Opinion

The Left Has Virtue to Spare, Just Not for You

With all those virtue signalers flooding streets and shrieking from their progressive podiums at the recent anti-First and Second Amendment marches, let’s dig a little deeper into the conceit on display that makes the left feel they are so much better than, well…everyone who doesn’t believe as they do.

The Urban Dictionary’s top two definitions of Virtue Signaling:

# 1. “To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody else.”

# 2. “Saying you love or hate something to show off what a virtuous person you are, instead of actually trying to fix the problem.”

Urban Dictionary even provided an example:

“Jane: ‘Wow! I hate Fox News! They’re so evil and they hate women!’”

“John: ‘Why don’t you actually do something instead of just virtue signaling about it?’”

“Jane: ‘OMG that would be WAAAAAAY too much work.’”

Feel free to add the left’s penchant for holding aloft every political notion they espouse as virtuous, all while condemning the tiniest tidbit of conservative political advocacy as evil. I saw it often while working demonstration lines: Lefties are not only dead-sure they are right, but also dead-sure you are wrong.

Leftists have created an industry of conjuring virtue out of thin air and then either donning it themselves or consigning it to someone who has not earned it either. The left, apparently, possesses virtue in such abundance, that they not only signal that they’re better than you, but also that they have virtue surpluses to bestow on others—just not you.

So, to emphasize the point, the left’s promiscuous relationship with virtue extends beyond what they heap on themselves. An apt corresponding bookend for virtue signaling would be virtue projecting—the second form of their virtue fetishes.

You see examples of virtue projecting when the left imbues folks such as the poor, minorities, “homeless,” and illegal immigrants with unearned virtue simply for being, well…poor, black or brown, vagrant, or illegally in the U.S. In other words, bona fide members of a leftist-approved, social justice victim group.

“Just blocks away from the Oscars, homeless fighting for survival.
Meanwhile, all the self-congratulating, virtue-signaling celebs tell everyone how to live while their own city has one of the worst homeless populations in the US.” (Credit: Facebook/Matt Trainer)

Does anyone remember when or how being unproductive, irresponsible, or even unlucky became a virtue? Of the trio, unlucky may not be a person’s fault, but it doesn’t make you virtuous. But working to overcome bad luck can be deemed virtuous.

There’s a new city government program designed to tackle petty criminals without addresses. It seems courts have been issuing arrest warrants for people who fail to appear in court. Isn’t that what courts do when people don’t show up? Yes, but the difference here is many of these wanted folks have no permanent addresses listed—they’re “homeless.”

Apparently, this is the left’s newest victim class to be imbued with unwarranted virtue. More victims are just what society needs, right? I can almost feel my taxes inflating and my wallet deflating as I think about it.

These folks are only charged with “minor” crimes, so…I mean, don’t dare argue that the people whom trespassers, thieves, and thugs harm by intruding on their premises, stealing their stuff, or damaging their property are the true victims. Hell no! After all, these real crime victims are productive, tax-paying, and responsible people—not exactly the new Democrat’s (social justice) constituency. “Deplorables, I think someone once called them.

(Credit: Facebook/The Basket of Deplorables News Channel)

Now, I will not get into the weeds about the myriad reasons people live on the streets. There are those who are truly having temporary tough times. But, in my experience, the legitimately homeless living on the streets are rare, and they tend to fix their situations sooner or later.

The real issue, according to objective stats—not to mention my own two eyes—is that most folks on the streets are drug and alcohol abusers or have mental issues. And these conditions are not mutually exclusive. Some people experience a combination of all three struggles, each to varying degrees.

It’s not right to hold the more significantly mentally-ill responsible for their disorders and the resultant (non-violent but disruptive) behaviors. I have a great deal of experience with and sympathy for these folks.

But generally, people live on the streets because they’ve conducted their lives in such a manner that they can’t or won’t take responsibility for themselves. Rather than accepting offers of help, they’d rather live at the edge of society, existing off the scraps of the productive through begging, scavenging, and stealing.

