The idea that governments and religions should “tremble at an air pump or an electric machine,” is not an idea that is meant to be taken literally. Rather, Priestley’s quote plays at the idea that new innovations in science and industry challenge the conservative nature of world governments and religious authority. This can be exemplified by Priestley’s life as a whole, which, in a modern view, would probably seem quite contradictory. Johnson calls Priestley “an empiricist driven by a deep and abiding belief in God, who was simultaneously a revolutionary of the first order,” (Jonson 149) which seems contradictory to everything that we are taught in American culture regarding the overlap between science, politics, and religion. Priestley championed the idea that thinkers and great minds should try to push as many people as possible towards the truth, regardless of the pushback from churches, governments, or politicians; which is why Priestly supported the founding of the Unitarian Church by Theophilus Lindsey (Johnson 147).
Techno-fixes are simply the use of innovations in technology to attempt to solve a problem, such as water conservation. However, Huesemann and Huesemann argue that problems related to these “fixes” are inevitable, and that not every problem can be fixed through technological innovation. One specific consequence that the Huesemann’s offer is the mass extinction of thousands of species due directly to the use of human industry and technological innovation.