Bring Back the Luddites

I read it over and over. “President X can’t possibly bring back jobs, because ROBOTS. AUTOMATION.” People write it as if they were saying ‘President X can’t possibly fly because GRAVITY.” As if increased automation were an irresistible force of nature.

Know what I hate? I hate when the parochial interests of one segment of society become enshrined as irresistible forces of nature. As a scientist I hate it on two levels – not just the political corruption but the incoherence. Know what was an irresistible force of nature? Smallpox.

Tell me that we could overcome smallpox but we can’t overcome automation. It becomes obvious that you’re talking nonsense, and giving a pass to the people who benefit from automating away all the jobs in the country except their own, and those of the politicians who enable them.

I’ll tell you what’s a real force of nature; unless we start killing unwanted people, they are going to hang around for decades, and they will do something with their time and their energy and their anger and their desire to, I dunno, have meaning? Have money? I’ve been saying this for years, I know, and for years they weren’t doing anything and I would have looked like a fool if anyone were looking at me.

This year, I don’t feel so foolish.


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