The New York Times

Are You 'Virtue Signaling'?

Expressions of moral outrage are playing a prominent role in contemporary debates about issues like sexual assault, immigration and police brutality. In response, there have been criticisms of expressions of outrage as mere “virtue signaling” — feigned righteousness intended to make the speaker appear superior by condemning others.

Clearly, feigned righteousness exists. We can all think of cases where people simulated or exaggerated feelings of outrage because they had a strategic reason to do so. Politicians on the campaign trail, for example, are frequent offenders.

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times5 min readPolitics
In 'A Warning,' Anonymous Author Makes Case Against Reelection
The same official who wrote an Opinion essay in 2018 argues in a new book that the president’s contract shouldn’t be renewed.
The New York Times4 min read
How to Get the Most Out of National Novel Writing Month
Embrace your messy first draft and commit to NaNoWriMo’s boot-camp vibe.
The New York Times5 min readPolitics
'A Warning' by 'Anonymous': 5 Takeaways
The book seems to be the product of a Republican with access to the White House who grew increasingly upset by President Trump.