Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anti-Technologists Resort to Violence

Targeting academics investigating nanotechnology apparently:
A package bomb that injured two professors at a university here this month is the latest in a string of attacks by a new terror group inspired by the Unabomber. Its violent actions have put campuses across Mexico on alert and caused nanotechnology researchers worldwide to take precautions with their mail.

Nanotechnology was singled out as a target for the attacks in manifestos posted on the Web by the group behind the bombs, which calls itself "Individualities Tending Toward Savagery." It has been linked to attacks in France, Spain, and Chile, and to a bomb sent earlier this year to a scientist at another Mexican university who specializes in nanotech. An analyst who helped identify the Unabomber—who turned out to be a former professor—says the posts show signs of someone well-educated who could be affiliated with a college.

The online rants credit the Unabomber as an inspiration. The Unabomber, a former professor of mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley named Theodore Kaczynski, spread fear in academe for nearly 20 years with his mail-bombing campaign, which killed three professors and wounded 23 others until he was arrested, in 1996. Today he sits in a federal prison in Colorado with no chance of parole, but he continues to write articles calling for a revolution to achieve his dream of an end of technology and a return to hunter-gatherer societies.
(via Jamais Cascio).

While I have major reservations about some directions of current technological development, the use of violence to oppose it is deplorable and counterproductive. Peaceful protest and the ballot box are the ways to achieve societal change. Furthermore, the goal of returning to a hunter-gatherer society is ridiculous in a world of almost seven billion people.  Hopefully the criminal(s) will be caught and tried expeditiously.

10 comments:

TiradeFaction said...

Personally, I think a return to Hunter Gatherer lifestyles are undesirable even if we had the appropriate population base. But that's just me...

King of the Road said...

What TiradeFaction said.

Stephen B. said...

Just because something is ridiculous or undesirable doesn't mean it won't happen.

(Not that I'm saying it *will* happen.)

theroachman said...

On a related note. A good read on your more deep ecologist is Derrick Jensen. Start with the two books called endgame.

Hal said...

"Peaceful protest and the ballot box are the ways to achieve societal change."

Maybe, maybe not. But violence is a surefire way NOT to make a change.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

I, too, am a radical pacifist... What Hal said... squared.

brett said...

Perhaps you could do a post about the effectiveness of peaceful protest and electoral participation. I think there is a growing feeling that these methods are worthless, at least for moving in an environmentally protective direction. But it would be interesting to see some numbers.

Glenn said...

I'd prefer they follow the example of Ned Ludd. He and the other weavers reacted to technology caused unemployment (and the political/social/economic system) by attacking the machines, rather than killing people.

I think these bombings are a sign that we still aren't very good at distributing the benefits of new technology yet. Good solutions are probable social and political rather than technological.

TheOldTechnician said...

Almost all new manufacturing technology causes some unemployment to occur. But then even more people become employed as people don't just use that new technology for its original intend but find ever more uses for it. The population of the US is about 300 million, with about a 9% unemployment rate.

Compare this to 1982, with the same unemployment rate or the 1930's with much higher unemployment rates, but with lower populations. Technology wasn't nearly advanced in those days as now, but we employ more people now.

See wikipedia "united states unemployment rate".

Stuart Staniford said...

TheOldTechnician - the unemployment rate only measures people actively looking for work - ie the fairly recently unemployed. I prefer to look at employment/population ratios which have fallen very much since the 1970s , especially amongst the less-educated. Poke about it in

http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/search/label/unemployment

for the various stats.