INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY AND ITS FUTURE
Introduction 1. The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster Tor the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in “advanced” countries, but they hitvc destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. Il will certainly subject human beings lo greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering even in “advanced” countries.
2. The industrial-technological system may survive or it may break down. If it survives, it may eventually achieve a low level of physical and psychological suffering, but only after passing through a long and very painful period of adjustment and only at the cost of permanently reducing human beings and many other living organisms lo engineered products and mere cogs in the social machine. Furthermore, if the system survives, the consequences will be inevitable; There is no way of reforming or modifying the system so as lo prevent it from depriving people of dignity and autonomy.
3. If (lie system breaks down the consequences will still be very painful. But the bigger the system grows the more disastrous the results of its breakdown will be, so if it is to break down il had best break down sooner rather than later.
4. We therefore advocate a revolution against ihe industrial system. This revolution may or may not make use of violence: il may he sudden or il may be a relatively gradual process spanning a few decades. We can’l predict any of that. Bui we do outline in n very general way the measures that those who hale the industrial system should take in order to prepare the way for a revolution against that form or society. This is not lo be a political revolution. Its object will be lo overt h ro w not governments but the economic and technological basis of Ihe present society.
5. In this mliclc we give atlcnlion to only some of ihe negative developments Hurt have grown out of llie industrial-technological system. Other such developments we mention only briefly or ignore altogether. This docs not mean that we regard these other developments as unimpor- tant, For practical reasons we have lo confine our discussion lo areas thai have received insufficient public attention or in which we have something new lo say. For example, since there arc well-developed environmental and wilderness movements, we have written very little about environmental degradation or the destruction of wild nature, even though we con- sider these lo be highly important. , – • The Psychology Of Modern Leftism
6. Almost everyone will agree that we live in a deeply troubled society. One of the most wide- spread manifestations of thecraziness of our world is leftism, so a discussion of the psychol- ogy of leftism can serve as an introduction to the discussion of ihe problems of modern soci- ety in general.
7. But what is leftism? During the first half of ihe 20th ceolury leftism could have been practi- cally identified with socialism. Today the movement is fragmented and il is not clear who can properly be called a leftist. When we speak of leftists in this article we have in mind mainly socialists, collectivism, “politically correct” types, feminists, gay and disability activists, ani- mal rights activists and the like. But not everyone who is associated with one of these move- , mcnls is a leftist. What we are trying to gel at in discussing leftism is not so much a movement or an ideology as a psychological type, Of rather a collection of related types.
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