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Who Are The Luddites Now?

Climate Criminals Attack Much Needed Technological Improvements

Corporations are now the Luddites, opposing the science and technology we need to respond to the climate emergency

I am a lifelong student of the history of science and technology and a strong critic of mindless technology, going back decades since my 1974-75 High School AP English class titled: “Technological Man – Alienated Man” where I was introduced to the ideas and literary classics (too long a list to discuss here). My mother was a reader and huge fan of Lewis Mumford and had his books available in our home, so long before that, I attempted to understand these ideas as a child.

People seem to forget that not so long ago, there were academic programs and an entire public policy field – including laws and institutions like the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment – designed to analyze the social, environmental, and cultural effects of technological “advance” and mitigate harms and slow the pace of technology in a capitalist society.

Ironically, in light of the current popularity of the movie “Oppenheimer”, much of the post WW II body of academic critique and literature grew out of a strong reaction of disgust to the atrocity of the US dropping of the atomic bomb, as much or more than the reaction to Nazi “science and technology”, which produced the industrial efficiency and large scale extermination of millions.

Those moral and political sentiments later gained political relevance as part of the huge public political movement against the Vietnam War, where corporate funding of the military-industrial complex and academic programs at elite universities – like MIT, Berkeley, and Stanford – that produced such technological “innovations” as agent orange and the Cold War theory of “mutual assured destruction” (MAD), the insane society ridiculed by Stanley Kubrick’s movie Dr. Strangelove.

We later saw the emergence of the “No More Nukes” campaign as well.

Sadly, all that history seems to have been relegated to Orwell’s Memory Hole. Technology is now cool. The failed US proxy war in Ukraine promotes freedom and human rights. Orwell was right: War is Peace.

And an even far more toxic historical irony now has emerged: the corporations are now the Luddites, by opposing the science and technology we need to respond to the climate emergency.

After just now watching tonight’s NJ Spotlight news coverage of the Murphy DEP’s proposal on electric vehicles, I fired off this email to climate criminal Ray Cantor of the NJ BIA and the usual suspects:

Dear Mr. Cantor: Why are NJ corporations blocking climate reforms, frustrating consumer choice, and erecting barriers to technological improvements to advance efficiency and quality of life?
Just who are the Luddites now?
Bill Wolfe
PS – and I am a strong supporter of the Luddites, who got a bad rap in their opposition to destructive technology and capitalism. That valid critique does not apply in this case.
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