Re: Luddites attack genegineered crop

den Otter (
Fri, 24 Oct 1997 16:20:03 +0100

> "den Otter" <> writes:
> > Kathryn Aegis <> wrote:
> > >
> > > I think that, in the light of the resurgence of this sort of direct
> > > sabatoge, I would like to nominate _Rebels from the Future_ for
> > > inclusion on the Extropian mailing list. It benefits every Extropian

> > > to possess a complete understanding of the origins and present state
> > > of the luddite/neoluddite movement.
> >
> > Actually, you can tell these luddites are scum even without knowing
> > too much about their background and general history, methinks.
> > The genlabs simply need better protection, like guards that hit first
> > and ask questions later, or some vicious dogs.
Anders Sandberg wrote:

> That position is dangerous, and doesn't solve anything.
It *does* prevent the destruction of important research material and
equipment, so the most urgent problem is solved.

> It would
> likely just mean a more polarized situation, more violent luddites and
> even less public support for genetic engineering - if something is
> surrounded by barbed wire and dangerous guards, it cannot be good,
> right?
True, violence (even if it's rightfully defending one's property)
might trigger more violence and give you a bad image. Unfortunately the
*opposite* isn't true: if you put up no resistance whatsoever and leave
your facilities wide open the activists will attack them anyway. This most
recent incident only proves my point. Besides, most people already have
this image (guards, dogs, barbed wire etc.) of genlabs, so there isn't
much to spoil. Most industrial facilities, department stores, warehouses
etc. have high profile security anyway, and nobody really minds. So why not
research facilities? In fact, if your defenses aren't really dangerous
(ok, forget the guards and the dogs), and even have a funny note to them,
they might actually *help to boost your image*. The squirtguns with smelly
goo (that glows in the dark) could be both effective and good for P.R. Kick
ass gently,and with a smile...

> Most of the truly dangerous luddites are not the activists; the
> activitsts could just as well be attacking meat trucks, abortion
> clinics or racist organisations, their luddism is mostly just a
> convenient reason to be an activist. The real danger comes from the
> "normal people", who can be much more dangerous for research and
> development by the power of public opinion, voting and spending money,
> and the people who can convince them that genetic engineering is
> unnatural, evil and dangerous. No amount of guards, barbed wire and
> dogs can protect againste Jeremy Rifkin and the other
> biofundamentalists.
I fully agree with you here, but it is no reason to leave the research
facilities/abortion clinics undefended. Barbed wire might not stop
technophobe ideology, but *words* don't stop shotguns, iron
bars and molotov cocktails. The battle against ignorance and malice
must be fought with means appropriate for the specific occasion. Defending
yourself and/or your property isn't un-transhuman afaik.

> To quote somebody who was interviewed on Swedish television
> (unfortunately without the regional dialect which really made it
> funny): "There should be an end to progress so people can keep their
> jobs!". That view is dangerously common, and people in general fear
> change despite the fact that it helps them in the long run. It is very
> easy to use this fear to strike against proponents or technologies of
> change such as genetic engineering, the Internet och
> transhumanists. Think about it.
I've thought about it a lot. I don't see anyone attacking the internet now
or in the (near) future, unless it attacks us first (which is at least
theoretically possible). Transhumanism might be attacked (regardless
of what its proponents might say or do) when it gets "too big for comfort".
Right now transhumanists are usually seen as a bunch of computer
nerds with silly SF fantasies, harmless Utopians. When there will be
more the government and the press and (thus) the public _might_
"rediscover" them and some "incriminating evidence" will be fabricated to
justify persecution. Its been done time and again...

Hodi mihi, cras tibi