North American Network Operators Group

Date Prev | Date Next | Date Index | Thread Index | Author Index | Historical

Completely, and I mean *completely* off topic rant

  • From: hardie
  • Date: Fri Sep 01 13:28:04 2000

[email protected] wrote
> Demand for the We Fear Change t-shirts seems to be growing. Any
> Luddites out there want to place an order?

Please leave the Luddites alone, okay?  You may have every reason in
the world to be political about IP consumption, but you have missed
the whole freaking point of the Luddite movement and your use of the
term is working my nerves.

One, Luddites did not passively fear change or technology; they
engaged in violent social action to get their point across.  Two,
their point had to do with ownership of technology, not technology
itself.  The Luddites engaged in textile frame-breaking not because
they feared the frames, but because the class system of the time kept
them from owning the technology used by the leisure class to make a
profit from their labor.  This was explicitly recognized at the time;
Lord Byron's maiden speech in the House of Lords was an argument
against the repressive measures proposed to handle the Luddites
(including a provision making frame-breaking punishable by death)
noting that the real problem was one of ownership. He also explicitly
paralleled the work of the Luddites and the work of the American
revolutionaries in a poem, not published until after his death:

  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! 

_Captain_Swing_ by Hobsbawn and Rude, _Whigs_and_Hunters by
E.P. Thompson, and _The_Making_of_the_English_Working_Class also by
E.P. Thompson, are all excellent works on this period and I highly
recommend them to any one willing to be depressed about the folly of
humanity.  In the mean time, please leave the Luddites out of this
squabble, okay?  The parallel is, to say the least, weak.

If you're still reading at this point, please admit that I did warn
you explicitly that this was off-topic before flaming me.

				best regards,
					Ted Hardie

Disclaimer:  I am *so* not speaking for my employer on this one.