He tried to save us
Comrades of Kaczynski Winter Solstice
Defending the Unabomber. Mar. 16 1998 The New Yorker
Time magazine. "I don't want to live get the death penalty…by Stephen J Dubner
Gear Magazine, Anarchy in the USA, by Peter Klebnikov.
The Unabomber's Legacy, Part I
Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,
Excerpts from: Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber By Alston Chase
a chronology of unabomb related events…
UNABOM: 4/20/95 letter to the New York Times
Representing Ted Kaczynski: The Right to Assistance of Counsel
Table of Contents:
Comrades of Kaczynski Winter Solstice
Thinking about Violence
Ship of Fools
Selections from Articles
Morality and Revolution
Chronology of Events
Selections from Interview
Sorry, no page numbers. Figure it out.
Published, edited, and written by Comrades of Kaczynski Anti-Copyright Please copy and steal as you wish.
[Note written by Kaczynski on his copy:] March 5, 1997, to Sowards and Holdman: “Your approach is this: You put a shrink or two on the stand to ‘tell my story,’ you expose publicly all the most intimate details of my life and then you ask the jury to take pity on me because I’ve had it so tough.
“I’m not going to let you take this approach.” => Ted K.
At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, "thus far and no further." If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, "If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."
- Ed Abbey
[Note written by Kaczynski on his copy:] DISTRIBUTED BY ANARCHISTS ANONYMOUS DISTRO firstname.lastname@example.org P.O. Box [text cut off], 55458
Comrades of Kaczynski Winter Solstice
Almost five years have passed since Theodore J. Kaczynski was first arrested for allegedly engaging in a seventeen-year, anti-technology anarchistic bombing campaign. From the time of his April, 1996 arrest, to his forced confession and guilty plea in January, 1998 and beyond, many pressing questions were raised. Anyone with a political consciousness no doubt recognized the Pandora’s box Kaczynski opened. Kaczynski was acting on passions and sorrows similar to what everyone living under modem civilization experiences. With huge amounts of the world population on mind-altering psychiatric or illicit substances to simply survive, it makes me wonder if there has ever been anything “normal” or “sane” about the way most modem civilized people live. Almost anyone living in a city in America could be diagnosed with some psychological disorder.
Those of us opposed to the mass psychological (and physical) misery that dominates daily life are oft times labeled crazy, insane, or stupid and mislead. In England, Soviet Russia, and countless other places, those in power have a history of labeling dissidents as mentally ill and locking them away in institutions, or, worse yet, lobotomizing them into submission. In Kaczynski’s case, simply jailing him and providing the media with a sketch of a classic madman seemed to suffice.
We live in a world engulfed by propaganda; it is sometimes hard to distinguish what thoughts are even our own. Surely no one would have a spontaneous urge to buy a product such as toothpaste with fluoride. No—it is the barrage of information since we were tiny children that sends us the ’desire’ to buy fluoride-laden toothpaste If that 'desire' is examined, evidence would demonstrate that fluoride not only does not slow tooth decay past age 15, it is also toxic to humans. Imagine how surprising it would be to find out that sodium fluoride is a waste product of aluminum manufacture. Assuming most people would rather not buy poisonous products, we can see that the ‘desire’ to consume fluoride toothpaste was manufactured to serve the interests of industry and capitalism.
An examination into the case of political prisoner, Ted Kaczynski will reveal a similar propaganda campaign. Before passing judgment on this serious revolutionary matter, reconsider your ideas of morality, technology, justice and violence. It is only by thinking beyond the confines of a state-sponsored, propaganda-driven paradigm that the truth of the Kaczynski situation can finally be understood.
In the rest of this booklet—especially in the excerpts from the New Yorker article—it is made clear that the portrayal of Kaczynski as a madman was entirely false. Everyone who interacted with Kaczynski—including the judge presiding over his case—found him to be quite rational and sane, especially under the tremendous pressure of a potential death sentence. His lawyers and consequently the mass-media used photographs, psychiatric evaluations (more often than not from doctors that had never even met Kaczynski), and, most insultingly, his cabin from Montana to paint a picture of a crazy hermit. His lawyers intended on showing the cabin to the jury and asking, “would any sane person choose to live in such a primitive manner?” Although a government psychiatrist deemed Kaczynski fit to stand trial and represent himself, the image of a lunatic still dominates public attitude. Even many anarchists and political activists 1 know call Kaczynski a murderer and a psychopath for mailing bombs. People have assumed his guilt from the start based on nothing but what the FBI has told us they found in Kaczynski’s cabin, (and we all know how trustworthy the FBI is!)
In light of the chain of events that led to Ted's forced confession, and the evidence that he is as sane as any of us, it becomes obvious that the masses have been duped once again. If we are intent on challenging the govemmental/corporate machine, we must start to draw some of our own conclusions.
This conflict of a television image vs. reality is much too familiar. In my personal experience, accounts of a protest or demonstration on the news have been consistently disappointing and discouraging. For example, at the BIO 2000 protests in Boston, Massachusetts, the vivid and hugely attended demonstrations were not shown on mainstream news. Instead, the police and city officials rejoiced with business owners over the fact that their windows weren't smashed. As usual, the media—the propaganda tools of the powers- that-be—are quick to avoid reporting anything critical of the people who sign their paychecks. I urge you to search out this information on your own and let subjectivity guide you to more reasonable ideas about Kaczynski and his case, and the information systems that envelop us. Perhaps some will even choose to support Kaczynski, and fight for his freedom; as many have for Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal—both in jail for the same crime as Kaczynski’s: murder.
Clemency for Leonard Peltier is now closer than ever. The papers sit on the president's desk as this is being written. If he is set free, it will be because there is some benefit to the state, and as a result of the pressure put on the government by Native Americans and prison activists. Mumia Abu-Jamal has almost been put to death; saved due to the threat posed by activists and others if he were to be killed. Many millions of people support both of these political prisoners, yet know little of Kaczynski; of those who do, all but a few think him insane.
Peltier is convicted of killing two federal agents; Mumia, a cop. In both situations, it matters little to me whether they committed these “crimes.” What matters is that they are revolutionaries in jail and they need our solidarity and support. People who still have faith in the legal system believe the two have been short-changed and should have new trials. Kaczynski’s legal battle, as described in the New Yorker excerpts, at the very least demands a new trial. His 6th amendment right to represent himself was denied, and he was forced to proceed with lawyers he disagreed with. It was only after the judge denied both this and the request for new lawyers that Kaczynski plead guilty.
1 am an anarchist, and therefore believe that a new trial would be useless. The state will always serve the interests of the state. Kaczynski, Peltier, Mumia and all political prisoners must be freed, and if the state will not release them (HA!), than we must do it ourselves. In Greece, when anarchists are imprisoned, their comrades have set bombs, taken over buildings and militantly demonstrated to support them. On many occasions, the IRA killed prison guards who were reportedly torturing and harassing Republican inmates in the English prisons. Their actions would force the guards to ease up for fear of retribution. Nikos Maziotis, Greek anarchist prisoner, stated, “solidarity with all hostages of the state and capital, with Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Theodore Kaczynski and Tupac Amaru." Kaczynski is as political of a prisoner as they come. I believe Ted should be supported whether or not he committed the “crimes" he is convicted of. If he did not, he has been framed, he is a self-proclaimed revolutionary. If he did do the bombings, then he was striking blows against the system, and, is our comrade.
One of the more important byproducts of Kaczynski's case was the exposure of the fascism of justice. The “rights" normally allocated to those accused of “crimes” were systematically stripped from the beginning with the raid of his cabin. The FBI went in without witnesses from the local police department, which is a legal requirement for such a raid. The only evidence was David Kaczynski’s testimony that the Manifesto was similar to Ted’s writings.
After this shocking violation of his rights, Ted was later forced to be represented by lawyers who would not allow him to use a political defense. His rights to representation and to represent himself were stripped by the Judge because his requests were "untimely." What this amounts to is an illumination of what our so-called “rights" truly encompass.
To prevent revolt, government must allocate to its constituency some sort of power This power is doled out to us in the form of rights. These rights, as guaranteed by many laws, supposedly make us free. Although they are "unalienable,” we have seen that when the state is threatened, our "rights” can be quickly taken away. Rights turn out to be a complex tool to control the population, and when they are not enough to suffice, are removed. Justice has been defined as ‘vindictive retribution’ or ‘due punishment for a crime.’ A crime is something that falls into the wrong category of what the state has defined as right and wrong. Since crime is a state-defined idea, then justice inherently is as well. We must understand that “crime," is a loaded and degrading word, as such, no one should be jailed, for justice is guilty.
People everywhere, even the privileged of America, are beginning to feel the emptiness that is prevalent in the human psyche. This void grows bigger as our experiences with the natural world become increasingly mediated. Technology, in all its forms, has aided this mediating process, and indeed helped it expand to cover the whole planet. Not only civilized philosophy, but the physical effects of civilization are everywhere: the hole in the ozone, radiation clouds from wars, nuclear accidents and testing, jet fuel residue found in deep icecore samples in the arctic, dioxin in our water, office and school shootings on the rise; anyone can add to the list. The natural chaos of life is being destroyed by this civilized “order.” How could anyone who tries to halt this death march be called anything but reasonable? I would hope all humans feel some sense of obligation to the planet; enough to defend what wild remains.
But what can we do? What can one person possibly do? In the sample of articles provided in this booklet—taken from the thousands that were written—what one person did blew a crack in the prevailing paradigm. People were forced to consider why someone would kill for the wild and what is left of it in humans. Conspiracy is unnecessary. It has been demonstrated that one person can affect tremendous change. It’s a matter of scale. A one-man bombing campaign or an all out war against those who would destroy everything that makes life worth living.
Comrades of Kaczynski
Winter Solstice communiqué
Thinking about Violence
1.Physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing: crimes of violence. 2.Abusive or unjust exercise of power. Political prisoners Linda Evans and I^ura Whitehorn, in jail since 1985 for conspiring to "influence, change and protest policies and practices of the US government" with a series of bombings, address 'violence' in response to an interviewer's question:
Interviewer: Audre Lorde says the master's tools (violence) will never dismantle the master's house (the state). How do you react to this?
Laura?! don't think "violence" is just one thing, so I don't think it's necessarily ' the master's tool". If revolutionaries were as vicious and careless of humanity and innocent human lives as the U.S. government is, then I think we'd be doing wrong. But when oppressed people fight for freedom, using "violent" means among others, I think we should support them. Would you have condemned African slaves in the U.S. for killing their slave masters, or for using violence in a struggle for freedom?*
Linda: I don't think the issue is violence, but rather politics and power. Around the world, imperialism maintains itself by military power and the threat of violence wherever people struggle for change. Liberation movements have the right to use every means available to defeat the system that is oppressing and killing people. This means fighting back in self-defense. A slogan that embodies this for me comes from the Chinese Revolution: "Without mass struggle, there can be no revolution. Without armed struggle, there can be no victory."'
Peaceniks that mobilize for every march and carry on their meaningless pleas for reform (and even those have lost any usefulness) are always quick to label any kind of aggressive or militant action as violence and thus condemn the militants. Even an issue as mild as smashing a few corporate windows draws criticism from privileged activist circles. But how can the same term encompass both the horrors of capitalism and civilization against the planet and the self-defense actions taken by a few individuals who have grown tired of waving signs and begging for freedom?
When someone like Ted Kaczynski is mentioned, even seasoned anarchists cop out and judge his actions based on criteria that has been predetermined by the state Anyone who dismisses the actions and lifestyle of Kaczynski as violent and insane fails to realize the extremity of the problems we face due to hierarchical control and the mass-accepted status quo. It is no longer a question of violence vs. nonviolence. As Ward Churchill makes clear in Pacifism as Pathology, It is a question of when violence is necessary.
In a world where our lives are floating on the edge of ecological catastrophe, our outlets of rage cannot be written off as violent. Any actions taken against this rotting order must be seen as self-defense, thereby nullifying the debate over violence and allowing us a praxis of subjectivity. Along with this comes the freedom to choose our actions as we see fit, without the constraints applied by the terminology of violence.
Where do we go from here? Laura Whitehorn says it best, "Fight it. Don't back away. Develop clandestine ways of operating so that the state won't know everything that you’re doing. Support one another so that, when anyone is targeted for state attack, they can resist - that resistance will build us all. Don't ever give information - even if you think it’s "safe" information - to the state. Don't let the state divide the movement by calling some groups "legitimate" and others not. Unity is our strength. Support other movements and people who are also targets of state attack. When the state calls someone a "terrorist", or "violent", or "crazy", or anything, think hard before ever believing it to be true. Resist. Resist. Resist."
In these pages it is argued that continued scientific and technical progress will inevitably result in the extinction of individual liberty. I use the word “inevitably” in the following sense: One might—possibly—imagine certain conditions of society in which freedom could coexist with unfettered technology, but these conditions do not actually exist, and we know of no way to bring them about, so that, in practice, scientific progress will result in the extinction of individual liberty. Toward the end of this essay we propose what appears to be the only thing that bears any resemblance to a practical remedy for this situation.
I hope that the reader will bear with me when I recite arguments and facts with which he may already be familiar. I make no claim to originality. I simply think that the case for the thesis stated above is convincing, and I am attempting to set forth the arguments, new and old, in as clear a manner as possible, in the hope that the reader will be persuaded to support the solution here suggested—which certainly is a very obvious solution, but rather hard for many people to swallow.
The power of society to control the individual person has recently been expanding very rapidly, and is expected to expand even more rapidly in the near future. Let us list a few of the more ominous developments as a reminder.
1. Propaganda and image-making techniques. In this context we must not neglect the role of movies, television, and literature, which commonly are regarded either as art or as entertainment, but which often consciously adopt certain points of view and thus serve as propaganda. Even when they do not consciously adopt an explicit point of view they still serve to indoctrinate the viewer or reader with certain values. We venerate the great writers of the past, but one who considers the matter objectively must admit that modern artistic techniques have developed to the point where the more skillfully constructed movies, novels, etc. of today are far more psychologically potent than, say, Shakespeare ever was. The best of them are capable of gripping and involving the reader very powerfully and thus are presumably quite effective in influencing his values. Also note the increasing extent to which the average person today is “living in the movies” as the saying is. People spend a large and increasing amount of time submitting to canned entertainment rather than participating in spontaneous activities. As overcrowding and rules and regulations curtail opportunities for spontaneous activity, and as the developing techniques of entertainment make the canned product ever more attractive, we can assume that people will live more and more in the world of mass entertainment.
2. A growing emphasis among educators on “guiding” the child’s emotional development, coupled with an increasingly scientific attitude toward education. Of course, educators have always in some degree attempted to mold the attitudes of their pupils, but formerly they achieved only a limited degree of success, simply because their methods were unscientific. Educational psychology is changing this.
3. Operant conditioning, after the manner of B.F. Skinner and friends. (Of course, this cannot be entirely separated from item (2)).
4. Direct physical control of the emotions via electrodes and “chemitrodes” inserted in the brain. (See Jose M.R. Delgado’s book “Physical Control of the Mind.”)
5. Biofeedback training, after the manner of Joseph Kamiya and others.
6. Predicted “memory pills” or other drugs designed to improve memory or increase intelligence. (The reader possibly assumes that items (5) and (6) present no danger to freedom because their use is supposed to be voluntary, but I will argue that point later. See page 8.)
7. Predicted genetic engineering, eugenics, related techniques.
8. Marvin Minsky of MIT (one of the foremost computer experts in the country) and other computer scientists predict that within fifteen years or possibly much less there will be superhuman computers with intellectual capacities far beyond anything of which humans are capable. It is to be emphasized that these computers will not merely perform so-called “mechanical” operations; they will be capable of creative thought. Many people are incredulous at the idea of a creative computer, but let it be remembered that (unless one resorts to supernatural explanations of human thought) the human brain itself is an electro-chemical computer, operating according to the laws of physics and chemistry. Furthermore, the men who have predicted these computers are not crackpots but first-class scientists. It is difficult to say in advance just how much power these computers will put into the hands of what is vulgarly termed the establishment, but this power will probably be very great. Bear in mind that these computers will be wholly under the control of the scientific, bureaucratic, and business elite. The average person will have no access to them. Unlike the human brain, computers are more or less unrestricted as to size (and, more important, there is no restriction on the number of computers that can be linked together over a long distance to form a single brain), so that there is no restriction on their memories or on the amount of information they can assimilate and correlate. Computers are not subject to fatigue, daydreaming, or emotional problems. They work at fantastic speed. Given that a computer can duplicate the functions of the human brain, it seems clear in view of the advantages listed above that no human brain could possibly compete with such a computer in any field of endeavor.
9. Various electronic devices for surveillance. These are being used. For example, according to newspaper reports, the police of New York City have recently instituted a system of 24-hour television surveillance over certain problem areas of the city.
These are some of the more strikingly ominous facets of scientific progress, but it is perhaps more important to look at the effect of technology as a whole on our society. Technological progress is the basic cause of the continual increase in the number of rules and regulations. This is because many of our technological devices are more powerful and therefore more potentially destructive than the more primitive devices they replace (e.g., compare autos and horses) and also because the increasing complexity of the system makes necessary a more delicate coordination of its parts. Moreover, many devices of functional importance (e.g., electronic computers, television broadcasting equipment, jet planes) cannot be owned by the average person because of their size and costliness. These devices are controlled by large organizations such as corporations and governments and are used to further the purposes of the establishment. A larger and larger proportion of the individual’s environment—not only his physical environment, but such factors as the kind of work he does, the nature of his entertainment, etc.–comes to be created and controlled by large organizations rather than by the individual himself. And this is a necessary consequence of technological progress, because to allow technology to be exploited in an unregulated, unorganized way would result in disaster.
