Monday, December 17, 2007

Lessons from the Luddites

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 revolt 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 the viability of industrial society into public consciousness and debate.

◦ What purpose does this machine serve?

◦ What problem has become so great that it needs this solution?

◦ Is this invention nothing but, as Thoreau put it, an improved means to an unimproved end?

◦ Who are the winners?

◦ Who are the losers?

◦ Will this invention concentrate or disperse power, encourage or discourage self worth?

◦ Can society at large afford it?

◦ Can the biosphere?

7 Philosophically, resistance to industrialism must be embedded in an analysis--an ideology, perhaps--that is morally informed, carefully articulated and widely shared.

◦ Anthropocentrism must be opposed by the principle of biocentrism and the spiritual identification of the human with all living species and systems.

◦ Globalism must be opposed by the empowerment of the coherent bioregion and small community.

◦ Industrial capitalism must be opposed by an ecological and sustainable economy built upon accommodation and commitment to the earth.

- Kirkpatrick Sale

Only After The Last Tree Has Been Cut Down,
Only after The Last River Has Been Poisoned,
Only after The Last Fish Has Been Caught,
Only Then Will You Find That Money Cannot Be Eaten.

- Cree Prophecy

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