The Unabomber Manifesto

swears

preppy-kei
Okay, I'm new, and one of the reasons I joined is to ask various questions to and the opinions of people more politically educated/involved than me.
Now, I read this: The Unabomber Manifesto recently, more out of morbid curiousity than anything else.

What do those people on here who are a bit more clued up about politics and academia make of this? Especially those whom he would consider "Leftists".

I'm not saying I disagree/agree with his views, I would just like to hear some viewpoints on it.

Cheers, swears.
 

doll steak

damn that icepick
I'm a leftist.

This guy is a pseudo-Marxist. He's borrowed this:

"This is not to be a POLITICAL revolution. Its object will be to overthrow not governments but the economic and technological basis of the present society."

from Marx but hasn't got his brain around the analysis which led to this conclusion. He might be joking, not sure. The first part of that manifesto is just guesswork and impressionism.

"The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race."

Does Unabomber think the feudalism and despotism which preceded capitalism was better? Marx thought capitalism ("the industrial-technological system") was a progressive force when it emerged in the seventeenth century and challenged feudalism, but that it was artificially restricting the productive forces of society at the time when Marx was around, and modern marxists think this is so today.

I think the guy's reacting in the right way to a poisonous phenomenon (malingering parasitic captialism, reactionary in its anti-democratic phase) but hasn't got many ideas about what to do about it. How is idle musing about "the psychology of leftists" going to bring closer this revolution he's after?

Check this out for a decent manifesto. Great bit about fascists toboganning with closed eyes. http://marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1938-tp/index.htm
 
Last edited:

swears

preppy-kei
Hmmm..

What he seemed to be against is large scale technological progress in general. I don't think he had a preference for communism or capitalism. He saw them both as systems to keep people in their place.
I think his main beef with leftists (and it's basically a stereotype of them, sure) is that they could be bringing down the system, but they're too caught up in fragmented civil rights issues to really make a difference. He wasn't too hot on "conservatives" either.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
OK, read that. I wouldn't begin to claim to be more clued-up on politics, academia or anything than you but it I'll give you my tuppence worth anyway.
His statements regarding Leftists (and other statements) are very dogmatic and lack any kind of evidence although he is quite careful to make clear that each statement is not necessarily always true and to qualify everything as much as possible. What struck me on reading the whole article is that the main thrust of the manifesto is a complaint about the modern technological system and his idea aim to get rid of technology and replace it with "wild nature" or whatever he called it - the stuff about Leftism is fairly peripheral to this and yet he seems to devote a very large proportion of the start of the essay to describing it and denigrating it and he returns to it at the end. As far as I can see he could have missed all the Leftism stuff out and stuck to his theme and it would have been a better essay. It seems as though he must have had some serious falling-out with Leftists at some time in his past and he just can't leave it alone, it appears that it really bugs him.
Talking about the manifesto more generally, it seems to me that the aim of bringing down technological society so that mankinds goals are real rather than surrogate goals is a surrogate goal in itself. If a surrogate goal is something that is not immediately necessary for survival that you create for yourself in order to justify your existence then that seems like a good example.
 

doll steak

damn that icepick
"Talking about the manifesto more generally, it seems to me that the aim of bringing down technological society so that mankinds goals are real rather than surrogate goals is a surrogate goal in itself."

Agreed. If he'd said something about technological society replacing its own aims for the aims of the human life its supposed to sustain (making a means an end), and that this is the problem, then there'd be more to this thing.
 

swears

preppy-kei
I've got a fascination with cranks, I have to admit.
But I guess a lot of influential writers were considered as such, when they were starting out...
 
Last edited:

IdleRich

IdleRich
On further consideration of the essay I think that his total position is wrong as follows: The Unabomber's main idea seems to be that humans need to have goals that are crucial to their survival to give their life meaning. If survival is easily attainable as it is now in modern western society then we need to fill our time with "surrogate goals" or hobbies or whatever it is that gives our life some semblance of meaning. The Unabomber makes out that that is all it is, a semblance of meaning, and the way to get "real" meaning back is to return to a pre-technological state where all our time and thought is preoccupied with survival and we don't need hobbies and we don't have time to become depressed or develop other psychological conditions.
I'm not sure that I can express what I mean very well here but I would say that he has got it exactly backwards. Of course, broadly speaking he is right, your time is either totally taken up with survival or it isn't. If it isn't your time will be taken up with something else which will clearly be non-essential. Here is where we differ, I thought that non-essential thought was what being human is about. Rather than reducing humans to animals who merely survive it is surely better to find a way to imbue life with meaning. It is a better aim for humans to expand to fill the mental space available to them rather than simply reduce that space because they are scared of it. The Unabomber's thesis seems to be to deliberately "bottle" the challenge that faces humanity and retreat to animalhood.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I'm seeing more and more "Ted" memes atm. There seems to be an uptick in interest, I imagine partly due to the recent films and series on him.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
i enjoyed the Netflix series but never got to the end of the manifesto.

I think lockdown had made everyone more aware of the pros and cons of technology and the need for going outside, fresh air, spending time away from screens etc.

spending all day in one room doing work meetings on Teams is up a gear in terms of capitalist efficiency and alienating experiences.
 
Top