Note that the problem here is not simply to make sure that technology is used only for good purposes. In fact, we can be reasonably certain that the powers which technology is putting into the hands of the establishment will be used to promote good and eliminate evil. These powers will be so great that within a few decades virtually all evil will have been eliminated. But, of course, “good” and “evil” here mean good and evil as interpreted by the social mainstream. In other words, technology will enable the social mainstream to impose its values universally. This will not come about through the machinations of power-hungry scoundrels, but through the efforts of socially responsible people who sincerely want to do good and who sincerely believe in freedom—but whose concept of freedom will be shaped by their own values, which will not necessarily be the same as your values or my values.
The most important aspect of this process will perhaps be the education of children, so let us use education as an example to illustrate the way the process works. Children will be taught—by methods which will become increasingly effective as educational psychology develops—to be creative, inquiring, appreciative of the arts and sciences, interested in their studies—perhaps they will even be taught nonconformity. But of course this will not be merely random nonconformity but “creative” nonconformity. Creative nonconformity simply means nonconformity that is directed toward socially desirable ends. For example, children may be taught (in the name of freedom) to liberate themselves from irrational prejudices of their elders, “irrational prejudices” being those values which are not conducive to the kind of society that most educators choose to regard as healthy. Children will be educated to be racially unbiased, to abhor violence, to fit into society without excessive conflict. By a series of small steps—each of which will be regarded not as a step toward behavioral engineering but as an improvement in educational technique—this system will become so effective that hardly any child will turn out to be other than what the educators desire. The educational system will then have become a form of psychological compulsion. The means employed in this “education” will be expanded to include methods which we currently would consider disgusting, but since these methods will be introduced in a series of small steps, most people will not object—especially since children trained to take a “scientific” or “rational” attitude toward education will be growing up to replace their elders as they die off.
For instance, chemical and electrical manipulation of the brain will at first be used only on children considered to be insane, or at least severely disturbed. As people become accustomed to such practices, they will come to be used on children who are only moderately disturbed. Now, whatever is on the furthest fringes of the abnormal generally comes to be regarded with abhorrence. As the more severe forms of disturbances are eliminated, the less severe forms will come to constitute the outer fringe; they will thus be regarded as abhorrent and hence as fair game for chemical and electrical manipulation. Eventually, all forms of disturbance will be eliminated—and anything that brings an individual into conflict with his society will make him unhappy and therefore will be a disturbance. Note that this whole process does not presuppose any antilibertarian philosophy on the part of educators or psychologists, but only a desire to do their jobs more effectively.
Consider: Today, how can one argue against sex education? Sex education is designed not simply to present children with the bald facts of sex; it is designed to guide children to a healthy attitude toward sex. And who can argue against that? Think of all the misery suffered as a result of Victorian repressions, sexual perversions, frigidity, unwanted pregnancies, and venerial [sic.] disease. If much of this can be eliminated by instilling “healthy” (as the social mainstream interprets that word) sexual attitudes in children, who can deny it to them? But it will be equally impossible to argue against any of the other steps that will eventually lead to the complete engineering of the human personality. Each step will be equally humanitarian in its goals.
There is no distinct line between “guidance” or “influence” and manipulation. When a technique of influence becomes so effective that it achieves its desired effect in nearly every case, then it is no longer influence but compulsion. Thus influence evolves into compulsion as science improves technique.
Research has shown that exposure to television violence makes the viewer more prone to violence himself. The very existence of this knowledge makes it a foregone conclusion that restrictions will eventually be placed on televized violence, either by the government or by the TV industry itself, in order to make children less prone to develop violent personalities. This is an element of manipulation. It may be that you feel an end to television violence is desirable and that the degree of manipulation involved is insignificant. But science will reveal, one at a time, a hundred other factors in entertainment that have a “desirable” or “undesirable” effect on personality. In the case of each one of these factors, knowledge will make manipulation inevitable. When the whole array of factors has become known, we will have drifted into large-scale manipulation. In this way, research leads automatically to calculated indoctrination.
By way of a further example, let us consider genetic engineering. This will not come into use as a result of a conscious decision by the majority of people to introduce genetic engineering. It will begin with certain “progressive” parents who will voluntarily avail themselves of genetic engineering opportunities in order to eliminate the risk of certain gross physical defects in their offspring. Later, this engineering will be extended to include elimination of mental defects and treatment which will predispose the child to somewhat higher intelligence. (Note that the question of what constitutes a mental “defect” is a value-judgement. Is homosexuality, for example, a defect? Some homosexuals would say “no.” But there is no objectively true or false answer to such a question.) As methods are improved to the point where the minority of parents who use genetic engineering are producing noticeably healthier, smarter offspring, more and more parents will want genetic engineering. When the majority of children are genetically engineered, even those parents who might otherwise be antagonistic toward genetic engineering will feel obliged to use it so that their children will be able to compete in a world of superior people—superior, at least relative to the social milieu in which they live. In the end, genetic engineering will be made compulsory because it will be regarded as cruel and irresponsible for a few eccentric parents to produce inferior offspring by refusing to use it. Bear in mind that this engineering will involve mental as well as physical characteristics; indeed, as scientists explain mental traits on the basis of physiology, neurology, and biochemistry, it will become more and more difficult to distinguish between “mental” and “physical” traits.
Observe that once a society based on psychological, genetic, and other forms of human engineering has come into being, it will presumably last forever, because people will all be engineered to favor human engineering and the totally collective society, so that they will never become dissatisfied with this kind of society. Furthermore, once human engineering, the linking of human minds with computers, and other things of that nature have come into extensive use, people will probably be altered so much that it will no longer be possible for them to exist as independent beings, either physically or psychologically. Indeed, technology has already made it impossible for us to live as physically independent beings, for the skills which enabled primitive man to live off the country have been lost. We can survive only by acting as components of a huge machine which provides for our physical needs; and as technology invades the domain of mind, it is safe to assume that human beings will become as dependent psychologically on technology as they now are physically. We can see the beginning of this already in the inability of some people to avoid boredom without television and in the need of others to use tranquilizers in order to cope with the tensions of modern society.
The foregoing predictions are supported by the opinions of at least some responsible writers. See especially Jacques Ellul’s “The Technological Society” and the section titled “Social Controls” in Kahn and Wiener’s “The Year 2,000.”
Now we come to the question: What can be done to prevent all this? Let us first consider the solution sketched by Perry London in his book “Behavior Control.” This solution makes a convenient example because its defects are typical of other proposed solutions. London’s idea is, briefly, this: Let us not attempt to interfere with the development of behavioral technology, but let us all try to be as aware of and as knowledgeable about this technology as we can; let us not keep this technology in the hands of a scientific elite, but disseminate it among the population at large; people can then use this technology to manipulate themselves and protect themselves from manipulation by others. However, on the grounds that “there must be some limits” London advocates that behavior control should be imposed by society in certain areas. For example, he suggests that people should be made to abhor violence and that psychological means should be used to make businessmen stop destroying the forests. (NOTE: I do not currently have access to a copy of London’s book, and so I have had to rely on memory in describing his views. My memory is probably correct here, but in order to be honest I should admit the possibility of error.)
My first objection to London’s scheme is a personal one. I simply find the sphere of freedom that he favors too narrow for me to accept. But his solution suffers from other flaws.
He proposes to use psychological controls where they are not necessary, and more for the purpose of gratifying the liberal intellectual’s esthetic sensibilities than because of a practical need. It is true that “there must be some limits”–on violence, for example—but the threat of imprisonment seems to be an adequate limitation. To read about violence is frightening, but violent crime is not a significant cause of mortality in comparison to other causes. Far more people are killed in automobile accidents than through violent crime. Would London also advocate psychological elimination of those personalities that are inclined to careless driving? The fact that liberal intellectuals and many others get far more excited over violence than they do over careless driving would seem to indicate that their antagonism toward violence arises not primarily from a concern for human life but from a strong emotional antipathy toward violence itself. Thus it appears that London’s proposal to eliminate violence through psychological control results not from practical necessity but from a desire on London’s part to engineer some of his own values into the public at large.
This becomes even clearer when we consider London’s willingness to use psychological engineering to stop businessmen from destroying forests. Obviously, psychological engineering cannot accomplish this until the establishment can be persuaded to carry out the appropriate program of engineering. But if the establishment can be persuaded to do this, then they can equally well be persuaded to pass conservation laws strict enough to accomplish the same purpose. And if such laws are passed, the psychological engineering is superfluous. It seems clear that here, again, London is attracted to psychological engineering simply because he would like to see the general public share certain of his values.
When London proposes to us systematic psychological controls over certain aspects of the personality, with the intention that these controls shall not be extended to others areas, he is assuming that the generation following his own will agree with his judgment as to how far the psychological controls should reach. This assumption is almost certainly false. The introduction of psychological controls in some areas (which London approves) will set the stage for the later introduction of controls in other areas (which London would not approve), because it will change the culture in such a way as to make people more receptive to the concept of psychological controls. As long as any behavior is permitted which is not in the best interests of the collective social organization, there will always be the temptation to eliminate the worst of this behavior through human engineering. People will introduce new controls to eliminate only the worst of this behavior, without intending that any further extension of the controls should take place afterward; but in fact they will be indirectly causing further extensions of the controls because whenever new controls are introduced, the public, as it becomes used to the controls, will change its conception of what constitutes an appropriate degree of control. In other words, whatever the amount of control to which people have become accustomed, they will regard that amount as right and good and they will regard a little further extension of control as negligible price to pay for the elimination of some form of behavior that they find shocking.
London regards the wide dissemination of behavioral technology among the public as a means by which the people can protect themselves against psychological manipulation by the established powers. But if it is really true that people can use this knowledge to avoid manipulation in most areas, why won’t they also be able to use it to avoid being made to abhor violence, or to avoid control in other areas where London thinks they should be controlled? London seems to assume that people will be unable to avoid control in just those areas where he thinks they should be controlled, but that they will be able to avoid control in just those areas where he thinks they should not be controlled.
London refers to “awareness” (of sciences relating to the mind) as the individual’s “sword and buckler” against manipulation by the establishment. In Roman times a man might have a real sword and buckler just as good as those of the emperor’s legionaries, but that did not enable him to escape oppression. Similarly, if a man of the future has a complete knowledge of behavioral psychology it will not enable him to escape psychological control any more than the possession of a machine-gun or a tank would enable him to escape physical control. The resources of an organized society are just too great for any individual to resist no matter how much he knows.
With the vast expansion of knowledge in the behavioral sciences, biochemistry, cybernetics, physiology, genetics, and other disciplines which have the potential to affect human behavior, it is probably already impossible (and, if not, it will soon become impossible) for any individual to keep abreast of it all. In any case, we would all have to become, to some degree, specialists in behavior control in order to maintain London’s “awareness.” What about those people who just don’t happen to be attracted to that kind of science, or to any science? It would be agony for them to have to spend long hours studying behavioral technology in order to maintain their freedom.
Even if London’s scheme of freedom through “awareness” were feasible, it could, or at least would, be carried out only by an elite of intellectuals, businessmen, etc. Can you imagine the members of uneducated minority groups, or, for that matter, the average middle-class person, having the will and the ability to learn enough to compete in a world of psychological manipulation? It will be a case of the smart and the powerful getting more powerful while the stupid and the weak get (relatively) stupider and weaker; for it is the smart and the powerful who will have the readiest access to behavioral technology and the greatest ability to use it effectively.
This is one reason why devices for improving one’s mental or psychological capabilities (e.g., biofeedback training, memory pills, linking of human minds with computers) are dangerous to freedom even though their use is voluntary. For example, it will not be physically possible for everyone to have his own full-scale computer in his basement to which he can link his brain. The best computer facilities will be reserved for those whom society judges most worthy: government officials, scientists, etc. Thus the already powerful will be made more powerful.
Also, the use of such mind-augmentation devices will not remain voluntary. All our modern conveniences were originally introduced as optional benefits which one could take or leave as one chose. However, as a result of the introduction of these benefits, society changed its structure in such a way that the use of modern conveniences is now compulsory: for it would be physically impossible to live in modern society without extensively using devices provided by technology. Similarly, the use of mind-augmenting devices, though nominally voluntary, will become in practice compulsory. When these devices have reached a high development and have come into wide use, a person refusing to use them would be putting himself in the position of a dumb animal in a world of supermen. He would simply be unable to function in a society structured around the assumption that most people have vastly augmented mental abilities.
By virtue of their very power, the devices for augmenting or modifying the human mind and personality will have to be governed by extensive rules and regulations. As the human mind comes to be more and more an artifact created by means of such devices, these rules and regulations will come to be rules and regulations governing the structure of the human mind.
An important point: London does not even consider the question of human engineering in infancy (let alone genetic engineering before conception). A two-year-old obviously would not be able to apply London’s philosophy of “awareness”; yet it will be possible in the future to engineer a young child so that he will grow up to have the type of personality that is desired by whoever has charge of him. What is the meaning of freedom for a person whose entire personality has been planned and created by someone else?
London’s solution suffers from another flaw that is of particular importance because it is shared by all libertarian solutions to the technology problem that have ever come to my attention. The problem is supposed to be solved by propounding and popularizing a certain libertarian philosophy. This approach is unlikely to achieve anything. Our liberty is not deteriorating as a result of any antilibertarian philosophy. Most people in this country profess to believe in freedom. Our liberty is deteriorating as a result of the way people do their jobs and behave in relation to technology on a day-to-day basis. The system has come to be set up in such a way that it is usually comfortable to do that which strengthens the organization. When a person in a position of responsibility sets to eliminate that which is contrary to established values, he is rewarded with the esteem of his fellows and in other ways. Police officials who introduce new surveillance devices, educators who introduce more advanced techniques for molding children, do not do so through disrespect for freedom; they do so because they are rewarded with the approval of other police officials or educators and also because they get an inward satisfaction from having accomplished their assigned tasks not only competently, but creatively. A hands-off approach toward the child’s personality would be best from the point of view of freedom, but this approach will not be taken because the most intelligent and capable educators crave the satisfaction of doing their work creatively. They want to do more with the child, not less. The greatest reward that a person gets from furthering the ends of the organization may well be simply the opportunity for purposeful, challenging, important activity—an opportunity that is otherwise hard to come by in society. For example, Marvin Minsky does not work on computers because he is antagonistic to freedom, but because he loves the intellectual challenge. Probably he believes in freedom, but since he is a computer specialist he manages to persuade himself that computers will tend to liberate man.
The main point here is that the danger to freedom is caused by the way people work and behave on a day-to-day basis in relation to technology; and the way people behave in relation to technology is determined by powerful social and psychological forces. To oppose these forces a comparatively weak force like a body of philosophy is simply hopeless. You may persuade the public to accept your philosophy, but most people will not significantly change their behavior as a result. They will invent rationalizations to reconcile their behavior with the philosophy, or they will say that what they do as individuals is too insignificant to change the course of events, or they will simply confess themselves too weak to live up to the philosophy. Conceivably a school of philosophy might change a culture over a long period of time if the social forces tending in the opposite direction were weak. But the social forces guiding the present development of our society are obviously strong, and we have very little time left—another three decades likely will take us past the point of no return.
Thus a philosophy will be ineffective unless that philosophy is accompanied by a program of concrete action of a type which does not ask people to voluntarily change the way they live and work—a program which demands little effort or willpower on the part of most people. Such a program would probably have to be a political or legislative one. A philosophy is not likely to make people change their daily behavior, but it might (with luck) induce them to vote for politicians who support a certain program. Casting a vote requires only a casual commitment, not a strenuous application of willpower. So we are left with the question: What kind of legislative program would have a chance of saving freedom?
I can think of only two possibilities that are halfway plausible. The discussion of one of these I will leave until later. The other, and the one that I advocate, is this: In simple terms, stop scientific progress by withdrawing all major sources of research funds. In more detail, begin by withdrawing all or most federal aid to research. If an abrupt withdrawal would cause economic problems, then phase it out as rapidly as is practical. Next, pass legislation to limit or phase out research support by educational institutions which accept public funds. Finally, one would hope to pass legislation prohibiting all large corporations and other large organizations from supporting scientific research. Of course, it would be necessary to eventually bring about similar changes throughout the world, but, being Americans, we must start with the United States; which is just as well, since the United States is the world’s most technologically advanced country. As for economic or other disruption that might be caused by the elimination of scientific progress—this disruption is likely to be much less than that which would be caused by the extremely rapid changes brought on by science itself.
I admit that, in view of the firmly entrenched position of Big Science, it is unlikely that such a legislative program could be enacted. However, I think there is at least some chance that such a program could be put through in stages over a period of years, if one or more active organizations were formed to make the public aware of the probable consequences of continued scientific progress and to push for the appropriate legislation. Even if there is only a small chance of success, I think that chance is worth working for, since the alternative appears to be the loss of all human freedom.
