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Evil Luddite

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"The old ways are better. Simple. Built to last. Like this submarine. Modern machines... all software, less hardware. You put too much faith in them. Man is the superior machine. And I... am the superior man. I'm told you refuse to talk, and that you welcome pain. I, too, love pain. And I love to make others feel it... using the old ways."
Anton Ivanov, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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 Transhumans, 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 Eco-Terrorist 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. See also Evil Reactionary, who opposes modern changes to society, rather than to technology (naturally, the two may overlap) and Technophobia in which the character can have an aversion for technology, but not to the point of being this trope (but may overlap, too). On the scale of Romanticism Versus Enlightenment, they're the antagonists in Enlightenment works, especially if they're enemies against the Science Hero.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Creation Alchemist Enjoys Freedom has the case of Duke Bragas Regus. The Dolgaria Empire where the story originates already suffers from Klingon Scientists Get No Respect, but the duke takes it a step further. He looks upon the very concept of research and development with nothing but disgust, berating his son Thor for being an alchemist and thus a non-combatant, to the point he tries to drive the boy to suicide, but when Thor rightly points out that not only are the Holy Weapons the empire's proud of badly deteriorating from age and wear and tear, but it's only a matter of time before someone comes along and can out-strip the empire's tech if nothing is done, Bragas goes absolutely apoplectic, destroying a table with a single punch, screaming that it's an insult to the otherworld heroes who gave the empire their holy weapons in the first place in trying to make something better. And after banishing Thor to what he believes to be certain death, renders him unconscious with a blow to the stomach for good measure.
  • Dr. STONE has Shishiou Tsukasa. His life experiences led him to believe that modern society is irredeemably corrupt, so when he's resurrected from a mysterious event that turned all of humanity into stone statues, he sees the loss of technology as an opportunity to start over in a more "pure" state with the only technology allowed in his Empire of Might being Stone Tools and Rope Bridges. His hatred of the modern world is so great that he quickly goes from being an ally of the protagonist, Senku Ishigami, to a deadly enemy once he realizes that Senku has enough scientific knowledge to restore civilization.
  • 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 in Season 1 Episode 13, 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.
  • Hunter × Hunter: The citizens of Neo-Green Life reject any technology newer than agriculture. While they seem to do this because they feel strongly about preserving nature, their extreme take on the ideology is quickly shown to be impractical and dangerous—having medical implants is a capital offense, and no one in NGL would try to stop an epidemic, for example. The country's founder is later revealed to have created NGL because he had a hellish upbringing and wanted to ruin other people's lives on a grand scale, using the nation's laws as a shield to hide a massive shadow drug trade operation.

    Asian Animation 
  • Agent Ali: The elderly antagonist Analogman firmly believes that technology causes the loss of moral values. He is not present on Cyberaya's GRID which keeps data of every citizen, and he speaks of the poor conditions of the slums in the outskirts, where Cyberaya has little intel on. Analogman's weapons follow a Steampunk motif with a cane well-adapted for combat and lots of Time Bombs with analogue clock faces.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: In Mistfall, Grell, like most of his race, is opposed to advanced technology because he believes it is an anathema to nature, but unlike most of them, he is willing to employ violent means to achieve his ends. He even attacks the TARDIS console when he sees it: his brain unable to cope with the whole 'bigger on the inside' issue.

    Comic Books 
  • The Gnishians in Descender, who are fanatical in their desire to wipe out all robots.
  • In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, the Paperinik supervillain "The Analogue Knight" is one, wanting to transform the world back into one where the most advanced form of technology is the steam engine.
  • Infinity introduces Fulmina, an obnoxious Inhuman obsessed with wiping out tech so that mankind can return to a "better" time.
  • 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" Remark speech on Magnus, who only smashes evil robots, and points out that Derkaiser is himself using robots to restrain the hero.
  • The Marvel Comics supervillain Turner D. Century has elements of this, though he is more of an Evil Reactionary. With his pinstriped suit and tandem bicycle, he meant to dial back society to its pre-1900s glory (not only because he disliked technology, but because he detested how cultural values had changed; in other words, he was a bigot and a chauvinist). He was killed along with several other villains in the Bar With No Name during the original Scourge of the Underworld storyline. Then his clone was killed by Deadpool. Marvel doesn't take him seriously anymore — if they ever did.
  • An interesting version in The Outsider. Dr. Sivana's grand plan, specifically named after Ned Ludd, turns out to be to destroy all technology on Earth with a device that will also wipe the memories of every intelligent being on the planet, leaving them all blank slates for him to mold and rebuild in his own image, and let him shape a new technological foundation.
  • The Surrogates has the creator of the surrogate technology merely try to shut all the surrogates down, not kill everyone connected to a surrogate. After that happens, the rebels march through the city but only burn down the surrogate factory.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Wheller's un-named AU depicts Celestia as one of these, mostly from flashbacks narrated, or involving, Luna. Ultimately subverted at the climax of End Of The Line when it's revealed that Celestia was only being Necessarily Evil to prevent Luna from becoming a Galactic Conqueror. Despite this rebuilding the pedestal, Twilight conceals the truth so that Equestria can move forward without her.
