On Virtue Signaling

Accusations of virtue signaling have become all the rage in certain quarters in recent years, especially on social media. And one can easily see why: the accusation is a cheap, easy, universally applicable way of disparaging someone’s expressed opinion or belief, essentially a dismissal of that opinion or belief as mere posturing in quest of approval by like-minded listeners or readers. And sometimes no doubt such an accusation is in order.
But it can scarcely be used indiscriminately without losing whatever force it might have in particular instances. If I express an opinion or belief that has moral valence—a statement whose

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