This solution is bound to be attacked as “simplistic.” But this ignores the fundamental question, namely: Is there any better solution or indeed any other solution at all? My personal opinion is that there is no other solution. However, let us not be dogmatic. Maybe there is a better solution. But the point is this: If there is such a solution, no one at present seems to know just what it is. Matters have progressed to the point where we can no longer afford to sit around just waiting for something to turn up. By stopping scientific progress now, or at any rate slowing it drastically, we could at least give ourselves breathing space during which we could attempt to work out another solution, if one is possible.
There is one putative solution the discussion of which I have reserved until now. One might consider enacting some kind of bill of rights designed to protect freedom from technological encroachment. For the following reasons I do not believe that such a solution would be effective.
In the first place, a document which attempted to define our sphere of freedom in a few simple principles would either be too weak to afford real protection, or too strong to be compatible with the functioning of the present society. Thus, a suitable bill of rights would have to be excessively complex, and full of exceptions, qualifications, and delicate compromises. Such a bill would be subject to repeated amendments for the sake of social expedience; and where formal amendment is inconvenient, the document would simply be reinterpreted. Recent decisions of the Supreme Court, whether one approves of them or not, show how much the import of a document can be altered through reinterpretations. Our present Bill of Rights would have been ineffective if there had been in America strong social forces acting against freedom of speech, freedom of worship, etc. Compare what is happening to the right to bear arms, which currently runs counter to basic social trends. Whether you approve or disapprove of that “right” is beside the point—the point is that the constitutional guarantee cannot stand indefinitely against powerful social forces.
If you are an advocate of the bill-of-rights approach to the technology problem, test yourself by attempting to write a sample section on, say, genetic engineering. Just how will you define the term “genetic engineering” and how will you draw the line, in words, between that engineering which is to be permitted and that which is to be prohibited? Your law will either have to be too strong to pass; or so vague that it can be readily reinterpreted as social standards evolve; or excessively complex and detailed. In this last case, the law will not pass as a constitutional amendment, because for practical reasons a law that attempts to deal with such a problem in great detail will have to be relatively easy to change as needs and circumstances change. But then, of course, the law will be changed continually for the sake of social expedience and so will not serve as a barrier to the erosion of freedom.
And who would actually work out the details of such a bill of rights? Undoubtedly, a committee of congressmen, or a commission appointed by the president, or some other group of organization men. They would give us some fine libertarian rhetoric, but they would be unwilling to pay the price of real, substantial freedom—they would not write a bill that would sacrifice any significant amount of the organization’s power.
I have said that a bill of rights would not be able to stand for long against the pressures for science, progress, and improvement. But laws that bring a halt to scientific research would be quite different in this respect. The prestige of science would be broken. With the financial basis gone, few young people would find it practical to enter scientific careers. After, say three decades or so, our society would have ceased to be progress-oriented and the most dangerous of the pressures that currently threaten our freedom would have relaxed. A bill of rights would not bring about this relaxation.
This, by the way, is one reason why the elimination of research merely in a few sensitive areas would be inadequate. As long as science is a large and going concern, there will be the persistent temptation to apply it in new areas; but this pressure would be broken if science were reduced to a minor role.
Let us try to summarize the role of technology in relation to freedom. The principal effect of technology is to increase the power of society collectively. Now, there is a more or less unlimited number of value-judgments that lie before us: for example: whether an individual should or should not have puritanical attitudes toward sex; whether it is better to have rain fall at night or during the day. When society acquires power over such a situation, generally a preponderance of the social forces look upon one or the other of the alternatives as Right. These social forces are then able to use the machinery of society to impose their choice universally; for example, they may mold children so successfully that none ever grows up to have puritanical attitudes toward sex, or they may use weather engineering to guarantee that the rain falls only at night. In this way there is a continual narrowing of the possibilities that exist in the world. The eventual result will be a world in which there is only one system of values. The only way out seems to be to halt the ceaseless extension of society’s power.
I propose that you join me and a few other people to whom I am writing in an attempt to found an organization dedicated to stopping federal aid to scientific research. It would be a mistake, I think, to reject this suggestion out of hand on the basis of some vague dogma such as “knowledge is good” or “science is the hope of man.” Sure, knowledge is good, but how high a price, in terms of freedom, are we going to pay for knowledge? You may be understandably reluctant to join an organization about which you know nothing, but you know as much about it as I do. It hasn’t been started yet. You would be one of the founding members. I claim to have no particular qualifications for trying to start such an organization, and I have no idea how to go about it, I am only making an attempt because no better qualified person has yet done so. I am simply trying to bring together a few highly intelligent and thoughtful people who would be willing to take over the task. I would prefer to drop out of it personally because I am unsuited to that kind of work; in fact I dislike it intensely.
Ship of Fools
Once upon a time, the captain and the mates of a ship grew so vain of their seamanship, so full of hubris and so impressed with themselves, that they went mad. They turned the ship north and sailed until they met with icebergs and dangerous floes, and they kept sailing north into more and more perilous waters, solely in order to give themselves opportunities to perform ever-more-brilliant feats of seamanship.
As the ship reached higher and higher latitudes, the passengers and crew became increasingly uncomfortable. They began quarreling among themselves and complaining of the conditions under which they lived.
“Shiver me timbers,” said an able seaman, “if this ain’t the worst voyage I’ve ever been on. The deck is slick with ice; when I’m on lookout the wind cuts through me jacket like a knife; every time I reef the foresail I blamed-near freeze me fingers; and all I get for it is a miserable five shillings a month!”
“You think you have it bad!” said a lady passenger. “I can’t sleep at night for the cold. Ladies on this ship don’t get as many blankets as the men. It isn’t fair!”
A Mexican sailor chimed in: “¡Chingado! I’m only getting half the wages of the Anglo seamen. We need plenty of food to keep us warm in this climate, and I’m not getting my share; the Anglos get more. And the worst of it is that the mates always give me orders in English instead of Spanish.”
“I have more reason to complain than anybody,” said an American Indian sailor. “If the palefaces hadn’t robbed me of my ancestral lands, I wouldn’t even be on this ship, here among the icebergs and arctic winds. I would just be paddling a canoe on a nice, placid lake. I deserve compensation. At the very least, the captain should let me run a crap game so that I can make some money.”
The bosun spoke up: “Yesterday the first mate called me a ‘fruit’ just because I suck cocks. I have a right to suck cocks without being called names for it!”
It’s not only humans who are mistreated on this ship,” interjected an animal-lover among the passengers, her voice quivering with indignation. “Why, last week I saw the second mate kick the ship’s dog twice!”
One of the passengers was a college professor. Wringing his hands he exclaimed,
“All this is just awful! It’s immoral! It’s racism, sexism, speciesism, homophobia, and exploitation of the working class! It’s discrimination! We must have social justice: Equal wages for the Mexican sailor, higher wages for all sailors, compensation for the Indian, equal blankets for the ladies, a guaranteed right to suck cocks, and no more kicking the dog!”
“Yes, yes!” shouted the passengers. “Aye-aye!” shouted the crew. “It’s discrimination! We have to demand our rights!”
The cabin boy cleared his throat.
“Ahem. You all have good reasons to complain. But it seems to me that what we really have to do is get this ship turned around and headed back south, because if we keep going north we’re sure to be wrecked sooner or later, and then your wages, your blankets, and your right to suck cocks won’t do you any good, because we’ll all drown.”
But no one paid any attention to him, because he was only the cabin boy.
The captain and the mates, from their station on the poop deck, had been watching and listening. Now they smiled and winked at one another, and at a gesture from the captain the third mate came down from the poop deck, sauntered over to where the passengers and crew were gathered, and shouldered his way in amongst them. He put a very serious expression on his face and spoke thusly:
“We officers have to admit that some really inexcusable things have been happening on this ship. We hadn’t realized how bad the situation was until we heard your complaints. We are men of good will and want to do right by you. But — well — the captain is rather conservative and set in his ways, and may have to be prodded a bit before he’ll make any substantial changes. My personal opinion is that if you protest vigorously — but always peacefully and without violating any of the ship’s rules — you would shake the captain out of his inertia and force him to address the problems of which you so justly complain.”
Having said this, the third mate headed back toward the poop deck. As he went, the passengers and crew called after him, “Moderate! Reformer! Goody-liberal! Captain’s stooge!” But they nevertheless did as he said. They gathered in a body before the poop deck, shouted insults at the officers, and demanded their rights: “I want higher wages and better working conditions,” cried the able seaman. “Equal blankets for women,” cried the lady passenger. “I want to receive my orders in Spanish,” cried the Mexican sailor. “I want the right to run a crap game,” cried the Indian sailor. “I don’t want to be called a fruit,” cried the bosun. “No more kicking the dog,” cried the animal lover. “Revolution now,” cried the professor.
The captain and the mates huddled together and conferred for several minutes, winking, nodding and smiling at one another all the while. Then the captain stepped to the front of the poop deck and, with a great show of benevolence, announced that the able seaman’s wages would be raised to six shillings a month; the Mexican sailor’s wages would be raised to two-thirds the wages of an Anglo seaman, and the order to reef the foresail would be given in Spanish; lady passengers would receive one more blanket; the Indian sailor would be allowed to run a crap game on Saturday nights; the bosun wouldn’t be called a fruit as long as he kept his cocksucking strictly private; and the dog wouldn’t be kicked unless he did something really naughty, such as stealing food from the galley.
The passengers and crew celebrated these concessions as a great victory, but the next morning, they were again feeling dissatisfied.
“Six shillings a month is a pittance, and I still freeze me fingers when I reef the foresail,” grumbled the able seaman. “I’m still not getting the same wages as the Anglos, or enough food for this climate,” said the Mexican sailor. “We women still don’t have enough blankets to keep us warm,” said the lady passenger. The other crewmen and passengers voiced similar complaints, and the professor egged them on.
When they were done, the cabin boy spoke up — louder this time so that the others could not easily ignore him:
“It’s really terrible that the dog gets kicked for stealing a bit of bread from the galley, and that women don’t have equal blankets, and that the able seaman gets his fingers frozen; and I don’t see why the bosun shouldn’t suck cocks if he wants to. But look how thick the icebergs are now, and how the wind blows harder and harder! We’ve got to turn this ship back toward the south, because if we keep going north we’ll be wrecked and drowned.”
“Oh yes,” said the bosun, “It’s just so awful that we keep heading north. But why should I have to keep cocksucking in the closet? Why should I be called a fruit? Ain’t I as good as everyone else?”
“Sailing north is terrible,” said the lady passenger. “But don’t you see? That’s exactly why women need more blankets to keep them warm. I demand equal blankets for women now!”
“It’s quite true,” said the professor, “that sailing to the north imposes great hardships on all of us. But changing course toward the south would be unrealistic. You can’t turn back the clock. We must find a mature way of dealing with the situation.”
“Look,” said the cabin boy, “If we let those four madmen up on the poop deck have their way, we’ll all be drowned. If we ever get the ship out of danger, then we can worry about working conditions, blankets for women, and the right to suck cocks. But first we’ve got to get this vessel turned around. If a few of us get together, make a plan, and show some courage, we can save ourselves. It wouldn’t take many of us — six or eight would do. We could charge the poop, chuck those lunatics overboard, and turn the ship to the south.”
The professor elevated his nose and said sternly, “I don’t believe in violence. It’s immoral.”
“It’s unethical ever to use violence,” said the bosun.
“I’m terrified of violence,” said the lady passenger.
The captain and the mates had been watching and listening all the while. At a signal from the captain, the third mate stepped down to the main deck. He went about among the passengers and crew, telling them that there were still many problems on the ship.
“We have made much progress,” he said, “But much remains to be done. Working conditions for the able seaman are still hard, the Mexican still isn’t getting the same wages as the Anglos, the women still don’t have quite as many blankets as the men, the Indian’s Saturday-night crap game is a paltry compensation for his lost lands, it’s unfair to the bosun that he has to keep his cocksucking in the closet, and the dog still gets kicked at times.
“I think the captain needs to be prodded again. It would help if you all would put on another protest — as long as it remains nonviolent.”
As the third mate walked back toward the stern, the passengers and the crew shouted insults after him, but they nevertheless did what he said and gathered in front of the poop deck for another protest. They ranted and raved and brandished their fists, and they even threw a rotten egg at the captain (which he skillfully dodged).
After hearing their complaints, the captain and the mates huddled for a conference, during which they winked and grinned broadly at one another. Then the captain stepped to the front of the poop deck and announced that the able seaman would be given gloves to keep his fingers warm, the Mexican sailor would receive wages equal to three-fourths the wages of an Anglo seaman, the women would receive yet another blanket, the Indian sailor could run a crap game on Saturday and Sunday nights, the bosun would be allowed to suck cocks publicly after dark, and no one could kick the dog without special permission from the captain.
The passengers and crew were ecstatic over this great revolutionary victory, but by the next morning they were again feeling dissatisfied and began grumbling about the same old hardships.
The cabin boy this time was getting angry.
“You damn fools!” he shouted. “Don’t you see what the captain and the mates are doing? They’re keeping you occupied with your trivial grievances about blankets and wages and the dog being kicked so that you won’t think about what is really wrong with this ship — that it’s getting farther and farther to the north and we’re all going to be drowned. If just a few of you would come to your senses, get together, and charge the poop deck, we could turn this ship around and save ourselves. But all you do is whine about petty little issues like working conditions and crap games and the right to suck cocks.”
The passengers and the crew were incensed.
“Petty!!” cried the Mexican, “Do you think it’s reasonable that I get only three-fourths the wages of an Anglo sailor? Is that petty?”
“How can you call my grievance trivial? shouted the bosun. “Don’t you know how humiliating it is to be called a fruit?”
“Kicking the dog is not a ‘petty little issue!’” screamed the animal-lover. “It’s heartless, cruel, and brutal!”
“Alright then,” answered the cabin boy. “These issues are not petty and trivial. Kicking the dog is cruel and brutal and it is humiliating to be called a fruit. But in comparison to our real problem — in comparison to the fact that the ship is still heading north — your grievances are petty and trivial, because if we don’t get this ship turned around soon, we’re all going to drown.”
“Fascist!” said the professor.
“Counterrevolutionary!” said the lady passenger. And all of the passengers and crew chimed in one after another, calling the cabin boy a fascist and a counterrevolutionary. They pushed him away and went back to grumbling about wages, and about blankets for women, and about the right to suck cocks, and about how the dog was treated. The ship kept sailing north, and after a while it was crushed between two icebergs and everyone drowned.
1999 Ted Kaczynski
Selections from Articles
Defending the Unabomber. Mar. 16 1998 The New Yorker
The ending—abrupt, unsatisfying, badly understood—befitted * t&e strange, unhappy saga of Theodore J. Kac -ynski. -le was spared a grueling trial, the judgment of an elaborately chosen death qualified jury, and a strong chance of being condemned t to death, but he was saved from all of this by a bizarre alliance of lawyers he was trying to fire, a family he had renounced, psychiatrists he did not trust or respect (and in some cases had never met ), a federaljudge who had drastically restricted his right to council and seemed to fear (with reason) the trial to come, a press convinced that he was a paranoid schizophrenic, and, finally,, a legendary death penal ty opponent skilled at "client management" (managenment, that is, of Kaczynski), Much of the story took place entirely out of public view. Kaczynski pleaded guilty, in latej January, to all charges, and forswore all appeals, in exchange for a life sentence.. In our overburdendi courts, defendants are often left with little choice but to plead guilty, forfeiting their right tib a trial in exchange for a lesser sentence. But Ted Kaczynski was not just another defendant denied his day in court.
The Manifesto, as it became known, denounced modern technology and u^ged a revolution in the name of Wild Nature. Jefferson Morley, and editor at the Post, described it as "a romantic turgid, disturbing document—but so were the 'Port Huron Statement' (which marked the birth of the new left in 196?') and 'Witness' Whittaker! ChamberJs autobiography In 1952 8 (irktbh marked the birth of the modern right)." Most Americans didn't read it, and considered its author notling more thaA an evil coward.
For six weeks, Kaczynski watched with great interest as his lawyers grilled the prospective jurors. Here were the ordinary technology oppressed Americans in whose name he had conducted his long campaign of terror against "the technOdan class.
...a profound conflict had been growing between Kaczynski a and his lawyers virtually since his arrest. They believed that his best, if not his only, hope of escaping a death sentence was to claim that he was mentally ill. He staunchly refused to do so. This clash of wills and world views eventually erupted into open court. But before he was y ,hhdd offstage, Kaczynski's quietly fierce performance raised fundamental questions about a defendants right to participate in his own defense, the role of psychiatry in the courts, and the pathologi zing of radical dissent both in the courts and the press.
He was a bookbsh, brilliant boy, born in 1942, the first child of ambitious, self-educated parents. Reaped in a working class Chicago suixurb, he skipped two grades, had few friends, liked to shut himself up in his attic room. He was a nerd's nerd, shy and arrogant, socially doomed. For playmates, he was forced to rely on his brother, David, who was seven years younger, popular and easygoing.
At sixteen, Ted had entered Harvard tn a scholarship. He liesd in the Eliot house, where big, swaggering rich boys ruled the roost. Ted, physically slight and badJJ dressed? ate alone.
ihough not a popul ,r teacher (at Berkeley) he continued to publish impressively and was on track for tenure in one of the world's top math departments. Then, in 1969, he suddenly r resigned, telling his family that he wanted didn't want to teach math to engineers who would use i t to harm the environment...
