"Personally, I thought it was the looms they destroyed, and I suspect most other people do too. If the author had said "cropping frames" instead of "looms", I would have been lost and possibly even forced to read in to the link..."
It's a significant difference.
Textile production in the West Riding had been based on the domestic system where spinning and weaving had been carried out by what were essentially family businesses with finishing processes carried out by specialists (one of these processes, fulling, had long been mechanised). Spinning seems to have been the choke point in this process.
In the late C18th new water powered machinery became available for spinning which in turn allowed weaving to become a full-time occupation. There was a gradual move to the factory system. Productivity and employment were rising. Manual cloth dressing would have become the choke point had this not been mechanised by cropping frames.
Without updating this step in the whole production system then at best the industry and the consequent employment would have had its growth limited; at worst, an more probably, it would have gone elsewhere. In short the few Luddites, who had been an elite, were endangering the employment of the many.
I'm not sure that this accords with what the
rant opinion piece was getting at because AFAICS the "scold in San Fransisco" is closer to the cloth dresser than those who object.