The unabomber manifesto explained! (It's not great)
Hello everybody. As you may or may not know I am still in rehab right now, and will be for at least another 6 weeks, more details in my vlog on the second channel. It turns out rehab is mostly sitting in your room without anything to do so I decided to watch Unabomber documentaries on Netflix. And then I thought wow this guy seems smart. So I read the entire Unabomber manifesto and I am about to give you a critical chapter by chapter review of the entire thing.
As you can tell by the length I go into the details here, and when applicable I explain why I think the logic is flawed. Full disclosure I disagree with the manifesto but I will try to be as neutral as I can be, except for the parts which are obviously my opinions. If you already know who the Unabomber was and why he’s famous feel free to use the youtube chapter tool to skip the summary.
On May the 25th of 1978 a materials engineering professor received a package in the mail, upon opening it, it exploded in his hands causing minor injuries. Over the following years more parcel bombs were sent to universities and airlines. They knew those bombs came from the same person or group because they all had a metal plaque with the engraving “FC” in them.
They named the person responsible the university and airline bomber, or Unabomber. For 17 years he sent bombs, a total of 16, killing 3 people and permanently maiming 12 others. Then he sent a manifesto to major newspapers, he demanded they print it in full or he would keep bombing people. After some deliberation the FBI gave the papers the go ahead to pint the manifesto. The thought was that if everyone read the it someone may recognise the ideas in it. This was a great strategy and it worked.
A man reported to the FBI that his brother, a 50 year old man named Ted Kaczynski had very similar ideas. Kaczynski lived in a 5 by 5 metre shack in the woods, living only of what he planted and what he hunted, for over 20 years at this point. When he was a kid he was considered very smart and he enrolled in Harvard at age 16. He became a mathematics professor and after making enough money to buy some land and build his shack he moved there. Completely off the grid. After comparing Kaczynski’s letters to the manifesto of the Unabomber the FBI obtained a warrant to search his cabin.
They found a finished parcel bombs, chemicals to build bombs, bomb parts and a detailed log of all of the bombs he had sent, as well as a draft of his manifesto and the typewriter he used to send his letters and the manifesto. In the end he was convicted and is currently sitting in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. He would have gotten the death penalty but he was ruled criminally insane after a diagnosis with paranoid schizophrenia. His mental illness is in my eyes not an excuse for what he did or his ideas.
The source of some parts of his mental issues is undoubtably the MK ultra experiment which tldr was an attempt by the cia to completely psychologically break someone, and at age 16 Kaczynski was one of the Guinea pigs, again this is no excuse but it explains some of his….antisocial tendencies which you may notice in the manifesto. The manifesto he wrote has been read by millions and it resonated with many. It has co-founded an entire ideology called anarcho primitivism which you may have heard about before. So lets not waste any more time, this video will be long enough as is.
One note before we start: The manifesto is written like a thesis from the 70s and it has these subheadings here, I will call those chapters or sections even though technically they aren’t. Oh and also he sometimes says “we”, that is to make the public believe he is more than one person, just ignore that. That being said here we go. The first chapter is called Intro, and all it is, is a basic overview over the points he will make throughout the manifesto, this part is supposed to be catchy to be fair it does create curiosity which is the point. He asserts that our current society, based on technology and industry, is bad for the people and the environment and that it will become worse overtime. He admits it may eventually get better but he is convinced that first it will definitely get a lot worse.
He also freely admits that Destroying this system will cause untold suffering, but he thinks abandoning modern technology would cause less pain than leaving it. Quite an assertion, I can’t wait to see how he logically supports this. But for some reason the next chapter is about the psychology of leftism. Alright. He explains how in the past leftism meant socialists and friends of the USSR but that now it’s harder to define who is and isn’t a leftist.
He writes: "When we speak of leftists in this article we have in mind mainly socialists, collectivists, “politically correct” types, feminists, gay and disability activists, animal rights activists and the like". He asserts that leftists are characterized by two things. Feelings of inferiority and Over socialization which coincidentally is the title of the next two chapters.
According to him feelings of inferiority are characterized by "Low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, depressive tendencies, defeatism, guilt, self- hatred, etc". Then he complains about white activists and professors not wanting him to use racist words and calling people "primitive" for being illiterate. And he says that "Leftists tend to hate anything that has an image of being strong, good and successful. They hate America, they hate Western civilization, they hate white males, they hate rationality." Then he says leftists reject iq tests which is a bad thing apparently. Followed by saying that some people are obviously inferior and leftists are bad for wanting to treat inferior people with respect.
He also complains that leftists make up problems to force people to adhere to political correctness. In the last paragraph he says it's not all leftists, just the bad ones he made up. The next part is Oversocialization.
He explains that socialization means learning to act like society demands. He asserts that leftists are so socialized that they want to act too moral so they force others not to say the n-word. Their oversocialization makes them unable of doing small moral violations, like traffic violations and petty theft. He says, quote "university intellectuals constitute the most highly socialized segment of our society and also the most left-wing segment.". Classical the universities are cultural Marxists scare mongering here. He says leftists don’t rebel; they just take society's expectations to the extreme which means they aren’t radical they are actually secretly controlling society.
