Industrial Society And Its Future
Bureaucracies rely on everyone following the rules. At best we can look forward to a day when formal rules can be replaced by people’s naturally wanting to do what is right . Freedom means being in control of the life-and-death issues of one’s existence; food, clothing, shelter, and defense against whatever threats there may be in one’s environment. Freedom means having … the power to control the circumstances of one’s own life.
Prior to that final struggle, the revolutionaries should not expect to have a majority of people on their side. History is made by active, determined minorities, not by the majority, which seldom has a clear and consistent idea of what it really wants. Until the time comes for the final push toward revolution , the task of revolutionaries will be less to win the shallow support of the majority than to build a small core of deeply committed people. On a second level, the ideology should be propagated in a simplified form that will enable the unthinking majority to see the conflict of technology vs. nature in unambiguous terms. But even on this second level the ideology should not be expressed in language that is so cheap, intemperate or irrational that it alienates people of the thoughfful and rational type. However, propaganda of the rabble-rousing type may be necessary when the system is nearing the point of collapse and there is a final struggle between rival ideologies to determine which will become dominant when the old world-view goes under.
What is certain is that humanity will be tailored to fit the needs of society. If technology fails there may be a time of troubles, which could continue indefinitely, or which could lead to recovery, as there will be individuals that will want to restore society to what it was. As described in McCluhan’s The Medium is the Massage, new technologies don’t simply change the way we do things, they change what we do. An individual development can seem like like a good thing, making our work and lives easier, faster, or more efficient, but collectively all those good things combine into something bad. Constitutional rights supposedly guarantee freedom, but in practice they are of little direct benefit to individuals.
You want to live in a world of goodies and baddies go ahead. I’m not saying it’s morally bad to read Kaczynski’s manifesto in the way the article suggests, and I’m not saying that I wouldn’t consider such a reading. I’m just saying that, having considered such a reading, I feel that reading Kaczynski’s manifesto as anything other than rationalization would be like reading the bible as young adult pulp fiction or Harry Potter as a religious text. You can do it, but it’s a waste of time and you will misunderstand most of the text in pretty extreme and fundamental ways.
He became what we call “insane” by reading Ellul and decided to live in the woods. He then became “criminally insane” after realizing Ellul was right and that there is no way of escape . The solution to control and repression, now as ever, is to structure society so that ambition can counteract ambition, to enshrine the rights of the people in law, to jealously guard those rights, and to inculcate the next generation in their value. The US Constitution does an absolutely world-class phenomenal smashing good job of the first two, such that even as society has been doing a mediocre job at guarding them and teaching their value, we’re still getting by, and improving. He did hide from society to wallow in his loathing of society until he had radicalised him self all the while blaming society for his actions.
The situation of modern man is analogous to that of Mr. A. The system makes an individual’s life easier for him in innumerable ways, but in doing so it deprives him of control over his own fate. The people who rise to positions of power in leftist movements tend to be leftists of the most power-hungry type, because power-hungry people are those who strive hardest to get into positions of power. Once the power-hungry types have captured control of the movement, there are many leftists of a gentler breed who inwardly disapprove of many of the actions of the leaders, but cannot bring themselves to oppose them.