  • In Sonic X: Dark Chaos, Cosmo dimly remembers the Ironwood, a powerful religious cult in the Seedrian fleet which blamed technology for the destruction of their race because of Tsali (who they saw as divine punishment for their sins) and regarded all technology as evil. They ended up influencing Hertia and becoming a powerful political force.
  • In The Universiad, the Equality Party, otherwise known as "Equalists", are a movement that seeks the banning of all augmentations. Given that augs are ubiquitous even among the civilians and are necessary to counter Forum-exclusive diseases, only a tiny number of diehards take them as anything more than an annoyance at best.

    Film — Live Action 
  • The plot of The 6th Day is kicked off by a Luddite assassinating the Big Bad Drucker and his entourage because the former is a clone. Since Adam switched places with Hank, both men end up cloned as part of the coverup/mixup. Then the Luddite shows up and murders Hank again for being a clone, which he literally knew nothing about and was through no fault of his own. This is justified by the Luddite saying they're abominations with no souls, as he's also The Fundamentalist.
  • in Bedeviled, Mr. Bedevil's motivation is that he despises how complacent humanity has gotten with the advent of technology, and believes man has forgotten how to fear.
  • The antagonist of the film Chain Letter (2010) is a technology-hating cult who kill people by sending them chain letters, and offing them if the letters are not sent forward.
  • Let the Fire Burn: MOVE's overriding philosophy, focusing on returning to a hunter-gatherer society without science, technology, or medicine. They also have an active webpage.
  • The Ωmega Man: The Family is an entire group full of them—Mathias believes that anything and everything Man has made (from cars to guns to paintings) is a sign of his corruption and must be destroyed.note  Once the last scientist on Earth is dead at his hands, the survivors are forced to leave the city to live lives of backbreaking agrarian toil in the countryside.
  • The Dread rebels from Surrogates, who despise Surrogacy and want to destroy it, are portrayed as a bunch of redneck hicks. However, they are seen as having a point; as their charismatic leader, the Prophet, says, the widespread use of surrogates have cheapened human interaction. The protagonist's decision to allow surrogate technology to be destroyed is also treated fairly positively in the ending, despite current society relying on them.
  • In Transcendence, RIFT is willing to use violence to prevent what they see as artificial intelligence destroying humanity. This is contrasted with Will, who never once kills or even significantly hurts anyone even when being attacked. The trailers and narrative partially wants us to root for them (because obviously the Caster A.I. wants to Take Over the World), but the discovery that the Caster A.I. is Will and that his actions so far have been for the sake of fulfilling his wife's dream of a better world and the fact that RIFT has condemned an immense amount of people to death or worse by kicking the world back to early industrial stages through destroying the Caster A.I. (and them seeing this as an acceptable sacrifice before starting the final attack) surely showcases where they are in the end.

  • The Age of Madness: There are two Luddite factions in Valbeck, and they are implied to be local cells of larger movements. The Breakers don't necessarily oppose industrialization, but want better conditions for workers both on and off the job. The Burners are this trope, seeking to destroy the machinery and enact petty vengeance on its owners.
  • In The Alchemy War, the Dutch are in something of a technological stasis, with the only real development happening through the horologists. However the horologists are so jealous of their secrets and so dismissive of the needs of other aspects of society, especially commerce, that they have actually purposely stymied innovation by hording their secrets and actively preventing new inventions outside of the guild.
  • The world government Brave New World turns out to be this, despite all their preaching that science is good, basic science is banned, as they think any innovations could disturbed their utopia. Once a scientist was smart enough to realize they were just following a recipe book without adding anything new or even understanding how it works he was given the choice between exile or be one of the World controllers and enforce the ban on basic science himself. Something of a deconstruction of the trope, in that they welcome technology (particularly, technology that allows them to exert control over people). What they have banned, in effect, is change: social change, political change, cultural change etc.
  • In A Canticle for Leibowitz, the Simplification was the backlash of a group of self-proclaimed "simpletons" against scientists and other intellectuals, whom they blamed for the Flame Deluge. Leibowitz himself was one of their victims. The initial movement quickly get out of hand and turned into a very literal witch hunt. First the politicians, then scientists, teachers, students, and finally people who can read.
  • Digitesque: Venshi hates all the technology of the ancients, and portrays herself as a priest of the gods in order to have an excuse to slowly destroy them all. In the second book, she tries to trick Isavel into destroying the artificial afterlife, with just enough twisted information that it's clear she does know the truth and is deliberately lying. It turns out she's actually a pre-Fall human in an android shell, who was trying to destroy everything even before the Fall. Despite how stagnant the world is now, she insists that it's better than the world before because of her efforts. Isavel seals her under a mountain.
