Son of Waru
A Final Essay
For the past few months I have made a number of essays relating to Ted Kaczynski and the anti-tech movement. I started doing them to contribute something to the discussion, and to voice concerns or ideas I felt were not being brought up.
I'm very much of the belief one needs to look at both sides in order to make a sensible conclusion. And I wasn't seeing enough of one side.
I wanted to break the hive mind which I felt was so prevalent, to add a hint of scepticism, to get the reader to ask questions, to make them think about things that they would have slept on.
Now, I feel like I have contributed all I can. This will likely be the last essay I make on the topic.
There is nothing left I can really talk about, anything that constitutes its own essay. And personally, I have no interest in doing this forever. Again, my only reasons for making the essays I have is to contribute a bit to discussion.
Before anything else let me emphasize the main arguments I have tried to make
The anti tech movement is loosely connected, filled with leftist/irrational types (and always will be due to the nature of radical movements), are becoming more authoritarian and are prone to infighting
The solutions provided by Ted are half baked, improbable and leads to a vast array of problems being reintroduced, to where one could ask if the consequences of such action justify the end goal of increasing freedom and autonomy, when different solutions are possible.
Any attempt to destroy civilization or technology is doomed for failure.
Ted’s main concepts are prone to issues and are in need of clarification or advancement. Some may be complete bogus.
Civilization exists as long as humans interact with each other and is built on foundations that cannot be eliminated as they are natural to humans.
I’ll now go over a few details or topics I have failed to do so until now.
While I have made my stance on things fairly clear, I would like to go into a bit more details on myself and what I believe. While I know some things said about me are outright lies and so therefore do not need responding to, I think its important for the reader that I explain myself sometimes.
1. I guess I could be described as a libertarian centrist. I guess I’m also something of a nationalist, however that does not mean I am a collectivist. I’m a nationalist in the sense of loving ones nation and culture, while being sceptical of the government. I oppose collectivism and individualism on their own.
2. If there is one philosophic idea that strikes with me, it is Aristotle's Golden Mean. I kinda held this view before I knew about this idea. Essentially there are two vices on opposite ends. Then there is the golden mean, in-between both.
For example, brashness and cowardice are two vices. Bravery is the golden mean. You can use this idea for many many things.
3. I’m fairly neutral in regards to technology. I don’t care if someone proposes something that is pro-tech or anti-tech, so long as it addresses the issues of today.
4. I’m more against technique. I view technique as a mindset of efficiency and technological progress above all else regardless of the human cost. This mindset dominates our world and to me is the cause of so much of its ills. Its no longer enough to be economically safe, or technology which is necessary/enough. It must be done to the absolute max.
Take for example a successful company. It pays staff well at the cost of extra profit. They bring down staffs salaries to get more profit, at the cost of said lives. Do they need to do this? Are they under serious threat of bankruptcy? No.
That said, like Ellul, I am not fully against technique because it is stupid and impossible to rid of it completely. Technique dominates us because it is perfectly logical.
First of all, one certainly should not reject technique. Mine is not an antitechnicism or a judgment against technique. It is not up to us to judge, because God alone is the judge
If we see technique as nothing but objects that can be useful (and we need to check whether they are indeed useful); and if we stop believing in technique for its own sake or that of society; and if we stop fearing technique, and treat it as one thing among many others, then we destroy the basis for the power technique has over humanity
-Jacques Ellul: Perspectives Of Our Age
Take for example HS2. This is a very contentious issue in the UK. Is the advantages of HS2, really worth ripping up ancient woodland? We have railways already. Why not just improve them? And it is likely that by the time HS2 is finished, it will be already outdated and will eventually be replaced by more railway which furthers the problem.
What I am saying here is that there is a big difference between cars existing and having people forced to move due to even more motorways.
I think one 4chan comment kind of pops up in my mind
Technology can exist without industrial society. Industrial society cannot survive without technology. Destroying both makes sense, but one is being destroyed out of convenience when it isn’t really the problem.
Ellul has a similar view
The issue is not technology per se, but the present structure of society
-Autopsy of a revolution
What truly needs to be done is to challenge the mindset of technique and focus on what truly flourishes human beings. And given the amount of people who share this view after reading Ted, I’m hopeful real change can happen.
