Fear of the unknown. Otherwise known as an unwillingness to undergo change. Why should governments and religions fear the inventions of air pumps and electrical machines? Advances as momentous as these will certainly cause social, economic, and demographic changes so rapid and large, that if a government or religion is in any way unstable, those changes could shake up the very foundations of what makes a government or religion what they are. In his book, Johnson gives the example of the industrialization of Northern England. Due to its abundance of coal, England was able to advance quickly in metalworks, textiles, and other industries. England advanced so quickly in fact, that the government couldn’t keep up with it. Cities in the North became ten times larger than they once were, and England’s once agrarian society switched to one of goods production. Yet for all of these switches in England’s economy, Parliament remained the same. Unwilling to give more representation to the Northern cities. In turn, causing discontent among the populous, and disagreement within Parliament (Johnson, 167).
I would definitely say that Johnson’s work coincides with a lot of new scientific and technological advances that are happening today. For instance, the continuing race to improve, robotics technology (both militarily, and robotics in factories). Robotics have been a science for a while now, and underneath all of the talk of progress and making human life easier that comes with robotics, there is also the fact that improving robot technology means a loss of human jobs. Robots can do the work of ten people at least. That is now potentially ten people who are jobless. Those disgruntled former workers are pretty upset with their companies, and their government for allowing corporations to take away jobs. Those workers might take their anger out on representatives, and they could form protests and riots. It’s happened before in history. Frustrated workers revolted against a low salary, and unsafe working conditions, and now… they might revolt against the robotics industry.