Then he says the leftists are the real racists for trying to give black people the same conditions as white people which would make them the same to "the system". Then he chickens out again and says "not all leftists". Okay where do I begin. How about the vibe. I am gonna say it, this is some serious boomer shit.
The leftists are all inferior and stupid and the real racists and the control the academics and actually the government is secretly on their side and so on. This sounds like some high grade PragerU opinions. Yes it was written in the 90s but it’s clear this guy never talked to a leftist in his life. Also, he says if black people were as rich as white people then they wouldn’t be special anymore.
Apparently what makes black culture different is poverty and nothing else. And apparently because of that we need to prevent emancipation. Great thinking Ted. I would like to make the point that ted here is using a framework in which the only important thing is the industrial technological system as he calls it.
We can tell because he says the only thing making black people special is that they are a poorer part of the system which shows that his worldview doesn’t care about culture, values or anything besides “the system”. The next chapter introduces an important point. The power process. Basically the power process is people using their individual power to reach some goal or fulfil some need.
Like for example you use your individual freedom to get a job so you can reach the goal of buying food. Or a cave man hunts a deer to get to survive. Going through the power process needs two things, first a goal which you yourself set and which will bring you satisfaction AND you need to have the individual autonomy, or power to be able to reach that goal yourself somehow. And once you finish the power process you experience happiness and search for a new goal. He says that humans always need to be able to have goals which are in reach and going through the power process is the fundamental thing that makes people happy. Every source of happiness is just the power process in disguise.
And to prevent people from going through the power process would make them miserable and thus be immoral. He also makes the point that People who have everything, like aristocrats during the renaissance, become decadent and depressed for lack of goals in life. I think this concept is is broadly correct, everyone needs goals to keep themselves busy and it is important that that goal is in reach.
But what if you fulfilled all of your survival needs? You have a home, food, clothing and so on. So from a biological standpoint you ran out of goals. He says what people do then is searching for “pointless” activities like collecting stamps or working out to have big muscles which you don’t need. He calls these things surrogate activities to sound fancier. He makes the argument that if someone had to work really hard to survive they would be just as fulfilled by surviving, as modern people are fulfilled after doing pointless surrogate activities. So, Industrial society made our lives so easy that everyone can survive with comparatively little effort, causing many people to waste their time with surrogate activities.
And he does consider them a waste of time. He doesn’t explain which value system he uses to evaluate what is a valid way to get happiness and what isn’t so this feels extremely arbitrary. Personally I disagree. I think as long as you have a goal, and more importantly tasks that make you happy it doesn’t matter if it’s programming a game for your boss to be able to eat nice food or programming a game in your spare time for fun. See I am a utilitarian, I want society to do what brings the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest amount of people.
This means supporting things that bring happiness, and not arbitrarily declaring that collecting stamps is bad actually because evolution. Note that even though he thinks surrogate activities are bad, he still admits that doing them is just as gratifying as doing “real” activities as he calls them. But his preferring tasks like hunting over stamp collecting will become a theme later. The following chapter is called autonomy. No shock Kaczynski wants more individual autonomy. He begins by arguing that voluntarily working together in small groups can also satisfy the power process.
He explains this is because humas evolved to hunt in groups, so achieving a goal in a group is just as pleasing as doing it alone. But he argues the same is *not* true for having to take orders from above from some boss because that way you can’t use your autonomy to do the task, you need to listen to the superior. Remember, the power process is about doing things with your own autonomy or power. So if you do something not because you want it, but because someone else tells you to, then you won’t find pleasure in doing it. The same is true for orders from a large collective.
The argument goes that if there are a thousand people voting on what to do then every individual has too little power over the decision to feel like it was theirs which again prevents them from going through the power process which as we established makes people unhappy. He then admits that some people are fine without autonomy in the workplace. When I worked in the heavy industry lots of my colleagues liked not thinking about work and just doing exactly what the supervisor said and then go home. Kaczynski says that while these people exist, the vast majority need to use their own autonomy and reach self set goals to be happy. He then explains that people who are prevented from going through the power process may suffer from quote: "boredom, demoralization, low self-esteem, inferiority feelings, defeatism, depression, anxiety, guilt, frustration, hostility, spouse or child abuse, insatiable hedonism, abnormal sexual behavior, sleep disorders, eating disorders, etc."
So apparently every single problem in the world is caused by this one issue. Very convenient because this means we can abolish psychology now. Needless to say I think that explaining all of human happiness and misery using one concept is going to at best be a gross oversimplification of the truth and at worst lead you to incredibly harmful conclusions. I am sorry to say but my drinking was caused by traumatic memories, not because I couldn’t set myself goals. This shows that Kaczynski likely never suffered from most of these issues, because if he did he would know that they are a bit more complex than being told how to work by your supervisor.
