The enemies of the Industrial Revolution—its displaced persons—were of the
kind that had fought human progress for centuries, by every means available. In
the Middle Ages, their weapon was the fear of God. In the nineteenth century,
they still invoked the fear of God—for instance, they opposed the use of
anesthesia on the grounds that it defies God’s will, since God intended men to
suffer. When this weapon wore out, they invoked the will of the collective, the
group, the tribe. But since this weapon has collapsed in their hands, they are
now reduced, like cornered animals, to baring their teeth and their souls, and
to proclaiming that man has no right to exist—by the divine will of inanimate
The demand to “restrict” technology is the demand to restrict man’s mind. It
is nature—i.e., reality—that makes both these goals impossible to achieve.
Technology can be destroyed, and the mind can be paralyzed, but neither can be
restricted. Whenever and wherever such restrictions are attempted, it is the
mind—not the state—that withers away.