Virtue Signalling and the Power in Being Perpetually Offended

It’s always puzzled me to see rich Americans protesting anything about the United States. I remember a few years back when Warren Buffett was explaining how appalled he was that he was taxed less than his secretary. Then a couple of years later horror-fiction writer Stephen King penned a piece for The Daily Beast titled, Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake! where he opines that he and others of his income level should be taxed at least 50%. Of course, their argument isn’t really about them. They either believe that what they are arguing for will never come about or they have somehow inoculated themselves from their own arguments that it doesn’t really matter if their taxes are raised. In the cases of Buffett and King, they probably have the very best accountants in the world who have found bulletproof tax havens to shelter their money. What these privileged people are really arguing for is for other people to pay more in taxes. That’s why you’re never going to see Buffett or King just cut a check to the government to reach their “fair income tax” amount. It’s just virtue signaling. It’s an empty gesture that does nothing. Sure, people like this can argue that they are “raising awareness”, but without any action behind it, it’s just awareness of their impotence.

What I find the most distasteful about people like King and Buffett is that they always pick a number that they’re comfortable with. There’s no research or consensus-building. They don’t turn to the underclass and ask, “How much do you think we should pay in taxes?” If these people were really serious about income inequality and fairness, then they should consider the ideas from the ultra-Left, like maximum incomes. Would King be OK with being capped at one million dollars a year with the rest of his earnings taxed away to the government to spent as it saw fit? After all, one million dollars a year is still a very comfortable life. And if he’s not willing to do that, then why not? Is it because he feels entitled to the money he earned? And does he feel that he should be able to spend his money as he sees fit? What people like King don’t realize is that it doesn’t matter how far Left you think you are; there’s always someone farther Left than you who will force you to defend your position using politically Right arguments.

I’m getting a little off-topic here. I only bring up Buffett and King because I had occasion to think about them in light of what’s going on with Colin Kaepernick and how his empty protest is gaining traction and infecting other players. This protest against the National Anthem is just more virtue signalling. It’s easy to take a stand — or a knee — when there are no consequences to pay. The NFL isn’t punishing these guys. The news media isn’t condemning them. In fact, ESPN commentators are praising the protests! I believe one player lost an endorsement, but I’m sure that came as a surprise and not as a calculated trade-off. And, once again, what is this accomplishing? Is disrespecting one of the sacred acts that bonds us as Americans really going to achieve the equality they think is lacking for their targeted groups? Are police officers around the country seeing Kaepernick bent down and saying to themselves, “We can’t have that! I guess I’ll stop being a racist!” Of course not. All it does is rile up the malcontents in the United States who want nothing more than to shit on something good and wholesome and is at the core of what defines American society.

On that low note, I’d like to leave you with a thought experiment: Despite being part of the bedrock of the United States, Christianity has been largely removed from public schools, and steps are being taken to further remove it from government spaces because non-Christians were offended. If American citizens can now be offended by the National Anthem, then how long do you think we have before it’s no longer played before every game? It used to be that hard work was the key to affecting change; now it’s victimhood that gets things done.

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