He continues his hobby analysis of society’s problems in the chapter titled “Sources of social problems”. He starts of by saying that not all problems are from industrial society. Primitive societies also had bad parts. Quote : "It is true that not all was sweetness and light in primitive societies. Abuse of women was common among the Australian aborigines, transexuality was fairly common among some of the American Indian tribes" but despite the evil … transsexuals he says primitive society was still superior to modern society.
He makes the evolutionary psychology argument and says that since humans didn’t evolve for our current environment it’s bad. Society is too densely populated, too isolated from nature and doesn't allow for small scale groups like tribes we evolved for. He tries to make an argument against modern technology using a motorcycle. He says there are two ways they can be managed by a society, either unrestricted or restricted. If you make it unrestricted then the noise they make will cause negative feelings to other people, if you restrict it you will take away the liberty of the motorcycle owner. Therefore, motorcycles are inherently negative for society.
Now you may pause for a second and think about what is wrong with this argument, it took me between 5 to 10 seconds. Did you get it? He is forgetting the positives. A motorcycle allows for greater mobility, and that great mobility of one outweighs the minor inconvenience of noise for someone else. He is deliberately ignoring the upside of modern technology to make it look bad. He is making a pro and contra list with only the negatives, that’s not how this works. He then says that people in society feel less secure than primitive society which he elaborates on later.
In paragraph 50 we learn that: "The conservatives are fools" which is one of the things we am agree on. Then fascinatingly he says that settlers on the american fronteer around 1830 or so who had no social group didn't suffer from mental illness because they weren't crowded like we are today and they had plenty of opportunity to go through the power process on their farms which means they were a lot more happy than we are today. This is interesting for two reasons. First, his positive portrayal of this state of technology implies that the world he wants is one with around that tech level.
I don’t know about you but I imagined anarcho primitivism as a stone age society without any technology. But spoiler, Kaczynski only ever argues against the technology of the industrial revolution. He doesn’t seem to want a hunter gatherer lifestyle, I think. More in the chapter “STRATEGY” in which he lays out specific goals.
The second reason this glorification of frontier farmers is interesting is because he said they had no mental illness despite being completely isolated from society. Which is fascinating because that’s the opposite of what happened. They all became extremely mentally ill.
We’ve only gained our modern understanding of mental illness in the 80s and 90s but even 150 years before that people noticed that all these farmers who were completely isolated in the prairie got very mentally ill which they called Prairie madness. So, one of Kaczynski’s example of people without society being healthy literally shows the opposite of what he says it does. Maybe he should have spent his time doing research instead of building bombs. I think at this point I repeated myself enough that everyone here knows what I mean when I say power process. This chapter is titled “DISRUPTION OF THE POWER PROCESS IN MODERN SOCIETY” and shockingly it says how modern society is bad because power process. He explains, quote: "We divide human drives into three groups: (1) those drives that can be satisfied with minimal effort; (2) those that can be satisfied but only at the cost of serious effort; (3) those that cannot be adequately satisfied no matter how much effort one makes.”
And “The power process is the process of satisfying the drives of the second group. The more drives there are in the third group, the more there is frustration, anger, eventually defeatism, depression, etc." Then he asserts that technological industrial society pushes more and more things from group two into groups one and three. For example you can fulfil your survival needs with so little effort that you likely don’t feel too accomplished every time you eat lunch. And on the other hand you know that getting a Tesla will likely be out of your reach forever unless you get very lucky and win in capitalism. This is what he means when he says goals move into group one and three.
He says that Primitive society put survival things into group 2 which made people happier. Yes they had to work a lot harder to get meat on the table, but it was precisely that it was harder which made it more rewarding. He then explains how advertising creates arbitrary needs which fall into group two to keep the average person busy with surrogate activities, remember, the pointless ones. So if you are happy in modern society then you are just brain washed and also you shouldn’t be happy because your happiness comes from bad activities. Clearly. Then he channels his inner socialist and critiques capitalism….without realizing it.
He argues that employees are oppressed by employers which reduces their freedom. Personally what I’d do is yeet the employers and have their position be elected, or even having a council do their job. Now the workers are in charge and have their liberty back and it didn’t even require abandoning modern agriculture and medicine. He then elaborates that there are many group 3 drives because, quote "Our lives depend on decisions made by other people" he names police, government and capitalists and continues "It may be objected that primitive man is physically less secure than modern man, as is shown by his shorter life expectancy [...] but psychological security does not closely correspond
with physical security." He then argues that when faced with a threat like a lion a primitive man can defend while modern man can't defend against nuclear accidents. Therefore most threats nowadays fall into group 3, since we are faced with threats much larger than what we can influence ourselves like climate change and chemical spills. Of course, notice how he says a life expectancy of 20 is fine as long as you can run from a lion instead of losing a job. Kaczynski notices that "There is no law that says we have to go to work every day and follow our employer’s orders. Legally there is nothing to prevent us from going to live in the wild like primitive people or from going into business for ourselves.
