The Terrifyingly Oppressive Role of Meme in Undermining Critical Thought
This title may seem hyperbolic, but stick with me for a few minutes. This is going to be a fairly short journey explaining why the use of Meme is one of the most powerful tools being used to subvert democracy and attack individual thought.
In efforts to keep this brief, my argument can be made using just two cases where Movements are heavily utilising Meme.
For anyone not familiar, Dogecoin is a Meme cryptocurrency, of a particularly cute and odd looking dog.
Dogecoin is no threat to democracy, although they would like to be one to the worlds existing financial system. This article focuses on their impressive use of Meme to solidify their community. Meme’s are created and popularised to be fun.. and most importantly automatic responses. This enables their community leaders to silence certain lines of discussion which are unhealthy to the aims of the community. I’d personally argue this is something healthy which benefits their wider community, although that is subjective depending entirely on what lines of discussion are met with a Meme response, and your views on whether it’s ever ok to suppress free discussion.
For example should racist groups be allowed to rent out and speak in school halls, where many children in that school are going to be aware that an event is persecuting them at their school, to protect their right to freedom of speech? The majority of people tend to accept that some form of restriction is healthy in a community, but its a difficult topic.
For Dogecoin it appears to be mostly to protect from Trolls, and reinforce positive views even during times when the market is struggling or bad news comes out, where similar online blockchain communities would be filled with negative voices.
2: The MAGA Movement
The red sunhat wearing Make America Great Again Movement also utilises the power of Meme to automate responses to certain topics of conversation. As a political Movement this has profound consequences.
What we see now is a large community of people where many important topics are defacto ‘banned’, because many people in that community have been taught the correct Meme to prevent discussions and thought on important subjects.
Any healthy community should be able to consider their weaknesses, yet through use of Meme the leaders of the MAGA Movement have found a way to immediately shut down those topics and insulate their community from self-reflection. Where normally a discussion would normally be held for members to decide whether they agree with a part of their Movements direction or not, instead a humorous response is placed.
Its members are taught never to question, or speak out. Most people seem to see Meme as a funny quirk of these communities. I see one of the most powerful tools for social control ever created, and in one these cases i see it being used in a way which is bone-chillingly dangerous to free thought and democracy.
Author: Andy Tulett
Taking a tiny thought break from my usual Public Happiness Movement writing, which you can follow at focallocal.org