Are Memes Ethical?
Debate Rounds (2)
Put simply, the answer is yes.
To prove this side of the argument, we must investigate the origin. According to Urbandictionary.com, a meme is defined as, "an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media) ."
So in order to prove whether or not memes are inherently moral or immoral it is important to investigate the first meme. I propose that the first meme created by mankind is Agriculture. Agriculture, or the science or practice of farming, gave humanity the opportunity to settle down in one location, aiding the transmission of new thoughts and ideas. Without such social exchange, what would homo sapiens be but ignorant hunters and gatherers? Without memes humanity would not be able to flourish. This passing down of knowledge and ideas from generation to generation is what makes us human. To argue that memes are immoral is to suggest that humans are not worthy of such advancement in culture and technology.
If one were to research the definition of a meme from a reputable source such as Merriam-Webster, they would find that a meme is "an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture." While one can postulate all they want about how the "first meme" was agriculture, and ignore any of the negative effects of memes, it is simply irresponsible to do so. While our society is certainly built upon memes, I believe that describing our entire way of life with such a simple word flies in the face of all our accomplishments. The word meme encompasses almost every idea humanity has had that has stuck around, and this is very dangerous. While agriculture is a meme, Communism, Fascism, and Antisemitism are also memes. This manipulation of the word is precisely why memes are unethical and need to be regulated. Anything imitated is a meme - if we look at antisemitism, we can see that it very easily fits the definition of a meme, as it was absolutely passed horizontally throughout a society with devastating effects. Using this definition of a meme, one can justify anything by providing the defense of: "I was trying to make a meme." Public masturbators? More like public memers, by your thought process. Under it's current definition, memes are without a doubt one of the most unethical things in our society, and until memes are regulated harder than Russian newspapers, there is no doubt that they are a pure and present danger to our very way of life.
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