But in practice there is very little wild country left, and there is room in the economy for only a limited number of small business owners. Hence most of us can survive only as someone else’s employee." Which sounds exactly like the argument I made, while technically you aren’t forced to work under capitalism, the conditions we live in force us to work for employers involuntarily. The difference is that Kaczynski wants to destroy everything to fix this while I think removing bosses and having their tasks done by the workers would do the trick. In general it seems like he isn’t aware of most political ideologies and factions, considering the only solution he ever considers is abandoning modern society. He had this weird rant about leftists but as will be even more clear later he has no clue what socialism even means.
He then finishes the chapter by saying that people who want to reform the system to allow people to go through the power process are wrong and need to think bigger. He doesn’t elaborate that’s just what he says. The chapter “how some people adjust” is unsurprisingly about how some people cope with this evil technological society.
He says some are just fine with things as they are. Some people satisfy their need for power by joining large movements which collectively seek out goals. And then these people feel successful. But Kaczynski tells us they shouldn’t feel successful because it wasn’t their individual achievement. So he’s gatekeeping what people are allowed to enjoy so they are only allowed to enjoy what he says they enjoy which conveniently is everything that fits his theory, and anything that doesn’t fit isn’t allowed to be enjoyed because it wouldn’t fit the theory.
Nice example of circular logic Kaczynski. Then he makes the worst take “But even if most people in industrial-technological society were well satisfied, we would still be opposed to that form of society, because (among other reasons) we consider it demeaning to fulfill one’s need for the power process through surrogate activities or through identification with an organization, rather than through pursuit of real goals." To translate: Yes people may be happy, but they aren’t happy in the way I like so they don’t deserve to be happy in this way. Great The next section is called “the motives of scientists”. You would think that you can just ask a scientist what they are motivated by, most will talk about curiosity, and a drive to make the world better.
But Ted knows the scientists better than they know themselves. He says scientists can’t be motivated by curiosity since there is no way someone is interested in the specific things that single studies study. He says no normal person would be interested in the interaction of dyethylane glycol and alcohol in the liver therefore all scientists are liars and have a secret agenda. Last time I talked about scientific research there were multiple researchers in my comment section, if you are one of them please tell me what you think of this section. Kaczynski says a chemist only cares about chemistry because the chemist had a chemistry education and if the chemist was forced to be a lawyer they would not care for chemistry but would be super interested in law.
Which is a wild assertion because it basically says people have no innate curiosity or interest in specific subjects at all which is at odds with all of the research. Also to quickly disprove this: My formal education is in computer science and I make my money by making videos on politics. Which would be impossible under his explanation. Because according to him getting my commuter science education would make me love computers while really I feel lukewarm to them at best.
Now comes the quote I laughed at. "Some scientific work has no conceivable relation to the welfare of the human race—most of archaeology or comparative linguistics for example". This is funny because comparative linguistics is how he was caught. And I’d argue catching a serial bomber is “supporting the welfare of the human race” as he put it.
Then he straight up calls all scientific work a surrogate activity. Which is at odds with his definition. Sure maybe some scientists only work on their tasks to keep themselves busy, presumably subconsciously but earlier he said doing a job to get money to fulfil your base needs is NOT a surrogate activity but rather a necessary one.
Scientists make their money with research. He is making arguments that invalidate his definitions. Amazing. In the section titled “the nature of freedom” he explains his theory that the further society progresses the less freedom for everyone there is. He explains that he defines Freedom as going through the power process.
The more you can go through the power process the more free you are. The fewer times you can, the less free you are. And since as he explained before, society is making more and more things into goals of type 1 and 3 which prevents people from doing the gratifying type 2 tasks. The idea that with an advancing society perhaps new type 2 tasks will be created either doesn’t’ cross his mind or he dismisses them as inferior surrogate activities.
He makes the point that media is dominated by single news agencies which means nobody outside of the mainstream can spread their ideas. To his credit YouTube wasn’t around at this time. Then he justifies killing people to draw attention to his half baked manifesto. Which worked, but also, major dick move. Wait a second, I am popularizing his views right now. Oh god I am a part of the problem.
Uhm. Then my notes say “People may say that they are true but Ted talks over them and says they aren't.” I can’t say I know what I tried to say with that.
After reading the relevant paragraph I think this is supposed to say that some people say they are free but Ted doesn’t care if you feel free, he knows better than you. So don’t you feel free. Now we get into how he explains history in “some principles of history”. He says that in his view history is random events and greater trends. The random events are just that, random unexplainable events which are of little importance. Instead, the important part is the greater trend.
And that trend is for society to keep developing new technology and greater industry. And this trend can be temporarily obstructed, for example activists may stop the construction of new factories for years or decades, but eventually the resistance will fall and the factories are built anyways. The only way this larger trend can be stopped is via a revolution which can overthrow the entire system and thus stop it from evolving. He also freely admits that the outcome of a revolution cannot be predicted. As proof he talks about the us war for independence.
He says that it didn’t change much, since all other English colonies eventually became independent and democratic as well. So if there was no war for independence the US would still be a democracy today. Then he wrote.
In all caps, and I quote "INDUSTRIAL-TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY CANNOT BE REFORMED". Which is an opinion, and he doesn’t explain why, at all. Later when he complains about cars reducing freedom I will show a nice practical example of reforming our society in a way that even under his definition would be more free. But more about that later.