5. Scientists and such need to focus more on issues that effect human flourishing. Personally, I think they have come a long way from Ted’s time. Remember, Ted came from a time where scientists were able to experiment without much in the way of ethics. He himself was exposed to such and it likely reinforced his view that scientists are self serving, which he constantly tries to argue in his manifesto. But he only cherry picks negative examples where his arguments have some truth. The creation of the atomic bomb was indeed a horrific thing. But those who made it had no choice. It was demanded upon them by the state. The Nazis were in the process of making them. And it wasn’t done simply to make a better bomb, it was done to save millions and end the war, something Ted fails to bring up in his manifesto.
And when they were successful? They weren’t in a celebratory mood, they were horrified.
Today, scientists have to do ethical checks. The experiments done on Ted and others would be unacceptable today. Why would the system implement such restrictions on unethical experiments? No idea. Perhaps this is another victory for humanity against technique
But work is still to be done. The fight for science to be used for good will be never ending.
6. I don't want to sound as though AnPrims/Luddites ect are all evil. I do have some genuine concern, especially recently with attempts to silence dissent and threats towards opposition, but the thing is, I do sympathize with them.
If they want to live the way of life they want, they should. Our world is far too restrictive with freedom and autonomy that it's too difficult for many. I just disagree everyone should be forced to live the same way. Rather, they should be allowed to make societies or mini communities where they aren't disturbed, or able to live with current tribes.
7. While I am hopeful for the future, I am deeply worried the next few decades will lead to some kind of political catfight between two extremes, the Luddites/Anprims for destroying civilization and technology (to what extent the dominant subgroup believes) and transhumanists who want some kind of weird techno-dystopia where people are sterilized en masse, and children are born in test tubes. My hope is that those who are in the middle and in the crossfire will reject both propositions. Given the general public's view of Ted and the technology issue, I have some confidence it can be done.
Ellul vs Ted
During my research, I came across an interesting trend. Those who read Ellul after becoming obsessed with Ted no longer see Ted as they once did and become more critical of his ideas. You could even say I’m an example.
After reading Ellul I realised that Ted actually misunderstood a few things that Ellul talked about. Of course not everything Ted says is from other people, but Ellul offers responses to what Ted proposes.
The irony I found is that if you understand technique, then Ted is actually furthering technique in a way. Whenever one suggests a solution, Ted states it can’t be possible because it hurts the economy, or it wouldn’t be efficient.
When anyone who understands technique knows that responses like this are defending technique. No attack on technique can be possible without attacking efficiency or the economy in some capacity.
Of course Ted proposes total collapse so why he’s worrying about the economy beats me.
In fact lets look at Ted himself. He prefers to do things that are “meaningful” or “purposeful” or “practical”. He can’t just do something, he needs to have a concrete reasoning for doing it. He needs to justify everything. Everything must have a means to an end. He can’t read for the enjoyment of it, to read a story he loves, he must read something to advance the revolution. His entire life has become revolution, to perfecting the techniques of revolution, rather than enjoying the beauty of life.
And of course, Ted is a mathematician. The way a mathematician thinks is different to a philosopher. Ted sees the world in a way a mathematician would look at a maths problem. There is no grey area, its either right or wrong. A mathematician cannot stop at a certain point and say its good enough. They must answer the entire question. Much like how Ted obsesses over fixing all of today's issues. His obsession with trying to find the answer to life's biggest questions should also be mentioned.
Ellul was concerned that technique would eliminate subjectivity, or different perspectives from life. Everything would be seen in an objective manner without any kind of uniqueness. Darren Allen goes into this also.
Ted is furthering this issue. He’s trying to make objective answers to things that cannot be objectively answered.
Of course this is not concrete. But one must understand his background to understand his thinking.
Ellul travelled to places, saw different people, different perspectives. Because of his poor social skills and living on his own, Ted only gained a very limited experience. Ellul saw people gardening, saw the good in people. Ted only saw the negatives, and obsessed over the flaws of society.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t listen to people who aren’t philosophers. Just how Ted’s mindset affects him.
While against physical technology, he still subscribes to the mindset of technique.
I have come to the conclusion that when comparing Ellul and Ted, while one can take inspiration from Ted, Ellul is better if one wants to change the world.
One 4chan discussion always comes into my mind from my research.
