At least once in my life, I've had to call a friend I normally text, and once on the phone I've said, "I'm sorry I had to call you like some kind of luddite." I've also heard "luddite" used to mean "person who can't use e-mail," "person who prints out Amazon wish lists," "person who hates technology" and "person refuses to get a smartphone." But even though the Luddites have become synonymous with technophobia, they didn't really have anything against machines. Machines weren't the problem. It was how people were using machines to put people out of work and crank out inferior goods.
Thanks to listener Anna for requesting that we talk about the Luddites.
Our listener mail is from Nathan, who was one of many who wrote in after our Brook Farm episode to theorize on whether monasteries are the only successful communal endeavors. (We have also had people mention Kibbutz communities since recording this episode.)
For further reading: Top 10 Industrial Revolution Inventions
Episode link: The Luddites
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- Conniff, Richard. "What the Luddites Really Fought Against." Smithsonian. March 2011. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/What-the-Luddites-Really-Fought-Against.html
- History Extra Podcast. "26th July 2012." http://www.historyextra.com/podcast/26th-july-2012
- Jones, Richard. "At War with the Future." History Today. May 2012.
- National Archives. "Luddites." http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/politics/g3/default.htm
- The Luddite Link: http://www.ludditelink.org.uk/
- Sale, Kirkpatrick. "Rebels Against the Future." Addison-Wesley Publishing. 1995.
- Watson, Bruce. "For a while, the Luddites had a smashing success." Smithsonian. April 1993.