Then he repeats himself and says the march of technology strengthens the system and reduces freedom. He repeats himself a lot and I usually edit it out because it makes for a bad video. And a bad manifesto at all but I didn’t make the manifesto I am making the video, and I decided to leave out what makes it bad, well, worse. The next section is titled “Restriction of freedom is unavoidable in industrial society”, I wonder what that will be about. He explains that for the state and industry to function capitalists and bureaucrats need to be in charge and rule the masses which naturally reduces the autonomy of said masses.
You may want to resolve this by fragmenting government down into small communities which anarchists are for. But Kaczynski objects that, quote: "A technological society cannot be broken down into small, autonomous communities, because production depends on the cooperation of very large numbers of people and machines". I sort of agree with him on this. It’s true that without long distance trade and global specialization the economy as it functions right now would be impossible to keep alive.
Naturally there are ways around this but Ted doesn’t know them because he didn’t read theory. He again explains that democracy feels too intangible, and the individual doesn't have enough say. And he explains that the system protects itself by making ppl conform. For example the system needs engineers so it makes people become engineers by financially rewarding them. A better way to describe that dynamic would be supply and demand because Ted seems to treat this ominous “system” like some sort of evil hivemind instead of it being the logical consequence of the mechanisms of our society interacting with the population The next section is descriptively called “THE ‘BAD’ PARTS OF TECHNOLOGY CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM THE ‘GOOD’ PARTS”.
He makes the point that modern medicine can only exist if there is also modern chemistry, computer science, education and so on. You can’t keep vaccines and abolish refrigeration. I agree with him on this, but I would like to argue that we can do something about many of the bad parts. For example we can pass climate protection legislation, we can collectivise factories and reform the economy away from the capitalist system that is causing suffering to untold amounts of people.
I admit that we can’t keep all the good parts and not get rid of all the bad parts. I know that we can’t keep expecting to get a sweater for 5 bucks and stop sweatshops in poor countries. To get rid of the bad parts will mean sacrificing some good.
But to pretend we can’t do anything but to revert back to a time without medicine is just insane to me. Then comes possibly the worst part of the manifesto. He says that in primitive society, which he still hasn’t told us what that means, people would have died from diabetes but we keep them alive which degrades humanity. Quote: "The only solution will be some sort of eugenics program or extensive genetic engineering of human beings". So yea, not only is he extremely anti leftist and a social conservative, he also just openly advocated for eugenics, or alternatively re-introducing evolutionary pressure which does the same thing.
And of course, he knows millions of people would die, mainly ones with disabilities and things like diabetes or glasses which is ableist, extremely immoral and the direct consequence of abandoning modern medicine and farming. This is why I consider primitivist ideologies to be only useful as a thought experiment, and never as a goal. The next section is called “TECHNOLOGY IS A MORE POWERFUL SOCIAL FORCE THAN THE ASPIRATION FOR FREEDOM”, no prises for guessing what he’s gonna tell us here. He says technology slowly takes away freedoms without compromise. As an example he makes the point that cars initially made people free, but now people depend on them to get to work and grocery shopping so owning them, and following traffic laws are now mandatory.
He continues his point saying, quote: "Once a technical innovation has been introduced, people usually become dependent on it". He says cars are bad because traffic laws reduce freedom, and he yet again completely misses the up side of having a car. You can move over the entire continent with one yes you have to follow traffic laws but you have mobility which even 100 years ago would have been unimaginable to pretty much everyone.
It’s almost as if this guy tries to hyper focus on the small downsides of technology. Of course, there is also his point that now that cars exist we are doomed to use them forever, there is no way a modern industrial city could ever be set up in a way to discourage the use of cars and enable people to travel with let’s say public transport, bikes and by walking. Completely impossible.
Wait who put Amsterdam on the screen that’s not fair this was after ted wrote this. For the ones out of the loop. In the past decades Amsterdam, especially in the inner city was transferred from a car heavy hell hole to the city with the most cyclists per capita in the world. Many roads are blocked off for cars and only allowed for pedestrians and bikes. This way the city discourages people from owning cars and encourages cycling and walking.
Which is healthier, and I guess to ted it’s freer, but I would argue even more importantly than that it immensely reduces pollution which considering climate change is a pretty good goal. So there, I used Amsterdam to prove that a future without cars is possible and considering the limited existence of oil and the problem of climate change, it is inevitable. Ted continues to explain that the reason technology always wins out over the opposition is that those who work in research do so because it’s their surrogate activity, it’s what gives them a purpose, while people who protest that change only have the goal to stop something. And he argues that having something to strive for is always more rewarding than opposing something, so eventually the activists will stop resisting and technology will progress.