Ted and Davidb bought 1.4 acres together tn Montana, in hign country just west of the continental divide. And that was wher where Ted lived for the next twenty five years. He built a sin simple, ten-foot-by- twelve foot cabin with two small
windows, a woodstove, no electricity, no plumbing. He grew a garden, built a root cellar, hunted rabbits and deer, exchanged vegetables with neighbors, didn't file a federal tax return. He rode an old bicycle five miles Into the town of Lincoln for supplies, and spent a lot of time at the public library there . His parent* visited him there each summer for the first few years.
There was never any doubt that Kaczynski was legally sane. But his lawyers believed that the degree of his culpabillity for his crimes could be made to depend on his psychiatric classification — the more serious.his diagnosis, the less his culpability.
They called him a "high functioning" par mold schizophrenic. Medically speaking, that would place him at the least-ill end of the spectrum of schizophrenia, where the obvious symptoms are often absent. The primary evidence of his illness seemed to be in his writings (most of which have never been made public), in his family's stories, and in his way of life.
Dr. Karen Fromlng, who specializes in neurophvyhologica1 assessment, gave Kaczynski a battery of tests that "revealed deflcltsx of a mild nature in the areas of frontal and cerebellar motor functions, microsomnia or smell functions,
cognitive processing efficiency, visual memory, and affective processing." Tnese deficits were consonant, she said, with paranoid schizophrenia. They did not, however, prove it. What really indicated such a diagnosis to her, Dr. Froming told me, were Kaczynski's systematized paranoid delusions. I asked wh.t those delusions were.
"Anti-technology," Dr. Froming said simply. "His view of technology as the vehicle by which people are destroying themselves and the world." The Manifesto, in other words....
(Another doctor) Dr. Deitz had, however, read Kaczynski's journals, and h. d not found them to show schizophrenia. "They're full of strong emotions, considerable anger, and an elaborate, closely reasoned system of belief about the adverse impact of technology on society. The
question always is: /s that belief system philosophy or is it delusion? The answer h is more to do with the ideology of the psychiatrist than with anything else."
Kaczynski's own ideology give psychiatrists short shrift. "The concept of 'mental health' in our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs bf the (industriii - technological) system and does so without showing signs of stress."
In his journals, he recorded his fear that his campaign againsi industrial society would ultimately be dismissed as the work o Of A
"sickle," observing that, "many time, conformist have a powerful need to depict the enemy of soci society a8 sordiri
• repulsive, or sick.?" He noted the old
Soviet practice of supressing
dissidents by labelling them mentally ill.
...its real implications are more disturbing still, for it suggests what few of us like to acknowledge — that sane, rational people may commit vilent, terrible acts, including serial murder.
Ted Kaczynski, in his refusal to plead mental Illness, was not only refusing to recant his ideas, but also refusing to recant his acts. He had done what he had done for the reasons he had given. And he was apparently prepared to explain those reasons to the jury and the world. He even hid, virtually from the beginning, a lawyer who was ready and well qualified to step in and help him make his deeplv subversive case.
J. To"y Serra had gotten in touch with Kaczynski shortly after his arrest. Serra was the real-life inspiration for a 1989 film, "True Believer," starring James Woods, about a flamboyant radical attorney who defends unpopular clients. Known f<">r courtrooms eloquence, a long,grey ponytail, Salistion Army suits, and a marijuana habit, Serra has built an enviable record of legal victor es, often in cases that other lawyers wouldn't touch. He has represented Black Panthers, White Panthers, members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, He has twice won freedom for men already condemned to death in California. He works pro-bono much of the time, and that was what he proposed to do for Kaczynski. He has, he says, the highest regard for public defenders, who, like him, spend their careers representing the poor and the despised.." j reppect them and T love them,',' he tolld me. "They are my allies But Kaczynski's lawyers were intent on saving his life Wfth a defense th.it their client did not want. "I am of a different ilk,11 Serra told me. "I have always servdd the objective of the client. A person has the right to defend himself in the manner he ch< .3, even if it means death, as long as he appreciates tne risk. Kaczynski appreciated and understood all the ramifications and wanted a trial based on an ideological defense."
As Serra envisioned such a defense—wwhich could probably be argued only during the penalty phase of the trial — Kaczynski would explain himself to the jury, using the Manifesto. Eminent poi-'teal scientists would be calle to interpret the essay, paragraph by paragraph. The defense case would be based on what Serra called rimperfect necessityu- you commit a crime to avert a greater disaster that you believe will occur," though others may find your belief unreasonable. :lt doesn't eliminate culpability," Serra noted, but it lowers culpability." Serra was confident that
Kaczynski's case against technology would be
P rfectly comprehensible to the jurors. "It's not crazy, and not difficult to understand. And if the hole in the k opens up and kills us all, he'll be proved right!"
’ who h ,s represented his share of disturbed
’ did not consider Kaczynski mad. Indeed, he told a repotter, ”Thi h a-
guy ig a genius. He sees things we
can't see and understands things we can't understand.
Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt."
Scharlette Holdman, a veteran death-penalty "mitigation investigator" had been described to me by a
former colleague as a specialist in "client management," and she spent many hours a week with Kaczynski during the long months of trial preparation. She was one of the links between Kaczynski and the outside world, which included his political, supporters—an amorphous but vivid crew of anarchists and enviro-radicals, who gathered primarily on the indernet. Holdman even persuaded key figures in that world to shut down their support campaigns as the trial approached, lest they disrupt delicate plea negotiations. Holdman's councils to Kaczynski himself hive not been disclosed, but he was obviously kept firmly in the dark for as long as possible about the extent of his teams plansto depict him at trial as mentally ill. . ....
Kaczynski was evidently not seeing much of the press coverage of hi s case, where his lawyers plan to offer a "mental defect" defense was being reported. Indeed it was only in the second half of November, with the jury selection well under way, that Kaczynski discovered that his lawyers were planning to introduce testimony from the
psychiatrists who had diagnosed his condition as piranold schizophrenic. He w is furious, and protested vehemently. And that was when, with the trial itself rapidly approaching, a game of legal chicken began. In Scharlette Holdman's experience,
It was the client who normally flinched in these situations. This client did not flinch.
The courtroom was jammed thqt morning, with reporters, spectators, surviving victims of the Unabomber, and victims' families. Judge Garland E. Burrell, JR., took his seat on the bench, but before he could say a word Kaczynski himsilf spoke up, in a calm, reedy voice. "Your honor, before these proceedings begin,"! would like to revisit the issue of relations with my attorneys," he said. "It's very important. Apparently, Kaczynski, after weeks of semipublic wrangling with his lawyers about a men tai-heal th defense, had just learned that they were planning to go ahead with it in the guilt phase, despite his wlshfed. For her opening statement, Judy Clarke had brought along two photographs of her client --one scrubbed young Berkeley professor and the other a spectral hermit's face. Kaczynski and his lawyers retired with the judge to his chambers, and there Kaczynski declared his interest in replacing his lawyers with Tony Serra.
Proceedings were delayed for two days while Burrell attempted to resolve the conflict. Contact was made with Serra, and his willingness to represent Kaczynski pro-bono was confirmed. During the subsequent public hearing, Kaczynski
again spoke up, clearly and politely stating his wish to retain Serra. Judge Burrell, who was said to be haunted by the thought of poor Lance Ito, undone in the
national spotlight by bunglers and demagogues, denied the request for new counsel. Serra would need many months to
prepare, he eaid. The jury had already been selected
and witnesses were waiting to testify. The request wae "Untimely". Glaring at Kaczynski, Burrell went on to try to settle, once and for all, the dispute between the defendant and his lawyers by ruling that it was the lawyer's
choice, rather than the defendant's, whether or not to present a "mental status" defense. This ruling caught all parties by surprise, and the next morning the prosecution expressed its concern that the ruling might contain "grave appellate error" and cause a guilty verdict to be thrown out by a high court.. The judge also seemed to have second thoughts about his ruling.
Kaczynski, in any event, had just electrified the courtroom with another announcement—made this time through an ashen Judy Clarke--that, since he had been denied both the counsel of his choice and the control of his own defense, he would exercise his Sixth Amendment right to represent himself. Clarke explained thrt Kaczynski, while he had no enthusiasm for doing so, felt he had no other choice. It was the unendurability" of listening to his lawyers describe him in public as mentally ill that had forced this decision, she said--an inability to endure which she considered a symptom of hie mental Illness. (Would a sane man, passionately comitted to his ideas, more easily listen to himself being described by his own representatives as insane?)
The judge deferred the question of self-representation by ordering a competency examination. A bureau of prisons psychiatrist, Dr. Sally Johnson, would determine whether Kaczynski w s competent to stand trial and competent to represent himself. Since the standard in such matters is low, there was little doubt that Kaczynski would be found competent,
As Kaczynski's conflict with his lawyers escalated, delaying the . ■ start of the trial, a cartoon image of Ted as a wild-eyed madman giined currency among reporters,
'jjundits, and TV talk-show hosts. Even the Times ran a story, 'in early January, that began, "Theodore J. Kaczynski, the nermit standing trial on charges that he r.n the unabomber has told his defense team that he believes satellites control people and place electrodes in their brains. Ue himself is controlled by an omnipotent organization which he is powerless to resist, he told the lawyers." These lines weee a collage of fragments from various sources pasted together to produce remarks that were never made and, if they had Ween, would almost certainly been shielded by attorney-client ^^^•0* pr iviege .
Mental health is a continuum. There are many shades of Schizophrenia, for instance, and Kaczynski in .y suffer from tfome version of the disease. But he is nowhere near any clinical extreme. There is no credicle
'Evidence that he hears voices, his hallucinations, or is "out of touch with reality"—unless reality is defined as having conventional social and political views. There was clearly something comforting though, in the familiar picture of an ordinary crackpot—and sonething frightening about the
physically meek, homegrown terrorist who stubbornly refused to accept not just established authority but modernity itself. Fears that the trial might become a circus" filled countless editorials. (This awful possibility was also referred to as a political "show trial" though that term properly refers, of course, to a sham trial staged by a state to punish its enemies, and not to an argument offerred by a revolutionary in the dock.) It wasn't easy to picture Kaczynski turning his trial into
agit-prop theatre—he is no Abiie Hoffman--but it was becoming clear that he simply would not recant his stark, apocolypticz view that science and progress were a colossal mistake. There were a few—a very few--dissenting voices, Michael Mello, a law professor (and former capial defender), wrote, in In a column for the Sacramento bee, "Ted Kaczynski's lawyers however well intentioned and paternalistic, are not 'assisting1 him. They are controlling him. They are strong- arming a man on trial for his life." Mello compared Kaczynski'S legal situation to that of John Brown, the leader of the famous raid at Harper's Ferry—a violent attempt to foment a slave rebellion in Virginia in 1859. Browns refusal to allow • s lawyers to . raise an insanity defense his trial was r-spected, and his execution helped bring about the end of lvery. James Q. Wilson, the conservative social scientist, in a times op-ed, of the Manifests, "The argument is 3ubtle and carffully developed, lacking in anythigg even intly resembling the wild claims or itratlnnal speculation a lunatic might pr oduce. . . . I f it is the work of a madman the writers of many political philosophers--Jean Jacques Jsueau, Tom Paine, Karl Marx--are scarcely more sane."
The only writer who got to see Kaczynski was John Zerzin, a vetei in anarchist ffom Oregon. Here is a sample of the coverage that Zerzan was giving Kaczynski, taken from the magazine Anarchy:
"Enter the Unabomber and a line is being
drawn, "’his time the bohemian schizf1uxecs, Green yuppies, hobbyist anarcho-journalists, condescending organizers of the poor, hip n ihi lo-aes the tes, and all the other "anarchists" who thought their potential pastimes would go unchallenged indefinitely—well, its time to pick which side you're on....
" Home no doubt, would prefer to wait for a perfect victim. Many would like to unlearn what they know of the invasive and unchallenged violence generated everywhere by the prevailing order--in order to condemn the Unabomber's
■I coun te r - terr or.
5ut here is the mm and the challenge before us.
Anarchists! One more effort if you would be enemies of this long nightmare!
Think for yourself. Act on your own."
.hose who wanted to know what Kaczynski was thinking were forced to rely on the few people who still had contact with him--primarlly his lawyers, who naturally tended to emphasize his terrible mental ilIness....But Tony Serra was stillin touch with him, and what he told me was that Kaczynski b.lieved that the public defenders (who are paid by the government and therefore 'sup from the same dish' as the prosecutors) were conspiring to silence him and prevent him fr. espousing the Ideology that 'expl lined' the homicides. :,e believed tnat it was i>h< * , b wa3 u l timate 1 y
the right and the left hands, so to speak, of government seeking the same objective in chilling his opportunity to be
Dr. Johnson spent a week interviewing Kaczynski and reading his journals and other writings and the repoi tn of the other doctors, As had been expected, she found ynskl competent to stand trial and to represent himself.
Court reconvened on January 22nd. Although hr. Johnstn hid found the defendant competant to represent himself, and both the defense and the prosecution, asked for their views, hid filed briefs conceding that he hid a anns t i t u ti onal right to do so, Judge Burrell went out on a judicial limb and denied Kaczynski's request. This request too, he s .id, hid been llantimely.11 Kaczynski wouDd need time to prepare--never mind his offer to start trial immed ia te 1 y--and a ne». jury would ttave to be selected. The Judge even accused Kaczynski from the bench of trying to manipul । te the court and delay the trial.' upshot. Kaczynski wouDd have to proceed with hiu present yers, would have to listen to himself being described tally, and would have to listen to the most embbrrassirg
E 3 in his journals read out in the court, aware that be broadcast around the world as evidence that he wajj ^"sicki r* ii ' a despicable Haughing stock, certainly not °se ideas should be taken seriously. Th it was when Uzyn3kl cbpped a plea>
c । iQ“8 denoument. The government had been widely
°r n°t accepting previous offers of a guilty pllea, dnti had been o ccused of pursuing the death penality for political reasons. But the plea offers had always been conditional. The prosecution wanted at Ueast a clean wln- a life sentence, without possibility of release—and not further litigation about the constitutionality of their search of the cabin. So they had refused to consider anything but an uncondl tionalplea. And that was what Kaczynski suddenly offered them, only minutes after the judge refused his request to represent himself.
Judge Burrell, for his part, had reason to be pleased with thl this abrupt conclusion. His painful struggle, primarily with Kaczynski, for control of his courtroom was suddenly over, and his controversial rulings restricting the defendant's right to council would not face appeal. Instead, they had helped to force the settlement of the case. Tlere
was of course something odd about his flying a psychiatrist in from North Carolina for a week to determine the defendant's competency to represent himself and then, when she found him competent, ruling that he could not represent himself. But the defense was not about to point out this bit of judicial fickleness. And, when the prosecutors suddenly changed course and supported this ruling, it seemed that the fix was definitely In. Nobody,—at least, nobody with any power-- wanted this trial to go ahead.
Kaczynski struck me the way he hd struck Judge Burrell, as and focused, particularity when one considered that he on rial for hie Ulfe. 'Ie was just hopeHessly trapped.
!e n id tried each of his very few options, and then had taken the best deal tint he could get.
I thought of Ted's cabin, which his lawyers hid brought to Sacramento on a fDatbed truck, planning to show ft to
the jury and ask the question, "would anyone but a certifiable lunatic choose such a primitive abode?"
What they did not bring however, were the forests and rivers and mountains that Kaczynski loved.
Time magazine. "I don't want to live get the death penalty…by Stephen J Dubner
"But remember-you still have my love you're ever in serious need of my help, you can call on me.”
Ted in a letter to his brother David, who turned him in.
"I was more interested in trying to break through and find the transcendental. But now I have all kinds of questions about other things. I thought I knew the difference between right and wrong." Ted's brother David after Ted's arrest.
"Well, let me put it this way, I don't know if violence is ever the best solution, but there are certain circumstances in which it may be the only solution." Ted
Gear Magazine, Anarchy in the USA, by Peter Klebnikov.
"The terrorist incidents increasedfrom two or three a decade ago to JOO last year, there's 30 to 40 potential unabombers running around there right now." Barry olausen, a timber lobbyist who runs a private security agency.
“The question is what do you Sb put in the i place of violence ou can t save the world with email. "here does being anti- unabomber get you?" John Z.erzen.
“I expect more major acts of arson and destruction-that's good." med
“People are running out of illusions about civil disobedience, amazing how a few small acts can change everything.
“The unthinkable becomes thinkable." Craig Rosebraugh
“Most environmentalists are afraid of violence, but people are now realizing that violence does work. Only guerila warfare has potential to disrupt the power structure. For gome of us, Ted Kaczynski has some answers. RF! Journal lid.
The Unabomber's Legacy, Part I
The Unabomber finds that people celebrate the act of creating new Inventions, but aren’t particularly concerned about what happens next.
Unthinkingly conceived and Implemented technology is dangerous technology, the kind Frankenstein's monster railed about, the kind the demented Unabomber saw as Justifying murder. But often it seems that unthinking technology is the kind that surrounds us.
Kaczynski, In his murderous rampage and rambling manifesto, hoped to raise issues ® , t b technology and its complex, controversial role In all of our lives He intended fo histrial to be^ forum, even to the extent that he was prepared to face the death penalty r deas and writings to be the work of an insane person.
