Saturday, May 07, 2016

Social Signalling, Virtue Signalling

I  usually deplore, or at least look askance at people using political causes as a method of signalling what moral/intelligent/worldly wise/spiritual/reasonable people they are.  It's a bit offensive, certainly.  Even when I do it.  I should say "especially when I do it," but that would just be virtue signalling, because I don't fully mean it. Maybe 30%. Most of the rest of you are just embarrassing.

But this election everything changes.  I live in a state that might turn out to be close, so I will have to hold off on the wild chance that my hanging chad will turn out to be meaningful, but for almost all people in America, no.  This autumn you will understand clearly that your vote has no practical effect in your state, and only has value as a signal about yourself that you can share with your friends and neighbors. SO GO FOR IT.  Vote third party.  Go full-throat for your evil candidate over the other evil candidate.  Dither endlessly to show how hard you are trying to look at all possible angles. Pick a single issue that you refuse to bend on.  Whatever.  This year, it's all signalling. Embrace it. In the deciding which funny hat you want to wear, you will see yourself more clearly.  Not that it matters this year, but it might come in handy in the future.

The only effect of your vote this year will be on your reputation with your peers. You will not influence them.  No matter how much they ordinarily respect you, they are going to vote for whoever they damn well please, for reasons neither you nor they can articulate clearly, because honestly, there are no good answers and we are all monkeys angling for bananas this time around.

And I hate you for which banana you will choose, of course; but I'll get over it.

5 comments:

james said...

I don't generally succeed in influencing my peers anyway. Different tribes, I suppose. My vote generally doesn't weigh much in Dane county.

Years ago I proposed a scheme for a binding None Of The Above, but got no takers. I should resurrect the idea.

I wonder if I've been looking in the wrong places, or if there've really been no major stories on what Trump's management has been like. Pig in a poke, big time. (Maybe he would do the right thing by accident?)

I remember talking with someone who complained about Trump. I noted that the H and B weren't exactly world-class statesmen either, and they responded with an attack on Cruz and the Tea Party.

Sam L. said...

We too will forgive, unless you tell us. Personal Privacy Uber Alles!

herfsi said...

all too often our vote for a candidate is actually more of a vote AGAINST another candidate.
perhaps all political positions can become like jury duty - just random assignment with some weeding out first.

james said...

The Napoleon of Notting Hill "Democracy was dead; for no one minded the governing class governing. England was now practically a despotism, but not an hereditary one. Some one in the official class was made King. No one cared how: no one cared who. He was merely an universal secretary."

Texan99 said...

I'm sure I'll be wasting my time in talking about and voting in the presidential election. We just had a local election here, though, that reached a good result, and I attribute that to the citizens talking to each other about it a great deal, including on local social networks. There's a danger in too much defeatist thinking about our ability to affect elections. When we reach the point that our final choices are too unappetizing, it's time to look forward to doing a better job early in the primary seasons in future elections.