Someone recently recommended I take a look at Ted Kaczynski’s Manifesto, stating that Kaczynski foresaw a lot of problems with modern culture that we write about here. After reading it, I have to agree that the “Unabomber” clearly understood what society was up against, a full decade before the development of the manosphere.
The media has done a good of painting Kaczynski as a deranged madman, but I found his writing to be clear and perceptive. His manifesto connected some loose dots I had between Neil Postman’s work, which described what we have lost through technology, and this community’s observations that the juggernaut of leftism is destroying what remains of traditional culture.
Kaczynski states that leftism and technology go hand in hand, because the collectivism and control that leftism requires cannot be accomplished without technology. The more advances we have with technology, the more it will be used to further progressivism, which includes a decrease in individual rights and an increase in authoritarian state control. I recommend you read the entirety of the manifesto here. In the meanwhile, the most important passages are below.
The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in “advanced” countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering even in “advanced” countries.
This is not to be a POLITICAL revolution. Its object will be to overthrow not governments but the economic and technological basis of the present society.
The problems with leftists
When someone interprets as derogatory almost anything that is said about him (or about groups with whom he identifies) we conclude that he has inferiority feelings or low self-esteem. This tendency is pronounced among minority rights activists, whether or not they belong to the minority groups whose rights they defend. They are hypersensitive about the words used to designate minorities and about anything that is said concerning minorities.
They seem almost paranoid about anything that might suggest that any primitive culture is inferior to our own.
Those who are most sensitive about “politically incorrect” terminology are not the average black ghetto-dweller, Asian immigrant, abused woman or disabled person, but a minority of activists, many of whom do not even belong to any “oppressed” group but come from privileged strata of society. Political correctness has its stronghold among university professors, who have secure employment with comfortable salaries, and the majority of whom are heterosexual white males from middle-to upper-middle-class families.
Feminists are desperately anxious to prove that women are as strong and as capable as men. Clearly they are nagged by a fear that women may NOT be as strong and as capable as men.
Leftists tend to hate anything that has an image of being strong, good and successful. They hate America, they hate Western civilization, they hate white males, they hate rationality. The reasons that leftists give for hating the West, etc. clearly do not correspond with their real motives. They SAY they hate the West because it is warlike, imperialistic, sexist, ethnocentric and so forth, but where these same faults appear in socialist countries or in primitive cultures, the leftist finds excuses for them, or at best he GRUDGINGLY admits that they exist; whereas he ENTHUSIASTICALLY points out (and often greatly exaggerates) these faults where they appear in Western civilization.
He wants society to solve everyone’s problems for them, satisfy everyone’s needs for them, take care of them. He is not the sort of person who has an inner sense of confidence in his ability to solve his own problems and satisfy his own needs. The leftist is antagonistic to the concept of competition because, deep inside, he feels like a loser.
Leftists are antagonistic to genetic explanations of human abilities or behavior because such explanations tend to make some persons appear superior or inferior to others. Leftists prefer to give society the credit or blame for an individual’s ability or lack of it. Thus if a person is “inferior” it is not his fault, but society’s, because he has not been brought up properly.
Helping black people is not their real goal. Instead, race problems serve as an excuse for them to express their own hostility and frustrated need for power. In doing so they actually harm black people, because the activists’ hostile attitude toward the white majority tends to intensify race hatred.
Suppose you asked leftists to make a list of ALL the things that were wrong with society, and then suppose you instituted EVERY social change that they demanded. It is safe to say that within a couple of years the majority of leftists would find something new to complain about, some new social “evil” to correct because, once again, the leftist is motivated less by distress at society’s ills than by the need to satisfy his drive for power by imposing his solutions on society.
Leftism is collectivist; it seeks to bind together the entire world (both nature and the human race) into a unified whole. But this implies management of nature and of human life by organized society, and it requires advanced technology. You can’t have a united world without rapid transportation and communication, you can’t make all people love one another without sophisticated psychological techniques, you can’t have a “planned society” without the necessary technological base.
It’s important to note that he hated leftists enough that he mailed bombs to them, killing three.
The Power Process
Kaczynski describes the “power process” as achieving fulfillment by setting meaningful goals and then having the agency and autonomy to accomplish them. The problem with modern society, he argues, is that there are so many barriers to your own agency, ranging from leftist speech policies to overreaching governmental influence in your personal life, that we are not unencumbered to pursue simple tasks that improve our lives.
