Thinking and Its Rhetorical Enemies

L.M. Sacasas

In one short post, Alan Jacobs targeted several Borg Complex symptoms. The post was triggered by his frustration with an xkcd comic which simply strung together a series of concerns about technological developments expressed in the late 19th and early 20th century. The implicit message was abundantly clear: “Wasn’t that silly and misguided? Of course it was. Now stop your complaining about technology today.”

Jacobs raised four salient points in response:

1. “Why do we just assume that their concerns were senseless?”

2. While we may endorse the trade-offs new technologies entail, “it would be ridiculous to say that no trade has been made.”

3. “Moreover, even if people were wrong to fear certain technologies in the past, that says absolutely nothing about whether people who fear certain other technologies today are right or wrong.”

4. This sort of thing presents “an easy excuse not to think about things…

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