The Theatre of Virtue

Justin Spencer-Young
2 min readJun 17, 2021


My ego needs to be right and needs to be seen to be right. I will spend an inordinate amount of time and effort to prove to myself and others that my point of view is correct. I will even ignore evidence and appeal to authorities so that I can claim to be right. Add to this the need to be seen as having high moral standards and I have the ingredients to a potion that induces a level of irrational behaviour beyond imagination.

Do you recognise this behaviour in yourself?

The irrational behaviour of virtue signalling can induce the most horrific outcomes on individuals and groups who are seen to not possess suitable moral standards. Outcomes such as depriving another person the opportunity to earn a living and provide for their family. In some cases, violence is perpetrated against others for not “thinking the right way” or possessing physical characteristics over which they have no control.

In today’s world of social media applications where one can pronounce on anything it is extremely easy to announce to the world how virtuous we are. This is especially rewarding if our announcements attract the likes and thumbs up that we expect from our in-group. It is as if we are standing on a stage and acting for an audience. The induced dopamine hit gives us the euphoric highs that we all crave and fuels the desire even more.

When I see others, clearly in a zombie state of seeking out their virtue signalling reward, my internal siren goes off. It is like someone is jamming a pin into my voodoo doll and I feel the immediate effect right between my eyes.

At this point I find myself staring into the mirror and asking about my need to be seen. How am I blind to my virtue signalling? Am I really an actor on this stage?

The reward for acting on this stage is the short-term high of audience applause. The audience pay no price for their ticket to attend, and the audience is fickle. The moment your virtue is “wrong” or “not good enough”, the audience gets hostile and starts throwing their own virtue bombs.

Message to self…watch out for that ego! This is not a theatre I want to act in, this is not the audience that I seek.

Justin Spencer-Young Twitter: @fastforwardjsy



Justin Spencer-Young

Daily content creator at Fast Forward Business. Chief Valueologist. Fast Forward Business Podcast…look out for my daily podcast…a shot of value in your day