A hunter-gatherer in the past could kill his dinner, not only sating his hunger but also feeling pride for catching his meal, but the modern man cannot do the same thing without having to deal with multiple government agencies concerning the legality of his hunting and gun ownership status while fending off animal rights activists and other liberals who want to levy economic violence against him for wanting to kill an animal.
The result of ditching hunter-gatherer lifestyles is that we’re all pursuing “surrogate activities” that have no relation to our survival. Becoming a bodybuilder, international playboy, or dedicated hobbyist of some sort are surrogate activities that, had we had urgent survival needs, we would not pursue. Even my own passion, writing, is a surrogate activity. Kaczynski argues that surrogate activities are essentially make-work and will never lead to lasting fulfillment.
We divide human drives into three groups: (1) those drives that can be satisfied with minimal effort; (2) those that can be satisfied but only at the cost of serious effort; (3) those that cannot be adequately satisfied no matter how much effort one makes. The power process is the process of satisfying the drives of the second group. The more drives there are in the third group, the more there is frustration, anger, eventually defeatism, depression, etc.
Modern man must satisfy his need for the power process largely through pursuit of the artificial needs created by the advertising and marketing industry, and through surrogate activities.
Consider the hypothetical case of a man who can have anything he wants just by wishing for it. Such a man has power, but he will develop serious psychological problems. At first he will have a lot of fun, but by and by he will become acutely bored and demoralized. Eventually he may become clinically depressed. History shows that leisured aristocracies tend to become decadent. This is not true of fighting aristocracies that have to struggle to maintain their power. But leisured, secure aristocracies that have no need to exert themselves usually become bored, hedonistic and demoralized, even though they have power. This shows that power is not enough. One must have goals toward which to exercise one’s power.
…the pursuit of sex and love (for example) is not a surrogate activity, because most people, even if their existence were otherwise satisfactory, would feel deprived if they passed their lives without ever having a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. (But pursuit of an excessive amount of sex, more than one really needs, can be a surrogate activity.)
Kaczynski predicted my own growing discontent in accumulating notches and flags. I was pursuing sex above my physical or psychological need, so I soon found it to be empty, the last stop of most surrogate activities.
…people who are deeply involved in surrogate activities are never satisfied, never at rest. Thus the money-maker constantly strives for more and more wealth. The scientist no sooner solves one problem than he moves on to the next. The long-distance runner drives himself to run always farther and faster. Many people who pursue surrogate activities will say that they get far more fulfillment from these activities than they do from the “mundane” business of satisfying their biological needs, but that is because in our society the effort needed to satisfy the biological needs has been reduced to triviality.
Because in modern society a man cannot build his house, marry a wife, and have children without disruptive state or cultural interference, becoming a playboy is a more logical alternative, satisfying his power process need to a degree, but it eventually becomes a dead-end since it has no purpose when compared to raising and feeding a family free of outside control, which today can be quite impossible.
What makes us FEEL secure is not so much objective security as a sense of confidence in our ability to take care of ourselves. Primitive man, threatened by a fierce animal or by hunger, can fight in self-defense or travel in search of food. He has no certainty of success in these efforts, but he is by no means helpless against the things that threaten him. The modern individual on the other hand is threatened by many things against which he is helpless: nuclear accidents, carcinogens in food, environmental pollution, war, increasing taxes, invasion of his privacy by large organizations, nationwide social or economic phenomena that may disrupt his way of life.
Today’s man is also under threat to denouncers in his workplace and internet mobs that are itching to ruin the employment of someone who doesn’t follow mainstream groupthink.
We are given choice in trivial matters such as what clothing to wear, what Hollywood-produced entertainment to watch, what job we labor it, and which presidential candidate to choose, but when it comes to matters that scratch at the heels of those who have power or that come at strengthening the masculinity of men, you hit roadblocks put up by the system or by useful idiots of the system.
Modern society is in certain respects extremely permissive. In matters that are irrelevant to the functioning of the system we can generally do what we please. We can believe in any religion we like (as long as it does not encourage behavior that is dangerous to the system). We can go to bed with anyone we like (as long as we practice “safe sex”). We can do anything we like as long as it is UNIMPORTANT. But in all IMPORTANT matters the system tends increasingly to regulate our behavior.
The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. Apparently it never occurs to them that you can’t make rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society without causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values.
In modern society an individual’s loyalty must be first to the system and only secondarily to a small-scale community, because if the internal loyalties of small-scale communities were stronger than loyalty to the system, such communities would pursue their own advantage at the expense of the system.