In “SIMPLER SOCIAL PROBLEMS HAVE PROVED INTRACTABLE” he writes that, quote: "Among other things, the system has failed to stop environmental degradation, political corruption, drug trafficking or domestic abuse" and he concludes that because of that the system cannot solve the problem of liberty. Personally, I agree that the system, more precisely the capitalist system can’t solve most of these issues so it’s on activists like environmentalists to make them do it. And to be kinda fair a little bit some of the capitalist countries have done the absolute minimum necessary to potentially start protecting the climate in the future. One day. Same criticism as before, he can’t imagine a system beyond this one so his solution is to throw out the baby with the bath water.
To abolish technology and industry instead of changing from a capitalist to a socialist system. Which is of course because he pretends capitalism and socialism are the same thing because … both have cars. He follows up with “REVOLUTION IS EASIER THAN REFORM” which I consider a hot take because reform is, at least organisationally a lot easier to start and succeed with. Note: Viki1999 does not support violent or illegal action. Ted writes that the system and liberty can't be reconciled which means radical change is needed.
He mentions it doesn’t necessarily have to be an uprising or even violent, but it needs to be called a revolution. He argues that since a revolution would replace the whole system it would achieve more because reform can only change one thing at a time. Which is strange thinking, because reformists can push for many things at the same time. Reality is not turn based.
The next section titled “control of human behaviour” is shockingly about how the system controls human behaviour. He makes the argument that all societies control the humans that live in them via laws social conventions and so on. He points at modern society and says that it especially controls the people in it and that it is able to push people way further into mystery than was possible before modern medicine. The reason is that if someone becomes depressed, which as you remember is only caused by life being too easy according to him, they will be treated with antidepressants to continue to function. He then asserts that people need to distract themselves from what the system does to them via video games and media. And he points out that superficially, things like antidepressants and the media are good.
After all not treating a depressed person would be immoral. And taking away entertainment from people would be cruel as well. But these things are of course bad because then you depend on the antidepressants for happiness and on the media for entertainment. And clearly taking antidepressants is a worse fate than killing yourself because of depression.
At least to Ted. Then he channels his inner Marx and says quote: "The social disruption that we see today is certainly not the result of mere chance. It can only be a result of the conditions of life that the system imposes on people". Which is unsurprisingly sort of similar to historical materialism which says that eventually capitalism will bring about it’s own destruction.
I made a video about that. In the section called “human race at a crossroads” he makes the point that right now we have the opportunity for great change in our society. This is because right now the industrial technological system is struggling with rebellion and climate change.
He expects the system to stabilize in roughly 40 to 100 years and he says by that point the time we can do something has passed. Then he makes an argument which I in the past used to discredit accelerationism. And that is the fact that, even if the system were to collapse because of climate change, it would rebuild itself, simply because people don’t know another way to build up a society. For this reason ted wants to both destroy the old system, and create a new one in it’s place. Then he again admits that destroying the system, including medicine and agriculture will kill billions, especially people who depend on medicine like old people, disabled people, everyone with a mental illness probably almost all children and in general everyone who isn’t super fit and knowledgeable about how to survive without anything. Of course ted says this is worth it as long as he doesn’t have to hear a motorbike.
Then he comes with the hot take and says that the industrial revolution didn’t improve people’s lives. This is again because he uses this very restrictive framework in which only working toward a goal brings happiness and only the basic needs count as valid goals. I don’t know about you, but personally I think running around the Forrest with torn and dirty clothing with nothing but a spear, trying to catch a deer in the middle of a hail storm storm sounds less rewarding than playing fallout new vegas with a full belly in a heated home. The only reason Ted considers fallout inferior to hunting is because he arbitrarily decided that happiness from non-survival related sources doesn’t count. In the section titled “The future” he predicts some things which he thinks are likely to happen in the near future if the industrial system is not destroyed before then. He points out two scenarios.
In the first one computers become super intelligent and they may take over society and in the second one computers stay under humanity’s control in which case the machine owners to exploit the non-machine owners. If the machines become super intelligent it is not possible to predict what they would do, they could do anything from reversing climate change and colonizing the galaxy to killing every last human. I am sure you heard about all of the scary scenarios.
The second scenario is a lot more fleshed out. He says that if machines don't reach super intelligence then the will stay under the control of humanity, but they will still eliminate most jobs because of automatization which would cause society to split into two groups, the machine owners and everyone else. Of course you can collectivise the machines and as a society decide that these machines are taken from the machine owners and use them for the public good but ted doesn’t even consider that. He also mentions that it’s possible that people would move into service jobs. But Kaczynski doesn’t consider service jobs to be fulfilling so he thinks that would be a bad thing.
About that possibility he writes, quote: "This seems to us a thoroughly contemptible way for the human race to end up, and we doubt that many people would find fulfilling lives in such pointless busy-work." He considers this possible future so horrible and evil that he writes, quote: "It would be better to dump the whole stinking system and take the consequences." Which again, the consequences he is talking about is killing billions of people. The Chapter “Strategy” is two things, first it’s finally an explanation of what his goals are, kind of and how he wats to reach them and second, it’s the most mangled chapter in the entire manifesto. He keeps making confusing statements and switches what he talks about every paragraph. I decided to beak this down into his goals, and his steps to reach them.
