Theodore John Kaczynski, Ph.D., also known as the Unabomber (born 22 May 1942) is an American terrorist who attempted to fight against what he perceived as the evils of technological progress by sending mail bombs to various people over almost eighteen years, killing three and wounding 23. He was the target of the FBI's most expensive manhunt ever.
- But what first motivated me wasn’t anything I read. I just got mad seeing the machines ripping up the woods.
- Interview with Earth First! in Administrative Maximum Facility Prison, Florence, Colorado, USA, (June 1999)
- 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.
- Interview from primitivism.com
- Many years ago I used to read books like, for example, Ernest Thompson Seton's Lives of Game Animals to learn about animal behavior. But after a certain point, after living in the woods for a while, I developed an aversion to reading any scientific accounts. In some sense reading what the professional biologists said about wildlife ruined or contaminated it for me. What began to matter to me was the knowledge I acquired about wildlife through personal experience.
- in Defining Danger: American Assassins and the New Domestic Terrorists
- 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.
- Answer given when he was asked if he was afraid of losing his mind in prison. Interview with Ted Kaczynski
- 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.
- I must tell you that mathematicians are not scientists, they are artists. ... Apart from the most elementary mathematics, like arithmetic or high school algebra, the symbols, formulas and words of mathematics have no meaning at all. The entire structure of pure mathematics is a monstrous swindle, simply a game, a reckless prank. You may well ask: "Are there no renegades to reveal the truth?" Yes, of course. But the facts are so incredible that no one takes them seriously. So the secret is in no danger.
- The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.
- "Introduction", item 1
- The industrial-technological system may survive or it may break down. If it survives, it MAY eventually achieve a low level of physical and psychological suffering, but only after passing through a long and very painful period of adjustment and only at the cost of permanently reducing human beings and many other living organisms to engineered products and mere cogs in the social machine.
- "Introduction", item 2
- If the system breaks down the consequences will still be very painful. But the bigger the system grows the more disastrous the results of its breakdown will be, so if it is to break down it had best break down sooner rather than later.
- "Introduction", item 3
- The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern leftism we call feelings of inferiority and oversocialization. Feelings of inferiority are characteristic of modern leftism as a whole, while oversocialization is characteristic only of a certain segment of modern leftism; but this segment is highly influential
- "The Psychology of Modern Leftism", item 9
- Those who are most sensitive about "politically incorrect" terminology are not the average black ghetto-dweller, Asian immigrant, abused woman or disabled person, but a minority of activists, many of whom do not even belong to any "oppressed" group but come from privileged strata of society.
- "Feelings of Inferiority", item 12
- We are not supposed to hate anyone, yet almost everyone hates somebody at some time or other, whether he admits it to himself or not.
- "Oversocialization", item 25
- Consistent failure to attain goals throughout life results in defeatism, low self-esteem or depression.
- "The Power Process", item 36
- In modern industrial society only minimal effort is necessary to satisfy one's physical needs.
- "Surrogate Activities", item 40
- And then there are unthinking, animal types who seem to be satisfied with a purely physical sense of power (the good combat soldier, who gets his sense of power by developing fighting skills that he is quite content to use in blind obedience to his superiors).
- "Autonomy", item 43
- Crowding, rapid change and the breakdown of communities have been widely recognized as sources of social problems. But we do not believe they are enough to account for the extent of the problems that are seen today.
- "Sources Of Social Problems", item 53
- A theme that appears repeatedly in the writings of the social critics of the second half of the 20th century is the sense of purposelessness that afflicts many people in modern society.
- "Disruption Of The Power Process In Modern Society", item 64
- Some people have low susceptibility to advertising and marketing techniques. These are the people who aren't interested in money. Material acquisition does not serve their need for the power process.
- "How Some People Adjust", item 81
- In any case it is not normal to put into the satisfaction of mere curiosity the amount of time and effort that scientists put into their work.
- "The Motives of Scientists", item 87
- It is important not to confuse freedom with mere permissiveness.
- "The Nature of Freedom", item 94
- The concept of “mental health” in our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs of the system and does so without showing signs of stress.
- "Restriction on Freedom is Unavoidable in Industrial Society", item 119
- It is not possible to make a LASTING compromise between technology and freedom, because technology is by far the more powerful social force and continually encroaches on freedom through REPEATED compromises.
- "Technology Is A More Powerful Social Force Than The Aspiration For Freedom", item 125
- Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy, then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness. Science fiction? It is already happening to some extent in our own society. It is well known that the rate of clinical depression had been greatly increasing in recent decades. We believe that this is due to disruption of the power process, as explained in paragraphs 59-76. But even if we are wrong, the increasing rate of depression is certainly the result of SOME conditions that exist in today's society. Instead of removing the conditions that make people depressed, modern society gives them antidepressant drugs. In effect, antidepressants are a means of modifying an individual's internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise find intolerable. (Yes, we know that depression is often of purely genetic origin. We are referring here to those cases in which environment plays the predominant role.)
- "Control of Human Behavior", item 145
- To those who think that all this sounds like science fiction, we point out that yesterday's science fiction is today's fact. The Industrial Revolution has radically altered man's environment and way of life, and it is only to be expected that as technology is increasingly applied to the human body and mind, man himself will be altered as radically as his environment and way of life have been.