The Industrial Revolution was supposed to eliminate poverty, make everybody happy, etc. The actual result has been quite different. The technophiles are hopelessly naive (or self-deceiving) in their understanding of social problems. They are unaware of (or choose to ignore) the fact that when large changes, even seemingly beneficial ones, are introduced into a society, they lead to a long sequence of other changes, most of which are impossible to predict. The result is disruption of the society. So it is very probable that in their attempts to end poverty and disease, engineer docile, happy personalities and so forth, the technophiles will create social systems that are terribly troubled, even more so than the present once.
There is good reason to believe that primitive man suffered from less stress and frustration and was better satisfied with his way of life than modern man is.
In primitive societies life is a succession of stages. The needs and purposes of one stage having been fulfilled, there is no particular reluctance about passing on to the next stage. A young man goes through the power process by becoming a hunter, hunting not for sport or for fulfillment but to get meat that is necessary for food. This phase having been successfully passed through, the young man has no reluctance about settling down to the responsibilities of raising a family. (In contrast, some modern people indefinitely postpone having children because they are too busy seeking some kind of “fulfillment.” We suggest that the fulfillment they need is adequate experience of the power process—with real goals instead of the artificial goals of surrogate activities.) Again, having successfully raised his children, going through the power process by providing them with the physical necessities, the primitive man feels that his work is done and he is prepared to accept old age (if he survives that long) and death.
[Modern people] are disturbed by the prospect of physical deterioration and death, as is shown by the amount of effort they expend trying to maintain their physical condition, appearance and health. It is not the primitive man, who has used his body daily for practical purposes, who fears the deterioration of age, but the modern man, who has never had a practical use for his body beyond walking from his car to his house. It is the man whose need for the power process has been satisfied during his life who is best prepared to accept the end of that life.
Freedom means being in control (either as an individual or as a member of a SMALL group) of the life-and-death issues of one’s existence; food, clothing, shelter and defense against whatever threats there may be in one’s environment. Freedom means having power; not the power to control other people but the power to control the circumstances of one’s own life. One does not have freedom if anyone else (especially a large organization) has power over one, no matter how benevolently, tolerantly and permissively that power may be exercised. It is important not to confuse freedom with mere permissiveness.
It is said that we live in a free society because we have a certain number of constitutionally guaranteed rights. But these are not as important as they seem. The degree of personal freedom that exists in a society is determined more by the economic and technological structure of the society than by its laws or its form of government.
After learning about his background and reading his manifesto, it’s clear that Kaczynski is a hyper-intelligent man who chose the wrong solution to the same set of problems you have probably already realized in one form or another. He mentioned that his manifesto would be read more because of the killings he did, and while it was noticed when it was published back in 1995, we can argue that it had no sizable cultural effect in the proceeding 20 years. As he mentioned, the structure of society is such that ideas dangerous to the ruling elite will not make it far, no matter how people you kill, and this is confirmed by the more recent political murder spree of Anders Breivik in Norway that has achieved nothing to change the political leanings of that small nation.
What I found interesting is that Kaczynski arrived at many of the exact same societal conclusions we have, not through sex but through the mechanisms of working in a university and living in the woods. As I’ve mentioned in the past, there are many paths to arriving at the truth, and we are starting to see triangulation from men living vastly different lives that modern leftism and rapid technological change have detrimental effects that are annihilating the fabric of society. While I don’t entirely know how to solve the problems we face, I do know that taking the Kaczynski and Breivik route is not the answer, judging by the complete failure of their actions to make a difference to the system.
It’s too bad of the path that Kaczynski took, because he was obviously a skilled thinker and writer, and could have made a more positive difference in the world had he been more patient and persistent in spreading his written ideas.
Human behavior is molded for the system
The system HAS TO regulate human behavior closely in order to function. At work people have to do what they are told to do, otherwise production would be thrown into chaos. Bureaucracies HAVE TO be run according to rigid rules. To allow any substantial personal discretion to lower-level bureaucrats would disrupt the system and lead to charges of unfairness due to differences in the way individual bureaucrats exercised their discretion.
The system HAS TO force people to behave in ways that are increasingly remote from the natural pattern of human behavior. For example, the system needs scientists, mathematicians and engineers. It can’t function without them. So heavy pressure is put on children to excel in these fields. It isn’t natural for an adolescent human being to spend the bulk of his time sitting at a desk absorbed in study. A normal adolescent wants to spend his time in active contact with the real world. Among primitive peoples the things that children are trained to do tend to be in reasonable harmony with natural human impulses.
