Luddism and Luddite are terms that are often used in a derogatory manner to denote people who object in principle to certain advances in technology, or to describe individuals who either struggle unsuccessfully to use a particular technology or just like to complain about said technology.
The original Luddites were textile artisans whose livelihood became threatened by the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in England. At that time Luddism inspired some protests that resulted in sabotage to automated factories as well as the need for new laws to be written to protect emerging industry. Sometimes the term "neo-Luddite" is used to refer to more contemporary opponents of technology.
Luddites both past and present have tended to be selective insofar as they can be shown to have gladly adopted some technologies while objecting to others.The objections to technology raised by Luddites fall into various categories. Some examples are:
- Political objections (technologies of governmental control lead to oppression)
- Spiritual objections * (technologies contribute to dehumanization and alienation)
The French Huguenot theologian/philosopher Jacques Ellul was a Christian anarchist who put forth perhaps the best known and most influential spiritual arguments against what he called "technique," a word that refers not so much to machinery as to the various systems and efficiencies to which modern humans are routinely subjected.