife and her brother and his wife and all of the aunts and cousins are flaming, pot smoking leftist. The wives dominate their husbands. It's remarkable, and painful to watch. They're my age, in their 60s, with sons and daugthers in their 30s. Fun was had by all, but at the end, which is what ususally ends it for me; the late-night gathering around the kitchen island seemed the right time for them to call me, indirectly, a redneck buffoon. "All Trump supporters are redneck buffoons". That was the opening statement. Said like collective's motto. They don't realize how insulting they are, because they like me and think of me as a loved family friend who couldn't possibly disagree. I'm a very a nice guy. I yawn and say goodnight. I'm weary of this with this family. I've been an "uncle" to the kids for 25 years. Nothing that I can say to a whole family - a collective of strident leftist - is going to even nudge them toward thoughtfullness. They're haters. It's always there, just under the surface of a very thin and phony social protocal. It can be brought out anytime, instantly, with a single word or statement. It's pure emotion.

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    1. Well, at least my family know my political views, so there is an uneasy truce at family gatherings (my siblings are leftist, one is a "blame it all on the white man" type of woman). I find it remarkable that we have mostly held together as a family, it shows how resilient family bonds can be.

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  8. Could it be that the problem isn't "leftism" at all (which used to be about getting more rights for the working class, after all). Instead the rise of "leftism" corresponds to the slow rise to domination of the western public sphere by women after WWII. Even the internet 20 years ago was very masculine. The influx of "social media" meant women, political correctness and virtue signalling now dominate.

    Ever notice that a women's first response is always "You do it too!" (ie, two wrongs make a "right").

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    1. Could it be that the problem isn't "leftism" at all (which used to be about getting more rights for the working class, after all). Instead the rise of "leftism" corresponds to the slow rise to domination of the western public sphere by women after WWII.

      There's a good deal of truth in that. Old school leftism tended to focus on concrete grievances. Old school leftists didn't worry too much about feelings. They were interested in real things in the real world - wages, housing, etc. They accepted that not everyone agreed with them and they were happy to enter into rational argument.

      The feminised New Left focuses on vague grievances that often have no actual existence outside of the realm of feelings. The New Left isn't leftist at all - it's just an excuse for indulging in emotionalism.

      That's why Big Business is prepared to fund the New Left so generously - the New Left represents no threat whatsoever to the interests of the bankers and the mega-corporations.

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    2. Also, fashion is probably the only thing women have created all by themselves, so it must reveal something about how women think. Superficially, fashion is about "expressing individuality" (maybe to the extent that a female wants to attract a mate!). But fashion is also the great engine of conformity: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/26/what-high-heels-say-about-the-rich-and-the-poor/

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  9. I am old enough to remember when after dinner the women were always sent away to talk girl stuff so the men could talk business, politics and sports without hearing female prattle.

    Believe me, in those days if a female said something "virtuous" the men didn't feel any need to keep quiet if they disagreed.

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    1. Interesting. The whole situation is a reminder of why there were male spaces to begin with. It's not that there aren't individual women who are capable of contributing to a discussion on politics, but my own experience is that the youngest and least knowledgeable women will use conformist pressure to close down genuine political discussion before it has a chance to get going.

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  10. Having read all these comments I keep coming back to one question: why are women like this? Many here have said they don't tolerate dissent - why? It's a feminine thing - why? What is it about the female psyche that does this? This is a question that I find fascinating and would like to hear the thoughts of others on this.

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    1. I have some thoughts on this, but I'll have to 'set the table' first.

      Mentally speaking, there are three sections to time: the past, which we know; the present, which we're feeling; and the future, which we're projecting from the past and present.

      Now, to resist the stimuli of the moment, you have to have strong nerves. You have to be able to hold your mind and actions to what you _know_.

      This is largely what Roman discipline was about in ancient Rome. The goal was to keep the soldiers adhered to a method of conduct that would obviate the stimuli of the present. Roman legions frequently fought numerically superior forces. Thus discipline was necessary to keep the men from running away. They were trained systematically and thoroughly, so that they would gain faith in their _discipline,_ and come to believe it could over-match a more numerous enemy. Frequently it could.

      The same was true in World War II. The American airmen of the 8th Air Force, doing daylight bombing raids on Germany, had to hold themselves to their jobs in the face of walls of flak. Obviously their first impulse, like anyone else's, was to turn the plane around and get the heck out of there. It required _strong nerves_ to keep themselves at their jobs in order to complete their missions. Even so, after 25 bombing missions, a man's flight career was over. The Air Force had learned that that was about what a man's nerves could take. Beyond that, nervous exhaustion and even breakdowns become much more frequent.

      In a discussion, particularly about politics, strong opinions abound. As such, the only way to keep from tearing the conversation apart is to be able to hold yourself in. You can't just stomp around and shut everybody up with your _own_ opinions, otherwise it ceases to be a discussion. This, I believe, is what these women are doing. I think they have strong opinions on politics and yet lack the nerve strength to keep it in. So instead of having gentlemanly discussion, as it were, about politics, it becomes more of an assault: they stomp all over whoever disagrees with them. Unlike many men, they can't hold in their opinions for the sake of civilized discussion. Thus it goes from a discussion to a one-sided lecture.

      I've observed this many times in my own life. I've seen it in politics and even with regards to the regulations of an organization that I'm a part of. A particular woman, I'll call her Linda, is what you might call a 'forceful bureaucrat.' Sometimes a rule or regulation needs clarification, and one of the higher-ups will talk about it. Then, if discussion starts to abound about the finer points of his ruling, say application of it to a specific circumstance, she'll jump in, and basically say "Well I don't see why this is unclear. It's obvious what he said. End of discussion." She 'just doesn't see' _why_ someone else doesn't see exactly what _she_ sees. And instead of holding in her _personal opinion_ for the sake of the organization, she just whips out a broad brush and paints it all over the discussion.

      I could multiply examples no end. We have a woman talk radio host in my area who's exactly the same way. She, incidentally, virulently hates Donald Trump. Every day she throws some barb at him. And her lack of restraint towards Trump has caused even fans of hers to stop listening. Her 'political talk show' is basically her reactions to what's going on, and to what her guests say on her show. She is not deep mentally. She is also a big drinker and a chain smoker. I believe she uses alcohol and smoking to keep herself in check, since she doesn't have the strength of nerves to do so.

      And so I don't think that these women are crushing dissent per se: I think that they just attack anyone who disagrees with them. And since most women get their opinions from authorities, they end up attacking those who disagree with the authorities of society, i.e., the elites.

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    2. Women are well-suited to the domestic sphere, in which they are sensitive at all times to the happiness or unhappiness of each member of the family. They pick up on body language, moods, etc., more quickly than men.

      This strength becomes a weakness in other environments. The female instinct is "Can't we all just get along?" and some environments require more toughness and hardness. I could go on at great length on this topic, but that is the short answer.

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