  • Dragonriders of Pern: The Abominators, a group of people who distrusted the rediscovered technology that was introduced into Pern society by AIVAS during the Ninth Pass and considered AIVAS itself an abomination that was threatening their way of life. The first group successfully kidnapped MasterHarper Robinton, intending to use him as a hostage and only releasing him if AIVAS was destroyed, but they were ultimately captured and exiled (and their actions hastened Robinton's own death). A second group appeared several years later during The Skies of Pern, trying to destroy the new Crafthalls that had come into being as a result of the reintroduced technologies, but they were rendered mostly defunct when their leader tried to invade AIVAS' main chamber (again, as he'd been part of the first group) and was killed by the still active defenses.
  • 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.
    • The prequel novels set during and after the time of the Butlerian Jihad have Rayna Butler (the niece of the first Corrino Emperor) start the fanatical Butlerian movement, which involves destroying any piece of advanced technology justifying their actions with the Slippery Slope Fallacy. After the end of the Jihad, Rayna Butler and her successor Manford Torondo continue to use the fanatical mobs to enforce the rules. Manford even has the gall to dictate terms to the Emperor, decreeing that any technology that is placed on his list is to be banned and destroyed. Not satisfied, he forces all worlds to officially pledge their support for his movement. He even bullies Emperor Salvador into giving the Butlerians two hundred warships to enforce the decree. Later, he decides that this is not enough and demands an even more radical pledge that requires all people to swear loyalty to him and sentences anyone using a machine to death. Manford has no qualms about riling up the mobs in the Imperial capital city and setting them loose to vent off steam. Manford call it "harmless" despite the deaths and destruction of property, including Prince Roderick's little daughter. His hated enemy Josef Venport isn't that much better, although he is portrayed as slightly more sympathetic, although even Venport is eventually forced to respond with atrocities of his own (such as sending his own new cymeks to obliterate a village on a remote world). When Gilbertus Albans, the first Mentat who was secretly raised by the independent robot Erasmus, objects to the new pledge on the grounds that it's too vague, Manford shows up with a huge mob threatening to burn the whole mentat school down if Gilbertus doesn't make the pledge. Later, after Gilbertus is outed as a "machine sympathizer", Manford has him publicly beheaded despite previously promising that Gilbertus would be safe in his custody.
  • 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.
  • The Foundation Trilogy:
    • "The Traders": Planet Askone associates all high tech with the First Empire (except for the few starships and such they managed to take when the Empire withdrew from their planet). To avoid the vices of the Empire, they shun science and the trade of sacrilegious technology.
    • "The Merchant Princes": Korell is a subversion of the usual Luddite; they're not against Foundation technology, but against Foundation religion, which (before Mallow comes along) was a required part of any technological trade. Allowing the Religion of Science would mean allowing the Foundation to subvert them and ultimately make them into a puppet state, like what happened to Askone from "The Traders".
  • The Horde in Green Angel are religious extremists who blow up a city, intending for it to be an example for humanity to abandon technology and return women's status to medieval times.
  • Honor Harrington has a few versions due to the Culture Chop Suey of the setting, but the main example would be the Masadans, also known as The Faithful of the Church of Humanity Unchained. The church altogether started as a Space Amish community that set out to start their own Lost Colony free of technology and the evils of society, but learned too late that the planet they settled was a Death World where technology would be required to survive. The differences between the Faithful and more mainstream members of the resulting colony on the planet Grayson lead to a planet-wide civil war and multiple interstellar conflicts after the Masadans left to form their own colony in a nearby star system, with the conflict only drawing to a close when both planets got caught up in the Haven-Manticore Warnote . The irony of a colony of Luddites engaging in multiple interstellar wars is remarked upon.
  • Robert, the main bad guy in the Joe Pickett novel Below Zero, is a crazed environmentalist obsessed with undoing his father's (and others) carbon footprint, to the point where he is willing to commit murder. His final act is to attempt to shut down a coal-fired power station.
  • In The Mist, Carmody seems to think that any scientific advance past 1940 is an affront to God. Stem cells and abortions are surprisingly her last appeals to Science Is Bad, although she appears to be going roughly in chronological order.
    Carmody: We are being punished! For what? For going against the will of God! For going against His forbidden rules of old! Walking on the moon! Or... or splitting His atoms! Or... or... or stem cells, and abortions!
  • Subverted with the Yuuzhan Vong in the New Jedi Order series. They hate the technology of the New Republic, believing it an affront to the gods, but they themselves use organic analogs to most of it.
  • In The Shadowspawn, the vampire elders on the Council of Shadows want society to be the way it was when they were young, and hate modern technology and culture shift. Their preferred solution to the problem is to kill off 95 % of the world population and destroy all advanced technology, reducing life back to the simpler and better model of the (early) 19th century or thereabouts.