In 1995, in an astounding act of media manipulation, a serial killer identifying himself as a member of an anarchist faction called the Freedom Club prevailed upon The Washington Post and The New York Times to publish a 35,000-word essay, "Industrial Society and Its Future." that came to be known as the Unabomber Manifesto. If the papers published his tract, he promised in an accompanying letter, he wouldn't kill any more.
From his manifesto, and from the extended murderous rampage that preceded it - three dead, more than a score injured - it’s clear that Theodore Kaczynski hoped that his campaign of terror would finally focus attention on the subject he cares most about: the damage that technology causes.
Technology's impact on any one of these issues - medicine, media, family, education, environment, economy - could occupy platoons of scientists, ethicists, and historians for months. Kaczynski was ready to engage them all.
In his book Drawing Life, Surviving the Unabomber, Yale computer scientist David Gelemter, permanently injured by one of Kaczynski's bombs, bitterly criticized the media’s portrayal of the Unabomber as in any way thoughtful or interesting.
In a much less rational way, Kaczynski saw himself as taking up arms to stop technology and what he deemed its devastating effect on human and ecological life. It’s understandable why the bomber’s victim might not care to kick around the rationale behind these murderous assaults. But the question for the rest of us, is who. precisely, will?
But when Kaczynski finally agreed to the plea, eliminating the need to stand trial, he left not only the stage but our consciousness. He never did get to make the argument begun in the manifesto, to launch the national debate about technology he desperately wanted to have - and that we sorely need.
Ironically, that may have been the most severe penalty our society could have inflicted. Kaczynski seems certain to languish in near-obscurity for the rest of his life as our culture rushes forward, scoring one technological breakthrough after another, spared the tedious business of having to ponder their consequences.
Despite his isolation, in some ways Kaczynski had his finger on the public pulse: there is enormous unease Jbout technology We sometimes seem obsessed with technology's manifestations - from fertility drugs and Cloning to pornography on the Internet. But Kaczynski was wrong if he thought we wanted to talk about it.
"There's a little of the Unabomber in all of us," Time wrote over a year ago following the FBI's discovery of Theodore Kaczynski in his rickety Montana cabin. Considering that his face was splashed across television screens, T-shirts, magazine covers, and web sites, the public seems to agree with this sentiment. By Cletus Nelson
Today, eccentric post-moderns who buy Gacy art spout his words with the fervency of a '60s radical quoting Mao. Art commandos such as the notorious "See Men" use his sinister FBI sketch as a backdrop for their "art of the ephemeral spectacle." Coffee-house clove smokers, media armchair psychiatrists, and anarchist flag-wavers all claim to understand his motives. But a growing legion of technophobes and proto-revolutionaries are hailing Kaczynski's theses as a clarion call.
The first step in understanding this complex inmate: His 30,000-word masterwork, "Industrial Society and Its Future." Painstakingly precise, this coldly analytical political tract is startling for both it's lucidity and passionate defense of freedom. Written in an epigrammatical style reminiscent of Nietzsche, a quick perusal provides an extended look into the hermetically sealed mind of Kaczynski or "FC," the nom de guerre he chose for his one-man battle against the techno-elite.
The first 30 pages describe how industrial society gradually strips away human initiative and self-determination and replaces them with blind obedience and collectivism. He argues that this trend removes our autonomy and forces us to live in a world bereft of individuality and replete with a never-ending myriad of rules and regulations.
Kaczynski asserts that technology is the driving force behind this ominous movement to destroy the liberties we cherish -- from propaganda and other pyschological techniques to surveillance devices. There is no "good technology" -- we may one day live in a completely digital world, but we will have given up everything to achieve this ersatz utopia.
Will the jackboots and truncheons of the modern police state be replaced by mandatory medication, psychiatry, genetic engineering and other "bloodless" scientific techniques to keep us all in line? Kaczynksi envisions such a world. Reject technology now, or face a world that combines 1984 and Terminator 2.
But there is time to save our freedom. Kaczynski's solution to this crippling environment of RAM-driven totalitarianism is simple "Wild Nature" -- "the earth and its living things that are independent of human management and free of human interference and control." There can be no reconciliation between wild nature and microscopic computer chips; there is either autonomy or slavery.
Kaczynski ardently asserts that his revolution against cyberfascism can only be attained by achieving two goals: promoting social disharmony and turning the public against modern technology. The second goal alludes to his campaign of terror. "In order to get the message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we've had to kill people," he writes coldly.
Kaczynski foresees a vast international coalition of like-minded groups threatened by government encroachment. Technology can grudgingly be used in this uprising -- but only to "attack the technological system."
When the system is destabilized, the time will be ripe for a complete overthrow of the technostate. Destruction will follow, and humans' dependence on the computer -- and other pernicious evils -- will finally be over. People will return to days of old, living in harmony with nature in small communities that emphasize the individual over the collective.
Is this the incoherent rambling of a delusional paranoid -- or one man's altruistic attempt to save humankind? A growing sector of the population is crossing the line into open agreement of his beliefs -- ironcially, online.
"The Unabomber may have killed people, but he has many redeeming qualities," posts a Kaczynski sympathizer at a popular site titled "Support for the Unabomber." The words of praise range from quiet agreement with the manifesto to fist-pumping admiration. "He's not a serial killer, he's a revolutionary," writes another Una-fan enthusiastically.
"Shadow" expresses her unbridled enthusiasm for "TK," as he is affectionately referred to by online enthusiasts, in the form of short vignettes describing the life of Dan Kaczmaryk, a fictional composite of the convicted murderer. Bearing titles such as "Prom Night: A High School Outcast's One Precious Moment" and "Mountain Man," she posts these stories in an attempt to rationalize his violent acts by romanticizing his life and vividly describing his alleged shame and humiliation. "Ted was the most powerless individual of all. No one had ever listened, noticed, or cared."
Apologists like Shadow give evidence to the power of Kaczynski's words. You may dismiss him as a third-rate "mad bomber," but his sensitivity and intellect cannot be ignored. Kaczynski will spend the rest of his life behind bars because he feared for the future of this planet -- and translated that fear into violent revolutionary action. His misguided efforts were far from moral, but in a sense Theodore Kaczynski is a textbook revolutionary: He has done more to permeate the political unconscious than a thousand Abbie Hoffmans. Every day, as workers riding the "horizontal hierarchy" are forced to spend hours learning yet another mindless software program, a nagging question will continue to reside in their subconscious: what if he's right?
by Autonomous Anarchists Anonymous Fall 1995 (prior to arrest of Kaczynski)
Technogogues and technopaths we have had with us for some time. The Artificial Intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky, for instance, was well- known in the early 1980s for his description of the human brain as "a three-pound computer made of meat." He was featured in the December 1983 issue of Psychology Today, occasioning the following letter:
Marvin Minsky: With the wholly uncritical treatment—nay, giddy embrace—of high technology, even to such excrescences as machine "emotions" which you develop and promote, Psychology Today has at least made it publicly plain what's intended for social life. Your dehumanizing work is a prime contribution to high tech's accelerating motion toward an ever more artificial, de-individuated, empty landscape. I believe I am not alone in the opinion that vermin such as you will one day be considered among the worst criminals this century has produced. In revulsion, John Zerzan
A dozen years later the number of those actively engaged in the desolation of the soul and the murder of nature has probably risen, but support for the entire framework of such activity has undoubtedly eroded.
Enter Unabomber (he/she/they) with a critique, in acts as well as words, of our sad, perverse, and increasingly bereft technological existence. Unabomber calls for a return to "wild nature" via the "complete and permanent destruction of modern industrial society in every part of the world," and the replacement of that impersonal, unfree, and alienated society by that of small, face-to-face social groupings. He has killed. three and wounded 23 in the service of this profoundly radical vision.
There are two somewhat obvious objections to this theory and practice. For one thing, a return to undomesticated autonomous ways of living would not be achieved by the removal of industrialism alone. Such removal would leave domination of nature, subjugation of women, war, religion, the state, and division of labor, to cite some basic social pathologies. It is civilization itself that must be undone to go where Unabomber wants to go. In other words, the wrong turn for humanity was the Agricultural Revolution, much more fundamentally than the Industrial Revolution.
In terms of practice, the mailing of explosive devices intended for the agents who are engineering the present catastrophe is too random. Children, mail carriers, and others could easily be killed. Even if one granted the legitimacy of striking at the high-tech horror show by terrorizing its indispensable architects, collateral harm is not justifiable.
Meanwhile, Unabomber operates in a context of massive psychic immiseration and loss of faith in all of the system's institutions. How many moviegoers, to be more specific, took issue with Terminator 2 and its equating of science and technology with death and destruction? Keay Davidson's "A Rage Against Science" (San Francisco Examiner, April 30, 1995) observed that Unabomber's "avowed hatred of science and technological trends reflects growing popular disillusionment with science."
A noteworthy example of the resonance that his sweeping critique of the modern world enjoys is "The Evolution of Despair" by Robert Wright, cover story of Time for August 28, 1995. The long article discusses Unabomber's indictment soberly and sympathetically, in an effort to plumb "the source of our pervasive sense of discontent."
At the same time, not surprisingly, other commentators have sought to minimize the possible impact of such ideas. "Unabomber Manifesto Not Particularly Unique" is the dismissive summary John Schwartz provided for the questioning of society, as if anything like that goes on in classrooms. Ellul, Juenger and others with a negative view of technology are far from old hat; they are unknown, not a part of accepted, respectable discourse. The cowardice and dishonesty. typical of professors and journalists could hardly be more clearly represented.
Also easily predictable has been the antipathy to Unabomber-type ideas from the liberal-left. "Unabummer" was Alexander Cockburn's near- hysterical denunciation in The Nation, August 28/September 4, 1995. This pseudo-critic of U.S. capitalism rants about Unabomber's "homicidal political nuttiness," the fruit of an "irrational" American anarchist tradition. Cockburn says that Unabomber represents a "rotted-out romanticism of the individual and nature, " that nature is gone forever and we'd better accept its extinction. In reply to this effort to vilify and marginalize both Unabomber and anarchism, Bob Black points out (unpublished letter to the editor) the worldwide resurgence of anarchism and finds Unabomber expressing "the best and the predominant thinking in contemporary North American anarchism, which has mostly gotten over the workerism and productivism which it too often used to share with Marxism."
In spring '95 Earth First! spokesperson Judi Bari labeled Unabomber a "sociopath," going on to declare, definitively but mistakenly, that "there is no one in the radical environmental movement who is calling for violence." This is not the place to adequately discuss the politics of radical environmentalism, but Bari's pontificating sounds like the voice of the many anarcho-liberals and anarcho-pacifists who wish to go no further in defense of the wild than tired, ineffective civil disobedience, and who brandish such timid and compromised slogans as "no deforestation without representation."
The summer '95 issue of Slingshot, tabloid of politically correct Berkeley militants, contained a brief editorial trashing Unabomber for creating "the real danger of government repression" of the radical milieu. The fear that places blame on Unabomber overlooks the simple fact that any real blows against the Megamachine will invite responses from our enemies. The specter of repression is most effectively banished by doing nothing.
For their part, the "anarchists" of Love and Rage (August/Septemher 1995) have also joined the anti-Unabomber leftist chorus. Wayne Price's "Is the Unabomber an Anarchist?" concedes, with Bob Black, that "most anarchists today do not regard the current development of industrial technology as 'progressive' or even 'neutral,' as do Marxists and liberals." But after giving this guarded lip-service to the ascendancy of Unabomber-like ideas, Price virulently decries Unabomber as "a murderer dragging noble ideas through the mud" and withholds even such political and legal support that he would accord authoritarian leftists targeted by the state. Love and Rage is defined by a heavyhanded, manipulative organize-the-masses ideology; approaches that are more honest and more radical are either ignored or condemned by these politicians.
But this selective mini-survey of opposition to Unabomber does not by any means exhaust the range of responses. There are other perspectives, which have mainly, for obvious reasons, been expressed only privately. Some of us, for one thing, have found a glint of hope in the public appearance, at last, of a challenge to the fundamentals of a depraved landscape. In distinction to the widespread feeling that everything outside of the self is beyond our control, the monopoly of lies has been broken. It might be said that Unabomber's (media) impact is here today, only to be forgotten tomorrow. But at least a few will have been able to understand and remember. The irony, of course, is that lethal bombings were necessary for an alternative to planetary and individual destruction to be heard.
The concept of justice should not be overlooked in considering the Unabomber phenomenon. In fact, except for his targets, when have the many little Eichmanns who are preparing the Brave New World ever been called to account? Where is any elemental personal responsibility when the planners of our daily and global death march act with complete impunity?
The ruling order rewards such destroyers and tries to polish their image. The May 21, 1995 New York Times Magazine's "Unabomber and David Gelerntner" humanizes the latter, injured by a Unabomber bomb at Yale, as a likable computer visionary preparing a "Renaissance of the human spirit." From no other source than the article itself, however, it is clear that Gelerntner is helping to usher in an authoritarian dystopia based on all the latest high-tech vistas, like genetic engineering.
Is it unethical to try to stop those whose contributions are bringing an unprecedented assault on life? Or is it unethical to just accept our passive roles in the current zeitgeist of postmodern cynicism and know-nothingism? Asa friend in California put it recently, when justice is against the law, only outlaws can effect justice.
The lengthy Unabomber manuscript will go undiscussed here; its strengths and weaknesses deserve separate scrutiny. These remarks mainly shed light on some of the various, mostly negative commentary rather than directly on their object. It is often the case that one can most readily learn about society by watching its reactions, across the spectrum, to those who would challenge it.
"Well, I believe in FC/Unabomber—it's all over the country ... his ideas are, as the situationists said, 'in everyone's heads'; it's just a matter of listening to your own rage," from a Midwesterner in the know. Or as Anne Eisenberg, from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, admitted, "Scratch most people and you'll get a Luddite."
And from the Boulder Weekly, Robert Perkinson's July 6, 1995 column sagely concluded: "Amidst the overwhelming madness of unbridled economic growth and postmodern disintegration, is such nostalgia, or even such rage, really crazy? For many, especially those who scrape by in unfulfilling jobs and peer longingly toward stars obscured by beaming street lights, the answer is probably no. And for them, the Unabomber may not be a psychopathic demon. They may wish FC the best of luck."
John Zerzan Autonomous Anarchists Anonymous PO Box 11331 Eugene, Oregon 97440
Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,
Bill Joy, creator of the Internet and former chief scientist for Sun Microsystems.
Our most powerful 21st-century technologies—robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech—are threatening to make humans an endangered species.
I already knew that new technologies like genetic engineering and nanotechnology were giving us the power to remake the world, but a realistic and imminent scenario for intelligent robots surprised me.
It's easy to get jaded about such breakthroughs. We hear in the news almost every day of some kind of technological or scientific advance. Yet this was no ordinary prediction. In the hotel bar, Ray gave me a partial preprint of his then-forthcoming book The Age of Spiritual Machines, which outlined a utopia he foresaw—one in which humans gained near immortality by becoming one with robotic technology. On reading it, my sense of unease only intensified; I felt sure he had to be understating the dangers, understating the probability of a bad outcome along this path.
I found myself most troubled by a passage detailing a dystopian scenario:
The New Luddite Challenge
First let us postulate that the computer scientists succeed in developing intelligent machines that can do all things better than human beings can do them. In that case presumably all work will be done by vast, highly organized systems of machines and no human effort will be necessary. Either of two cases might occur. The machines might be permitted to make all of their own decisions without human oversight, or else human control over the machines might be retained.
If the machines are permitted to make all their own decisions, we can't make any conjectures as to the results, because it is impossible to guess how such machines might behave. We only point out that the fate of the human race would be at the mercy of the machines. It might be argued that the human race would never be foolish enough to hand over all the power to the machines. But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines' decisions. As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make 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 the other hand it is possible that human control over the machines may be retained. In that case the average man may have control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car or his personal computer, but 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. If they are humane they may use propaganda or other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the elite. Or, if the elite consists of soft-hearted liberals, they may decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human race. They will see to it that everyone's physical needs are satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes “treatment” to cure his “problem.” Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove their need for the power process or make them “sublimate” their drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human beings may be happy in such a society, but they will most certainly not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic animals.
In the book, you don't discover until you turn the page that the author of this passage is Theodore Kaczynski—the Unabomber.
Excerpts from: Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber By Alston Chase
I came to discover that Kaczynski is neither the extreme loner he has been made out to be nor in any clinical sense mentally ill.
The Unabomber's manifesto was greeted in 1995 by many thoughtful people as a work of genius, or at least profundity, and as quite sane. In The New York Timesthe environmental writer Kirkpatrick Sale wrote that the Unabomber “is a rational man and his principal beliefs are, if hardly mainstream, entirely reasonable.” In The Nation Sale declared that the manifesto’s first sentence “is absolutely crucial for the American public to understand and ought to be on the forefront of the nation’s political agenda.” The science writer Robert Wright observed in Timemagazine, “There’s a little bit of the unabomber in most of us.” An essay in The New Yorker by Cynthia Ozick described the Unabomber as America’s “own Raskolnikov—the appealing, appalling, and disturbingly visionary murderer of ‘Crime and Punishment,’ Dostoyevsky’s masterwork of 1866.” Ozick called the Unabomber a “philosophical criminal of exceptional intelligence and humanitarian purpose, who is driven to commit murder out of an uncompromising idealism.” Sites devoted to the Unabomber multiplied on the Internet—the Church of Euthanasia Freedom Club; Unapack, the Unabomber Political Action Committee; alt.fan.unabomber; Chuck’s Unabomb Page; redacted.com; MetroActive; and Steve Hau’s Rest Stop. The University of Colorado hosted a panel titled “The Unabomber Had a Point.”
