The Unabomber Manifesto, Part 7: Revolution and Leftism

Industrial Society and its Future, Cont’d

The following continues a condensed summary of the Unabomber Manifesto: Industrial Society and its Future.  The ideas, below, are Kaczynski’s.  The headings and numbers are his.   This is no endorsement of violence or anarchy. The document is presented in parts.  Previous parts include:

  1. Technology is recklessly driving us into the unknown. Many understand this, but think it’s inevitable.  It can be stopped, says Kaczynski.
  2. Our two tasks, he says, are to heighten social stress and to propagate an ideology opposed to industrial society.  This will further destabilize a distressed system, he argues, making revolution possible.  This follows the same pattern as the French and Russian Revolutions, he says.
  3. The French and Russian Revolutions failed at their utopian goals, but succeeded at destroying the old societies.  The idea of creating an ideal society, Kaczynski says, is an illusion.
  4. Human psychology requires that our ideology have a positive goal, Kaczynski says.  Our goal, he proposes, should be Nature – Earth and mankind in its natural state, free from organized society.  Opposing technology (a negative goal) is less motivating.
  5. Nature is the opposite of technology.  Nature is beautiful.  It requires no utopian ideal.  We came from it.  We can coexist with it.  Industrial society attacks nature.  If industrial society fails, nature’s scars can heal.  Then, we will live with nature and close to nature.
  6. We will suffer negative consequences, but everything comes at a price, says Kaczynski.
  7. We must develop ideology on two levels, he says, because most people hate psychological conflict.
  8. Ideology should have one level that is rational, intelligent, and thoughtful.  This attracts an influential, capable, and intelligent core of people who fully understand the ambiguities and the costs.  We must be truthful.  Deception will undermine and destroy the ideology.
  9. Ideology should have a second level that is simpler.  This attracts the majority who see things in unambiguous terms.  We must be careful of irrational, incendiary language because mob tactics might alienate the rational core.  Mob tactics, he says, help only when the end is near.
  10. History is made by active, determined minorities, not the majority.  Revolutionaries win with a small, deeply committed core, not shallow majority support.  Revolutionaries shouldn’t ignore the majority.  They shouldn’t seek majority support at the expense of the seriously committed core.
  11. The general strategy should avoid blaming the public.  The strategy should blame the powerful elite (oppressor).  The public are victims (oppressed).
  12. The general strategy should target the powerful elite (oppressor).  Other social conflicts distract from the main conflict (powerful versus weak, technology versus nature).  Other conflicts (ethnic, ideological, regional) undermine the main conflict.  The system only responds with more technology.
  13. Ethnic conflicts are unimportant, Kaczynski argues.  Minorities may be disadvantaged, he says, but the real enemy is the industrial-technological system.
  14. This revolution focuses on technology and economics, not politics, he says.  This is not necessarily violence or an armed uprising.
  15. The goal is not political power.  Political power is self-defeating.  The majority of voters would force elected officials to betray the cause or be voted out of office.  This revolution must come from outside.
  16. This revolution must be international, worldwide, and simultaneous.  An attempt to overthrow the system may end in dictatorship.  That risk is worth taking, Kaczynski argues.  Dictator-controlled systems are prone to break down.
  17. One strategy, he says, is to support international trade agreements that bind the world economy in interdependence.  This makes the world economy more susceptible to breakdown.  The breakdown of one industrialized nation may spread contagion that destroys others.
  18. Our problem is not that modern man enjoys too much power and control over nature.  The problem is that industrial society is too powerful and controlling.  Our personal power is slight.
  19. The collective power of industrial society is the problem.  The collective power of primitive society was negligible .
  20. Our goal isn’t to make modern man powerless, argues Kaczynski, we must break the power of the industrial system and return power to individuals and small groups.
  21. Our only goal, he argues, is to destroy the industrial system. Other goals are costly and dangerous distractions.  They tempt us to use technology and fall back into the technological trap.
  22. “Social justice” only reinforces the system.  To achieve its goals, it depends upon the technological system.
  23. Revolution is hopeless without some modern technology. It should be used only to attack the technological system, he says, because technology is too tempting.
  24. The human race is tempted by technology like an alcoholic is tempted by a barrel of wine.
  25. Revolutionaries should have many children, he suggests.  Science indicates that social attitudes are partly inherited.  Social attitudes tend to correlate with personality traits.  Personality traits are partly inherited.  In addition, children tend to share their parents’ social attitudes.
  26. Unfortunately, revolutionaries are less likely to have children because they are more concerned about population.  This works against them.
  27. Our single overriding goal must be to eliminate modern technology, says Kaczynski, with no competing goals.  Revolutionaries must be empirical, he says, find what works, and do only that.
Two Kinds of Technology
  1. It can’t be argued that the proposed revolution is bound to fail based on the claim that technology has never regressed.
  2. Technology has regressed in the past.  There are two kinds of technology.  Small-scale technology can be used independently by small communities.  Organization-dependent technology depends upon larger social organization.  Small-scale technology has never significantly regressed.  Organization-dependent technology has regressed, when social organization broke down.  When the Roman Empire fell, small-scale technology survived (e.g., water wheels).  Organization-dependent technology regressed (aqueducts, road construction, urban sanitation).
