Governments have always had a disconnect with the people that is governs. That may not be totally visible but the fringes of society know this to be very true. The anti government cultists or the “leave me alone I just want to live my life” homesteaders who are cut off from the world by choice. Many civilians are armed to the teeth to take on their government should it turn away from serving the people. As for fearing air pumps and electrical machines? Well, I can only imagine that is a metaphor for something or another.
Johnson does not present anything that is not already relevant in today’s society. Only things that are taken into consideration when used in other contexts. Our understandings of these topics have evolved a great deal since their first discovery. Take electricity for example, our first encounters with it were way back in prehistoric times where cavemen saw trees set ablaze by lightning. As humanity progressed as a species so did our understanding of the laws of nature. Gravity, heat, light, and fluid all were understood in the last 500 years of our history. Fairly recent if you look at the big picture.