In it one user talks about how obsessed they were with Ted to where they tried mailing to him, but after reading Ellul, they thought Ted was short sighted and pretty much everything he said was poor paraphrases of Ellul (I’d object that saying everything Ted said was poorly copied from Ellul, but there is some element of truth to me with this).
Other users agreed and discussed their concern on what Ted did.
One user stated that ultimately, they wanted a world that used technology for human enrichment rather than for a small elite.
When one reads Ellul, you realise that one doesn’t need to destroy technology. Technology is merely one part. Its technique. Once one understands technique, they come to the conclusion the best way forward is to use technology when necessary or when it actually enriches us.
This is a conclusion that many critical of technology, before Ted, made. Huxley, author of Brave New World, made Island, which used technology and tools to enhance society. Frank Herbert is another example.
Here are further reasons why I think Ellul is better for a movement than Ted
Ellul advocated non violence/ Ted advocates violence
Ellul calls for understanding/Ted advocates revolutionary brainwashing
Ellul proposes for individual responsibility/Ted proposes mass revolution to force people to live a way they may not
Ellul’s revolution requires only a change in perception/ Ted requires huge change that cannot be predicted fully
In Jacques Elluls eyes, the reformation desacralized the church in the name of the Bible, and the Bible became sacralized. But then, science and reason become sacralized and de-sacralized the scriptures.
It is my fear that rather than eliminating sacralization (and just follow actual religions if we want) we are merely replacing it. The religion of science is now being replaced by the religion of wild nature and primitivism. If only Ellul was still alive, I could only wonder what he would have thought.
What is primitivism? Well it depends. Primitivism means a number of things to different people. Either
A) It is a call to return to nature completely, essentially to return to hunter gatherer society, because according to primitivists, we are no different to our ancestors. We are biologically made for hunter gatherer society.
B) It is a call to be inspired by nature. These people do not actually support returning to a previous time, but rather being inspired by what came before and taking that to influence our future.
If we are talking about B, then I don’t really have a problem with such. They are for supporting more of a connection to nature and to focus on what helps us flourish. I will not be focusing on this form of primitivism.
But for the primitivism of A? I have a few issues. This will be the primitivism I speak of below.
This primitivism takes reactionary thought to its most extreme ends. It is nothing more than a mirror of transhumanists. While transhumanists worship of the cult of progress, technique, and “new”, primitivists worship the cult of nature, and everything that is “old”. Everything in the past was better, everyone was happier, we all sang ‘ring a ring a roses’ and held hands. It was a utopia, until the evils of civilization came to ruin it all.
Lets examine the mindset of a primitivist.
Whenever technology creates a disaster, the primitivist finds it disgusting, a moral evil.
Whenever technology creates solutions, improves the environment, improves the lives of people it is seen as unimportant or they do not even acknowledge it at all.
Whenever gun violence happens, its always “well that's what happens when guns exists” followed by “this wouldn’t have happened if”
Now lets examine the primitivist on nature.
Whenever natural disasters happen they act as if nothing happened, or celebrate that nature has damaged the system, ignoring that it caused the injury or death of countless people. They view natural disasters as morally neutral.
To them, nature is something to deify. Indeed, nature is wonderful. But primitivists act as though nature does no harm to us, they throw themselves to nature the same way tranhumanists throw themselves to the high alter of technology.
Lets imagine that primitivists get what they want. They succeed in their attempts to destroy the system. What happens when nature starts hurting us? What happens when famine and other such consequences of revolution hit us?
Because this society was imposed on us by primitivists, those born after the revolution will see their parents dying of disease, look at history books and lament the fact their parents are dying over something we had previously been able to deal with.
What do you think the youth will make of this revolution? In Teds own logic, they never asked to be born where famine and disease were a serious problem, much like how Ted never wanted to be born with the problem of environmental destruction.
Of course, this is the reason they want to burn books, to have some kind of “year zero” scenario play out. So they can act like the past never happened, and the only history that exists is the propagandized, revisionist history the revolutionaries create.
Then we have the naturalistic fallacy that primitivists swim in.
If something is natural, then it is good/not bad
This is the “is ought” fallacy created by David Hume.
