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  1. #1
    Administrator Unboxxed's Avatar
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    Mar 2014

    Article: What the Luddites Really Fought Against

    What is a Luddite?

    You hear this term referring to someone who isn't adept at technology and opposes it. Maybe even hates it. However, that characterization is a modern misunderstanding of who the Luddites really were. Plus, they were named collectively after a person who did not even exist.

    I read an article in Smithsonian magazine many years ago, and luckily, I see it's online. Some excerpts to tease you:

    Despite their modern reputation, the original Luddites were neither opposed to technology nor inept at using it. Many were highly skilled machine operators in the textile industry. Nor was the technology they attacked particularly new. Moreover, the idea of smashing machines as a form of industrial protest did not begin or end with them. In truth, the secret of their enduring reputation depends less on what they did than on the name under which they did it. You could say they were good at branding.


    As the Industrial Revolution began, workers naturally worried about being displaced by increasingly efficient machines. But the Luddites themselves “were totally fine with machines,” says Kevin Binfield, editor of the 2004 collection Writings of the Luddites. They confined their attacks to manufacturers who used machines in what they called “a fraudulent and deceitful manner” to get around standard labor practices. “They just wanted machines that made high-quality goods,” says Binfield, “and they wanted these machines to be run by workers who had gone through an apprenticeship and got paid decent wages. Those were their only concerns.”

    March 2011 - What the Luddites Really Fought Against
    It wasn't the technology to which they objected. They cared about the way technology shaped their lives. I admire self-respect. Hardly something to criticize.

    So, the next time someone calls you a Luddite, maybe say thank you and take a bow, and notice if that person fits any of the following:

    For the rest of us, our uneasy protests against technology almost inevitably take technological form. We worry about whether violent computer games are warping our children, then decry them by tweet, text or Facebook post. We try to simplify our lives by shopping at the local farmers market—then haul our organic arugula home in a Prius. College students take out their earbuds to discuss how technology dominates their lives. But when a class ends, Loyola University of Chicago professor Steven E. Jones notes, their cellphones all come to life, screens glowing in front of their faces, “and they migrate across the lawns like giant schools of cyborg jellyfish.”
    “and they migrate across the lawns like giant schools of cyborg jellyfish.” Geez, I love that description.
    The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
    - Henry David Thoreau

    There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    Suitable for bookmarking: and

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2019
    Wherever you go, there you are.
    Just Me.

    Re: Article: What the Luddites Really Fought Against

    Quote Originally Posted by Unboxxed View Post
    It wasn't the technology to which they objected. They cared about the way technology shaped their lives.
    It's not the technology but how it's used.

    Also, I love seeing terminology that is used to put people in to boxes being destroyed like this. Much too much of that pigeon-holing going on theses days. Cheers.

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