George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” He should have added that the ahistorical are also immune to irony, as in the case of the Left calling itself “progressive.”
In the continuing quest to note that the Left is not progressive but, in fact, regressive, let us cast our gaze back to early 19th century Great Britain during the infancy of the Industrial Revolution, say, between 1811 and 1816. At the time, many of the crown’s subjects were adamantly opposed to the emergent technological wonders because of their concomitant and unpleasant ramifications. These original industrial counter-revolutionaries were known as “Luddites” and their rejectionist movement was termed “Luddism.”
While Luddism had many sympathetic adherents in the arts and in the press—those who were chiefly concerned about the loss of a wholly romanticized bucolic England—the ranks of the Luddites were composed of textile workers whose foremost concern was the economic harm to themselves caused by the increased use of machinery in the production of goods. Rightly worried they and their skills would be rendered obsolete, Luddites expressed their displeasure in protests and by sabotaging the offending machines, in a futile effort to spare their jobs from the flood of economic progress that ultimately improved the lot of humanity.
Fast forward to the early 21st-century Left, wherein reside the ideological progeny of the Luddites: namely, the industrial counter-revolutionaries of the climate change cult.
True, there are distinctions between the 19th-century Luddites and the Left’s 21st-century industrial counter-revolutionaries. Unlike the original Luddites who were concerned about saving their jobs, today’s industrial counter-revolutionaries aren’t particularly concerned about workers’ jobs, airily promising those at risk of losing their “blue collar jobs” that “green collar jobs” will replace them—someday.
So, too, though there is some overlap, today’s industrial counter-revolutionaries should not be confused with Neo-Luddites, which is a philosophy encompassing “one or more of the following practices: passively abandoning the use of technology, harming those who produce technology harmful to the environment, advocating simple living, or sabotaging technology.”
No, the industrial counter-revolutionaries do not condemn all past, present, and emerging technologies—only those they deem culpable in contributing to human-made climate change, such as those powered by fossil fuels. Theirs is a long list of offending technologies, nevermind that these once unimaginable innovations have enhanced people’s quality of life and, yes, have saved lives.
Thus, what their cumulative objections and demands constitute is a rejection of the Industrial Revolution in favor of a romanticized—indeed, delusional—future unsullied by any of what they arbitrarily deem “climate-destroying” technologies. But this is not really a vision of the future; it is an embrace of the past prior to the Industrial Revolution.
Consider the industrial counter-revolutionaries’ “cure” for my hometown of Detroit.
Founded by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac in 1701, Detroit began as a farming and Great Lakes port town. By the 20th century, the “Motor City” was renowned as the city whose workers “put the world on wheels”; and, during World War I and World War II, as the “Arsenal of Democracy” after it shifted domestic manufacturing production to help win those wars.
Sadly, since that time, Detroit has experienced many difficult moments, including race riots, a mass exodus of population, the loss of manufacturing jobs and facilities, and other ills that finally culminated in bankruptcies of two of its “Big Three” automakers and, later, the city, itself.
While many across the political spectrum supported the people of Detroit and worked to find solutions for returning manufacturing jobs to the city, in particular, and America, as a whole, the Left’s industrial counter-revolutionaries were less sanguine about the city’s quest to return to its former manufacturing greatness. Detroit was viewed as the epitome of America’s Industrial Revolution—and everything the industrial counter-revolutionaries hated about it, however real or imagined.
So what was the industrial counter-revolutionaries’ “solution” to Detroit’s economic situation?
To turn the Arsenal of Democracy into an urban farm.
Leftist pundits hailed this proposal as a visionary “reimaging” of the Motor City. It wasn’t. It was a return to 1701.
So why was such idiocy entertained, let alone hailed by the climate change cult? Because this unhelpful and illusory “solution” would advance the industrial counter-revolutionaries unhelpful and illusory goal of replacing capitalism with a return to socialism’s “hunter-gatherer” economy, where the government hunts and gathers your money in order to give it to its cronies.
On the plus side, the new socialist government will protect you from the scourge of air conditioning, if not from America’s enemies who are not so cavalier about the fates of their arsenals, which have nothing to do with democracy.
Speaking of air conditioning, this calls to mind another distinction between 18th-century Luddites and their 21st-century heirs: the original Luddites didn’t luxuriate in the benefits of the Industrial Revolution’s technological advances during their hardscrabble lives. Not so today’s wealthier industrial counter-revolutionaries, who can take to their laptops on a private jet or yacht to bitch about someone else’s carbon footprint and call for the repeal of the Industrial Revolution.
Which brings us to one more distinction between the original Luddites and today’s industrial counter-revolutionaries: hypocrisy, a vice rife throughout history.
Yet, despite such distinctions, what ideologically links an original Luddite and today’s “progressive” industrial counter-revolutionary and motivates their mutual regressive quest to return to a pre-industrial world is their fear of the future.
Nevertheless, perhaps I’m mistaken about the climate change cult’s industrial counter-revolutionaries. If so, after we don’t implement socialism in time and climate change kills us all in less than 12 years, then I’ll apologize.
But what I’ll never do is fear the future.
Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images