Modern technology has become a total phenomenon for civilization, the defining force of a new social order in which efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all human activity.
I have long had mixed feelings about technology. On the one hand, I regard the Industrial Revolution as, perhaps, the most important period in our known human history; having allowed us to both understand and act within social systems that maximized our capacities for the production and exchange of the material values that sustain life. The earlier advances provided by the agricultural revolution, combined with industrialization meant that our nutritional menus were no longer confined to the bugs, berries, and tree barks from which our hunting-and-gathering ancestors made their daily dietary selections.
On the other hand, while technologies have largely been created by individuals, they generally end up being financed by and housed within institutions. We become attached to the technologies we associate with the quality of our lives. If Congress, or an imperious president, were to announce that we could keep our Internet connections only if we allowed the state to monitor all our communications; how many of us would reject the proposal? And how many would eagerly accept, lest we lose access to the machinery we believe necessary for our material well-being?
Boundaries of Order: P…
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Men and women desirous of living in a world of peace and individual liberty need look no further than to discover whether the principle of privately owned property is respected. Societies in which thinking is dominated by the promotion of material wealth tend to allow this…