  • In Shirley, the factory workers (who are actual Luddites) murder a manufacturer and try to attack Robert Moore's factory. They nearly attack Helstone's house but are stopped when the dog barks.
  • Starsnatcher: Sye and their organization (which Lucas dubs Order of the Burning Pyramid) are very much this. Their banner even refers to a historical event where one of their members drove a large aircraft into an arcology 9/11-style.
  • The Sword of the Spirits trilogy by John Christopher. Most of civilization was destroyed by a worldwide ecological disaster. Due to the Future Imperfect trope, the descendants of those who survived assume it was due to a nuclear war. Therefore all post-medieval technology is forbidden and anyone trying to use science is put to death.
  • In the Terminator novels (which came out before the third movie), the Luddites are deluded Hypocrites who are perfectly willing to serve the evil AI that nearly annihilated the human race and incidentally caused massive environmental damage, as well. Even Skynet thinks they're deluded nuts, but finds them too useful to eliminate.
  • 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.
  • "Trends": Otis Eldridge incites people against the pursuit of scientific advancement, personified in the form of John Harman, who is trying to build a rocketship to The Moon.
  • Victoria gives us the Deep Greeners and their state of Cascadia, which takes environmental protection to such a degree their citizens must sometimes prove their right to air. Totally unlike the heroes, who are Good Luddites who only want to get out of cities for a pastoral existence without 20th Century technology.
  • The Year When Stardust Fell, a 1958 sci-fi juvenile by Raymond F. Jones. Earth has been caught in the tail of a comet whose particles have caused all metal to bind together. A Rabble Rouser and a 'witch' (a senile old lady whose ravings are now seen as prophecy), working on resentment over how community resources are being used to keep a scientific research centre going, encourage a mob to burn it down right when the scientists have made a breakthrough. However a Downer Ending is averted as they're able to spread their discovery via ham radio.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In "Hot Potato Soup", Ivanov distrusts modern technology. At one point he decides that he needs to double-check the data produced by Radcliffe's brain-scan interrogation of Billy by torturing the information out of him to see if it matches, even though the whole point of the brain scan was to remove the need for torture in the first place. As the page quote indicates, he believes the human body itself to be a machine superior to any other, and himself to be a human superior to any other.
  • The Restorians of Andromeda who seek to end slipstream travel. Ironically, their founder and leader is an insane warship.
  • The Neo-Luddites of Beforeigners are a terrorist organization founded by arrivals from the 19th century. Their up-time recruits are pretty effective: one time, they succeeded in globally disrupting the Internet by preventing atomic clocks from syncing with each other. The time-displaced 19th century Luddites, on the other hand, are so hilariously bad with tech that they border on Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, and are an in-universe laughing-stock.
  • Dark Angel: The May 22 Movement (named for Ted Kaczynski's birthday, who's their inspiration) are a terrorist group who believe that genetic modification is an abomination that has to be stopped. As a result, they take hostages at a conference where gene therapy is being shown.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Invasion of the Dinosaurs", Operation: Golden Age plans to use a rudimentary time machine to return the Earth outside London to a pre-technological age, erasing most of the human race from history so that they can repopulate the planet with eugenically-selected "colonists".
    • In "Kerblam!", the villain, Charlie the janitor, is so afraid of Job-Stealing Robots that he's willing to murder thousands of Kerblam!'s innocent customers to turn people against automated workforces.
  • The Big Bad of Season 4 of The Flash (2014), Clifford De Voe/The Thinker turns out to have a rather pessimistic view of technology and modern society in general. He believes that not only does technology need to be removed, but humanity itself needs to be "rebooted" (read: effectively lobotomized) in order to "keep them from using technology as a crutch". He plans to use a network of satellites to forcibly dumb everyone down and rule over the world as an "enlightened despot". De Voe's wife, Marlize, does share that sentiment to a significant extent, but later evokes it upon her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Manhunt: Unabomber: Kaczynski's bombing campaign is motivated by his belief that technology is enslaving us. He himself lives off the grid, in an isolated cabin in Montana.
  • NTSF:SD:SUV::: One bad guy of the week is a former book store owner who went out of business after the rise of smartphones and the internet and became the King of the Homeless. His evil plot consists of shutting down the internet to force people to interact with each other.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Final Appeal, Part 2", Ezekiel, whose real name is Daniel Faraday, is convinced that advanced technology will eventually lead to humanity's destruction. In 2076, the US Supreme Court is considering the appeal of his old boss and fellow time traveler Dr. Theresa Givens, who has been sentenced to death for the possession of advanced technology. As the fate of the anti-technology codes hang in the balance. Ezekiel threatens the justices with a cold fusion device powerful enough to destroy half the Eastern Seaboard. When Chief Justice Haden Wainwright asks Ezekiel if he appreciates the irony of using a weapon of mass destruction in order to convince the Court to uphold the ban on technology, Ezekiel replies, "I see irony everywhere. It's like X-ray vision."