Transhumanists are similar:
We can use technology that can increase intelligence, allow people to become immortal and remove unhappiness, therefore we ought to use such technology
However, if one mentions natural disasters, diseases, and so forth, then the argument that “nature is good” falls flat on its face. One could make the argument that our ancestors did human sacrifices, so therefore, sacrifice should be allowed. Sparta engaged in a primitive form of eugenics, so eugenics are perfectly natural and so ought to be the case today. This funnily enough plays into the transhumanists hands.
Similarly, if one mentions that transhumanist technology will alter us in a way which may eliminate humanity or the human spirit, or abortion, which involves the death of the child, then the argument that technology is an absolute moral good falls flat on its face.
There is the idea that we were once hunter gatherers, so therefore we ought to be hunter gatherers.
I am sceptical that we truly are fully made for hunter gatherer society. And then I ask, if we have indeed changed then why is it bad for us to adapt to our new environment? For us to change who we are? Its clear that some change has happened.
Why then is this change bad?
Are primitivists really suggesting that any change in our natural biology or who we are compared to what we once were is bad?
Here lies a great flaw with primitivists, despite their love of nature, they ignore a fundamental fact about the world and nature.
It changes. The Ice Age was a natural transition of the environment imposed on humans by nature. I don’t hear Ted complaining about such a change being imposed onto humans, despite said consequences likely having severe effects on animals and humans similar to today. The only difference is primitivists believe its man made today. Well then I ask, what if it is mostly nature? What if it’s found out man is doing very little in changing the climate or the environment? Does that suddenly make it perfectly fine, because nature is the one doing this and not technology?
Humans, like all animals adapt to nature. We didn’t choose hunter gatherer society because we wanted it, we did it because of nature imposing an environment on us and so we adapted to said environment the best way we could. It’s possible agriculture was created out of the natural environment forcing us to adapt.
I don’t think its possible to make an argument that change imposed by nature is better than change imposed by technology. Because it implies “nature=good” when that is clearly not the case.
The single overriding issue for me is that our society is restricting our freedom and autonomy, which is damaging us mentally. At the moment, human nature needs a certain amount of autonomy. Over time we may adapt enough. But at the moment it hurts us.
We can adapt by accepting transhumanism, but at a great moral cost.
On the topic of morals. To suggest that most of our morals are simply the system is absurd. Humans have always rejected violence. War has been always seen as horrific. They are only done as a last resort. This has always been the case for thousands of years. Whenever I hear of a moral evil, it is a gut feeling. It is not something learned, it is ingrained deep in us.
In terms of dignity, to me it is an indignity to be publicly seen taking a dump.
Of course we once did such a thing. We once wore very little. But we’d find walking around naked shameful. We started wearing clothes, it became shameful not to. And these are to me gut feelings. Not rationally made.
How can this be explained?
To me, there is no need to truly answer such questions.
Primitivism already has enough problems to justify rejection. It is simply put, the other side of the coin to transhumanism. They both wish to bring us all to their knees.
It is imperative that we fight against both with all of the strength and courage we can muster.
On the man himself
I hope people take from my work, that it is okay to disagree with Ted. He’s an intelligent guy, with many interesting ideas. But not all of those ideas will be correct. He is human like all of us. Same goes for me.
Ted has stated in letters that his time is up. He won’t live much longer. If I’m honest I don’t know what his legacy will be. One of the most infamous criminals in history, that's all but assured. But what will people think of him?
Its one of the most fascinating things about Ted. So many people, with so many different views and perspectives. I’ll offer mine here.
First of all, like many, I denounce how he got his views out there. To me, it was flat out murder. Just because he believed what he did does not justify it. I find it strange how those who praise Ted, who say that his actions were justified, change their view completely with something similar, like for example, the trans woman who shot up that Christian school recently. Both were murders of people who the killers thought “evil”.
If he wanted to use violence, why not do it on monuments to technology, where no one could get hurt?
But with that out of the way, I do have sympathy for Ted. Reading how he was happy that the bomb on the airliner failed shows he had some semblance of human decency. His sanity? Whether he had mental illnesses?
I can’t be certain. I would say anyone who trashes someone property for a mild inconvenience such as a motorbike passing by must have some issues. And openly writing in journals about torturing animals, or killing a 3 year old child because I guess you feel like it, has all the signs of some of the most despicable people I could have the misfortune of thinking about.
The kind of people who make the rest of us want to have the kind of deaths they imagined for other people. The kind of people that whip us into a murderous frenzy, like how the people of Merseyside acted towards the murderers of 2 year old James Bulger.
