ALICE IN WONDERLAND: We've all lost the ability for critical thinking
Virtue signalling is now just a trigger for mass compliance
By Alice Jones, News Uncut Columnist
THE Cambridge dictionary describes virtue signalling as this: “An attempt to show other people that you are a good person, for example by expressing opinions that will be acceptable to them, especially on social media.”
I believe it’s fast becoming one of the most insidious phenomena of modern times, largely because people appear to be entirely blind to the dangerous ramifications. On social media, certainly, it’s an immediate and seemingly highly effective trigger for mass compliance and easily removes the need for critical thinking.
Crisis – media response – new Facebook frame (yay) – public declaration of support for all friends and family to see. Good job, well done you, what a good egg. Would you care to explain the history, science, politics, economic implications, global impact, societal backdrop to this latest crisis? No? I thought not.
My last two trips to the hairdresser (I digress) have been hair raising – the ones on the arm kind, the slow prickly type. Last year, I sat next to a woman who made her voice heard loud and clear above the blast of hairdryers while she informed us that she would not dare go into the city for fear of crossing paths with somebody who might be ‘unvaccinated’.
Her FB frame undoubtedly declared “I’ve had my Covid vaccine.” In fact, listening to her bold sentiments, it might have been tattooed under the curls on her forehead.
Nobody questioned her. Nobody helped address her irrational fears. If there was a bad egg in the room that day she remained firmly in her shell, fearing public retribution, as, at this stage of the Covid crisis, speaking out against the narrative was social suicide.
Last week at the hairdressers, a repeat exercise, but this time a different conversation. The woman next to me opened her handbag revealing a veritable pharmacy of medications. Her previously occasional allergies were apparently “through the roof” and had been since her vaccinations.
My foils stood on end – WHAT? An open conversation about vaccine injury? At this point the hairdresser piped in and admitted that several of her customers were suffering long-term health conditions post vaccination.
“We have to admit, we have no idea what we’ve done taking these vaccinations but we had no choice did we? Everyone was told to do it and we were all just doing the right thing to protect others?”
My eyes welled up, I ditched the style and blow dry, paid for my highlights and scarpered with soggy hair and leaky eyes.
As the next crisis unfolds, despite it coming to the fore of late that we have in fact endured two years of censored information, persistent public messaging and skewed Government and media narratives, it seems the lessons have not been learned? So now we have this….
I’ll put my hand up right now. My knowledge of Ukrainian/Russian history amounts to zero. I have no relatives there, no connections to the country and it’s never been in my sphere of interest. I’m definitely alarmed, who wouldn’t be? I’m watching what’s being served to us via the media channels available. My heart is breaking for those panicked, displaced and attacked but something deep inside stops me from changing my FB profile to yellow and blue. My gut says, start learning – FAST. Do something to help, but do the right thing. Take a moment.
Not so with the virtue signalling. It’s in full force and with immediate effect. Sod your detailed knowledge of what’s going on, just get with the party here – yellow and blue all the way – stand with Ukraine. Boycott all Russian products, nail the people, call them out, cut all ties, ditch the Vodka… and the chicken Kievs.
It’s all in full swing…. Again. Our critical thinking is gazumped by the ability of our media and social media to sway the public towards one narrative and one narrative only. When the history of Ukraine/Russian politics is so hugely complex and unbeknown to so many, I can’t help but wonder why the drive towards one narrative is so incessant.
A quick Google of how I might (if I so desired) change my social media profile to support Ukraine left me asking this question times 10. Page after page of assistance to do this BUT who is assisting? All of our local/national media…. Why? (Google ‘Ukrainian Facebook frame’ and you’ll see for yourself).
A prompt media blackout in Russia makes it nigh on impossible for us to gauge the response of the Russian people – on the face of it, there is one man at the helm here yet the entire population of Russia is vilified. How do we know they might not be demonstrating on the streets, hating what their leader is doing, also petrified and running for shelter? We don’t?
I feel grateful that the human conscience appears to lend itself readily to care for others. This is a wonderful thing. We are a human collective and in adversity, I’m thankful that help is quick to arrive – virtually or otherwise. The situation is deteriorating rapidly and the utterly tragic scenes being fed from reporters on the ground are beyond shocking. It’s almost impossible to relate to it.
It’s this repeat performance of virtue signalling which leaves me twitching in my chair – I have no doubt whatsoever that this behaviour alone caused thousands to make personal health decisions over the last two years that they are now questioning. In fact I know it, I’ve spoken to many.
Do what you feel you need to do. Donate money, fill bags of clothes, fundraise, drive to the Polish border, offer a room for refugees BUT do your own research too, be savvy and alert, source news before you share – we’ve already been alerted to the mass of fake war videos being shared on the likes of Tik Tok. We live in a complex world. Teach your children this.
I want to know more, learn more, research more because while the eye-watering scenes of the last few days are terrifying and all of our hearts are in our mouths, our arms are around our precious families and our very bones ache for peace and the end to these needless atrocities, I, for one, will not turn my social media yellow and blue.
I will do what I need to do quietly because I recognise fully, after the stress endured over the last two years, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and right now, hands up, a little knowledge is all I have.