  • 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.
  • In the second season episode of Sliders, "Gillian of the Spirits", the protagonists are stuck on a world where the detonation of the atomic bomb scared everyone away from new technology, which is stuck in the 1950s. There is no television, digital hand watches, etc. And the Bureau of Anti-Technology was founded to keep any new technology from being accessed and to arrest those who either make it or possess it. Things are made worse by the fact that the dimensional timer is broken, and there are only basic hardware tools to fix it.
    • However, it's revealed in the episode that the government is about to remove the ban, and the Bureau has been stockpiling illegal technology they were supposed to have been destroying in order to patent all of it as soon as the ban is lifted.
    • Another episode has them end up in a post-apocalyptic world where crazed priests execute anyone who has "tech" by throwing them into an atomic pit of some sort.
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Paradise" features a colony of Space Amish whose leader wrote a number of philosophical treatises on the evils of technology and the advantages of a simpler existence before being conveniently marooned on a planet with an energy field that renders technology inoperable. She has a cult-like control over the colonists and quashes dissent with corporal punishment, sentencing malcontents to solitary confinement in a cramped, oven-hot box for crimes like stealing a candle or "wasting time" trying to get technology to work within the energy field. She turns out to have orchestrated the marooning without the consent of the other colonists and set up the energy field herself, indirectly causing the deaths of colonists with injuries or diseases that could have been treated with advanced medical technology.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: Dr. Sevrin in "The Way to Eden". And wouldn't you know it? He's a carrier for a disease that makes it dangerous for him to visit any world that isn't sufficiently scientifically advanced.
  • The Wipers in Tomes And Talismans. They don't seem to hate technology for any particular reason or principle, they just abhor it (unless it can be used to rule, dominate, or kill).
  • Upload: How evil is a mystery, but Luddite groups opposed to the afterlife exist and are described by news broadcasts as terrorists. When Nora needs to lay low, her father arranges for Nora to stay with them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is the shtick (overlapping with Evil Reactionary) of the villain Retrograde in the Champions sourcebook High Tech Enemies. His power allows him to transform high tech items into low tech, non-functioning equivalents, such as transforming a suit of powered armour into a suit of medieval knight's armour or a blaster pistol into a flintlock.
  • Eberron: The Ashbound druid sect, when played as antagonists, is this trope applied to a Magitek setting. They believe that arcane magic is harmful to nature, and a lot of them are pretty suspicious of divine magic too, insisting that only druidic, primal magic is safe - which is an issue when everything from the lightning rail that connects nations to the very existence of the warforged is built on arcane magic. (Admittedly, in light of the giant magical disaster of unknown cause that happened just a few years ago in-setting, they may not necessarily be wrong.) While the less extreme ones can be player characters, albeit with a high risk of coming across as a Well-Intentioned Extremist at best, the long-term Ashbound plan is no more cities, no more lightning rail, no more wizards or artificers.
  • The Jovian Republic from Eclipse Phase was founded by these. Granted that they might have a point, as this is a setting ten years after a robot apocalypse 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 — and even the Jovians consider neo-primitivists to be a little too hardline.
  • 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). Not to mention some are able to turn normal humans into this trope and raise a Torches and Pitchforks style mob regardless of how much they really like technology or the eponymous genius.
  • The Jnanamukti in Mage: The Awakening are a movement of Evil Sorcerers who're a twisted combination of this, Fantastic Racism, The Fundamentalist and Omnicidal Maniac. They're a rogue philosophy originating out of the Mysterium — itself prone to anti-Muggle Fantastic Racism, since muggles literally weaken or destroy magic when they see it — who're determined to bring back Atlantis, but believe that human civilization, both in terms of sheer numbers of "Sleepers" and in its technology, so firmly rooted in the Fallen World, makes that impossible. They consider human technology to be one of the three "great evils" they must destroy in order to bring back the age of magic, and so destroying technology on a wide scale is as important to their goals as genocide.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Green's dark side tends to function in this vein. Green is the color that most reveres nature and tradition, and thus tends to oppose significant change and rejects technology. Mechanically, this manifests as green having by far the most artifact destruction spells and abilities.
  • Pathfinder: In Numeria, a land scattered with the remnants of a massive spaceship that crashed on Golarion millennia ago, the local Kellid Barbarian Tribes are staunchly opposed to technology — and magic, more often than not — of any sort. On the one hand, their view is somewhat justified by the malfunctioning robots and alien dangers that make life in Numeria potentially quite dangerous — an entire tribe was wiped out in the past after messing with a fragment of the crashed ship that violently exploded, for instance. On the other hand, they tend to be violently fanatical about their views, and are perfectly happy to destroy communities that won't give up tech more complex than watermills, and will kill any android or intelligent robot they discover for the crime of being constructs — and they aren't much kinder to aliens, for that matter.
