“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?…Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” — James 2:14–18
When the Oxford Dictionary releases its newest edition later this year, one of the new words it should include should be “virtue signaling”; and when it includes that word, along with the definition, it should also include a picture of Huffington Post contributor Kayla Chadwick, because no one else seems to better personify that word quite like her.
For those unfamiliar with the term, there is a major difference between “virtue signaling” and being a virtuous person. A virtuous person proves they are a good person by acting like one; whereas someone who “virtue signals” claims they are a good person simply by saying they are one.
Kayla Chadwick seems to have done the latter rather than the former in a recent Huffington Post op-ed, where she laments how “difficult” it is for her to discuss politics with those she disagrees with (namely anyone to the right of Che Guevara) because, as the title of her op-ed states, “I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People”:
“I don’t know how to convince someone how to experience the basic human emotion of empathy…I cannot have political debates with these people. Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society, how to be a good person, and why any of that matters.”
No, Kayla, your problem isn’t that you don’t know how to explain to others that, “you should care about other people.” Your real problem is that you don’t know how to explain to others how your political and economic policies will actually help those you claim to care about. And the reason you can’t do that is because you don’t have any evidence that they will, which is why you resort to appeal to emotion instead.
Let’s actually consider some of the policies she purports within her op-ed:
Raising the minimum wage? Nope. Economic study after study has shown that raising the minimum wage does not lead to more people with better paying jobs. Quite the opposite. In fact, a recent study revealed that Seattle’s minimum wage hike actually reduced incomes because it forced employers to cut hours. Don’t like that wages haven’t increased along with inflation? Perhaps you should be more worried as to why we’ve had so much monetary inflation to begin with. Treat the symptoms, not the problems.
Increasing funding to public schools? Nope. We already spend more on education per student than any other country on earth. That clearly hasn’t improved our education, as we still lag behind our world peers. Want to really improve education? Then actually push for actual education reform.
Healthcare reform? Listen, unless you were equally devastated when Obamacare pushed people off of their healthcare plans and raised their premiums, I don’t want to see you crying crocodile tears over Trumpcare doing more or less of the same. Want to reform our healthcare system? Then might I suggest following the example of Switzerland or Singapore, both of whom provide universal healthcare WITHOUT single payer or a public option?
And as for your gross strawman of the political beliefs of those who disagree with you as being, “I’ve got mine, screw you!”, go ahead and wager a guess which political affiliation gives more to charity. I’ll give you a hint: not yours!
The problem with such appeals to morality is that no one can agree on what morality is. For you to try to convince me that I should adopt your political policies because it’s “the right thing to do” is like an ISIS member trying to convince me that I should toss gays off of buildings because it’s “the right thing to do”: such a suggestion flies in the face of empirical evidence and utilitarian principle, and as such, is an insult to the concept of morality.
No, the problem isn’t that you don’t know how to explain to others that “you should care about other people.” The real problem is that I don’t know how to explain to people like you how to accept facts that contradict your personal political ideology.