Even without judgment, where is the virtue in this existence? Now, there is virtue in overcoming such circumstances, but not in spiraling into self-inflicted social, emotional, physical, spiritual, and legal tumult.

Recently, city officials cleared out a “jungle” (the common term for vagrant encampments) in Seattle, Washington. According to media reports, no one accepted offers of assistance for substance abuse or housing. This is not unusual or new. In 2016, the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog quoted Bradley Smith, an outreach worker focused on the “homeless” community: “Most of them reject services, but help is still offered.”

October 11, 2016: “We’re live inside ‘The Jungle’ tonight after Seattle police shot a man here – on the same day the city ordered those remaining in the notorious homeless camp to leave. Officers say they intervened in a fight between two men, one of whom had a knife.” (Credit: Facebook/Brandi Kruse)

It seems virtue should be demonstrated by behavior, and not acquired through a condition of dubious subsistence. There is a demonstrable amount of virtue in people who take care of themselves and their families, take their responsibilities seriously, and do not commit crimes.

To the contrary, being an unproductive drain on society, for whatever reason, doesn’t have inherent virtue attached. But you’d be hard-pressed to prove that if you listen to many of today’s virtue signaling, virtue projecting leftists.

The left has bestowed virtue upon, amongst others, vagrants and illegal immigrants, including violent illegal alien criminals. As reported by Fox News, in March 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown pardoned five illegal immigrant criminals, demonstrating both virtue signaling and virtue projecting in a single act.

I can understand having sympathy for people in legitimately bad circumstances, even if it’s partially or wholly of their own making. We all make mistakes. But the virtue comes in how we handle and overcome those mistakes, not surrender to them.

Why does the left apply virtue to the unproductive, including lawbreakers, but seem to have contempt for law-abiding, productive Americans? To take people who work hard, obey the law, and love their country and families and place them in a “basket of deplorables,” seems to me to be where virtue is lacking. It’s as if the left feel that all unproductive people are merely unlucky and that all productive people are simply lucky.

Democrats used to represent working Americans and were concerned with how they could improve their constituents’ lives. Not all that many years ago, even Democrat leaders like Senator Schumer and Secretary Clinton were decrying illegal immigration—in those terms. Now, those terms don’t fit the new social justice, Democrat narrative.

Today, these and other Democrats seem to believe people in our country illegally are more virtuous than the hard-working American citizens and legal immigrants with whom illegal aliens compete for jobs. If not, then why is the defense of illegal immigration so high on the Democrat priority list?

There are actually mayors of American cities, such as in Oakland, California, vowing to go to jail to protect illegal immigrants. When was the last time you saw a mayor make a similar vow in support of Americans?

We also have California’s attorney general warning American business owners in California not to comply with federal immigration law or assist ICE or Border Patrol agents. He also recently implied he might arrest Orange County officials, including the elected sheriff if he believes they are breaking sanctuary state laws.

The up to 1.3 million DACA folks deserve special consideration, as their being here is not their fault. Nevertheless, they are still in the U.S. illegally, the fault of their parents, not the U.S. government or its people. Isn’t it insulting that so many “Dreamers” display such arrogance toward a country and its people from whom they are essentially asking for sympathy and special consideration?

Whatever DACA-fix the government arrives at, it must take into consideration avoiding the creation of another similar circumstance in the future. A circumstance that would create another “crisis.” Like not securing our borders. Isn’t that just prudent?

Remember, most experts agree that former-President Obama, regardless of any good intentions, probably violated the Constitution when he created DACA, thus handing the next president, no matter who it was, a political wet cat in a sack.

(Credit: Facebook/Deplorables)

Now, people are criticizing President Trump for not rushing to “fix” DACA, and you’ll remember the Schumer Shutdown of the federal government was part of their political tantrum. Remember, hair-on-fire Senators Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin turned down Trump’s proposal to legalize DACA recipients because the president offered a solution that would actually solve the problem. But it works better for Democrats to kick the “Dreamers” down the road, so they can be used again and again for political expediency.

