When I speak of knowledge of nature, I do not mean industrial science, which argues that nature is inert and can be understood only to enable humans to manipulate it. I mean that sense of nature that Aldo Leopold had in mind when he said, "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community, wrong when it tends otherwise.
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That is the onslaught. It has been going on a long time, I argue, but in the 20th century humans have certainly perfected it, extending domination to every single corner of the earth and our Homo sapiens population to more than 6 billion - until no place is untouched by despoliation.
That is certainly the point: when the human species was born, on the African savanna, life was pretty good; we could live in harmony with the rest of nature, and that's what I've been calling Eden. The only technologies that humans devised for some 2 million years were fire and the hand ax. That's all. Eden didn't need anything more
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My analysis, especially of the computer revolution, always comes back to capitalism. It's that economic system that has led to Western civilization's willingness to enslave ourselves to machines - because some people benefit enormously from it, while the costs are borne by other people and the planet.
The virtue of small government is that the mistakes are small as well...If you want to leave a nation you think is corrupt, inefficient, militaristic, oppressive, repressive, but you don't want to move to Canada or France, what do you do? Well, the way is through secession, where you could stay home and be where you want to be.
Governments, existing primarily to protect and enhance capitalism, maintain their power through the use of technologies that control the populace - by bread or circuses, by war or schooling, by armies and police, all of which are enabled and empowered by technology. That is what we might call the stick part of capitalism, while the riches-for-the-few is the carrot.
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So the technology that does the least alteration of nature, the least harm to other species and systems, and provides the greatest intimacy of human with nature, is the best. We could make a scale with that in mind, and judge any technology by its place on that scale: speech and eyeglasses, say, would rank low; nuclear bombs and coal plants, high.
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