Labelling someone a “Luddite” is an insult used to imply irrational primitive aversion to new technology but the original Luddite rebellion was primarily a response to harm brought to communities through the undemocratic and destructive way in which new technology was deployed.

They weren’t opposed to new technology because they were afraid of it — that is a stale industry narrative two centuries old.

The original Luddites were 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against newly developed labour-replacing machinery from 1811 to 1817 and from review of historical documents, a more accurate picture of their position emerges.

In her book “Against the Machine: Hidden Luddite Tradition in Literature, Art, and Individual Lives”, Nichols Fox explains:

“The Luddites…didn’t shun machines or technology out of hand. Instead, they ‘[favored] a thoughtful use of appropriate technologies that [did] not damage the relationships we hold dear,’ especially those with the natural world.”

The fact that rich and powerful corporate interests were forcing new technologies that drastically altered the lives of whole communities—damaging relationships held dear without even consulting people—this was as repugnant to people back then as it is today.


Are people who object to masts Luddites?

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