- "Control of Human Behavior", item 160
- The technophiles are taking us all on an utterly reckless ride into the unknown. Many people understand something of what technological progress is doing to us yet take a passive attitude toward it because they think it is inevitable. But we (FC) don't think it is inevitable. We think it can be stopped, and we will give here some indications of how to go about stopping it.
- "Strategy", item 180
Hit Where It Hurts (2002)
- Green Anarchy #8, (Spring 2002)
- Smashing up McDonald's or Starbuck's is pointless. Not that I give a damn about McDonald's or Starbuck's. I don't care whether anyone smashes them up or not. But that is not a revolutionary activity. Even if every fast-food chain in the world were wiped out the techno-industrial system would suffer only minimal harm as a result, since it could easily survive without fast-food chains. When you attack McDonald's or Starbuck's, you are not hitting where it hurts.
- "Technology Is The Target", point 2
- The techno-industrial system is exceptionally tough due to its so-called "democratic" structure and its resulting flexibility. Because dictatorial systems tend to be rigid, social tensions and resistance can be built up in them to the point where they damage and weaken the system and may lead to revolution. But in a "democratic" system, when social tension and resistance build up dangerously the system backs off enough, it compromises enough, to bring the tensions down to a safe level.
- "Why The System Is Tough", point 4
The Road to Revolution (2008)
- Writings later included in Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, aka "The Unabomber" (2010)
- There are two kinds of morality—the kind of morality that one imposes on oneself and the kind of morality that one imposes on others. For the first kind of morality, that is, for self-restraint, I have the greatest respect. The second kind of morality I do not respect except when it constitutes self-defense. (For example, when women say that rape and wife-beating are immoral, that is self-defense.) I have noticed that the people who try hardest to impose moral code on others (not in self-defense) are often the least careful to abide by that moral code themselves.
- "Morality and Revolution"
- To judge from the Internet postings that people have sent me, probably most of what you learned [about me] was nonsense.
- Letter to J. N.
- A mistake that most people make is to assume that the more followers you can recruit, the better. That's true if you are trying to win an election. A vote is a vote regardless of whether the voter is deeply committed or just barely interested enough to get to the polls. But when you're building a revolutionary movement, the number of people you have is far less important than the quality of your people and the depth of their commitment. Too many lukewarm or otherwise unsuitable people will ruin the movement.
- Letters to David Skrbina
- Rebellion against technology and civilization is real rebellion, a real attack on the values of the existing system. But the green anarchists, anarcho-primitivists, and so forth (The "GA Movement") have fallen under such heavy influence from the left that their rebellion against civilization has to great extent been neutralized. Instead of rebelling against the values of civilization, they have adopted many civilized values themselves and have constructed an imaginary picture of primitive societies that embodies these civilized values.
- Letter to M. K.
- Its is important, too, to realize that deadly violence among primitives is not even remotely comparable to modern warfare. When primitives fight, two little bands of men shoot arrows or swing war-clubs at one another because they want to fight; or because they are defending themselves, their families, or their territory. In the modern world soldiers fight because they have been brainwashed into believing in some kook ideology such as that of Nazism, socialism, or what American politicians choose to call "freedom". In any case the modern soldier is merely a pawn, a dupe who dies not for his family or his tribe but for the politicians who exploit him. If he's unlucky, maybe he does not die but comes home horribly crippled in a way that would never result from an arrow- or a spear-wound. Meanwhile, thousands of non-combatants are killed or mutilated. The environment is ravaged, not only in the war zone, but also back home, due to the accelerated consumption of natural resources needed to feed the war machine. In comparison, the violence of primitive man is relatively innocuous.
- "The Truth about Primitive Life"
Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How (2016)
- There are many people today who see that modern society is heading toward disaster in one form or another, and who moreover recognize technology as the common thread linking the principal dangers that hang over us.
- p. 1
- People ... can think of nothing better to do than to continue attacking particular evils while vaguely hoping that their work will somehow help to solve the overall problem of technology. In reality their work is counterproductive, because it distracts attention from the technological system itself as the underlying source of the evils and leads people to focus instead on problems of limited significance that moreover cannot be permanently solved while the technological system continues to exist.
- p. 1
- The development of a society can never be subject to rational human control.
- p. 7
- The ultimate goal of a revolutionary movement today must be the total collapse of the worldwide technological system.
- p. 138
- An antitechnological movement that focused on the elimination of capitalism would gain little in return for an enormous expenditure of energy. What is worse, by focusing on capitalism the movement would distract its own and other people's attention from the far more important objective of bringing down the technological system itself.
- p. 211
Quotes about Kaczynski
- In the 1960s there was a young man who had just graduated from the University of Michigan who was doing brilliant work in mathematics, specifically bounded harmonic functions. Then he went to Berkeley, where he was an assistant professor and showed amazing potential. Then he moved to Montana and blew the competition away.
- Saddam Hussein was reduced to the Unabomber — Ted Kaczynski — a nutcase hiding in the sticks. Sure, the terrorism by his supporters is frightening. Hence, its name, "terrorism." Killing innocent people by surprise is not called "a thousand points of light." But, as frightening as terrorism is, it's the weapon of losers. The minute somebody sets off a suicide bomb, you can be sure that person doesn't have "career prospects." And no matter how horrendous a terrorist attack is, it's still conducted by losers.
- P. J. O'Rourke, in "Putting Words in the President's Mouth" (12 October 2004)