Why ‘No Hate Here’ signs are actually pretty hateful, by F.H. Buckley.
Two of the homes feature “No Hate Here” signs. What’s up with that, you might wonder. This is a peaceful, upscale, decidedly un-diverse neighborhood. The greatest threat to suburban peace is the lone homeowner whose lawn looks a tad overgrown. There’s nothing to suggest that anyone is a racist or bigot. So again: What’s going on?
Someone came up with the label “virtue signaling” to describe the psychological impulse behind these signs. The idea is that people who put them up want to tell you how noble they are. But that doesn’t sound right. Virtue-signalers aren’t in any way in doubt about their own virtue. What they really want to do is signal how depraved others are.
It’s about vice signaling, not virtue signaling.
A couple of people on the block are Trump supporters. Those signs are likely meant for them. There’s no interaction between the two groups, and the signs are meant to keep it that way.
A couple of years back there used to be Fourth of July street picnics there. But the shindigs haven’t happened the last couple of years, and I don’t think I’ll see them again soon. Vice signaling breaks up communities, and there’s a lot of it today.
Vice signaling is a defense mechanism, meant to displace liberal guilt. There was a moment, shortly after the 2016 election, when liberals realized that ordinary Americans had turned against them, and that they had reason to do so.
Allied to the teachers unions, the liberals had permitted our schools to descend to Third World standards. They supported an immigration system that imported economic immobility. They welcomed a regulatory morass that gave elites jobs but that placed a stumbling block in the path of those who sought to get ahead.
Liberals saw all that — and then they forgot it. Rather than blame themselves, it was much easier to transfer the guilt to conservatives. That’s how vice signaling became the language of liberal politics.