Review: Rebels Against The Future–The Luddites And Their War On The Industrial Revolution: Lessons For The Computer Age

4 Star, History, Information Society, Insurgency & Revolution

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4.0 out of 5 stars Luddites, Technology, Industrialism, and Humanity,

April 7, 2000
Kirkpatrick Sale
Lessons from the Luddites for the Computer Age include: 1) Technologies are never neutral, and some are hurtful; 2) Industrialism is always a cataclysmic process, destroying the past, roiling the present, making the future uncertain; 3) “Only a people serving an apprenticeship to nature can be trusted with machines.”; 4) The nation-state, synergistically intertwined with industrialism, will always come to its aid and defense, making revolts futile and reform ineffectual; 5) But resistance to the industrial system, based on some grasp of moral principles and rooted in some sense of moral revulsion, is not only possible but necessary; 6) Politically, resistance to industrialism must force not only “the machine question” but the viability of industrial society into public consciousness and debate; 7) Philosophically, resistance to industrialism must be embedded in an analysis-an ideology, perhaps-that is morally informed, carefully articulated, and widely shared; 8) If the edifice of industrial civilization does not eventually crumble as a result of determined resistance within its very walls, it seems certain to crumble of its own accumulated excesses and instabilities within not more than a few decades, perhaps sooner, after which there may be space for alternative societies to arise.
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