What is the difference between virtues vs virtue signaling?


Lately I hear some people in the media use the term “virtue signalling” to mean something derogatory towards a person,but isn’t having virtues actually a good thing?


Virtue signaling is showing off how “good” you are to others.

Think: the old Dove ads that showed a woman in the process from freshly scrubbed face to full makeup and hair, to prove that models are “just like us”.
But then you find out that Dove is owned by the same company that owns Axe men’s products, which only uses very thin and very unrealistic beautiful women in their ads…


I think virtue singaling is when you do a good act like giving a dollar to the homeless and than bragging about it indirectly.



Though accusations of “virching” come way too easily to many people.


Having virtue is great.
Showing off how purportedly “virtuous” you are is not so great.


I guess most people who have virtue think that they don’t.


And that is really the true mark of virtue. Humility, and also an openness to understanding others who maybe don’t agree that your stance on gun control or politically correct language is the right one.


Very common examples of virtue signaling these days is…

“I’m pro LGBT, you’re not, therefore you’re such an awful and hateful person. Bigot!”


“Women who wear veils at Mass think they are holier than thou. I don’t wear veils, I don’t brag about being holier than thou.” - This is very common here on CAF. So much contempt for the wearing of mantillas.


That first part is really true.


We also get the flipside. “You tolerate Father Martin, you’re a heretic and going to Hell!”

Or, “I think it’s such a shame people aren’t reverent at Mass any more. I always wear a modest dress but I see other women attending in sleeveless dresses, jeans or even shorts. It’s too bad they just don’t care enough about Our Lord.”


One side seems be more of a favorite.


It works though. Virtue signalling is a great distraction.
For example, Facebook is launching a service to entice kids under 13 to use their services, which experts condemn because of health and privacy concerns but hey Facebook says they’re allies of this and that, therefore, they are good.


“Virtue signalling” is a term thrown around in an attempt to silence people having opinions on social issues by attempting to shame them through accusations of pride.

Of course if one can’t talk about these things it’s very hard to accomplish the virtue. So it’s a great way of shutting down attempts at good actions.


i wanted to give this post a “like” but then i knew i didn’t understand it

is “virtue signaling” a good thing or a bad thing amongst the snowflakes?


Well I am not a fan of Fr Martin either. Not gonna complain about that. People these days are so obssessed with sex these days, instead of being obsessed with sexual morality. And yes, I do not need anyone to tell me that sexual sins aren’t the only sins.

The fact of the matter is, many CAFers are contemptuous of anything that seems traditional or conservative.

I’m also tired of seeing immodest clothing at church. That said, I’m guilty of wearing sleeveless clothing, skirts above the knee, or shorts to Mass or when visiting the Adoration chapel. My modesty system isn’t as stringent as the others, but it doesn’t mean they have no point.

Besides, even the church I sometimes go to has the guidelines of having clothing to the knee, shoulders covered. They probably wouldn’t shoo you away if you don’t follow the guidelines, but what is the point of rules if they’re not going to be followed anyway. Muting this topic.


Virtue signaling is not practicing a virtue. Virtue signaling is boasting about your virtue or doing things to draw attention to your practice of virtue.

Matthew 6: 2-4. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret.

Giving money to a panhandler is practicing the virtue of generosity.
Making a brag of it is virtue signaling.

Of course there are people eager to cry ‘hypocrite!’ at anyone they see doing good. If you get caught giving money to a panhandler these people will tell you you’re virtue signaling.


It’s possible to articulate one’s passions on any social or moral issues without “virtue signaling,” i.e. presuming and asserting moral superiority over others.

I’ve seriously been in conversations in which my opponent will heave a sight and declare, “Well, at least I care about people/children/women/cute&fuzzy bunny rabbits.”

Well dag nabbit. That leaves lowly 'ol me to care only about potholes and rodent’s nests, right? :roll_eyes:

Virtue signaling is the attempt to make one person appear “anointed” and the other “benighted.” In a nutshell, it’s moral snobbery. It abandons the unofficial rules of civil discussion in order to put down opponents rather than show mutual respect despite disagreement.

Virtue signaling, for what it’s worth, isn’t at all unique to the Left. I hear annoyingly plenty of it from the Right, as well.


In theory that may what it was. In practice I’ve only seen it as a means of trying to silence people.


In general, I agree with the definitions here.

But in politics, I find that this term is used a lot here by people who come across as threatened. Threatened that they might be perceived as not virtuous, even if the other person is not implying that at all lol.

You could talk about caring for immigrants and someone will huff and puff about how you’re virtue signaling. The term gets thrown around too easily sometimes.


And many CAF’ers are contemptuous of anything that to them seems modernist or liberal. I see someone bashing so-called “liberals” on here every day.

I don’t think it does any good to set up one side or the other as a victim. Virtue-signaling directed at Catholics with a different worship style preference is just as bad regardless of which side it’s coming from.

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