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Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber (2000) (theatlantic.com)
58 points by Flemlord on Oct 20, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 12 comments

In June, RadioLab (The NPR show), did a show called "Oops" that had a section on this. It was a REALLY interesting episode and continues to be a spectacular podcast.

If you're interested in the Oops episode, check out. http://www.radiolab.org/2010/jun/28/

EDIT: I looked, the section I'm referring starts around 4:30

This article in The Atlantic is actually written by Alston Chase himself - the gentleman Jad and Robert talk to in the Radiolab piece.

The insistence on classifying Kaczynski as schizophrenic is disturbing. I'm reading Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus, and it resonates a lot with both how he was perceived and tried, and what his thoughts on modern society are (although there is nothing anti-technology in Anti-Oedipus, quite the opposite).

I recall from contemporary news reports that when he was found there was a medication (Trazodone) that is occasionally prescribed for major mood disorders (NOT schizophrenia) in the cabin where he was living. I see the "schizophrenia" diagnosis for him was not a finding at trial, but just one psychiatrist's proferred testimony, since he told his lawyers to avoid using an insanity defense and thus didn't put the issue to trial.

Kaczynski's thesis rests on the idea that technological progress is intrinsically evil or intrinsically results in evil.

I think the evidence shows that technology is always ethically neutral. When early humans begun welding rocks as tools (one of the first technological developments), this could be used to both club someone to death more efficiently OR to build a house and have a sturdier shelter.

To get to the level of development we are at today, it appears humans have consistently chosen constructive uses of technology over destructive ones. I can't see the evidence that the Industrial Revolution fundamentally changed things in this respect.

Ayn Rand wrote a pre-buttal, if such a concept exists, to the Unabomber's manifesto in which she identifies the implications of the anti-reason and anti-technology ideas of the Sixties and that it would not lead to peace and love but to death and hate as manifest in a creature like Kaczynski. Read The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution and Kaczynski's manifesto and choose your side because Kaczynski is correct as quoted in The Atlantic article; most people vastly underestimate the number of his supporters.

Kaczyniski apparently didn't believe that his ideas would lead to "peace and love" - he was explicit that he was not trying to tear down the system to replace it with something better, but simply as an end in itself.

I think trying to bundle the Unabomber in as a part of the tedious Left-vs-Right culture wars misses the mark spectacularly. After all, he seems to have been driven to act against technology and science based on its percieved corrosive effects on individual liberty! Eg. "In these pages, it is argued that continued scientific and technical progress will inevitably result in the extinction of individual liberty."

I'm confused, which manifesto did you read? Half of Kaczynski's manifesto is a rant against modern leftism.

What's your reasoning behind him being a subset of the left, when he clearly has argued against them?

edit: also, from paragraph 18 of his manifesto: "18. Modern leftist philosophers tend to dismiss reason, science, objective reality and to insist that everything is culturally relative."

I think you haven't read the manifesto, and just wanted to drop Rand into a conversation for no good reason.

Noting the date of this submission in the title would be helpful to readers.

I respectfully disagree. It is as relevant today as it was in 2000, and the date shows up in the status bar when you hover over the link.

Yes, but given that it's a fascinating article written in 2000 and available on the net we can assume a lot of people will have already read it. If you stick (2000) after the title that helps those who have from having to click through.

I say this as someone who hadn't read the article and has just done so due to this link.

Plus, I usually see a year after a title as indicating quality. It says that the article isn't about some current fad but is a genuinely good/interesting read.

I would suspect that people who have read it would realize this from the title, not the year. And, again, the year is visible when you hover over the link. There's not much more to discuss. Let's just agree to disagree.

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