“Virtue signaling” — I’d never heard of the term until a couple of days ago, but once it was explained to me, I immediately understood the concept, because we are all surrounded by it.

Virtue signaling (VS) is a sanctimonious gesture that shows that you, a Beautiful Person, are “kind, decent and virtuous,” as a British newspaper recently defined it.

But even more important than the preening nature of the virtuous signaling is that it must be absolutely meaningless and ineffectual, while performed at no risk of any sort whatsoever to the person who does it.

Think any number of hashtags: #bringbackourgirls. (How’d that one work out for you, Moochelle Obama?) #nevertrump. (So, you want Hillary? Really?)

The Black Lives Matter banner in front of Somerville City Hall — classic! The more lily-white the suburb, the more ostentatious the Black Lives Matter VS affectations. How about the old yard sign: “DARFUR: Not on our watch.” (Hey pal, you live in a $3 million mansion in South Brookline — who said it was on your watch?)

Remember the sit-in in the House chambers by Democratic members of Congress to protest the slaughter at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando? That was classic virtue signaling.

A Muslim terrorist murders gays while shouting “Allahu akhbar!” So rather than grappling with the actual problem, the fake Indian et al. stage a no-heavy-lifting sit-down protest to demand more gun laws … even as their president signs pardons and commutations for hundreds of federal felons incarcerated for violating already existing gun laws.

How about those free electric-car recharging stations at Whole Foods markets? The first time I saw one of them, I kept cruising the parking lot, looking for the free gas pumps to fill up my car. I mean, electric cars are in fact coal-powered, and isn’t coal even worse for Mother Earth than petroleum products?

Bumper stickers are the most common form of virtue signaling. “Go metric.” (No, you go metric. Leave me alone.) “My other car is a bike.” (Hey, I hope you’re a more courteous bike rider than you are a driver.)

Take Leonardo DiCaprio. Please. Any Hollywood celeb who babbles on about global warming and then jumps on his private 757 to jet off to some private tropical paradise is guilty of open and gross virtue signaling. (Come to think of it, this category includes John Kerry.)

What all of these virtue signals have in common is their political correctness. Think of them as PC merit badges.

Social media makes virtue signaling ever easier. Another Muslim terror attack in France — #jesuischarlie. The nightclub shooting? (Sacre bleu! Superimpose the French flag on your Facebook profile picture.)

Then comes the Pulse shooting — lose the Tricolor, replace it with the rainbow flag.

Now Georgetown University apologizes for the slave trade. What?

If you are still unclear as to whether something is virtue signaling, there’s one sure way to know. If John Kerry is doing it, that’s what it most assuredly is.

Listen to Howie 3-7 p.m. on WRKO AM 680.

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