Re: LUDD: "The left is to blame for scaremongering"

From: Neal Blaikie (
Date: Mon Mar 26 2001 - 15:08:28 MST

Michael Lorrey wrote:

> I don't see right wing libertarians being against new technology
> whatsoever. Luddism reflects a fundamentalist worldview at its core, no
> matter how it is manifested and spliced into one's other dogma. Marxists
> can be as fundamentalist as Shiites, Baptists, Feminists, etc. in
> demanding a respect for a pure representation of some past dogma. Harvey
> and Neal are right to say that the left is not alone in its Luddism,
> however to date they have been better organized, funded, and extremist
> in taking action for their cause, much along the lines of the
> anti-abortion radical christians of the early 90's. While radical
> christians have been generally discredited in claiming to be christians
> and terrorists simultaneously, thus limiting their support, radical
> leftists have no such dogmatic qualms against taking extreme action, and
> thus the work of Ted Kazinski has continued to inspire and excite those
> on the left interested in bringing down capitalism and industrial
> technology to establish a primitivist state.

Hmmm. An interesting conflation of viewpoints. While I would certainly agree with
you that fundamentalist Marxists (or at least people who self-identify as such) have
an equal propensity for extremism as the other groups you mentioned, I don't think
Marxists are representative of the left in the US. Most people I know who identify
themselves as liberal have little knowledge or understanding of Marx (and wouldn't
care to), and are not anti-technology, anti-reason, or anti-capitalist. Quite the
contrary. They align themselves more with what I would call standard liberalism--you
know, like FDR or JFK style liberalism (or at least what they perceive this to be).
This means they are interested in such "libertarian" issues as freedom from
oppression, social justice, self-betterment, and having a society that works and is
safe. This is over-simplified, of course, but my main point is that most ordinary
citizens who call themselves liberals are far removed from the extremist Marxists
you are referring to, and always will be. I really believe that the radical leftists
you refer to in your last sentence are an obnoxious and very loud minority, and I
can't picture any reasonable liberals being inspired by Kazinski or his ilk. Very
few people on any part of the political spectrum honestly want to go back to a
pre-technological way of life (as if that were even possible, or ever has been). I
don't think Pol Pot is considered to be a good role model by any sane person!

A question: what exactly is a "right wing libertarian"? This seems contradictory to
me, since the right wing in the US has always been more interested in maintaining
social control than promoting liberty (although they pay it incessant lip service).
Or are you saying that libertarianism has its own political continuum, and there are
"right wing" and "left wing" and even "moderate" libertarians? This seems
unnecessarily complicated to me.

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