Geek Culture and Flexible Morality

Morality is a tricky subject, as it is something that is subjective depending on background and culture.   People of faith will argue there is only one moral code, and you either follow it or you don’t.  Down to earth, I’ve noticed there are 3 rules about morality and people that are pretty fail-proof:


1. People will never hesitate to express to you what they feel is morally right and wrong

2. Said people will apply their form of morality to you and judge you upon it

3. Said people will then try to get you to believe as they believe.


Now you may be asking, where on earth am I going with this.  Simple:  Piracy.  It’s a term known widely among the internet/gaming/geek community.  It’s always used in conjunction with downloading music, movies, and games illegally at no cost from the internet.   However, to what extent it is wrong varies widely depending on who you ask.  Statistics I found on the internet range from 30 to as much as 60% of americans download music off the internet.  I’d be willing to bet if users were polled, the majority here download music as well.  We do it without so much as even blinking an eye.  And many of us don’t consider it any more morality wrong than lending a CD to a friend.


But what really “grinds my gears” on the subject of piracy and morality is people bend the rules to suit their own activities, and then proceed to judge you for doing the activities they do!  It really pisses me off when someone who may download 1000s of songs will pull out their Soap Box of Morality and start giving you a lecture whenever you mention pirating something bigger… movies for instance.  Suddenly, you’re the devil’s puppet and your crimes far outweigh any piracy on earth, completely overlooking the fact that they probably download more in sheer product cost in music than you ever did in movies. 


And forget mentioning you may have downloaded a game or two, then you will spark the rage of both the movie and music downloader, who will now join forces and agree YOU are morally bankrupt.  “It’s hurting the game developers!” they cry as they run into battle with their flags and crosses bared.   What they should be screaming is, “never mind the fact that our activities also hurt those who take the time to produce the media we download, we are going to crucify you upside down to make our own crimes seem smaller so we can sleep at night!”


I am NOT celebrating piracy here, nor am I admitting to my own activities and the extent of them, I am here to say that unless you are going to take the view ALL piracy is morally wrong and you shouldn’t do it, kindly STFU… because this personal set of moral rules is just freakin’ ridiculous.

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