Thoughts on Kaczynski’s Manifesto

Roosh V peruses the Kaczynski manifesto.

From the manifesto:

Leftism is collectivist; it seeks to bind together the entire world (both nature and the human race) into a unified whole. But this implies management of nature and of human life by organized society, and it requires advanced technology. You can’t have a united world without rapid transportation and communication, you can’t make all people love one another without sophisticated psychological techniques, you can’t have a “planned society” without the necessary technological base.

The Industrial Revolution was supposed to eliminate poverty, make everybody happy, etc. The actual result has been quite different. The technophiles are hopelessly naive (or self-deceiving) in their understanding of social problems. They are unaware of (or choose to ignore) the fact that when large changes, even seemingly beneficial ones, are introduced into a society, they lead to a long sequence of other changes, most of which are impossible to predict. The result is disruption of the society. So it is very probable that in their attempts to end poverty and disease, engineer docile, happy personalities and so forth, the technophiles will create social systems that are terribly troubled, even more so than the present once.

Kaczynski has become something of an oracle or prophet in recent years, with far-left liberals and far-rightists finding common ground in his scathing critique of technology and industrialization.

The problem is Kaczynski is conflating three things; technology, unfulfillment, and liberalism, when the argument for such a convergence is tenuous at best. The mechanism for how technology leads to liberalism is unclear. Anomie and ennui and the clinical depression that may arise from it could be seen as more pathological than environmental. Depression dates back to antiquity. Was Lincoln’s depression attributed to technology? I think not, as he lived a minimalist lifestyle.

Assuming suicides are a proxy for depression, the suicide rate has been stable for decades, despite technological innovation:

If Kaczynski’s thesis were true, we would probably expect suicide rates to keep rising, but they haven’t.

Similar flat trends are observed for clinical depression.

Technological progress has been uninterrupted since the advent of agriculture ten thousand years ago, yet political correctness and other symptoms of liberalism, historically speaking, is a relatively new development. Creeping liberalism is not stopped by ending technology, but by addressing the underlying affliction (bad policy, democracy, for example). The ancient Greeks and Romans, for example, embraced technology and thrived as a culture and civilization for over a millennia. Same for the Ottoman empire and Holy Roman Empire, both which lasted a long time and neither were done-in by technology.

Efforts to suppress technology have also had disastrous results, an example being Pol Pot whose vision of an agrarian dystopia claimed 1.5 million lives or about 25% of the Cambodian population. Although Kaczynski is anti-communist, in a 1977 journal entry proclaiming he would “… like to kill a Communist,” reverting society to a pre-industrialized state would probably cost millions of lives due to famine, making the end result indistinguishable from a typical 20th-century communist regime, but on a global scale. So essentially, Kaczynski is proposing a solution that is worse than the problem.

There is also a tendency among people to read into Kaczynski what they want to believe; for the welfare left, they agree with his criticism of technology, of how technology has created wealth inequality and unemployment, ignoring that Kaczynski didn’t like liberals. Conservatives agree with Kaczynski’s criticism political correctness, as do I, but that doesn’t mean the rest of his manifesto is correct.