It is simply taken for granted that everyone must bow to technical necessity. and for good reason: If human needs were put before technical necessity there would be economic problems, unemployment, shortages or worse. The concept of “mental health” in our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs of the system and does so without showing signs of stress.
…all these technical advances taken together have created a world in which the average man’s fate is no longer in his own hands or in the hands of his neighbors and friends, but in those of politicians, corporation executives and remote, anonymous technicians and bureaucrats whom he as an individual has no power to influence.
…antidepressants are a means of modifying an individual’s internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise find intolerable.
In the future, social systems will not be adjusted to suit the needs of human beings. Instead, human being will be adjusted to suit the needs of the system.
Human over-dependence on technology
When a new item of technology is introduced as an option that an individual can accept or not as he chooses, it does not necessarily REMAIN optional. In many cases the new technology changes society in such a way that people eventually find themselves FORCED to use it.
…technological progress marches in only one direction; it can never be reversed. Once a technical innovation has been introduced, people usually become dependent on it, so that they can never again do without it, unless it is replaced by some still more advanced innovation. Not only do people become dependent as individuals on a new item of technology, but, even more, the system as a whole becomes dependent on it. (Imagine what would happen to the system today if computers, for example, were eliminated.) Thus the system can move in only one direction, toward greater technologization. Technology repeatedly forces freedom to take a step back, but technology can never take a step back—short of the overthrow of the whole technological system.
History shows that all social arrangements are transitory; they all change or break down eventually. But technological advances are permanent within the context of a given civilization.
As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and as machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more and more of their decisions for them, simply because machine-made decisions will bring better results than man-made ones. Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won’t be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.
On those who are employed, ever-increasing demands will be placed: They will need more and more training, more and more ability, and will have to be ever more reliable, conforming and docile, because they will be more and more like cells of a giant organism. Their tasks will be increasingly specialized, so that their work will be, in a sense, out of touch with the real world, being concentrated on one tiny slice of reality. The system will have to use any means that it can, whether psychological or biological, to engineer people to be docile, to have the abilities that the system requires and to “sublimate” their drive for power into some specialized task.
You will be forced to constantly adapt your skill set to the needs of the system as technology advances, regardless of what you want. If you fail to adapt, you will suffer economic impoverishment, even if the adaption requires you to go away from your human nature.
Technology also allows the elite to reduce their dependence on humans to maintain their goal of absolute control:
…control over large systems of machines will be in the hands of a tiny elite—just as it is today, but with two differences. Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the system. If the elite is ruthless they may simply decide to exterminate the mass of humanity.
The function of entertainment
The entertainment industry serves as an important psychological tool of the system, possibly even when it is dishing out large amounts of sex and violence. Entertainment provides modern man with an essential means of escape. While absorbed in television, videos, etc., he can forget stress, anxiety, frustration, dissatisfaction. Many primitive peoples, when they don’t have work to do, are quite content to sit for hours at a time doing nothing at all, because they are at peace with themselves and their world. But most modern people must be constantly occupied or entertained, otherwise they get “bored,” i.e., they get fidgety, uneasy, irritable.
…an individual whose attitudes or behavior bring him into conflict with the system is up against a force that is too powerful for him to conquer or escape from, hence he is likely to suffer from stress, frustration, defeat. His path will be much easier if he thinks and behaves as the system requires. In that sense the system is acting for the benefit of the individual when it brainwashes him into conformity.
Our use of mass entertainment is “optional”: No law requires us to watch television, listen to the radio, read magazines. Yet mass entertainment is a means of escape and stress-reduction on which most of us have become dependent. Everyone complains about the trashiness of television, but almost everyone watches it. A few have kicked the TV habit, but it would be a rare person who could get along today without using ANY form of mass entertainment.
Destroying the system
Kaczynski believes the only way to solve the problem is to go back to a pre-Industrial Revolution way of living. He argues that anything else would leave the technological and industrial systems in place, allowing them to be brought back to life in the future to resume controlling humanity. Any temporary setback to the system would be easily overcome as long as the system infrastructure remains.
The mechanism through which he believes this can be done is through environmentalism, but here he makes a grave error because the elites have hijacked environmentalism through the “global warming” scare to promote their UN-driven depopulation agenda (often termed “population control” or “sustainable development”). They have taken the global warming issue and used it as a tool for them to achieve their umbrella agenda: human control.
