A reader commented on a recent column that she gave up after a few paragraphs because of the “PC virtue signalling” they contained: I had foolishly suggested that the homicidal maniacs who thrived as the henchmen of empire might not, after all, deserve to have SA cities and universities named after them. 

It is curious, when you think about it, that “virtue signalling” should be invoked as a term of derision. Following Plato and Aristotle, huge swathes of the Western philosophical tradition — beloved by the kind of people who employ “woke” in sarcastic streams of invective and who readily dismiss “political correctness” — are in fact dedicated to the question: how does one live a virtuous life?

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