Showing posts with label Unabomber Manifesto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Unabomber Manifesto. Show all posts

Sunday, 28 January 2018

The Unabomber Manifesto

I have started reading the so-called Unabomber Manifesto ('Industrial Society & Its Future') and found the sociological ideas presented deeply flawed. I'll hopefully dedicate a post to the manifesto and so will only identify two key problems with Ted Kaczynski's ideas:

(1) It appears Kaczynski adopts a crude and reductionist form of materialism. At the beginning of the manifesto, he explicitly states the overthrow of the "economic and technological basis of the present society" is not to be a political revolution. If we take this view to its conclusion then, ultimately, social phenomena are derived from the negative developments that have grown out of the industrial-technological system. In an explanatory sense, this is a vacuous statement.

(2) Kaczynski presents an action system that he calls the 'power process'. The idea is that individuals have a biological need to adopt goals that he/she exerts effort to attain. In the industrial-technological system, the effort required to fulfill the biological need to attain goals is defined within the social system, i.e. industrial-technological system. According to Kaczynski, this means the autonomy of the individual is compromised (autonomy is an important part of the 'power process' if individuals are to obtain "self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of power"):
Autonomy as a part of the power process may not be necessary for every individual. But most people need a greater or lesser degree of autonomy in working toward their goals. Their efforts must be undertaken on their own initiative and must be under their own direction and control. 
The noted crude materialism informs an understanding of the human person in which it is the nature of the technological basis - the first principle - that defines the ways the biological need for self-mastery is met.