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Amazon Tribe Has No Use for Virtue Signaling

Author Gad Saad is one of the leading voices exposing the harm and folly of political correctness in the US and Canada. In his most recent book, he explores the current futile practice known as “virtue signaling.” Most often on social media, people express moral outrage just by hash-tagging a cause and doing nothing else. Just one example is the #BringBackOurGirls, that was used by millions globally because of the kidnapping of Nigerian school girls by Boko Haram. The only thing that came out of all the virtue signaling was the feeding of one’s ego and the social message that they are progressive and a good person.

Saad gives an example of a public display of valor known as “costly signaling”:

The Sateré-Mawé, an indigenous Amazonian tribe, have a very powerful way of differentiating prospective warriors from their fake counterparts. They sedate bullet ants, whose sting is akin to being shot, and then weave them into leaf gloves. Initiates wear the gloves for several minutes and must withstand the stings of hundreds of these ants as they come out of their sedated torpor. One sting causes unimaginable pain, and yet the inductees must withstand the suffering with restrained dignity (they cannot holler).

One such ordeal would be sufficient to test anyone’s toughness, and yet the young men must endure this tribulation twenty separate times. If all it took to become a warrior was the completion of ten push-ups, nearly everyone could complete the task. ... (It is) a rite of passage that serves as an honest signal of toughness and courage, and you’ve solved the problem of identifying the fakers.

You can watch the YouTube video of the tribal ritual here.


Discovery UK, “The Sateré-Mawé Tribe Subject Themselves To Over 120 Bullet Ant Stings,” YouTube (8-3-18); Gad Saad, The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense (Regnery Publishing, 2020), n.p.

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