One psychology expert for the defense, Karen Bronk Froming, concluded that Kaczynski exhibited a “predisposition to schizophrenia.” Another, David Vernon Foster, saw “a clear and consistent picture of schizophrenia, paranoid type.” Still another, Xavier F. Amador, described Kaczynski as “typical of the hundreds of patients with schizophrenia.” How did the experts reach their conclusions? Although objective tests alone suggested to Froming only that Kaczynski’s answers were “consistent with” schizophrenia, she told Finnegan it was Kaczynski’s writings—in particular his “anti-technology” views—that cemented this conclusion for her. Foster, who met with Kaczynski a few times but never formally examined him, cited his “delusional themes” as evidence of sickness. Amador, who never met Kaczynski at all, based his judgment on the “delusional beliefs” he detected in Kaczynski’s writing. And Sally Johnson’s provisional diagnosis—that Kaczynski suffered from “Paranoid Type” schizophrenia—was largely based on her conviction that he harbored “delusional beliefs” about the threats posed by technology. The experts also found evidence of Kaczynski’s insanity in his refusal to accept their diagnoses or to help them reach those diagnoses.
Most claims of mental illness rested on the diagnoses of experts whose judgments, therefore, derived largely from their opinions of Kaczynski’s philosophy and his personal habits—he was a recluse, a wild man in appearance, a slob of a housekeeper, a celibate—and from his refusal to admit he was ill. Thus Froming cited Kaczynski’s “unawareness of his disease” as an indication of illness. Foster complained of the defendant’s “symptom-based failure to cooperate fully with psychiatric evaluation.” Amador said that the defendant suffered “from severe deficits in awareness of illness.”
But Kaczynski was no more unkempt than many other people on our streets. His cabin was no messier than the offices of many college professors. The Montana wilds are filled with escapists like Kaczynski (and me). Celibacy and misanthropy are not diseases. Nor was Kaczynski really so much of a recluse. Any reporter could quickly discover, as I did through interviews with scores of people who have known Kaczynski (classmates, teachers, neighbors), that he was not the extreme loner he has been made out to be. And, surely, a refusal to admit to being insane or to cooperate with people who are paid to pronounce one insane cannot be taken seriously as proof of insanity. Why were the media and the public so ready to dismiss Kaczynski as crazy? Kaczynski kept voluminous journals, and in one entry, apparently from before the bombing started, he anticipated this question.
I intend to start killing people. If I am successful at this, it is possible that, when I am caught (not alive, I fervently hope!) there will be some speculation in the news media as to my motives for killing. … If some speculation occurs, they are bound to make me out to be a sickie, and to ascribe to me motives of a sordid or “sick” type. Of course, the term “sick” in such a context represents a value judgment. … the news media may have something to say about me when I am killed or caught. And they are bound to try to analyse my psychology and depict me as “sick.” This powerful bias should be borne [in mind] in reading any attempts to analyse my psychology.
Michael Mello suggests that the public wished to see Kaczynski as insane because his ideas are too extreme for us to contemplate without discomfort. He challenges our most cherished beliefs. Mello writes,
The manifesto challenges the basic assumptions of virtually every interest group that was involved with the case: the lawyers, the mental health experts, the press and politics—both left and right. … Kaczynski’s defense team convinced the media and the public that Kaczynski was crazy, even in the absence of credible evidence … [because] we needed to believe it. … They decided that the Unabomber was mentally ill, and his ideas were mad. Then they forgot about the man and his ideas, and created a curative tale.
Morality and Revolution
Ted Kaczynski discusses principles of fairness as proper limits to our desires
“Morality, guilt and fear of condemnation act as cops in our heads, destroying our spontaneity, our wildness, our ability to live our lives to the full...
I try to act on my whims, my spontaneous urges without caring what others think of me....
I want no constraints on my life; I want the opening of all possibilities....
This means... destroying all morality.”
— Feral Faun, “The Cops in Our Heads: Some Thoughts on Anarchy and Morality.” in The Quest Tor the Spiritual
It is true that the concept of morality as conventionally understood is one of the most important tools that the system uses to control us, and we must liberate ourselves from it.
But suppose you’re in a bad mood one day. You see an inoffensive but ugly old lady; her appearance irritates you, and your “spontaneous urges” impel you to knock her down and kick her. Or suppose you have a “thing” for little girls, so your “spontaneous urges” lead you to pick out a cute four-year-old, rip off her clothes, and rape her as she screams in terror.
I would be willing to bet that there is not one anarchist reading this who would not be disgusted by such actions, or who would not try to prevent them if he saw them being carried out. Is this only a consequence of the moral conditioning that our society imposes on us?
I argue that it is not. I propose that there is a kind of natural “morality” (note the quotation marks), or a conception of fairness, that runs as a common thread through all cultures and tends to appear in them in some form or other, though it may often be submerged or modified by forces specific to a particular culture. Perhaps this conception of fairness is biologically predisposed. At any rate it can be summarized in the following Six Principles:
Do not harm anyone who has not previously harmed you, or threatened to do so.
PRINCIPLE OF SELF-DEFENCE AND RETALIATION: You can harm others in order to forestall harm with which they threaten you, or in retaliation for harm that they have already inflicted on you.
ONE GOOD TURN DESERVES ANOTHER: If someone has done you a favor, you should be willing to do her or him a comparable favor if and when he or she should need one.
The strong should have consideration for the weak.
Do not lie.
Abide faithfully by any promises or agreements that you make.
To take a couple of examples of the ways in which the Six Principles often are submerged by cultural forces, among the Navajo, traditionally, it was considered “morally acceptable” to use deception when trading with anyone who was not a member of the tribe (WA. Haviland, Cultural Anthropology, 9th ed., p. 207), though this contravenes principles 1, 5, and 6. And in our society many people will reject the principle of retaliatory action, we are trained to suppress our retaliatory impulses and leave any serious retaliation (called ‘justice’) to the legal system.
In spite of such examples, I maintain that the Six Principles tend toward universality. But whether or not one accepts that the Six Principles are to any extent universal, I feel safe in assuming that almost all readers of this article will agree with the principles (with the possible exception of the principle of retaliation) in some shape or other. Hence the Six Principles can serve as a basis for the present discussion.
I argue that the Six Principles should not be regarded as a moral code, for several reasons.
First: The principles are vague and can be interpreted in such widely ways that there will be no consistent agreement as to their application in concrete cases. For instance, if Smith insists on playing his radio so loud that it prevents Jones from sleeping, and if Jones smashes Smith’s radio for him, is Jones’s action unprovoked harm inflicted on Smith, or is it legitimate self-defense against harm that Smith is inflicting on Jones? On this question Smith and Jones are not likely to agree! (All the same, there are limits to the interpretation of the Six Principles. I imagine it would be difficult to find anyone in any culture who would interpret the principles in such a way as to justify brutal physical abuse of unoffending old ladies or the rape of four-year-old girls.)
Second: Most people will agree that it is sometimes “morally” justifiable to make exceptions to the Six Principles. If your friend has destroyed logging equipment belonging to a large timber corporation, and if the police come around to ask you who did it, any green anarchist will agree that it is justifiable to lie and say, “I don’t know”.
Third: The Six Principles have not generally been treated as if they possessed the force and rigidity of true moral laws. People often violate the Six Principles even when there is no “moral” justification for doing so. Moreover, as already noted, the moral codes of particular societies frequently conflict with and override the Six Principles. Rather than laws, the principles are only a kind of guide, an expression of our more generous impulses that reminds us not to do certain things that we may later look back on with disgust.
Fourth: I suggest that the term “morality” should be used only to designate socially imposed codes of behavior that are specific to certain societies, cultures, or subcultures. Since the Six Principles, in some form or other, tend to be universal and may well be biologically predisposed, they should not be described as morality.
Assuming that most anarchists will accept the Six Principles, what the anarchist (or, at least, the anarchist of individualistic type) does is claim the right to interpret the principles for himself in any concrete situation in which he is involved and decide for himself when to make exceptions to the principles, rather than letting any authority make such decisions for him.
However, when people interpret the Six principles for themselves, conflicts arise because different individuals interpret the principles differently. For this reason among others, practically all societies have evolved rules that restrict behavior in more precise ways than the Six Principles do. In other words, whenever a number of people are together for an extended period of time, it is almost inevitable that some degree of morality will develop. Only the hermit is completely free. This is not an attempt to debunk the idea of anarchy. Even if there is no such thing as a society perfectly free of morality, still there is a big difference between a society in which the burden of morality is light and one in which it is heavy. The pygmies of the African rain forest, as described by Colin Turnbull in his books The Forest People and Wayward Servants: The Two Worlds of the African Pygmies, provide an example of a society that is not far from the anarchist ideal. Their rules are few and flexible and allow a very generous measure of personal liberty. (Yet, even though they have no cops, courts or prisons, Turnbull mentions no case of homicide among them.)
In contrast, in technologically advanced societies the social mechanism is complex and rigid, and can function only when human behavior is closely regulated. Consequently such societies require a far more restrictive system of law and morality. (For present purposes we don’t need to distinguish between law and morality. We will simply consider law as a particular kind of morality, which is not unreasonable, since in our society it is widely regarded as immoral to break the law.) Old-fashioned people complain of moral looseness in modern society, and it is true that in some respects our society is relatively free of morality. But I would argue that our society’s relaxation of morality in sex, art, literature, dress, religion, etc., is in large part a reaction to the severe tightening of controls on human behavior in the practical domain. Art, literature and the like provide a harmless outlet for rebellious impulses that would be dangerous to the system if they took a more practical direction, and hedonistic satisfactions such as overindulgence in sex or food, or intensely stimulating forms of entertainment, help people to forget the loss of their freedom.
At any rate, it is clear that in any society some morality serves practical functions. One of these functions is that of forestalling conflicts or making it possible to resolve them without recourse to violence. (According to Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’s book The Harmless People, Vintage Books, Random House, New York, 1989, pages 10, 82, 83, the Bushmen of Southern Africa own as private property the right to gather food in specified areas of the veldt, and they respect these property rights strictly. It is easy to see how such rules can prevent conflicts over the use of food resources.)
Since anarchists place a high value on personal liberty, they presumably will want to keep morality to a minimum, even if this costs them something in personal safety or other practical advantages. It’s not my purpose here to try to determine where to strike the balance between freedom and the practical advantages of morality, but I do want to call attention to a point that is often overlooked: the practical or materialistic benefits of morality are counterbalanced by the psychological cost of repressing our “immoral” impulses. Common among moralists is a concept of “progress” according to which the human race is supposed to become ever more moral. More and more “immoral” impulses are to be suppressed and replaced by “civilized” behavior. To these people morality apparently is an end in itself. They never seem to ask why human beings should become more moral. What end is to be served by morality? If the end is anything resembling human well-being then an ever more sweeping and intensive morality can only be counterproductive, since it is certain that the psychological cost of suppressing “immoral” impulses will eventually outweigh any advantages conferred by morality (if it does not do so already). In fact, it is clear that, whatever excuses they may invent, the real motive of the moralists is to satisfy some psychological need of their own by imposing their morality on other people. Their drive toward morality is not an outcome of any rational program for improving the lot of the human race.
This aggressive morality has nothing to do with the Six Principles of fairness. It is actually inconsistent with them. By trying to impose their morality on other people, whether by force or through propaganda and training, the moralists are doing them unprovoked harm in contravention of the first of the Six Principles. One thinks of nineteenth-century missionaries who made primitive people feel guilty about their sexual practices, or modern leftists who try to suppress politically incorrect speech.
Morality often is antagonistic toward the Six Principles in other ways as well. To take just a few examples:
The morality of modern society tells us to prevent suicide, if necessary by interfering forcibly. This may not always be a violation of the Six Principles. In some cases a person may be driven towards suicide by some temporary grief that he will soon get over, and if you prevent him from killing himself, he will thank you for it afterward. But there are other cases in which a person has good reason to commit suicide to escape prolonged suffering, say, or because in some situations death may be the only alternative that is consistent with an individual's dignity. Under the circumstances, to prevent a person from committing suicide can be serious cruelty and a violation of the first principle of fairness. (compare the attitude towards suicide among certain Eskimos, as described by Giontran de Poncins in his book Kabloona)
In our society private property is not what it is among the Bushmen — a simple device for avoiding conflict over the use of resources. Instead, it is a system whereby certain persons or organizations arrogate control over vast quantities of resources that they use to exert power over other people. In this they certainly violate the first and fourth principles of fairness. By requiring us to respect property, the morality of our society helps to perpetuate a system that is clearly in conflict with the six Principles.
The military is expected to kill or refrain from killing in blind obedience to orders from the government; policemen and judges are expected to imprison or release persons in mechanical obedience to the law. It would be regarded as “unethical” and “irresponsible” for soldiers, judges, or policemen to act according to their own sense of fairness rather than in conformity with the rules of the system. A moral and “responsible” judge will send a man to prison if the law tells him to do so, even if the man is blameless according to the six Principles.
A claim of morality often serves as a cloak for what would otherwise be seen as the naked imposition of one’s own will on other people. Thus, if a person said,
I am going to prevent you from having an abortion (or from having sex or eating meat or something else) just because I personally find it offensive,
His attempt to impose his will would be considered arrogant and unreasonable. But if he claims to have a moral basis for what he is doing, if he says, “I’m going to prevent you from having an abortion because it’s immoral”, then his attempt to impose his will acquires a certain legitimacy, or at least tends to be treated with more respect than it would be if he made no moral claim.
People who are strongly attached to the morality of their own society often are oblivious to the principles of fairness. The highly moral and Christian businessman John D. Rockefeller used underhand methods to achieve success, as is admitted by Allan Nevin in his admiring biography of Rockefeller. Today, screwing people in one way or another is almost an inevitable part of any large-scale business enterprise. Willful distortion of the truth, serious enough so that it amounts to lying, is in practice treated as acceptable behavior among politicians and journalists, though most of them undoubtedly regard themselves as moral people.
I have before me a flyer sent out by a magazine called The National Interest. In it I find the following:
Your task at hand is to defend our nation’s interests abroad, and rally support at home for your efforts. You are not, of course, naive. You believe that, for better or worse, international politics remains essentially power politics-- that as Thomas Hobbes observed, when there is no agreement among states, clubs are always trumps.
This is a nearly naked advocacy of Machiavellianism in international affairs, though it is safe to assume that the people responsible for the flyer I’ve just quoted are firm adherents of conventional morality within the United States. For such people, I suggest, conventional morality serves as a substitute for the Six Principles. As long as these people comply with conventional morality, they have a sense of righteousness that enables them to disregard the principles of fairness without discomfort.
Another way in which morality is antagonistic toward the Six Principles is that it often serves as an excuse for mistreatment or exploitation of persons who have violated the moral code or the laws of a given society. In the United States, politicians promote their careers by “getting tough on crime” and advocating harsh penalties for people who have broken the law. Prosecutors often seek personal advancement by being as hard on defendants as the law allows them to be. This satisfies certain sadistic and authoritarian impulses of the public and allays the privileged classes’ fear of social disorder. It all has little to do with the Six Principles of fairness. Many of the “criminals” who are subjected to harsh penalties--for example, people convicted of possessing marijuana--have in no sense violated the Six Principles. But even where culprits have violated the Six Principles their harsh treatment is motivated not by a concern for fairness, or even for morality, but politicians’ and prosecutors’ personal ambitions or by the public’s sadistic and punitive appetites. Morality merely provides the excuse.
In sum, anyone who takes a detached look at modern society will see that, for all its emphasis on morality, it observes the principles of fairness very poorly indeed. Certainly less well than many primitive societies do.
Allowing for various exceptions, the main purpose that morality serves in modern society is to facilitate the functioning of the technoindustrial system. Here’s how it works:
Our conception both of fairness and of morality is heavily influenced by self-interest. For example, I feel strongly and sincerely that it is perfectly fair for me to smash up the equipment of someone who is cutting down the forest. Yet part of the reason why I feel this way is that the continued existence of the forest serves my personal needs. If I had no personal attachment to the forest I might feel differently. Similarly, most rich people probably feel sincerely that the laws that restrict the ways in which they use their property are unfair. There can be no doubt that, however sincere these feelings may be, they are motivated largely by self-interest.
People who occupy positions of power within the system have an interest in promoting the security and the expansion of the system. When these people perceive that certain moral ideas strengthen the system or make it more secure, then, either from concious self-interest or because their moral feelings are influenced by self-interest, they apply pressure to the media and to educators to promote these moral ideas. Thus the requirements of respect for property, and of orderly, docile, rule-following, cooperative behavior, have become moral values in our society (even though these requirements can conflict with the principles of fairness) because they are necessary to the functioning of the system. Similarly; harmony and equality between different races and ethnic groups is a moral value of our society because interracial and interethnic conflict impede the functioning of the system. Equal treatment of all races and ethnic groups may be required by the principles of fairness, but this is not why it is a moral value of our society. It is a moral value of our society because it is good for the technoindustrial system. Traditional moral restraints on sexual behavior have been relaxed because the people who have power see that these restraints are not necessary to the functioning of the system and that maintaining them produces tensions and conflicts that are harmful to the system.
