Issues & Insights

Virtue Signaling And Wokeness: A Return To The Primitive

Last week, activists at Dartmouth College reacted to notices of Republican-sponsored events by vandalizing property and harassing conservative students. Like so many other woke fits pitched by Democrats and their fellow travelers, the infantile behavior was driven not by policy differences but instead by primitive impulses, which have come to be regarded by the ruling class as acceptable responses.

According to Campus Reform, zealots tore up flyers announcing a speaking engagement and a panel discussion and tried to intimidate members of the Dartmouth College Republicans. The topic of the talk was abortion, quite clearly a divisive issue in this country.

But it was not opposition to ideas that fed the thuggish behavior. It was fueled by a need for some to feel morally superior over others. It’s the same inclination that drives kids to pick on the least popular and the different among them on the playground. They feel better about their own inadequacies when they have a target to attack.

The ugly display at Dartmouth is an example of what we see frequently on college campuses. But bullying and threats are also widespread on social and mainstream media. We see it as well in Democratic politicians. They rely on their own “Big Lies” to spread misinformation and actively try to pit American “deplorables” and bitter clingers against the cool kids.

This mob mentality intended to hurt has infected the left and radicalized a large segment of the country. Those living out an “us vs. them” mindset have neither the inclination nor apparently the time – so busy in their efforts to ostracize that there’s not a moment for reasonable thought – to examine the facts they’re constantly screeching about.

It’s a problem because the Democratic Party-mainstream media-celebrity industrial complex has successfully portrayed conservatives and Republicans as evil men and women bent on destruction. The crusade is superheated by toxic lies, exaggerations, character assassinations, and far too often, violence. People desperate for attention, desperate to build themselves up at the expense of others, desperate for social status, desperate to feel strong have picked up the cues and ran with them.

A significant part of this country needs to grow up. To leave schoolyard taunts and snubs behind. To stop caricaturing “others.” To drop the shallow virtual signaling. To get beyond the childish desire to obtain the approval of the “in crowd.” We’re heading down a dangerous road and picking up speed. A cheerless future is ahead if the left doesn’t regain its sensibilities.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board 


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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Nobody cares if your people were slaves or oppressed, nor should they. All of our Ancestors were slaved and oppressed by the Babylonians, by the Persians, Romans, and later by the Muslims, Scandinavians and British. Blacks are just malcontents who have squandered the most precious object of any possible Reparations, namely the Goodwill of the American people. Goodluck with your post-milennial Racism but we aren’t playing this game anymore!

  • i did not realize shutting down businesses, burning down towns, ‘cancelling’ alternative viewpoints and physically harming others were ‘virtues’, but they must be virtues – at least to the left – for the way they signal their ‘virtues’ all the time.

    i do not want to live in the same country with them any more than they want to live in the same country with me. the difference: i am willing to accept a division of this country into at least two separate nations, while those on the left what the entire nation, their way only, no exceptions, and are willing to totally destroy this nation if they don’t get what they want.

  • I don’t think the left ever had any sensibility.The ideology is twisted and demonic; asking these creatures to be civil at least if not rational is foolish.
    In an exorcism you never engage discussion with a demon.

  • There are other, riskier but clandestine, tactics that can work In 1985, conservative students used radical tactics to get even with a Maxist professor who incited a riot to prevent a speech. I think conservative students today could use the same tactics to make an entire campus into an unsafe space which would require a trigger warning at every entrance. The pattern of woke groups is hostility to any speech they disagree with. You have to fight back to preserve free speech from the strong arm methods the woke use with active support from campus authorities.

    I had graduated years before, but some of my friends at Northwestern were members of a conservative students group. In 1985, they invited Nicaraguan Contra leader Adolfo Calero to speak on campus. (The Contras were a guerrilla resistance fighting the communist government of Nicaragua.) I warned them to be ready for trouble because in my undergraduate days I remembered that the South Vietnamese ambassador was physically thrown off the stage at the University of Illinois, Champaign. My student friends said things had changed. They hadn’t.

    Marxist English Professor Barbara Foley organized a riot to prevent Calero from speaking. She seized the podium and announced that Calero had no right to speak there. Somebody threw red liquid on the suits of Calero and the local Cuban and Central American emigre businessmen who had organized Calero’s Chicago visit. The mob was physically threatening. The conservative students had one car which they had driven to the curb nearest the building to manage Calero’s escape from the mob. However, they didn’t have room for everybody. They asked me if I could take one Nicaraguan doctor, who clearly didn’t like my full beard and USAF raincoat. (He’d never met me, and didn’t know I was a Vietnam Era USAF veteran.) My car was two blocks away. I told him we would walk away slowly and not look back. The mob chased the car with Calero and never even looked at us.

    We got even later. Somebody privately funded over a thousand cheap redish orange bumper stickers that said “Fire Foley! Expel Red Rioters.” These were plastered all over campus, and they were not the easy to remove kind of bumper stickers. Foley was denied tenure and got fired. The campus newspaper headline read “Red Rioter Fired.” We used protester tactics against the protesters, and it worked.

    The same guerrilla tactics can work today to stop politically correct campus mobs incited by radical professors. It’s time to take advantage of the student radicals’ weaknesses, which they have carefully pointed out to us. They can’t stand exposure to opposing arguments. Bumper stickers are cheap and can be furtively stuck on light poles, utility boxes and bathroom stalls very quickly. It only takes a few students and a thousand bumper stickers to have a very visible impact all across an entire campus. You can make campus an “unsafe space” by plastering it with conservative slogans. It’s not like leftist groups haven’t been plastering the campus for years with their slogans. Use their tactics against them. How about “Let’s Go Brandon! ” or “F Joe Biden!” for the bumper stickers. Make sure they are bright red or day glow orange, so they really can’t be missed.

    What the bumper stickers did, and could do again, was to give the college administration a vision of opposition from the conservative side that might escalate. Today, you might consider it a reverse broken windows policing strategy. We were breaking the rules in a minor way by plastering bumper stickers everywhere they weren’t supposed to be. But the question that the NU provost had to ponder was how far were conservative students willing to go. If there’s only one side, campus authorities have an easy choice. They appease the loud left wing protesters. But if there are two sides, campus authorities have to think about it a little harder. The fair minded ones can make a better argument that inciting a riot is not a way to exercise academic freedom if there’s a risk both sides will escalate. Politics ain’t beanbag, and everybody knows it.

    Here are some links to how Foley’s friends saw it.

  • This post is a crime against the woke and I am triggered, you wayciss bigot!
    I’m calling 1-888-COM-MIES you deplorable kulak untermenschen bitter clinger.
    Firing up my Macedonian bot farm to hack your page, as soon as Boris and Natasha finish their Rocky and Bullwinkle marathon.

    • Fearless Leader demands that the US stop all fossil fuel production so capitalists will have to buy oil,gas and coal from him!

  • A cheerless future? How about a cheerless present? The USA is a glum place to be these days compared to societies not gripped by left-wing politics and hysterical over-reactions to a mere virus.

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