Harper Simon talks to Jaron Lanier at the LARB:
You brought up this other question of why is it so important for people to leave, and the thing I want to say is that, because of addiction and because of network effects, I realize that only a small minority of people can do it, and I don’t know how many I have influenced to get off of there. I don’t have a means of measuring that. But here’s what I would say: there have been times before, recently and even in America, when society had to confront mass addiction that had a commercial component.
I’m thinking of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. And I’m thinking of the public smoking of cigarettes. In both of those cases, there were industries that relied on mass addiction, but somehow or other, a rational conversation gradually created a change. In neither case was the substance totally outlawed, but its role in society was vastly changed.