Particulary instructive is the moral prohibition of violence in our society. (By “violence” I mean physical attacks on human beings or the application of physical force to human beings.) Several hundred years ago, violence per se was not considered immoral in European society. In fact, under suitable conditions, it was admired. The most prestigious social class was the nobility, which was then a warrior caste. Even on the eve of the Industrial violence was not regarded as the greatest of all evils, and certain other values--personal liberty for example--were felt to be more important than the avoidance of violence. In America, well into the nineteenth century, public attitudes toward the police were negative, and police forces were kept weak and inefficient because it was felt that they were a threat to freedom. People preferred to see to their own defense and accept a fairly high level of violence in society rather than risk any of their personal liberty.
Since then, attitudes toward violence have changed dramatically. Today the media, the schools, and all who are committed to the system brainwash us to believe that violence is the one thing above all others that we must never commit. (Of course, when the system finds it convenient to use violence--via the police or the military--for its own purposes, it can always find an excuse for doing so.)
It is sometimes claimed that the modern attitude toward violence is a result of the gentling influence of Christianity, but this makes no sense. The period during which Christianity was most powerful in Europe, the Middle Ages, was a particularly violent epoch. It has been during the course of the Industrial Revolution and the ensuing technological changes that attitudes toward violence have been altered, and over the same span of time the influence of Christianity has been markedly weakened. Clearly it has not been Christianity that has changed attitudes toward violence.
It is necessary for the functioning of modern industrial society that people should operate in a rigid, machine-like way, obeying rules, following orders and schedules, carrying out prescribed procedures. Consequently, the system requires, above all, human docility and social order. Of all human behaviors, violence is the one most disruptive of social order, hence the one most dangerous to the system. As the Industrial Revolution progressed, the powerful classes, perceiving that violence was increasingly contrary to their interest, changed their attitude toward it. Because their influence was predominant in determining what was printed by the press and taught in the schools, they gradually transformed the attitude of the entire society, so that today most middle class people, and even the majority of those who think themselves rebels against the system, believe that violence is the ultimate sin. They imagine that their opposition to violence is the expression of a moral decision on their part, and in a sense it is, but it is based on a morality that is designed to serve the interests of the system and is instilled through propaganda. IN fact, these people have simply been brainwashed.
As I pointed out earlier, any group of people is bound to develop some degree of morality. Given that a revolutionary movement will develop a morality of its own, we ought to ask what form that morality should take.
The natural tendency will be to prescribe for the revolutionary movement a morality that will be suitable for the kind of society that the revolutionaries hope will succeed the one they are trying to destroy. But I offer two arguments against this.
First, while revolutionaries may be able to destroy the existing society, they will not be able to control the development of the new society that will succeed it, or guide the evolution of the new society's morality. The new morality will be determined not by the wishes of the revolutionaries, but by the circumstances and by uncontrollable social forces, and will vary according to local conditions Thus it will be futile to try to decide in advance the new society's morality.
Second, any attempt to prescribe the new society's morality will lead to efforts to enforce the new morality, hence, probably to the creation of new social structures for enforcement. Such structures would be tantamount to a new state and, for widespread effectiveness, would require technical infrastructure, so that we would soon find ourselves right back in the same old techno industrial servitude, only with new masters and a new ideology.
For these reasons, it is al least arguable that revolutionaries should disavow any attempt to prescribe the morality that is to prevail following the revolution, and instead should develop for themselves and exclusively revolutionary morality that is designed only to help them overthrow the techno industrial system.
Undoubtedly most revolutionaries will want their morality to conflict as little as possible with the Six Principles of fairness. But there is no getting around the fact that any successful revolution will violate the Six Principles Elimination of the techno industrial system will lead to a condition of social disorder If this is no worse than what happened during the Russian Revolution, we will be very lucky. It is inescapable that many people will be hurt physically or otherwise, or killed outright. Some of these people (the present elite) will fully deserve what they get, but, inevitably, many of those hurt will be. by anybody s standard, innocent victims. This is something that revolutionaries will have to accept if they want to get rid of the system.
Nonetheless, we will want to honor the Six Principles to the extent that doing so does not stand in the way of revolution, and I will argue in a moment that observing (as far as possible) the Six Principles will actually be advantageous in practical terms.
The most important issue of our time—even the most important issue in the history of the human race—is whether the techno industrial system will survive or will be destroyed. If one grants this, then it follows that revolutionary morality should be centered around one goal. Its basic principle must be that what is conducive to the destruction of the techno industrial system is right, and what helps the system to survive is wrong. A subordinate principle will be that whatever promotes the effectiveness of the revolutionary movement, and helps to keep it Fixed on the goal of destroying the system, is right; the contrary is wrong.
What concrete rules can be derived from these general principles is open to debate. But I offer a few suggestions, which, admittedly, are fairly obvious ones.
a) One should show loyalty to fellow revolutionaries, help them as needed, and avoid unnecessary conflict with them.
b) One must keep one’s mouth shut. To give out information that interferes with revolutionary activities, or that could cause fellow revolutionaries lo be arrested or harassed, is a cardinal sin.
c) One should strive to reduce to a minimum one's use of and dependence on the techno industrial system and the technology on which it is based; except that it is perfectly acceptable to use modern technology for the purpose of attacking the system. For example, one should not use the Internet for one's personal satisfaction, but one can use it to spread revolutionary ideas or organize revolutionary actions.
d) Whenever doing so does not conflict with the revolutionary goal ol destroying the system, one should bend over backward to observe the Six Principles of fairness, both in one’s personal life and in one’s revolutionary activities. One should make every effort to avoid hurting unoffending persons, insofar as such efforts do not impede revolutionary action, one should invoke the principle of retaliation with the utmost moderation when invoking it for personal rather than revolutionary reasons; one should repay favors generously, one should be prepared to sacrifice one's personal interests, within reason, for the benefit of those who are weak, helpless or afflicted; one should never tell a lie or break a solemn promise except as justifies for revolutionary reasons. (And I maintain that lying is never advantageous from a revolutionary point of view except when the lie is of very restricted scope and applies to only a specific point of conflict with the system. For example, one can and should lie to the police when necessary to avoid arrest for oneself or other revolutionaries.)
Rule (d) is an ideal way towards which to strive; few people will succeed in living up to it completely. But by observing the Six Principles as fully as they are able, revolutionaries will win the respect of nonrevolutionaries, will recruit better people to be revolutionaries, and will increase the self-respect of the revolutionary movement and strengthen its espirit de corps and its dedication to the common goal.
On this essay, I’ve referred the reader to certain books for facts. Because I m a prisoner, 1 do not have access to the books in question and I’ve had to rely on memory for the facts I’ve cited. It’s been years since I’ve read these books. so errors of memory are possible and some of my statements may be inaccurate. I apologize for this, but under the circumstances, there isn’t much I can do about it.
a chronology of unabomb related events…
A package is found in a parking lot at the University of Illinois in Chicago and is taken to Northwestern University in Evanston because of the return address. It explodes when it is opened on May 26, injuring Terry Marker, a security guard.
May 9, 1979:
Graduate student John Harris is injured by a bomb at Northwestern University.
Nov. 15, 1979:
Twelve people suffer smoke inhalation when a bomb explodes in a 727's cargo hold during an Amencan Airlines flight, forcing an emergency landing at Dulles International Airport near Washington.
June 10, 1980:
United Airlines President Percy Wood is injured at home in the Chicago area.
[I] H for
"* l'cl,n" industrial system will be destroyed emilimllv—say within the next thousand 7 '"“r is h„u a lumiln civilizations in the past have broken down sooner or later. So. stated more accurately. ' * •'f' when it is"" "e industrial system, will be destroyed. If it lasts loo long, then there will be nothing
May 15, 1985:
Califom Benrkeleyn is in by a bomb in computer
June 13, 1985; F r°°m ”,he University of
and d^anwd”"5 'ha' Was mailed to the Boeing Co '
n8 Co-tn Auburn Wash
Nov. 15, 1985: ' " May 8 is discovered
A package-bomb mailed to tin-
Dec. 11, 1985- A n Arbor home, isn't
Hugh Scnmon, 38. is killed by abom.
■ ^mh near his computer rental store in c store m Sacramento.
Feb. 20, 1987: „
Gary Wright is injured by a bomb left behind a computer store in Salt Lake City.
June 22, 1993: •
Charles Epstein, a geneticist at the University of California al San Francisco, is injured by bomb sent to his home.
June 24, 1993:
Computer scientist David Gelemter of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., is injured in an office.
Dec. 10, 1994:
Advertising executive Thomas Mosser, 50, is killed by a bomb sent to his North Caldwell, NJ., home.
April 24, 1995:
California Forestry Association President Gilbert Murray, 47, is killed opening a mail bomb in the group's Sacramento headquarters.
June AH, iyyj;
Letter mailed to the Washington Post with the manifesto. Letter mailed to the New York Times with the manifesto. Letter mailed to Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione.
June 24, 1995:
Letter mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle - airliner threat.
Last week of June, 1995:
Letter mailed to the magazine, Scientific American.
June 28, 1995:
Letter mailed to the New York Times.
Letter mailed to the Washington Post.
June 29 1995*
Letter mailed lo Tom Tyler, a University of California, Berkeley, social psychology profe. '
April 3, 1996:
Theodore John Kaczynski, 53, taken into custody by federal agents.
April 5, 1996:
Kaczynski charged with possessing the bomb components and held without bail
April 30, 1996:
Kaczynski appeals to Supreme Court to be released due to government leaks.
June 18, 1996:
Kaczynski indicted in Unabomber attacks.
appeal to 9th circuit court of appeals in process at the time of print… Dec.
“I read Edward Abbey in mid-eighties and that was one of the things that gave me the idea that, ‘yeah, there are other people out there that have the same attitudes that I do.’ I read The Monkeywrench Gang, I think it was. But what first motivated me wasn’t anything I read. I just got mad seeing the machines ripping up the woods and so forth...” — Dr. Theodore Kaczynski, in an interview with the Earth First! Journal, Administrative Maximum Facility Prison, Florence, Colorado, USA, June 1999.
Theodore Kaczynski developed a negative attitude toward the techno-industrial system very early in his life. It was in 1962, during his last year at Harvard, he explained, when he began feeling a sense of disillusionment with the system. And he says he felt quite alone. “Back in the sixties there had been some critiques of technology, but as far as 1 knew there weren’t people who were against the technological system as-such... It wasn’t until 1971 or 72, shortly after I moved to Montana, that I read Jaques Ellul’s book, The Technological Society.” The book is a masterpiece. I was very enthusiastic when I read it. I thought, ‘look, this guy is saying things I have been wanting to say all along.’”
Why, I asked, did he personally come to be against technology? His immediate response was, “Why do you think? It reduces people to gears in a machine, it takes away our autonomy and our freedom.” But there was obviously more to it than that. Along with the rage he felt against the machine, his words revealed an obvious love for a very special place in the wilds of Montana. He became most animated, spoke most passionately, while relating stories about the mountain life he created there and then sought to defend against the encroachment of the system.
“The honest truth is that I am not really politically oriented. I would have really rather just be living out in the woods. If nobody had started cutting roads through there and cutting the trees down and come buzzing around in helicopters and snowmobiles I would still just be living there and the rest of the world could just take care of itself. I got involved in political issues because I was driven to it, so to speak. I’m not really inclined in that direction.”
Kaczynski moved in a cabin that he built himself near Lincoln, Montana in 1971. His first decade there he concentrated on acquiring the primitive skills that would allow him to live autonomously in the wild. He explained that the urge to do this had been a part of his psyche since childhood. “Unquestionably there is no doubt that the reason I dropped out of the technological system is because I had read about other ways of life, in particular that of primitive peoples. When I was about eleven I remember going to the little local library in Evergreen Park, Illinois.
They had a series of books published by the Smithsonian Institute that addressed various areas of science. Among other things, I read about anthropology in a book on human prehistory. I found it fascinating. After reading a few more books on the subject of Neanderthal man and so forth, I had this itch to read more. I started asking myself why and I came to the realization that what I really wanted was not to read another book, but that I just wanted to live that way.”
Kaczynski lamented never being able to accomplish three things to his satisfaction: building a crossbow that he could use for hunting, making a good pair of deerhide moccasins that would withstand the daily hikes he took on the rocky hillsides, and learning how to make fire consistently without using matches. He says he kept very busy and was happy with his solitary life. “One thing I found when living in the woods was that you get so that you don’t worry about the future, you don’t worry about dying, if things are good right now you think, ‘well, if I die next week, so that, things are good right now.’ I think it was Jane Austen who wrote in one of her novels that happiness is always something that you are anticipating in the future, not something that you have right now. This isn’t always true. Perhaps it is true in civilization, but when you get out of the system and become re-adapted to a different way of life, happiness is often something that you have right now.”
He readily admits he committed quite a few acts of monkeywrenching during the seventies, but there came a time when he decided to devote more energy into fighting against the system. He describes the catalyst:
“The best place, to me, was the largest remnant of this plateau that dates from the tertiary age. It’s kind of rolling country, not flat, and when you get to the edge of it you find these ravines that cut very steeply in to cliff-like drop-offs and there was even a waterfall there. It was about a two days hike from my cabin. That was the best spot until the summer of 1983. That summer there were too many people around my cabin so I decided I needed some peace. I went back to the plateau and when I got there I found they had put a road right through the middle of it” His voice trails off; he pauses, then continues, “You just can’t imagine how upset I was. It was from that point on I decided that, rather than trying to acquire further wilderness skills, I would work on getting back at the system. Revenge. That wasn’t the first time I ever did any monkeywrenching, but at that point, that sort of thing became a priority for me... I made a conscious effort to read things that were relevant to social issues, specifically the technological problem. For one thing, my concern was to understand how societies change, and for that purpose I read anthropology, history, a little bit of sociology and psychology, but mostly anthropology and history.”
Kaczynski soon came to the conclusion that reformist strategies that merely called for “fixing” the system were not enough, and he professed little confidence in the idea that a mass change in consciousness might someday be able to undermine the technological system. “I don’t think it can be done. In part because of the human tendency, for most people, there are exceptions, to take the path of least resistance. They’ll take the easy way out, and giving up your car, your television set, your electricity, is not the path of least resistance for most people. As I see it, I don’t think there is any controlled or planned way in which we can dismantle the industrial system. I think that the only way we will get rid of it is if it breaks down and collapses. That’s why I think the consequences will be something like the Russian Revolution, or circumstances like we see in other places in the world today like the Balkans, Afghanistan, Rwanda. This does, I think, pose a dilemma for radicals who take a non-violent point of view. When things break down, there is going to be violence and this does raise a question, I don’t know if I exactly want to call it a moral question, but the point is that for those who realize the need to do away with the techno-industrial system, if you work for its collapse, in effect you are killing a lot of people. If it collapses, there is going to be social disorder, there is going to be starvation, there aren’t going to be any more spare parts or fuel for farm equipment, there won’t be any more pesticide or fertilizer on which modern agriculture is dependent. So there isn’t going to be enough food to go around, so then what happens? This is something that, as far as I’ve read, I haven’t seen any radicals facing up to.
“The big problem is that people don’t believe a revolution is possible, and it is not possible precisely because they do not believe it is possible. To a large extent I think the eco-anarchist movement is accomplishing a great deal, but I think they could do it better... The real revolutionaries should separate themselves from the reformers... And I think that it would be good if a conscious effort was being made to get as many people as possible introduced to the wilderness. In a general way, I think what has to be done is not to try and convince or persuade the majority of people that we are right, as much as try to increase tensions in society to the point where things start to break down. To create a situation where people get uncomfortable enough that they’re going to rebel. So the question is how do you increase those tensions? I don’t know.”
I asked if he was afraid of losing his mind, if the circumstances he found himself in now would break his spirit? He answered, “No, what worries me is that I might in a sense adapt to this environment and come to be comfortable here and not resent it anymore. And I am afraid that as the years go by that I may forget, I may begin to lose my memories of the mountains and the woods and that’s what really worries me, that I might lose those memories, and lose that sense of contact with wild nature in general. But I am not afraid they are going to break my spirit.”
And he offered the following advice to green anarchists who share his critique of the technological system and want to hasten the collapse of, as Edward Abbey put it, “the Earth-destroying juggernaut of industrial civilization”: “Never lose hope, be persistent and stubborn and never give up. There are many instances in history where apparent losers suddenly turn out to be winners unexpectedly, so you should never conclude all hope is lost.”
UNABOM: 4/20/95 letter to the New York Times
(Passage deleted at the request of the FBI.)
This is a message from the terrorist group FC.
We blew up Thomas Mosser last December because he was a Burston-Marsteller executive. Among other misdeeds, Burston-Marsteller helped Exxon clean up its public image after the Exxon Valdes incident. But we attacked Burston-Marsteller less for its specific misdeed than on general principles.
Burston-Marsteller is about the biggest organization in the public relations field. This means that its business is the development of techniques for manipulating people’s attitudes. It was for this more than for its actions in specific cases that we sent a bomb to an executive of this company.
Some news reports have made the misleading statement that we have been attacking universities or scholars. We have nothing against universities or scholars as such. All the university people whom we have attacked have been specialists in technical fields. (We consider certain areas of applied psychology, such as behavior modification, to be technical fields.) We would not want anyone to think that we have any desire to hurt professors who study archaeology, history, literature or harmless stuff like that. The people we are out to get are the scientists and engineers, especially in critical fields like computers and genetics. As for the bomb planted in the Business School at the U. of Utah, that was a botched operation. We won’t say how or why it was botched because we don’t want to give the FBI any clues. No one was hurt by that bomb.