Just know if you read it it’s a lot more confusing than I am making it look. Goals His goals are: Destroying technology, destroying industry, and destroying the modern state. He says most revolutions didn’t change society, and he uses the French and Russian revolutions as an example. Which yet again shows that he is unable to see the difference between different societies because to him every post industrial society is the same. He tells us that his ideology is one of WILD nature.
Wild spelled in all caps so you get the message. In other parts he talks about re-introducing evolutionary pressure, which implies he doesn’t want a society like the oh-so-happy farmers with prairie madness. He also concedes that even before industrial society damage was done to nature but it was in a smaller scale.
Which is not true, Australia used to be a jungle until people started burning the jungle down to drive the animals out, and now it’s mostly desert. People have been manipulating the environment since forever. Then he says quote: " everyone must be peasants or herdsmen or fishermen or hunters". Which implies that he wants to keep farming and herding, so not hunter gatherer lifestyle but more something like in the bronze age I guess? Later he says it would take 500 to 1000 years for his dream society to turn into a new industrial society which implies technology standards from the middle ages? My main problem is that this manifesto is so vague on what it wants to achieve. It has some great rants about the evil of having to hear a motorbike go by but it completely lacks the vision to guide people to this great new world he is promising. And I am not joking, this is where the goals section ends.
The only other slight insight we get into his dream world is when he talks about which technologies we should keep which we’ll get to after we discussed how he wants to implement this vague idea of a pre-industrial society. Steps He starts of by saying his ideology should be propagated in two different ways. In a detailed academic way directed at well educated people who would then form a fanatic core and spread the messages to the masses by dumbing it down for them.
To support this he says don't shame people for consuming, portray them as victims of the system. To spread the message and manipulate the….well he calls them stupid but I am going to say average apolitical person he wants to use the media to the best of his ability. He then explains that you don't need the majority of the population as a follower if your ideas, you just need a bunch of really convinced people. Which historically is true, only 30% of americans wanted independence from England and barely anyone was a Bolshevik before the revolution.
But he also says, quote "The revolution must be international and worldwide", and of course all at the same time so the army from one nation can’t crush the ones that already went through the revolution. Then he points out how important it is that nobody ever attaches another goal to his movement. No gay rights, no feminism, no black lives matter.
Only the industrial technological system matters. Here on the left we have something like that called class reductionist. That’s when you ignore all social problems in the world and only focus on the class conflict. This is seen as a bad strategy by most since if you openly say you don’t care for black lives then black people may not want to join your revolution. Kaczynski also says you don’t need to bother taking over the government, it'll collapse without that once the industry and technology that uphold modern governments is destroyed. Then comes quite possibly the worst part of this entire manifesto, almost worse than the eugenics part.
He says you should have many children to put stress on the system so it will collapse sooner. This means, he wants you, and the entire global revolutionary movement to artificially increase the global population beyond the carrying capacity of the planet so we can bring about a system in which 98% of people will have to starve WHICH WILL INCLUDE THOSE CHILDREN. He is talking about using children as political tool and then letting them die because you don’t want to have to buy a car or hear a motorcycle. I am beginning to see why he was determined criminally insane.
In the section “two kinds of technology” Kaczynski explains exactly what technology he wants destroyed and what technology he wants to keep in his utopia. He divides technology into small-scale technology and organization-dependent technology. Small scale technology refers to technology small groups could use without need for a large scale economy. This is the kind of technology Kaczynski has no problem with. He names a water wheel as an example. Even without modern technology a craftsman could build one.
Which seems to make sense. But he also names steel as an example which idk about. To make steel you need blast furnaces, and mines for coal and iron, aka you need an organized society.
And the same is true for a water wheel actually. You need iron or steel tools, you need wood, you need a builder to build the building next to which to install the water wheel and you need to somehow get fed while doing that. Also building a water wheel needs some extent of education so you need a society to make that work. This either means Kaczynski is completely fine with an organized society that reduces people’s freedom as long as there is no industry around or he didn’t think about what he wrote. I can’t tell with just this information.
I can only guess. Then he explains that Organization depended technology is anything that you need a society for producing. For example a fridge, you need chemistry, precision metal working, power and so on. A fridge can only exist in an organized society.
Which, uhm. If you think about it the same is true for steel and water wheels. So yea the tech which he thinks is okay is completely arbitrary. This is where he says that after they reached his glorious ideal world, Industrial society and technology may return but we don't need to worry about it t since it'd take more than our lifetimes so it doesn’t matter. We now come to the final chapter before the conclusion.
And what do you think this one is about? Finally describing what that great world would look like? Explaining further why the power process only counts when hunting deer? Nope, none of that. It’s titled “The danger of leftism”. You may be wondering, hey, didn’t he start the manifesto off with complaining about the left? And the answer is yes, yes he did. I did the math and about 15% of the manifesto is him writing about leftists.
Only about 5% are about explaining the power process which is his core argument. So, remember in the first part when he said the left is social justice activists? Well here he changes his opinion. He explains that leftists are still to immature and stupid to have real goals so they seek collective power. Then he explains how leftists are collectivists and pro big government, which I guess is true for the USSR but that completely contradicts his definition from the start. Then he says all anachists must hate technology because it enables centralized governments via highways and quick communication. Great way to alienate all anarchists, tell them they are doing anarchism wrong and only your anarchism is true anarchism.