Aside from illegal immigrants, we’re now seeing an increased sprinkling of holy virtue on the masses. As I mentioned, in some cities, special homeless courts are popping up. These courts, once again replacing equal justice with social justice, seek to treat a class of people according to their identifying characteristics and living circumstances (government-authorized victim classification), rather than according to their individual actions, which is continually committing “petty” crimes and failing to show up for court dates.

Kind of makes you wonder why so-called petty crimes are crimes at all? Why doesn’t the left give up the pretense and go for what they seem to truly want and just legalize crime—or, perhaps, start by decriminalizing it? Would sure save cops a lot of time and wasted energy. In fact, why have police at all? Oh, right. The left still needs cops to enforce its socialist laws. Those laws are still “good” laws.

The argument is: if you commit a crime while you don’t have a permanent mailing address, you won’t be able to receive any court correspondence advising you when you have to be in court. Further, failure to appear in court could result in a warrant for your arrest, which you also won’t receive notice of because you are “homeless.” Such is the vicious cycle for vagrants who commit crimes. Here’s a notion: Don’t commit crimes?

After reading about this program, I have to ask the leftists supporting this effort a question: Where is your respect for adult human beings that you believe certain lawbreakers shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions? In a thorough article written in the Seattle Weekly (link above), Melissa Hellmann mentions many “reasons” (excuses) homeless folks offer for not making court appearances. And I know from experience, these responses are true.

To clarify, what’s true is the homeless actually use these excuses, not that the excuses are true. However, you’d swear she’s writing about children and not adults. Shouldn’t the homeless, as adults, be shown more respect as human beings who are supposed to be responsible for themselves?

Aside from the significantly mentally ill folks, and despite the true struggles people endure in the grip of alcohol and drug addiction, people must still be held accountable for their actions. It shows a person such disrespect to refuse to acknowledge their contributions to their own despair for which they are suffering the predictable consequences.

Portions of the articles on the subject that focus on the crime note the crimes are “petty” and “related to homelessness,” such as loitering and vagrancy. Dig deeper, and you’ll find the crimes also include plenty of assaults, thefts, trespasses, and domestic violence, all of which I bet do not seem all that petty to the victims.

The writer interviews several homeless petty criminals and seems to accept their excuses for failing to appear in court at face value. Well, I rarely arrested anyone for a warrant who didn’t swear he or she didn’t know about it, permanent address or not.

And what happened when the city held an “amnesty” day for homeless folks to take care of their warrants? Only about twenty people showed up to clear their warrants. And word “on the street,” especially of an amnesty, travels as fast as any other human grapevine. They probably knew but couldn’t be bothered.

(Credit: Facebook/Deplorables)

The social justice system has disrespected this group of people; they must wonder why they should comply with anything they’re responsible for as adults. If they wait long enough, someone will do it for them.

To the leftist government, street people are effectively children who shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions. Don’t worry, mommy and daddy government will take care of you—well, just as long as you vote Democrat in the next election. Not having a permanent address may indemnify you from your response to the court, but it won’t prevent you from casting a vote in King County, Washington.

Democrat-run voting in Washington State is not a right or even a privilege. For Democrats, it’s an art form—political alchemy. They know how to turn election losses into wins by mysterious means—the discovering of boxes of Democrat votes under desks, in closets, or in car trunks is not unheard of in this state. For more on this, read John Fund’s book Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy (2004).

(Credit: Facebook/Uncle Chang)

As long as leftists insist on letting us know just how good they are, but also just how bad you are, virtue signaling and virtue projecting will flourish. I’m just not sure I see a lot of virtue in setting yourself up as better than other people simply by virtue (sorry) of your political viewpoint, all while labeling people with whom you disagree devoid of virtue. Where exactly is the virtue in that?

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

OpsLens Premium on CRTV.

Everywhere, at home or on the go.

SIGNUP NOW