  • In the Ravenloft campaign setting, Vlad Drakov, the darklord of Falkovnia prior to fifth edition, is another case where this overlaps with Evil Reactionary. The inability to wage successful wars of conquest and gain respect of other rulers (despite being one) may be part of the curse he gained from becoming a darklord, but the Dark Powers barely needed to do anything to enforce it. Drakov's army is stuck in the Dark Ages because of his stubborn refusal to use "cowardly, newfangled" ways of waging war like smoke powder weapons and magic, nor will he consider using female soldiers. Since his neighbors consist of a kingdom ruled by a lich-king Sorcerous Overlord who employs vast amounts of undead, war-wizards and spell-enhanced troops, and several Renaissance-level domains where guns are the staple armament for all soldiers, this always puts the odds seriously against him and dooms him to a crushing defeat each time; the other darklords consider him a joke.
  • Werewolf: The Forsaken: The Predator Kings see themselves as apex predators and despise the "artificial" world humanity has created, seeking to tear it all down and rule over an endless wilderness. While they're the least personally antagonistic of the Pure Tribes, being willing to view the Forsaken as Worthy Opponents and lacking the religious zealotry of the Fire-Touched or the frankly disturbing obsession with blood purity of the Ivory Claws, their end goal is still fundamentally to destroy all technology and reduce humans to little more than prey. They're actually forbidden by their Ban (a supernaturally-imposed tribal rule) to touch anything made by human hands except to destroy it.

    Video Games 
  • Several cases in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & 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.
  • In Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge, Snarla Swing's knowledge thefts are motivated by her hatred of technology.
  • The Luddite faction in City of Heroes opposed Dr. Aeon, believing him to be in league with demonic forces. He was not working with them, he'd just decided that the best thing to do with a bound demon he stumbled across was to use it to power a geothermal power plant.
  • In the Empires of the Smoky Skies scenario from Civilization V, the Luddites are the equivalent of the regular game barbarians. The former, like the barbarians, live in outlandish encampments, use weapons that quickly become obsolete, and are generally portrayed as savages hostile to the light of the civilized world, which is completely on the Enlightened end of the Romanticism Versus Enlightenment spectrum.
  • Criminal Case:
    • Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past:
      • "Case 15:Out of Steam". Abe Mullins, although he's more of a crazy Luddite, considering how he murdered Orville due to believing that people flying with technology would equal to the end of the world.
      • "Century Mile District": Although they don't play a huge part on the plot, the Luddites, a group of anti-progress people protesting against the World Exhibition, also receive some focus during the district, being one of the many factions antagonizing the contest for their own agenda.
    • Criminal Case: Pacific Bay: "Case 47: Uncivil Rights". Larry Newark, the murderer, killed the mayor because she had passed a new law giving robots rights, which led to him losing his job to a robot. There's also the Anti-Robot League (which the killer was part of), an organization campaigning against the victim's Robot Act.
  • Crying Suns: The Survivalists are groups of humans that believes that humans are better without OMNIs, and used terrorist tactics in order to achieve said goal. Given how screwed humans are when the OMNIs are shut down, however, they may have some points. Also, it's unknown if they're connected to The Shutdown or not, since they're wiped out by the original Idaho, who died fighting them by deliberately crashed a ship full of nuclear weapons on board into their planet that they conquered. Or, at least that's how the story goes. You'll eventually discover that while the planet this takes place on is glassed, Idaho didn't actually do it, since he refused the order. And they're not responsible for the shutdown either, given how few survivors they have, and they have no access to where the Master Terminal is.
  • In Detroit: Become Human, there are some very nasty-looking protesters bullying an android because androids have taken their jobs.
  • 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.
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution plays around with this. The Purity First organization is another Luddite terrorist organization, albeit one unknowingly working with augmented individuals, but most people against augmentation are bigoted and misguided at the absolute worst. There's also Taggart (although he's not a Luddite in spirit, just trying to advance the goals of the Illuminati), and, of all people, Hugh Darrow, who causes a full on zombie apocalypse primarily out of envy for the augmented as he himself can't enjoy the upgrades he's given to the world.
  • In Empire: Total War, certain buildings cause unhappiness due to industrialization. If this industrialization causes too much unhappiness, then the people will launch a rebellion. Whether or not they win, between hundreds and thousands will die. For whatever reason, Luddites don't rise under Constitutional Monarchy, representing British parliamentary monarchy - the very place the Luddites were ever active.
  • Caesar in Fallout: New Vegas believes over-reliance on technology makes people weak and decadent. All industry in his empire must be done with slave labor, his soldiers are trained to use melee weapons and to expect their guns to jam at any time, he commands the Courier to destroy a stockpile of military robots hidden under his base without ever considering the possibility that they could be reprogrammed and used against his enemies, and anyone with injuries or illness that can't be treated with medicinal herbs is killed in accordance with his philosophy of Social Darwinism. Though when Caesar himself develops a brain tumor, he's more than happy to allow himself to be healed with autodoc technology.
