A social ratchet effect within a community. A process of moral outbidding, unchecked, which corrodes the group from within, rewarding those who put themselves at the extremes, and punishing nuance relentlessly.

Not to be confused with 'virtue signalling', 'woke culture', or 'online mobs'.

A purity spiral can contain all of these things, but it is defined by the fact that it takes place in a defined community or society, where being purer-than-thou is always being rewarded, and holding a divergent, 'less pure' opinion is normally punished, a dynamic which leads to an inevitable escalation as only the most extreme can 'win'.

Could be anything, from Mao's Red Guard, to Neo-Nazis, to The Crucible, to Instagram knitting.
After Louise denounced Nike as bourgeois, the village fell into a purity spiral where first Nikes, then all sneakers, then all shoes, and later, socks, were burnt on a pyre by the villagers.

Foot amputations followed in the Spring.
by pizzleswizzle January 30, 2020
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