Will public resistance prevent the introduction of technological control of human behavior? It certainly would if an attempt were made to introduce such control all at once. But since technological control will be introduced through a long sequence of small advances, there will be no rational and effective public resistance.
Even if changes large enough to make a lasting difference were initiated, they would be retracted when their disruptive effects became apparent. Thus, permanent changes in favor of freedom could be brought about only by persons prepared to accept radical, dangerous and unpredictable alteration of the entire system. In other words by revolutionaries, not reformers.
It appears that during the next several decades the industrial-technological system will be undergoing severe stresses due to economic and environmental problems, and especially due to problems of human behavior (alienation, rebellion, hostility, a variety of social and psychological difficulties). We hope that the stresses through which the system is likely to pass will cause it to break down, or at least will weaken it sufficiently so that a revolution against it becomes possible. If such a revolution occurs and is successful, then at that particular moment the aspiration for freedom will have proved more powerful than technology.
…while the industrial system is sick we must destroy it. If we compromise with it and let it recover from its sickness, it will eventually wipe out all of our freedom.
Costs of destroying the system
If the breakdown is sudden, many people will die, since the world’s population has become so overblown that it cannot even feed itself any longer without advanced technology. Even if the breakdown is gradual enough so that reduction of the population can occur more through lowering of the birth rate than through elevation of the death rate, the process of de-industrialization probably will be very chaotic and involve much suffering. It is naive to think it likely that technology can be phased out in a smoothly managed, orderly way, especially since the technophiles will fight stubbornly at every step. Is it therefore cruel to work for the breakdown of the system? Maybe, but maybe not. In the first place, revolutionaries will not be able to break the system down unless it is already in enough trouble so that there would be a good chance of its eventually breaking down by itself anyway; and the bigger the system grows, the more disastrous the consequences of its breakdown will be; so it may be that revolutionaries, by hastening the onset of the breakdown, will be reducing the extent of the disaster.
History is not made by the majority
History is made by active, determined minorities, not by the majority, which seldom has a clear and consistent idea of what it really wants. Until the time comes for the final push toward revolution, the task of revolutionaries will be less to win the shallow support of the majority than to build a small core of deeply committed people. As for the majority, it will be enough to make them aware of the existence of the new ideology and remind them of it frequently; though of course it will be desirable to get majority support to the extent that this can be done without weakening the core of seriously committed people.
…the revolutionaries should not try to acquire political power until the system has gotten itself into such a mess that any hardships will be seen as resulting from the failures of the industrial system itself and not from the policies of the revolutionaries. The revolution against technology will probably have to be a revolution by outsiders, a revolution from below and not from above.
To many of us, freedom and dignity are more important than a long life or avoidance of physical pain. Besides, we all have to die some time, and it may be better to die fighting for survival, or for a cause, than to live a long but empty and purposeless life.
Kaczynski’s manifesto made me realize that the solutions I have proposed to improve modern society would not stem the tide of advances in technology and leftist degeneracy. By the time we identify one problem, isolate it, and solve it, more degenerate leftist causes would have been pushed down our throats alongside technological advances that make our counter-movement all seem fruitless. Up to this point, we’re hacking at little branches, especially when we attack the useful idiots in the form of individual feminists and social justice warriors, while the roots of evil are becoming ever stronger.
As long as the system is in place, any victory we achieve will only be short-term in scope. Such a victory could last a couple generations, but once the dust settles and the globalists re-gather their footing, they will use the existing technological, industrial, and banking frameworks to not only gain what they lost, but learn from their past mistakes and control humanity even tighter.
The question we must ask ourselves before proceeding is if we want the system to die or not. Kaczynski suggests that it is all or nothing, and assuming he’s right, we either have to get ready to throw away urban living, industrialization, and virtually all technology, or be reduced to putting out small fires that don’t begin to reverse a worldwide societal decline. As a man who has never lived in a rural setting, I remain undecided about how best to continue.
In spite of my hesitation to hop on board with Kaczynski’s message that the entire system must be destroyed, I am convinced that as long as it’s in place, we will continue to see a neverending drive towards authoritarian liberalism and parasitic globalism that erodes national sovereignty and our individual humanity. A worldwide economic collapse may temporarily bruise the elite and usher in a mini-age of traditionalism, but once the world recovers, they’ll likely resume right where they left off.
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