  • 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. On the other hand, they do recognize that because Yu Yevon is genuinely incapable of stopping his vendetta, any place that uses more than a modicum of technology is going to look an awful lot like the Bevelle he hates so much...
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, Ted Faro decided that the reborn humans should not be educated to the technological level of their forebearers, and in a nihillistic fit, he purposely destroyed APOLLO, a critical education databank to do so. The resulting loss of practically all knowledge of the past has forced humans to struggle at varying technological levels, ranging from almost pure hunter-gatherer for the Nora, to barely post-agricultural for the Carja, with some knowledge of the use of steam power among them and the Oseram. The fact he is also responsible for the eponymous Faro Plague that killed all life on Earth and started the game's events in the first place makes him one of the most extreme examples of this trope. And that's before mentioning he killed all of the Alphas to keep them from undoing APOLLO's destruction, so that the world wouldn't remember him as the monster he was.
  • In Kenshi, It seems the Holy Nation doesn't allow discovery of ancient science books or any significant progress of technology. Nor even let anyone to be at their technological level. Narko's Trap is proof of that, being a large military base built around an old science outpost.
  • In The Last of Us Part II, the Seraphites dislike technology and don't even dare touch the Lost Technology of the pre-outbreak period, as they believe it is full of sin. That said, they have no problem using guns and powered elevators for military purposes.
  • Limbus Company:
    • N Corp is extremely technophobic, as emphasized by one of their subsets, Nagel und Hammer. They are a fanatical cult obsessed with physical purity, which in turn translates to homicidal hatred of those with prosthetics.
    • Dongbaek is an Anti-Villain example. She detests K Corp's technology (which is largely developed through human suffering) and aims to destroy it in a concept incinerator.
  • In Lost Technology, the lizardmen are implied to be a big factor in the loss of many different technologies, including guns.
  • Mass Effect: In the second game, it's revealed that the Quarians are this to the Geth, as they wanted to prevent them from gaining sentience, assuming that they would be their undoing because computers are always evil. This sparked the massive Morning War, which ironically ended in the entire quarian species being exiled from Rannoch and forced into a nomadic lifestyle, going from system to system to scavenge whatever useful materials they could find to survive. The twist is, the geth unit that sparked the panic was merely curious if it possessed a soul, and the geth never intended to harm their masters in the first place.
  • In Metro Exodus, the Church of the Water Tsar believe that the apocalypse was caused by technology, a belief reflected in their lifestyles, in which they rely on torches and fire for lighting. As an old recording indicates, they're not entirely insane: the ball-lightning that zaps around the old train tracks and puddles at night is attracted to electronics, and the talismans the church places around act as lightening rods to protect them. Saying "God did it" and demonstrating miracles was an easier way to get people into a lifestyle that would allow them to survive than trying to explain the electro-dynamics of the situation.
  • In Miasmata, it's revealed that the whole reason the scientists are on the island in the first place is that they had to flee their homeland due to a fascist revolution led by Chancellor Kallas, who took advantage of the plague and used the scientific community as a scapegoat to seize power.
  • In Neo Scavenger, Martha's Army is a technophobic militant group of Michigan Luddites that blame technology for the end of civilization. They want to destroy Camp Grayling, a military base in northern Michigan, and will either kill anyone trying to loot it or help whoever volunteers to try and destroy the abandoned facility.
  • In Resident Evil: Revelations, Il Veltro's members seemingly held negative views towards technological advancement (even if they had no objections about using said technology to commit acts of bioterrorism), referring to Terragrigia as "an eyesore" and the luxury cruisers they used as bases of operation as "symbols of mankind's decadence and sin".
  • The Luddic Path in Starsector are a highly extremist faction of the main Luddic Church that seeks to destroy any piece of technology that they deem too advanced, and they have even dropped stations on planets to make their point straight.
  • The eponymous "Dark Project" in the first Thief game is the Trickster's plan to take humanity back to the Stone Age.
  • In Urban Assault, the Taerkastens faction are a retrocult that wants to kill all the other factions and they disdain electronics and related technology due to heavy pollution almost wiping out world,. Despite their lack of electronics, the Taerkastens have developed a brute force technology that rivals that of the other human factions, including the development of the heaviest tanks and aircraft in the game.
  • Vega Strike has an expy of Retros from Wing Commander — the nutty offshot of a legitimate Purist faction, "Interstellar Church of True Form's Return", something like "Luddite meets Manifest Destiny theology", whom Purists barely tolerate, and everybody else hates and calls simply "Luddites". They aren't against high technology as such, but associated changes in human life.
  • Sabine in Watch Dogs: Legion, despite being the leader of two hacktivist groups. She wants a neo-Dark Age to reset London.
  • The Retros from Wing Commander: Privateer are on the same level as the pirates and Kilrathi. Possibly worse for the player: they're the only faction that you can't get to 'Friendly' reputation no matter what you do.

