Evil Luddite

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Science Is Bad? New Technology Is Evil? Ludd Was Right? Well, probably not. But don't tell that to these guys. They're utterly convinced that technology is evil...and so is anyone who uses it. They burn down factories, engage in Fantastic Racism against robots, Cyborgs and posthumans, call for the execution of people who have had life-saving surgery and lay siege to laboratories. If their motive or justification is religious, they will often overlap with The Fundamentalist. If their motive is environmentalism, then they're almost certainly part of an Animal Wrongs Group. Sometimes they don't really believe in what they're preaching and just want all that shiny, shiny tech for themselves.

Characters like this are generally villains in Science Fiction. In stories with a Nature Hero, they might exist (as the Big Bad or a second villainous faction) to provide a foil. A story where Ludd Was Right might have this accidentally if the protagonist is too much of a Designated Hero. Contrast with the generally peaceful Space Amish.

Examples of Evil Luddite include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex features a terrorist organisation who are opposed to cyborgs. While they aren't shown doing anything directly evil they did kidnap the teenage daughter of a CEO because she had a new cyberbrain treatment done to her. When the heroes find her, she looks about 70 (despite having only been in their "care" for less than 2 decades), has a daughter nearly as old as the time she was kidnapped and looking at her memories drove the last rescue team to suicide.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In Magnus, Robot Fighter #42, "Fear Unlimited", Derkaiser, leader of the anti-robot Rob-Routers, is actually Dr. Laszlo Noel, who wants to get rid of the robots so he can rule North Am himself. He tries a Not So Different speech on Magnus, who only smashes evil robots, and points out that Derkaiser is himself using robots to restrain the hero.
  • For the sake of sheer ridiculousness, the Marvel Comics supervillain Turner D. Century must be mentioned here. With his pinstriped suit and tandem bicycle, he meant to dial back society to its pre-1900s glory. He was killed along with several other villains in a Bad Guy Bar. Then his clone was killed by Deadpool. Needless to say, Marvel doesn't take him very seriously anymore—if they ever did.

Film[edit | hide]

  • The rebel people from Surrogates are portrayed as a bunch of redneck hicks.
  • The antagonist of the film Chain Letter is a technology-hating cult who kill people by sending them chain letters and offing them if the letters are not sent forward.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Maybe Anacreon and Korell from Foundation, who are against Foundation technology and are militaristic.
    • Subverted by Korell: they are against Foundation technology not so much because of being against technology as believing (before Mallow comes along, fairly correctly) that opening up the door to the Foundation's technology will open the door to the Religion of Science and allow the the Foundation to subvert them and ultimately make them into a puppet state. The Four Kingdoms plays it somewhat straighter, though - all of them were militaristic, Anacreon was just the strongest, and all of them were backwards and primitive to the point that the Foundation had to reintroduce science as a religion just to get over the reflexive suspicion of the populace.
  • Combined with Straw Hypocrite in some of the Terminator books. The Luddites end up enslaved to Skynet and happily helping it build technology to kill humans.
  • Phil Albright in the Firestar series, despite being a Luddite opposed to the private space program that will eventually save humanity, is an honest, decent bloke. Many of his followers, however, are utterly insane variations on Strawman Political, willing to murder and sabotage to keep Big Industry down.
  • Played with in Dune with the Teilaxu. In theory, they keep within the bounds of the Buterlian Jihad's proscriptions against thinking machines. However, instead of developing computers or other technology, they focus on biology, creating shapeshifters, clones of dead people, and other questionably ethical products.
  • In the world of Time Scout, the good guys are all enthusiastic about time travel and exploration, the bad guys want to shut it down because. Because.

Live Action Television[edit | hide]

  • On Star Trek Deep Space Nine, the episode "Paradise" features Space Amish whose leader (and her son) both turn out to be this trope (having marooned the rest on the planet by forcing them to forsake technology).
  • The Restorian of Andromeda who seek to end slipstream travel.
    • Ironically, their leader is an insane warship.
  • In Psych's Hashtag Killer game, the titular serial killer turns out to be an old greeting card maker and calligraphist who is incredibly bitter over the fact that the internet has "ruined" personal communication and put him out of business.

Tabletop RPG[edit | hide]

  • The Clockstoppers of Genius: The Transgression are Evil Luddites who have the power to nullify technology (that is, anything that could be considered a product of human ingenuity, right down to a sharpened stick).
  • The Jovian Republic from Eclipse Phase was founded by these. Granted they might have a point, as this is a setting ten years after the RobotApocalypse left Earth uninhabitable. At the same time, their higher-ups are not necessarily as opposed to tech as their party line suggests, it's just a way to keep all the shiny, shiny tech away from the unwashed masses.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Church of Yevon in Final Fantasy X claims that technology was what brought Sin on the world and encourage Fantastic Racism against the Al Bhed (who salvage and use technology). They have no problems using it themselves and know full well where Sin actually came from.
  • The Retros from Wing Commander Privateer are on the same level as the pirates and Kilrathi.
  • Deus Ex Invisible War: The Templars [the Luddite faction] are the ones responsible for murdering Chicago... with something hi-tech. Nobody else is even vaguely as terrorist, not even Apostle Corp.
  • Vega Strike has an Expy of Retros from Wing Commander, "Interstellar Church of True Form's Return" (as in, "Luddite meets Manifest Destiny theology"), whom everybody else calls Luddites—the nutty offshot of legitimate Purists faction.
  • The eponymous "Dark Project" in the first Thief game is the Trickster's plan to take humanity back to the Stone Age.
  • Several cases in Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, in part due to the fact that technology and magick interfere with each other. King Praetor of Cumbria forbids technology in his realm, because he came to power in a mage-backed coup d'etat, "disappearing" his brother to the Isle of Despair. Also the Dark Elves, though in this case Luddism is only part of their package (their objective is to restore Elven dominance over the world). Finally, in the Age of Legends, Arronax destroyed the technological civilization of Vendigroth because their technology was growing too advanced and threatened the dominance of the Elven Council.

Web Original[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The League of Flesh and Blood from an episode of Defenders of the Earth were a group of three individuals who claimed to despise robots and computers, claiming humans were becoming too dependent on them. As it turned out, this hatred was a result of them actually being androids, the realization of what they were causing a rather bad case of Pinocchio Syndrome.