  3. Technology seems to have never regressed because most pre-industrial technology was small-scale.  Today, most technology is organization-dependent.  Simple items like refrigerators depend on large scale industrial organization: factories, power generation, power transmission, parts and service that depend on more industrial organization.
  4. Organization-dependent technology regresses when social organization breaks down.  Once lost, industrial society might take centuries to rebuild.
  5. Industrial society might not rebuild, at all.  Maybe it only develops under special conditions.  It developed rapidly only in Europe, not other civilizations (Islam, India, Asia).  Historians speculate why.
  6. Might industrial society be reborn?  Maybe, Kaczynski concludes, but it is not our worry.
The Danger of Leftism
  1. Leftists transform non-leftist movements into leftist movements.  Movements attract leftists because leftists need to rebel or identify with mass movements.  Large numbers of leftists, then, replace the original goals with leftist goals.
  2. A movement that exalts nature and opposes technology must oppose leftism.  It must not collaborate with leftists.  Leftism seeks only power – to control industrial society in the name of the collective.  It is the enemy of human freedom and nature.
  3. The anarchist seeks power, also – only for individuals and small groups to control their own lives.  The anarchist opposes technology because it forces dependence on large organizations.
  4. History shows that leftists might oppose technology, only until they gain power.  Once in control, they’d use technology for oppression.  The Bolsheviks opposed censorship and secret police, until they gained power.  Once in control, they imposed tighter censorship and more ruthless secret police.  University leftists supported academic freedom, until they gained power.  Once in control, they stifled others’ academic freedom.
  5. History shows that non-leftist revolutionaries are fools if they collaborate with leftists.  History shows that leftists betray their collaborators, and seize power.  Robespierre, the Bolsheviks, Spanish communists, and Castro all betrayed their revolutionary compatriots.
  6. Leftism is a kind of secular religion.  It is empty of spirituality, but is irrational and based on faith, not reason or facts.  It seeks to impose a morality on others.  It meets a deep human need for religion.  Leftism, refers to a spectrum of beliefs, aligned with the old left – feminism, gay rights, political correctness, etc.
  7. Leftism is totalitarian.  When leftists gain power, they forcibly invade every corner of life and seek to mold every thought.  In the leftist religion, all else is sin.  More importantly, they have a never ending drive for power, that is insatiable.  When they meet one goal, they must move on to another cause, and so on.
  8. Leftism is not motivated by distress at society’s ills.  It is motivated by the drive for power, to impose their solutions on society.
  9. For the oversocialized left, the struggle to impose their morality on everyone is their only means to pursue power.
  10. Oversocialized leftists are True Believers, single-mindedly devoted to their cause.  True Believers may be necessary for revolution, but also threaten to undermine it, if also committed to other ideals.
  11. This generally describes leftist movements.  This may not describe particular individuals or even a majority of leftists, who might be more tolerant or less totalitarian.
  12. Power hungry leftists rise to power in leftist movements.  They strive hardest for power because they are power hungry.  They hold onto power because the faithful don’t oppose them.  They crush any opposition because they are ruthless and organized.
  13. This is the historical pattern.  Western leftists excused the evils of the Soviet Union and communist countries.  They blamed the West, and excused communist aggression.  They excused the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but blamed the US in Vietnam.  Their leftist faith stopped them from opposing communist evil.  In universities today, they excuse suppression of academic freedom.
  14. Leftism has totalitarian tendencies, however mild and tolerant individuals might be.
  15. Still, the word “leftist” remains poorly defined.  There is a whole spectrum of activist movements.  Some are leftist, some partly so.  We must use our own judgment.
  16. We can list some criteria to identify leftism.  It isn’t clear cut.
  17. Leftists favor collectivism.  They emphasize our duty to serve society, and society’s duty to care for us. They frown on individualism.  They moralize.  They support gun control, sex education, social planning,  affirmative action, and multiculturalism.  They identify with victims.  They oppose competition and violence (but excuse leftist violence).  They spout phrases, like “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” “capitalism,” “imperialism,” “neocolonialism,” “genocide,” “social change,” “social justice,” “social responsibility.”  They support feminism, gay rights, ethnic rights, disability rights, animal rights, political correctness.  Strong support of all of this is almost certainly leftist.
  18. Power-hungry leftists are often arrogant and dogmatic.  The most dangerous are passive-aggressive “crypto-leftists”.  They mask their leftism and quietly work to promote collectivist values in education and to foster dependency.  Crypto-leftists don’t seem radical, but are highly motivated True Believers, driven by deep psychological needs.
Final Note
  1. These arguments are a crude approximation of the truth.  Many are imprecise and qualified.  Some may be wrong.  We can only generalize, based on imperfect information and intuition.
  2. These general outlines seem roughly correct.  Perhaps, leftism is not peculiar to modern times nor the result of power process disruption.  The oversocialized and power driven have long imposed their morality on others.  Their motivation still seems to be feelings of inferiority, low self-esteem, and powerlessness.  Modern leftism seems peculiar in its low self-esteem and identification with victims.  This is different from early Christian and early leftist sympathy for victims.  The truth of that question is left to historians.