The Unabomber Manifesto
Therefore two tasks confront those who hate the servitude to which the industrial system is reducing the human race. First, we must work to heighten the social stresses within the system so as to increase the likelihood that it will break down or be weakened sufficiently so that a revolution against it becomes possible. Second, it is necessary to develop and propagate an ideology that opposes technology and the industrial society if and when the system becomes sufficiently weakened.
Many people satisfy their need for power by joining, or identifying with, large groups or organizations. Success achieved by the organization is vicariously enjoyed as if their insignificant part had actually been useful. But most people rely on surrogate activities to mitigate their feeling of purposelessness. Modern society may provide greater freedoms than ever, but only in unimportant matters that don’t affect society itself. Every other aspect of our lives is highly controlled, whether traffic lights and speed limits, education, employment, public behaviour, or whatever. What is now impossible to do is also frustrating.
In a civil (intra-state) context, that’s murder. He’s not a nation-state so it’s not an act of war. If he acted to change a nation’s policy by his own volition via violence perpetrated on the unsuspecting, it’s terrorism. The point is not that the communist manifesto was ultimately successful or not judging by how its ideas were implemented successfully or not. Communism ultimately failed because of the fundamental failure of the ideas in the communist manifesto. But it does not follow that therefore Kaczynski’s ideas, once implemented, will also ultimately fail.
And with wild nature we include human nature, by which we mean those aspects of the functioning of the human individual that are not subject to regulation by organized society but are products of chance, or free will, or God . Modern man as a collective entity — that is, the industrial system — has immense power over nature, and we regard this as evil. (You need a license for everything and with the license come rules and regulations.) The individual has only those technological powers with which the system chooses to provide him. The revolution must be international and worldwide. It cannot be carried out on a nation-by-nation basis. Whenever it is suggested that the United States, for example, should cut back on technological progress or economic growth, people get hysterical and start screaming that if we fall behind in technology the Japanese will get ahead of us.
But maybe, as a professor, I wasn’t wrong to try to connect with everyone in my class, to educate them, perhaps even to love them. Maybe finding a way to lessen the loneliness and pain that torture so many of our students, no matter their gender, their sexual preference, their race, religion, social class, or ethnicity, should be a more pressing concern than most of our other research. All of this reiterates the point that Kaczynski is no hero whatsoever. The person who wrote “Industrial Society and Its Future,” is a fanatic.
The media debated the ethics of publishing the manifesto under duress. The United States Attorney General Janet Reno advocated for the essay to be shared such that a reader could recognize its author. If we can learn anything from it at all it is to emphasise the need for a proper debate involving all of society around what technology is for, how it can make our lives better, and what we don’t want it to do.