Internet Ethics 1

It starts, as it often does on my blog, with a Bizarro comic:

It makes me think and wonder. On the one hand, it does seem that the last twenty years and the overwhelming success of the internet has brought about a change in our behavior, a move towards the unethical. Perhaps we need ‘internet ethics.” On the other hand, I don’t think things are that different and all that has happened is that the mean, rude, and vindictive actions of people are simply amplified and visible to all. Humanity hasn’t changed, we just have a much bigger megaphone from which to spew our hate or righteous indignation. (Let’s be honest: the people who post the self-righteous “can you believe this public figure, they are a disgrace to ________ group, I represent the true character of _________” are as offensive as those they are decrying.)

I would argue that ethically, morally, and spiritually humanity has not evolved in over 2,000 years. That is why texts like Plato’s Symposium and the Bible are still relevant and informing for human behavior. Cultures have changed, developed, evolved, if you like, in some instances, and devolved in others. But our human nature remains the same. We do not need a new revelation of ethics for the internet age, we simply need to be ethical people, at all times and in all places.


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One thought on “Internet Ethics

  • B

    I don’t believe it is a direct effect, but an indirect one. There is definitely a change in behavior as a result of the impression of “lots of people are like this” and that it is not all that uncommon. Twenty years ago, without the big megaphone, it just seemed as though the behavior was isolated and therefore carried a perception of being less acceptable. When there is a sense that something is more common, it becomes more accepted, then more adopted. Where was gay marriage before the big megaphone of the internet and media outlets? Humanity changes and not always for the better, but that is the defined path we are on. In first chapter of Romans it eventually got to the point were everything collapsed. Paul summarizes the prevailing attitude at the time rather succinctly in Romans 1:32.