This piece came to me all at once. Or, more accurately, it is the result of a couple of years of pontification about the zeitgeist. I crafted the beat and the main synth theme during my lunch break; to have waited would have been torture.
“Never discuss politics or religion at the dinner table,” so the saying goes. I spent a few minutes trying to track down the origin of this idiom without success. I did find several discussion boards where posters intimate that their mothers told them that. I’m left to assume this is a saying as old as these two institutions.
In case you haven’t noticed, people regularly ignore this idiom in the context of politics in two situations (I shall willfully ignore the “religion” part in this essay):
- In a meatspace social situation, when they assume their viewpoints match those of their present company; or
- on social media.
There is, however, a conundrum: Breaking this idiom consistently underscores the efficacy of it. Emotions, assumptions, and overconfidence lead to name calling, ridicule, career-ending bloviating, and even violence.
Why break the idiom at all, then?
Virtue signaling is a ubiquitous presence in Internet social justice rhetoric. That is why, when I discovered the following YouTube rant by conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, I was amused. I had discovered the Mother of All Virtue Signals.
I don’t harbor any sort of animus toward Ben. He does, however, seem to be overreaching in his conservative punditry with this video in which he admits that, if he *were* for censorship, he would burn every copy of John Lennon’s Imagine.
Have a look, then I’ll break it down: