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You can’t stop progress. Automation is going to continue to do the jobs of humans, which is one of the reasons why universal basic income needs to be a thing. The continual scramble of so many to earn a living makes me sympathetic to the plight of the Luddites. Lord Byron certainly felt compassion for them.
--On This Day in History, Shit Went Down: February 27, 1812--
Today, a “Luddite” is someone who needs his wife to be his technical support in exchange for him doing the cooking because he only knows how to use a computer as a glorified typewriter to write sweary history stories. Luddites allegedly took their name from Ned Ludd who supposedly got pissed off at modernity putting him out of work and broke some mechanical knitting machines in 1779. Finding their beginnings in 1810 in England, the Luddites were a secret organization of textile workers who smashed the machines that were making their hard-earned skills obsolete because the machines produced textiles faster and cheaper than they could, and were operated by cheap labor.
“Don’t fuck with capitalism.” –Governments o’er the land. Continues below …
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The British government did what it usually did when someone pissed them off: sent in the army. The army soon had more soldiers fighting Luddites than they did in the Napoleonic Wars. After a series of clashes, they said fuck it—time to make being a Luddite a capital offense. On Valentine’s Day 1812, Parliament introduced the Frame Breaking Act, so that anyone caught breaking a stocking frame (a mechanized loom) would be executed. Fuckin’ harsh.
Poet Lord Byron thought it was harsh too. On February 27, 1812, in his first address as a member of the House of Lords, he made an impassioned speech in defense of wrecking industrial shit. They were driven to it, he said. “The perseverance of these miserable men in their proceedings, tends to prove that nothing but absolute want could have driven a large and once honest and industrious body of the people into the commission of excesses so hazardous to themselves, their families, and the community.” He said they were guilty of “the capital crime of poverty.” Byron even attempted to shame his peers by saying he was recently in Turkey, which he said was “under the most despotic of infidel governments,” yet even there he did not “behold such squalid wretchedness as I have seen since my return, in the very heart of a Christian country.” The Muslims are better than us, for fucksake!
They didn’t listen, and several dozen Luddites were hanged over the next two years. Then they said eh that’s a little harsh let’s repeal it and just ship the fuckers to Australia. So they did that for a few years then decided they missed hanging people and brought the capital punishment back in 1817, but by then the Luddites had largely ceased to exist as a movement.
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"Today, a “Luddite” is someone who needs his wife to be his technical support in exchange for him doing the cooking because he only knows how to use a computer as a glorified typewriter to write sweary history stories"
I believe this belongs on your top ten list of great saying.