In our previous letter to you we called ourselves anarchists. Since “anarchist” is a vague word that has been applied to a variety of attitudes, further explanation is needed. We call ourselves anarchists because we would like, ideally, to break down all society into very small, completely autonomous units. Regrettably, we don’t see any clear road to this goal, so we leave it to the indefinite future. Our more immediate goal, which we think may be attainable at some time during the next several decades, is the destruction of the worldwide industrial system. Through our bombings we hope to promote social instability in industrial society, propagate anti-industrial ideas and give encouragement to those who hate the industrial system.
The FBI has tried to portray these bombings as the work of an isolated nut. We won’t waste our time arguing about whether we are nuts, but we certainly are not isolated. For security reasons we won’t reveal the number of members of our group, but anyone who will read the anarchist and radical environmentalist journals will see that opposition to the industrial-technological system is widespread and growing.
Why do we announce our goals only now, through we made our first bomb some seventeen years ago? Our early bombs were too ineffectual to attract much public attention or give encouragement to those who hate the system. We found by experience that gunpowder bombs, if small enough to be carried inconspicuously, were too feeble to do much damage, so we took a couple of years off to do some experimenting. We learned how to make pipe bombs that were powerful enough, and we used these in a couple of successful bombings as well as in some unsuccessful ones.
(Passage deleted at the request of the FBI.)
Since we no longer have to confine the explosive in a pipe, we are now free of limitations on the size and shape of our bombs. We are pretty sure we know how to increase the power of our explosives and reduce the number of batteries needed to set them off. And, as we’ve just indicated, we think we now have more effective fragmentation material. So we expect to be able to pack deadly bombs into ever smaller, lighter and more harmless looking packages. On the other hand, we believe we will be able to make bombs much bigger than any we’ve made before. With a briefcase-full or a suitcase-full of explosives we should be able to blow out the walls of substantial buildings.
Clearly we are in a position to do a great deal of damage. And it doesn’t appear that the FBI is going to catch us any time soon.
The FBI is a joke.
The people who are pushing all this growth and progress garbage deserve to be severely punished. But our goal is less to punish them than to propagate ideas.
How do you know that we will keep our promise to desist from terrorism if our conditions are met? It will be to our [crossed out] advantage to keep our promise. We want to win acceptance for certain ideas. If we break our promise people will lose respect for us and so will be less likely to accept the ideas.
Our offer to desist from terrorism is subject to three qualifications. First: Our promise to desist will not take effect until all parts of our article or book have appeared in print. Second: If the authorities should succeed in tracking us down and an attempt is made to arrest any of us, or even to question us in connection with the bombings, we reserve the right to use violence. Third: We distinguish between terrorism and sabotage. By terrorism we mean actions motivated by a desire to influence the development of a society and intended to cause injury or death to human beings. By sabotage we mean similarly motivated actions intended to destroy property without injuring human beings. The promise we offer is to desist from terrorism. We reserve the right to engage in sabotage.
It may be just as well that failure of our early bombs discouraged us from making any public statements at that time. We were very young then and our thinking was crude. Over the years we have given as much attention to the development of our ideas as to the development of bombs, and we now have something serious to say. And we feel that just now the time is ripe for the presentation of anti-industrial ideas.
Please see to it that the answer to our offer is well publicized in the media so that we won’t miss it. Be sure to tell us where and how our material will be published and how long it will take to appear in print once we have sent in the manuscript. If the answer is satisfactory, we will finish typing the manuscript and send it to you. If the answer is unsatisfactory, we will start building our next bomb.
We encourage you to print this letter.
P.S. Mr. Hoge, at this time we are sending letters to David Gelernter, Richard J. Roberts and Phillip A. Sharp, the last two being recent Nobel Prize winners. We are not putting our identifying number on these letters, because we want to keep it secret. Instead, we are advising Gelernter, Roberts and Sharp to contact you for confirmation that the letters do come from FC.
(Passage deleted at the request of the FBI)
Additional passage reportedly from the same letter:
"The idea was to kill a lot of business people who we assumed would constitute the majority of the passengers,"'... "But of course some of the passengers likely would have been innocent people - maybe kids, or some working stiff going to see his sick grandmother. We're glad now that that attempt failed.
Representing Ted Kaczynski: The Right to Assistance of Counsel
By Michael Mello
Theodore Kaczynski is being denied his day in court: Lawyers he does not want are forcing him to stake his life on a defense he would rather die than raise. In the guise of providing him with his Constitutional right to the assistance of counsel--"assistance" is the word used in the Sixth Amendment -the federal government has stripped him of the only power he has left as an American citizen: the power to have his case raised against the indictment, to put on his defense in a judicial proceeding where his life is on the line- -not his lawyer's life, not his judge's life.
Judge Burrell ruled last week that Kaczynski cannot fire his lawyers and that those lawyers can rais. a defense based on Kaczynski's alleged mental illness-a defense that Kaczynski adamantly refuses. Kaczynski wants a "necessity defense"-a claim that his crimes were justified as part of his political war against technology on behalf of humanity Federal law would likely preclude such a defense to the murder charges, and Kaczynski and his lawyers appear to recognize that he will almost certainly be found guilty of murder at the first phase of his bifurcated capital trial The real battleground in United States v. Kaczynski is over penalty. And at the penalty phase of the trial, Kaczynski s necessity defense" evidence is admissible, in my view, under the Supreme Court's 1978 Lockett decision.
Judge Burrell's rulings turn the right to assistance of counsel on its head. They transform a Constitutional protection designed to shield a defendant's rights into a sword that disembowels them. The whole purpose of the right to counsel at criminal trials—a right recognized since the infamous Scottsboro case in 1932—is to empower the citizen accused.
Ted Kaczynski's lawyers, however well-intentioned and paternalistic, are: no as menla||y competent to him. They are controlling him. They are strong arming a man on trial for his life, a man the judge as ^e;d^sions in yhis case such as stand trial—a ruling which means that Kaczynski is competent to nr |jfe a niental illness whether he will testify, whether he would accept a guilty plea,, an w le 1 . fee| s0 strongly that he is too defense (a defense with little chance of success in this case). If Kaczy a serious way, not with a crazy to stand trial, they should have asked the judge months ago to exp o c proforma quickie psychiatric exam.
Now that the trial has been postponed until January 22, there is abitI ofreconsider their unfortunate take a deep breath and re-assess their respective positions. 1 P , should sort out Kaczynski's decision to reject a negotiated plea to life imprisonment wit ou par • reversed on appeal, counsel situation, once and for all, in a manner fair to Kaczynski and least liKeiy
But the deepest soul-searching must be done by Kaczynski *5°“^ have known from the outset that their client partially responsible for the disturbing events of last week 1 y d..on lhe eve of his trial—to choose opposed a mental illness defense. They apparently hoped th ki wou|d cave in. It was a gamble, and the between going along with their defense or representing tuns lawyers lost. , , ., n rh Ted Kaczynski didn't flinch. Left with no acceptable 1 he hard part about playing chicken is knowing when to alternative, he chose to represent himself.
I hope that Judy Clarke and Quin Denvir will now decide that they cannot ethically abandon Kaczynski to represent himself pro re. He clearly docs not want to represent himself-and for very good reasons. He wants a lawyer willing to abide by his wishes.
His lawyers themselves now face a choice: To represent Kaczynski the way he wants and has a right to be represented; or to step aside and allow Tony Serra (who is willing to represent Kaczynski, without fee) to serve as Kacyznski's lawyer If they step aside, they should do so now—to allow Serra as much trial preparation time as possible. Either way, a continuance to allow time for trial preparation is absolutely necessary.
The real issue here, as elsewhere in the Unabomber matter, is power. Who decides what his true interests are? The man whose life hangs in the balance? Or his court-appointed lawyers?
1 believe the choice is his. His superb lawyers'job-their ethical duty as lawyers and their moral duty as human beings-is not to manage or control him, but to "assist" him in making his defense.
Judge Burrell’s rulings have put Judy Clarke and Quin Denvir in an ethically awkward position. They have acted in what they honestly believe to be their client's best legal interests. But that is not the point.
The Supreme Court has said repeatedly that the legality of death penalty trials must be judged by the "evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." Consider how our standards of decency have ''evolved" from 1859 to today.
John Brown, the slavery abolitionist who raided the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia in 1859, was critical in galvanizing public opinion so that civil war became possible—if not inevitable. John Brown's hanging by the Commonwealth of Virginia made him a celebrated martyr in the North, convincing the South that compromise on the slavery issue was impossible and so that secession (and war) were the only course—exactly as Brown himself had hoped and planned.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of John Brown—besides the subsequent vindication of his "crazy" abolitionist views—was his carnage during his trial and the way his lawyers respected him. At trial, Brown refused to allow his lawyers to raise an insanity defense (Brown's family had a history of insanity). Brown knew exactly what he was doing when he raided Harper s Ferry: attempting to incite a slave rebellion, a plan far-fetched but certainly not crazy (at least not to Virginia and the South, in the years following Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey and Gabriel Prosser rebellions and other slave uprisings). If Brown was crazy, then so were a number of prominent northern abolitionists. And, like Socrates, after Brown's trial and death sentence, he categorically scotched the plans of his followers to organize Brown s escape from Virginia. No, Brown insisted: His execution would do more for his cause than anything he could ever do alive. On this score. Brown was absolutely right, at least in the eyes of historians. Our standards of decency have come a long way in 139 years. But on one point they remain unchanged: Some things are worth dying for.
In a column in last week's Boston Globe, Ellen Goodman asked rhetorically whether "the Mad Hatter" should be running the show" in the Sacramento courtroom. My answer is, hell, yes! When he's on trial for his life it’s his show to run...with assistance of counsel, according to his right under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Conspiracy is Unnecessary
NOTE: This was an anonymous comunique sent from somewhere in the midwest.
As of today, Comrades of Kaczynski is hereby established as an Insurrectionary affinity group. Not all members of our group participated in this declaration, and it should be understood that all representation is false and this declaration only speaks for its writers. In the hope that others are inspired to take up arms, in both a literal and symbolic sense, against the whole rotting order, we deliver this communique. Fellow revolutionaries, come, walk with us in the moonlight, let the darkness blur the divisions between all forms of life and reclaim our wildness. No are and thus we are more fed up with civilization and any forces that wish to sustain this disgusting status quo. Those who sake halfway are digging their own grave. As Kaczynski did with both and his manifesto, we desire a colLapse of the spectacle daily life has become. We are never bored, and we are always planning. Collapse is near, and are happy to be a part of it. As of this delivery, we have confirmed that our numbers are in the millions. This appears to be growing exponentially. A world full of rubble awaits. Freedom is ours. As outlaws, we are already free. Until the rest of the planet is free domination, we will happily and playfully wage war.
No revolution will occur without outside support for the prisoners of war. Behind bars, in the deep concrete stomach of Leviathan, our brothers and sisters sit, filled with rage, and ready for battle. Most of these prisoners are unknown to even the most seasoned of anarchists. Ted Kaczynski's case is a good judge of how deep a person’s critique runs. Who has the proposal for a perfect target? Anarchists who choose to confront this whole mess of a civilization can see deep into the workings of the machine. To some degree, almost every American, through first internalizing consumer ideologies, then physically becoming a gear in the works, does his or her part to keep the machine running. So, you support Mumia Abu Jas»al? And is he not deemed a cop killer by the system that has imprisoned him? Yet even the most liberal of activists has the sensibility to question the authority of the system in Mumia’s case. A large contingent of his supporters oven condone the murder of the pig, as our group does, yet they aro still fearful of supporting Kaczynski. Even believers in tho legal system have ample evidence to suspect political harassment. A coerced confosoion does not convince the Comrades that Kaczynski is guilty of anything. »• support him in oithor case. Take a moment and decide for yourself how you fool about Kaczynski, forgot about your conditioning and take the driver’s seat.
It is through our understanding of how this system operates that we gain power. Wo pledge an alignment with tho Future Political Prisoners of America (FuPPA). As we aro all anarchists, we understand that while we reject •*en the spirit of the law, it can still physically bind us when it takes forms meh as jail and concrete. As police repression against us grows to resemble the level of repression that has always been prevalent in poor areas everywhere, more of us will be la^risoned. Powerful and militant support for our warriors on the inside—Haziotis In Greece, Thaxton In Eugene, Kaczynski in Colorado, otc.—is of urmoer importance. Jails are ripe for revolution, when people have nothing to lose, their true power can be realized. Ne must I i,arTI the Lessons from the IRA, who Insured that guards would not get too rough with their comrades without retribution.
Insurrection exists on the boundaries of every assumption. In the words of the situationists, we will ask for nothing, we will demand nothing; we will take, we will occupy. Stop asking for freedom from the very people who have stade the word necessary by separating us from the wild. In every action taken, we will never be satisfied with anything less than a full collapse. No more half-assed reformist band-aids. Those who fight and settle for petty reform are as much our enemy those who enforce law, for the system could not carry on without the semblance of resistance the left provides. A community garden is insurrection. Free coffee on the sidewalk is insurrection, a letter-bomb is insurrection. Settle for nothing less!
Why are we Comrades of Kaczynski? We believe that in becoming outlaws, we also become feral. As we reject the conditioning society has given us, we start to shed the layers of doMstication that are so precariously held up by our assumptions. The example set by Kaczynski, life deep in the forest for over 20 years is an inspiration to us. Also inspiring is the DIY spirit of the crimes. Conspiracy becomes unnecessary and the Law is confused and knows not how to react. We are fed up with boring, tired actions. Kaczynski introduced once again, the element of surprise.
Our targets are many, but with growing revolt the whole world wide, destroyers of the planet will be forced co withdraw and power structures will quickly be dismantled. There is no reason that we cannot succeed in this goal. Structured time can be forgotten shortly after every clock is smashed. An analogy can be drawn here. Authority would be forgotten shortly after •very authority figure is hung. There should be no shame and no discussion of nonviolence in the killing of our oppressors. This is a war, and everyone who recognizes thia must continue to heighten the battle. It seems the peacenicks think of this all as fun and games, but for us, the revolution is now, and it cannot be separated from everything we do. The more we make love, the more we want to make revolution, and the more we make revolution, the more we want to make love.
From now until the end of time and beyond, we declare our fulJ support to any and ail entitles on this planet that struggle for freedom ano never ask for anything. We know our dreams are constantly realized as we deconstruct everything in our path. Concrete is never permanent. We are in solidarity with every crack in every structure ever built. We fight in the spirit of salmon swimming upstream, and the water eventually forcing its way through every dam. We can never be Imprisoned and we will never die. We need no flag, the green of the leaves and the black of night aro our banners.
People in power: Your world is soon coming to an end. You cannot win.
Comrades of Kaczynski Group
Beltane 2000 Communique
A-Infos Int’l Anarchist News Service http://www.ainfos.ca/en/
EZLN (Zapatistas) http://www.ezln.org/
Earth Liberation Prisoners
International Earth First! site
September 26 Global Day of Action http://x21.org/s26/
Earth First! Prague
Peoples' Global Action http://www.agp.org/
Resistance is Fertile (Global anti-GMO network)
* ESSENTIAL READING *
If An Agent Knocks http://www.es.
Mayday/Prague 2000 http://www.lobsterparty.org/
Reclaim the Streets
UK based eco-anarchist site http://www.eco-action.org
Mumia Must Live! (UK)
Arm The Spirit http://bum.ucsd.edu/~ats/
Anti-Fascist Forum http://burn.ucsd.edu/~aff/
International Militant Anti-Fascist Network http://bum.ucsd.edu/~imafn/
Direct Action (UK)
REFLECTIONS on June 18, 1999 (UK)
I The Revolt Collection (Ireland) http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/
Class War (UK)
! We Dare Be Free (Boston anarcho-communists) http://www.tao.ca/~wdbf
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Do or Die (UK)
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20 Years on the Move
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Future Primitive By John Zerzan http://www.eco-action.org/dt/futureprim.html
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 For more on this by a psychologist-anarchist, read Hi My Name is Chellis, and I'm Recovering From Western Civilization, by Chellis Glendinning. Any major library will have this book
 I have many friends who live in underground houses with no electricity in ways very similar to Kaczynski’s manner of living These friends are perfectly sane and live a much slower paced and leisurely existence; in fact, most anarchists 1 know would love to live “out in the woods."
 For further discussion on revolutionary violence, see the “violence” section of this pamphlet.
 For more discussion on the legality of the evidence in the case, see Ted Kaczynski's Diaries, by Michael Mello and Paul Perkins
 And what is a crime? Most would argue that marijuana is acceptable to grow and use. but the slate argues that possessing the plant is illegal and therefore a crime.
 A possible exception Revolutionaries can put forward as a permanent moral law the principle that all modern technology is evil. It may be questioned whether this will accomplish anything, but at least it is not a principle that can lead us back into techno industrial servitude.
 I take it for granted that the techno industrial system will be destroyed eventually—say within the next thousand years or so—since all human civilizations in the past have broken down sooner or later. So, stated more accurately the issue is how soon the techno industrial system, will be destroyed. If it lasts too long, then there will be nothing else left when it is gone.