Some of us here have some sympathy for the idea that runaway non-democratic technological innovations, imposed from the top down by the super-capitalists are bad, but none of us goes so far as to reject civilisation itself. But mathematics professor Ted Kaczynski did that. This is the Unabomber, a cold-blooded killer who thought that mailing bombs to academic scientists would bring down the system. Instead it killed I think three scientists, devastating their families, and did nothing. This man from the anarchist Left though has inspired a new generation of Leftoids:
“Quietly, often secretly, whether they gather it from the air of this anxious era or directly from the source like Jacobi did, more and more people have been having Kaczynski Moments. Books and webzines with names like Against Civilization, FeralCulture, Unsettling America, and the Ludd-Kaczynski Institute of Technology have been spreading versions of his message across social-media forums from Reddit to Facebook for at least a decade, some attracting more than 100,000 followers. They cluster around a youthful nickname, “anti-civ,” some drawing their ideas directly from Kaczynski, others from movements like deep ecology, anarchy, primitivism, and nihilism, mixing them into new strains. Although they all believe industrial civilization is in a death spiral, most aren’t trying to hurry it along. One exception is Deep Green Resistance, an activist network inspired by a 2011 book of the same name that includes contributions from one of Kaczynski’s frequent correspondents, Derrick Jensen. The group’s openly stated goal, like Kaczynski’s, is the destruction of civilization and a return to preagricultural ways of life. So far, most of the violence has happened outside of the United States. Although the FBI declined to comment on the topic, the 2017 report on domestic terrorism by the Congressional Research Service cited just a handful of minor attacks on “symbols of Western civilization” in the past ten years, a period of relative calm most credit to Operation Backfire, the FBI crackdown on radical environmental efforts in the mid-aughts.
But in Latin America and Europe, terrorist groups with florid names like Conspiracy of Cells of Fire and Wild Indomitables have been bombing government buildings and assassinating technologists for almost a decade. The most ominous example is Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje, or ITS (usually translated as Individuals Tending Toward the Wild), a loose association of terrorist groups started by Mexican Kaczynski devotees who decided that his plan to take down the system was outdated because the environment was being decimated so fast and government surveillance technology had gotten so robust. Instead, ITS would return to its guru’s old modus operandi: revenge. The group set off bombs at the National Ecology Institute in Mexico, a Federal Electricity Commission office, two banks, and a university. It now claims cells across Latin America, and in January 2017, the Chilean offshoot delivered a gift-wrapped bomb to Oscar Landerretche, the chairman of the world’s largest copper mine, who suffered minor injuries. The group explained its motives in a defiant media release: “The pretentious Landerretche deserved to die for his offenses against Earth.”
In the larger world, where no respectable person would praise Kaczynski without denouncing his crimes, little Kaczynski Moments have been popping up in the most unexpected places — the Fox News website, for example, which ran a piece by Keith Ablow called “Was the Unabomber Correct?” in 2013. After summarizing some of Kaczynski’s dark predictions about the steady erosion of individual autonomy in a world where the tools and systems that create prosperity are too complex for any normal person to understand, Ablow — Fox’s “expert on psychiatry” — came to the conclusion that Kaczynski was “precisely correct in many of his ideas” and even something of a prophet. “Watching the development of Facebook heighten the narcissism of tens of millions of people, turning them into mini reality-TV versions of themselves,” he wrote. “I would bet he knows, with even more certainty, that he was onto something.”
That same year, in the leading environmentalist journal Orion, a “recovering environmentalist” named Paul Kingsnorth — who’d stunned his fellow activists in 2008 by announcing that he’d lost hope — published an essay about the disturbing experience of reading Kaczynski’s manifesto for the first time. If he ended up agreeing with Kaczynski, “I’m worried that it may change my life,” he confessed. “Not just in the ways I’ve already changed it (getting rid of my telly, not owning a credit card, avoiding smartphones and e-readers and sat-navs, growing at least some of my own food, learning practical skills, fleeing the city, etc.) but properly, deeply.” By 2017, Kaczynski was making inroads with the conservative intelligentsia — in the journal First Things, home base for neocons like Midge Decter and theologians like Michael Novak, deputy editor Elliot Milco described his reaction to the manifesto in an article called “Searching for Ted Kaczynski”: “What I found in the text, and in letters written by Kaczynski since his incarceration, was a man with a large number of astute (even prophetic) insights into American political life and culture. Much of his thinking would be at home in the pages of First Things.” A year later, Foreign Policy published “The Next Wave of Extremism Will Be Green,” an editorial written by Jamie Bartlett, a British journalist who tracks the anti-civ movement. He estimated that a “few thousand” Americans were already prepared to commit acts of destruction. Citing examples such as the Standing Rock pipeline protests in 2017, Bartlett wrote, “The necessary conditions for the radicalization of climate activism are all in place. Some groups are already showing signs of making the transition.”
The fear of technology seems to grow every day. Tech tycoons build bug-out estates in New Zealand, smartphone executives refuse to let their kids use smartphones, data miners find ways to hide their own data. We entertain ourselves with I Am Legend, The Road, V for Vendetta, and Avatar while our kids watch Wall-E or FernGully: The Last Rainforest. An eight-part docudrama called Manhunt: The Unabomber was a hit when it premiered on the Discovery Channel in 2017 and a “super hit” when Netflix rereleased it last summer, says Elliott Halpern, the producer Netflix commissioned to make another film focusing on Kaczynski’s “ideas and legacy.” “Obviously,” Halpern says, “he predicted a lot of stuff.” And wouldn’t you know it, Kaczynski’s papers have become one of the most popular attractions at the University of Michigan’s Labadie Collection, an archive of original documents from movements of “social unrest.” Kaczynski’s archivist, Julie Herrada, couldn’t say much about the people who visit — the archive has a policy against characterizing its clientele — but she did offer a word in their defense. “Nobody seems crazy.”
We need to tread carefully here, for some of us have the odd point of agreement with these critics, and that is not surprising if the conceptual net is cast wide enough. Thus, the criticisms of medical technology, of Big Pharma and Big Agri, have points in common. But where we differ is that we never advocate violence to solve these problems, hoping instead to change people’s hearts and minds, a long, often frustrating task. We want to save civilisation, not bury it. The Left though, always resorts to violence; they are obsessed with it, even though their poets like one-world Johnny Lemon juice sung against it (Give Peace a Chance etc). This is done because Leftism is not about being logically consistent, but about power, of the ends justifying the means. Might is indeed right by them, although ironically when someone perceived to be from the Right refers to the Darwinian book of 1890 by the same name, well, that is White supremist, even though all this was before the race concept really took shoot, so to speak, and most people at that time held those socially constructed ideas.