Then he makes the observation that in the past leftists often collaborate with non leftists in the short term to seize power after which they usually kicked the other factions out. Because of that he says leftists cannot be trusted. He also writes that quote: " To avoid this, a movement that exalts nature and opposes technology must take a resolutely anti-leftist stance and must avoid all collaboration with leftists". Then he says Leftists are totalitarians.
Leftists invade privacy and reduce autonomy. All of these show that he’s not talking about social justice warriors anymore, he is talking about authoritarian leftists, tankies, the USSR and so on. And you know, I could respect that, it’s his opinion, everyone has those. But then he chickens out and says, quote: “Our remarks about leftism are not meant to apply to every individual leftist but to describe the general character of leftism as a movement". Then following he says that he himself isn’t sure what he means by leftist so he makes a list of features: They are Collectivists, they, Dislike individualism, they, actually let me just quote him.
Oh yea he’s sexist so when talking about the average leftist he uses he/him instead of they/them. "He tends to be for gun control, for sex education and other psychologically “enlightened” educational methods, for social planning, for affirmative action, for multiculturalism. He tends to identify with victims. He tends to be against competition and against violence, but he often finds excuses for those leftists who do commit violence.
He is fond of using the common catch- phrases of the left, like “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” “capitalism,” “imperialism,” “neocolonialism,” “genocide,” “social change,” “social justice,” “social responsibility.” Maybe the best diagnostic trait of the leftist is his tendency to sympathize with the following movements: feminism, gay rights, ethnic rights, disability rights, animal rights, political correctness. Anyone who strongly sympathizes with ALL of these movements is almost certainly a leftist." So there you have it. That is leftism apparently.
The last chapter titled “Final note” is just a summary of the things he already talked about with only one interesting thing, quote: "[Of] course in a discussion of this kind one must rely heavily on intuitive judgment, and that can sometimes be wrong. So we don’t claim that this article expresses more than a crude approximation to the truth" Excuse me what Ted? You made me read and write notes for 5 hours only to tell me this shit isn’t accurate at the end? This seems like a lazy way to avoid being criticised for saying absolute bullshit. “You can’t say I am wrong because I said I may be wrong”, I don’t end my videos with “by the way take nothing seriously”. Grow a spine and stand by your subpar theories for fucks sake. Conclusion: It is so much worse than I made it look.
It’s badly structured, the order of the chapters makes little sense, he keeps repeating himself, like he explains every point 3 times at completely different parts of the manifesto. He just says things and treats them as if they are true. For example he says only since the 1800s did mental illness exist, which isn’t true, there was likely tonnes of mental illness in the past, but we only started to diagnose them 100 years ago. Selection bias come on Ted.
He cites maybe 3 sources throughout the entire thing. He leaves massive questions like: What is that imaginary pre-industrial society supposed to look like exactly? This is an incredibly basic question, and we only get vague answers at the very end of the manifesto. It’s clear that he has some kind of valid criticisms of industrial society but has no vision besides technology bad. At this point I have to say, I genuinely think that the ideas expressed in this manifesto are overwhelmingly bad. At points he makes great critiques of the capitalist system, like when he explains that people are forced to work by the system and how almost everyone has to be an employee which reduces their freedom. There are some good points in here, but he lacks the imagination for a solution.
There is one last point I would like to make before ending this video. Do you remember how Kaczynski said that if we were living in the woods we would be fulfilled because we’d use all our autonomy to go through the power process by hunting and foraging so we wouldn’t even miss modern technology, because we are already happy with life by fulfilling our base needs. But if that is the case I have to ask, why wasn’t Kaczynski happy? He lived in his hut, he foraged for food, he spent his days hunting. If this fulfilled his need to go though the power process, how come he still felt the need to write a manifesto and bomb people? Maybe humans need more than what he thinks they do.
Maybe this man who was isolated from everyone for over 20 years didn’t understand everything about human psychology. Thanks for watching to the end, this video was really long, but I didn’t want to leave out any point because this video is the only chapter by chapter summary of the manifesto there is on youtube, at least at time of recording so leaving things out could have misinformed people. Thanks to all my patrons who allow me to pay for rehab. And as always, be mindful of where you place your arms in relation to the airbag.
Special thanks to: Comrade Asshole, Darius the Berd, Dave Lewis, Erik Betts, Xander Corvus, Atilla Nemecz, CaityReads, Carissa, Chairman Pineaple, Daniel Hyman, Daphne, Dr. Grimm, Emily Marigold Klassen, Gabi Ghita, Hurdington gurdington, Josh C, Joshua Clark, klarstrup, Maciej Rojek, Nanne Epema, Niel Bhanderi, Nora Quinn, Olli, Pote, Ramon Deville, Roman Briot, Sean Murphy, Skylar Magum-Turner, Stairmasterchef and trey