After binge-watching the hit series on Netflix ‘Manhunt: The Unabomber’ early this year, I became extremely intrigued into the mind of Theodore Kaczynski and the psychology embedded in his somewhat futuristic ideology. Theodore Kaczynski is a US serial killer, who killed three people over the course of a 17-year bombing campaign against technology, and remained unidentified from the FBI until his brother identified him from his 35,000-word manifesto. He demanded that The Washington Post published his essay, otherwise he would mail another bomb. The FBI hoped through linguistic analysis someone would recognize his writing style and ideas.
Throughout his manifesto entitled ‘Industrial Society and Its Future,’ Kaczynski discusses multiple theories about the revolution against technology, but specifically not the government. This seems unknowingly important to Kaczynski, that he is not against the government or politics, just the technology companies that he deems are controlling us. However, the aspects of his ideology that seem to be most relevant and coincide with today society are ‘the psychology of modern leftism’ and ‘feelings of inferiority.’
On the first page of Chapter 7, Kaczynski states that leftists are typically gay, feminists, disabled and politically correct. He admits that what exactly a leftist is, is still not as clear as he wishes. Despite Kaczynski’s uncertainty, he was correct in saying that socialism is a common leftist ideology. In today’s world of politics, a leftist is typically someone who believes in social equality, equal rights and typically the democratic party. Although incorrect when calling leftists ‘hypersensitive,’ this is still extremely important.
It is very common to call socialists and equal rights activists sensitive to racism, sexism and homophobia in today’s world. It is particularly something I am often called. However, disagreeing or feeling uncomfortable around degrading statements is not being sensitive, but merely aware of the damage they cause. Kaczynski then touches on an interesting theory that modern leftists are hypersensitive due to feelings of inferiority. He discusses how the disagreement with words such as ‘negro,’ ‘handicapped’ or ‘chick’ make leftists uncomfortable as the negative connotations related are what they feel about themselves. In his conclusion, they are self-conscious. This section is intriguing as it makes one think about people’s experiences with internalized homophobia. Someone suffering from this is unlikely to defend homophobic slurs but agree with them, as for others suffering self-confidence issues it is more common for people to insult themselves than defend what they feel self-conscious about.
On the second page, Theodore discusses the modern leftist’s feelings towards science, facts and tests. He believes modern leftists reject science and IQ tests due to the fear of inferiority and being wrong as leftists believe there is a place for everyone. Throughout reading this paragraph, I found myself multiple times going ‘this is me, the Unabomber is talking about me.’ And I disagree with him, particularly in this area. I do not reject testing due to a fear of being inferior, I reject due to being portrayed as inferior when I am not. Standardized testing or an IQ test are recognized methods of testing, however, the human brain is not a standardized system and no one brain works the same.
Theodore Kaczynski has an above average IQ of 167, which is visible throughout his manifesto, but I believe his feelings of inferiority are his lack of function in everyday life and the modern world. Only intelligent through standardized tests and on paper he rejects the modern teachings of equality due to fear of unacceptance. He thought of himself as superior and wanted everyone to follow his ideology and create a revolution against technology. I think many right-wing followers will resonate with multiple of Ted’s theories, specifically those about leftists.
The similarities, and if not direct match, between Ted’s ideology more than two decades ago, and that of someone in today’s generation that also has negative feelings towards leftists is extremely interesting. Why is it, that particularly men are so against equality and strong women that they believe women push for equal rights in fear that they are actually not strong? Is it so hard to believe that women maybe are just as strong as men and can be just as powerful? It bothers me that this idea is even more prominent today than in 1995.
Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto is filled with relevant frustration, but a lot of it is directed in the wrong places. Kaczynski rejected the modern world to no end and lived a completely natural resourceful life. As someone with such eloquent writing skills and an obscure ideology, why kill in order to have such ideology published? As an introvert and extremely isolated person it is shocking that he relished so much attention.
Photo: Associated Press