    Visual Novels 
  • The protagonist's father in Lucy ~The Eternity She Wished For~ firmly believes that robots are ruining society, stealing jobs and making people complacent, and is portrayed as an utterly unpleasant and unbearable individual, abusing Robot Girl Lucy and being a distant and overly stern Education Papa to his son (a luddite in his own right at the start of the story) to the point that even before Lucy arrived, the protagonist hated him and wanted to be around him as little as possible. He eventually ends up setting Lucy on fire and destroying her after being convinced that she's corrupting his son. Ironically, in the epilogue, after his retirement he becomes too old to take care of himself and ends up requiring a robot caretaker, and slowly comes around to accepting robots.

  • In A Girl and Her Fed, at one point it's remarked that a group of luddites attempted to kidnap and torture Hope, due to her marriage to Sparky and the fact that, compared to a wall of muscle, she looks rather unassuming. It didn't go very well for them.
  • Lighter Than Heir: Zamorans hate Steiner war machines and seem to dislike technology in general. Their government doesn't seem to mind using technology to breed or create super soldiers though...

    Web Original 
  • Blood After Midnight has Kelvin's entire cult of serial killers who despise technology for taking their jobs. Ironically, Kelvin himself subverts this. He's actually quite indifferent to technology, and is only using his followers as a way to fulfill his desires of world domination.
  • Board James has shades of this: as the series progresses, he becomes increasingly unhinged. He also doesn't care a lot about video games as much as his counterpart (and Split Personality), the Angry Video Game Nerd. In the "13 Dead End Drive" episode, he locks Motherfucker Mike and Bootsy in a basement with him to play the eponymous game, and becomes quite pissed when they try to call for help on their cellphones.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Michael and Ashley are out to destroy technology and other man-made things.
  • Scarlet King (or at least one version of him) of SCP Foundation. He's the Anthropomorphic Personification of madness & chaos born from the struggle between tradition and progress, and despises the modern age for the safety and comfort it provides. He hates science and rationality, with attempts to understand him and the world only making him stronger. This is why Procedure 110-Montauk is so effective at containing SCP-231-7; it wasn't created on any sort of rational basis, which placated him.
  • The main villain of Suburban Knights - though his Backstory explains that he hates technology because he wound up ostracized after the king decided to favor his scientist friend instead of himself, a wizard. He kills people for relying on cars full of gizmos, calling people on cell phones and watching TV. Still, he has an iPhone, says it's not technology, and using it is not being a hypocrite.

    Western Animation 
  • Big Hero 6: The Series has Ned Ludd, a businessman turned tech-hating hermit who lives in the woods with only the company of a tech-scrambling metorite. He honestly believes technology will be humanity's end, and attempts to destroy Baymax for the crime of being a robot.
  • The villain of an episode of The Boy was a former chess champion who snapped and became an anti-technology terrorist after he suffered a series of humiliating defeats at the hands of a Deep Blue-esque supercomputer.
  • The Bishop and the other members of the Corrupt Church of Wallachia in Castlevania (2017) burn doctor Lisa Tepes as a witch because she had advanced knowledge of biology and chemistry instead of relying on useless folk remedies (the fact that she was an atheist didn't help matters, either.) Her death enrages Dracula to the point of declaring his intent to Kill All Humans.
  • The anti-technology Amish terrorists on The Dating Guy.
  • In Futurama episode "Obsoletely Fabulous," Bender downgrades his body from metal to wood, promptly becomes opposed to all new-fangled technology and vows to destroy it.
  • Ninjago: Krux, one of the Time Twins, obsessively hates technology and wants to return Ninjago to before it ever existed. This serves as a contrast to his brother, Acronix who obsessively loves technology.
  • Rolling with the Ronks!: Mormagnon opposes the alien Flash's efforts in helping the Ronks make technological advances and will stoop to any low to discredit Flash's ideas to try and turn the rest of the tribe against Flash, as he prefers being able to manipulate the Ronks through their superstitions.
  • Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century: The tech saboteurs in "The Five Orange Pips" were opposed to 'unnatural' technology and didn't care how many lives were damaged by their quest to destroy it. You can tell they were hardcore because they used only natural plant-derived poisons to murder their opponents.
  • SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron: The Pastmaster hates everything about the modern day, including technology, and his typical M.O. revolves around trying to return Megakat City to the Middle Ages. Of course, he puts his hatred aside to team up with the Metallikats in "A Bright and Shiny Future".
  • Thunderbirds Are Go: A group shutdown Thunderbird 2 and the entire city of London in "Unplugged". Predictably, these were merely pawns for the Hood.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Straw Luddite



Rolland Dupain is a staunch traditionalist who complains about even the most basic of innovations or changes. When he is turned into Bakerix by Hawk Moth, he intends on acting upon his beliefs with violence.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / EvilLuddite

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