Luddites ?

The idea of being a Luddite, since the C.P. Snow “Two cultures” talk, is seen as a very, very bad thing in today’s world. But is there any good rationale for that ? These two texts my give you some perspective.

Why We Are Allowed to Hate Silicon Valley by Evegeny Morozov (The Frankfurter Allgemeine, 2013)

How do you spot “the digital debate”? Look for arguments that appeal to the essences of things – of technology, information, knowledge and, of course, the Internet itself. Thus, whenever you hear someone say “this law is bad because it will break the Internet” or “this new gadget is good because that’s what technology wants,” you know that you have left the realm of the political – where arguments are usually framed around the common good – and have entered the realm of bad metaphysics. In that realm, what you are being asked to defend is the well-being of phantom digital gods that function as convenient stand-ins for corporate interests. Why does anything that might “break the Internet” also risk breaking Google? This can’t be a coincidence, can it?

Is It O.K. To Be A Luddite? by Thomas Pynchon (NYT, 1984)

As the Liberty lads o’er the sea
Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood,
So we, boys, we
Will die fighting, or live free,
And down with all kings but King Ludd!
– Lord Byron




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