Then there is him considering allying with the Taliban. The first thought that came to this man, after 9/11, after the Twin Towers came down with thousands still inside, who apparently believed in freedom and autonomy, was that a group that is certainly not known for freedom and autonomy was worth aligning with. How hypocritical can you get?
When reading about all that, you hate him, you are happy he’s spent 25 something years behind bars, you contemplate if you are doing those who were killed a disservice.
But then you read about his relationship with his defendants and how kind he was to them, or the love he showed towards Joy Richards. When she died from cancer Ted was distraught.
My friend has suffered more than anyone deserves to suffer, and I can do nothing to help her
Its moments like this that show there was good in there. This is the same man who wrote about torturing animals, who wrote about hurting a girl because she rejected him. Yet he felt great pain at Joy’s suffering, that no one, even his worst enemies deserve that fate.
Was it genuine? Was it simply to gain favour? To advance his cause? I don’t know.
He has always seemed to never remain close to people. He cut off contact with his defendants. He cut off contact with Zerzan. I’m sure there are other examples.
I guess the closest I can come to a conclusion is to say that Ted Kaczynski is a man of many contradictions (a man of paradoxes maybe?).
He was gifted with great intelligence but poor social skills. He is capable of great kindness but at the same time great cruelty bordering on psychopathic. He can make great arguments but at the same time can be sloppy. He is a monster. He is a good man. He deserves to rot in hell. I hope the Lord, if he exists, forgives him.
As Ted spends his last days on this Earth, we are left to speculate on what he thinks of the life he’s lived. I don’t think any of us, will ever truly understand or know the man who once lived in that cabin in Montana. Even those closest to him.
With those final details out of the way, I bring my series of essays on this topic to a close. These essays have been made over a period of months, using hours upon hours of research.
There are a few people to thank. Firstly, those I corresponded with during this time, who took time out of their day to reply to my questions and emails.
I would like to mention the owner of the Ted K Archive who has done a fantastic job in uploading many of Teds work, along with others into one large library. Without the archive, I would struggle to find the ideas and views of different people I have mentioned, as well as go into more detail on Ted's.
I would also like to thank James Ellis who does the Hermitix podcast. I highly recommend his book, Only Ever Freedom.
Sean Fleming also deserves a mention. To see someone in academia take a serious look at such a controversial and sensitive topic is so refreshing. I should also mention others in academia such as Ole Martin Moen who have also made work on this topic. It’s my hope that these people finally give academia the kick up the backside to truly take the issues and ideas Ted brings forth seriously.
They have the means to truly investigate and critique. They have the resources. And at the moment they do nothing with them. It is my belief that Ted wanted to release his manifesto to start genuine discussion. He understood that he made a lot of value judgements and assessments which many who know better, can improve on or prove wrong. He states that in his very first note at the end of the manifesto.
Again, that’s why I put all this effort into making these essays. To further the discussion. To attempt to do something very few have actually done over the past near 30 years since his arrest.
I hold the belief that Ted has grown sloppy, or grown an ego over his period in jail. When its likely that all of the letters sent to you are wild appraisals, you tend to grow one. He is way too confident in his own ideas and beliefs. It seems I’m not the only one to hold this view, and not just from those critical of revolution.
If there is a few things I regret, its not being harsher on transhumanists. When one reads my essays, it sounds like I’m being critical of anti-tech people only. This is not true. I just don’t have much to contribute, everything has been said if you ask me.
But far too little has been directed at the anti-tech movement.
The critique’s of primitivists from people like Stephen Booth 20 years ago are still prevalent today.
I leave this debate with satisfaction. Satisfaction that I have pretty much gone over everything. Satisfaction that there are people who will continue to further the discussion and bring more attention to Ted, Ellul and others. I’ve made sure to help them out and make proposals in the time I’ve spent making this essay, before I leave.
I’m simply not interested in doing this forever. To me there is far more to life. Maybe I will come back to this discussion if I truly have something to bring up that I haven’t discussed already. But those will be one offs. Maybe I will reappear under this pseudonym to discuss something different to this topic. But again, it remains to be seen.
I end with my final thank you. To you, the reader. Whether this was the only essay you read, or you’ve read all of them.
Son of Waru.