8 votes

Children of Ted - Two decades after his last deadly act of ecoterrorism, the Unabomber has become an unlikely prophet to a new generation of acolytes

8 comments

  1. musicotic
    Link
    Let's see how misrepresentative this article is. Before I even read the article, let me note that anti-civ anarchists predominantly do not follow Ted Kaczynski because he: 1) devowed anarchism 2)...

    Let's see how misrepresentative this article is.

    Before I even read the article, let me note that anti-civ anarchists predominantly do not follow Ted Kaczynski because he: 1) devowed anarchism 2) was a bigot in various ways.

    Talking about revolution was the anarchist version of praising the baby Jesus, invoked so frequently it faded into background noise.

    Associating the Unabomber with anarchism has been a common media narrative to further marginalize anti-authoritarian critiques of society.

    Books and webzines with names like Against Civilization, FeralCulture, Unsettling America, and the Ludd-Kaczynski Institute of Technology have been spreading versions of his message across social-media forums from Reddit to Facebook for at least a decade, some attracting more than 100,000 followers

    Unsettling America is an anti-colonialism blog that wants to decolonize (i.e. unsettle) America. It has little to do with anti-civ politics and next to nothing to do with the Unabomber.

    The entire article seems to amalgamate and associate vastly different groups of environmental activists, critics of civilization and radicals with each other despite their avowed condemnation of each other (i.e. anarchists / environmental activists of ITS, ITS of everyone, post-civilization anarchists of primitivists, anti-civilization anarchists of primitivists, primitvists of anarchists, etc). Disingenuous at best.

    I have my own critiques of primitivism (I think Wolfi Landstreicher's critique is on point as well), but this article does a horrible job of articulating the nuances of 'rewilding', decivilization, and other radical environmental politics.

    8 votes
  2. pleure
    Link
    Here is an essay I posted a while ago talking about primitivism, specifically a neomarxist argument against it.

    Here is an essay I posted a while ago talking about primitivism, specifically a neomarxist argument against it.

    6 votes
  3. Pilgrim
    Link
    This is a great read (still working my way through it). I wonder what they'd think of the transhumanist movement? It's almost the polar opposite in it's embrace of technology.

    This is a great read (still working my way through it).

    They cluster around a youthful nickname, “anti-civ,” some drawing their ideas directly from Kaczynski, others from movements like deep ecology, anarchy, primitivism, and nihilism, mixing them into new strains. Although they all believe industrial civilization is in a death spiral, most aren’t trying to hurry it along.

    I wonder what they'd think of the transhumanist movement? It's almost the polar opposite in it's embrace of technology.

    4 votes
  4. [5]
    dubteedub
    Link
    This is the first I have read about these "anti-civilization" groups and appreciate NY Mag bringing attention to them. This anti-civ movement reminds me a lot of the altright / white supremacist...

    This is the first I have read about these "anti-civilization" groups and appreciate NY Mag bringing attention to them. This anti-civ movement reminds me a lot of the altright / white supremacist groups and conspiracy theorists like qanon and pizzagate. They all fascinate me in that it seems impossible for me to understand how they can believe what they do.

    Reading this part is really illuminating for me.

    Kaczynski was just as unsentimental about the downsides. Sure, decades or centuries after the collapse, we might crawl out of the rubble and get back to a simpler, freer way of life, without money or debt, in harmony with nature instead of trying to fight it. But before that happened, there was likely to be “great suffering” — violent clashes over resources, mass starvation, the rise of warlords. The way Kaczynski saw it, though, the longer we go like we’re going, the worse things will get. At the time his manifesto was published, many people reading it probably hadn’t heard of global warming and most certainly weren’t worried about it. Reading it in 2014 was a very different experience.

    The shock that went through Jacobi in that moment — you could call it his “Kaczynski Moment” — made the idea of destroying civilization real. And if Kaczynski was right, wouldn’t he have some responsibility to do something, to sabotage one of those electric grids?

    His answer was yes, which was almost as alarming as discovering an unexpected kinship with a serial killer — even when you’re sure that morality is just a social construct that keeps us docile in our shearing pens, it turns out setting off a chain of events that could kill a lot of people can raise a few qualms.

    “But by then,” Jacobi says, “I was already hooked.”

    Being able to just write off the downfall of society and the fact that your goals explicitly include killing lots of people as just as "ends justify the means" ideal is insane.

    3 votes
    1. [4]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      It's amazing what beliefs people can come to cling to when they have been thoroughly marginalized, fallen through the cracks of modern society and lost all hope in the future (like Mr. Jacobi...

      They all fascinate me in that it seems impossible for me to understand how they can believe what they do.

      It's amazing what beliefs people can come to cling to when they have been thoroughly marginalized, fallen through the cracks of modern society and lost all hope in the future (like Mr. Jacobi clearly has). In the case of these anti-civs, that belief is in an insanely romanticized version of the distant past where small tribal communities lived and worked together to survive, in complete harmony with nature, and all the "modern" problems like depression, anxiety, existential crises and social isolation didn't exist. Is it really any wonder they want to "return" us to such a "wonderful" state of being?

      Of course the problem with that belief is that it's all total bullshit and based entirely on fiction. The modern world has its problems for sure, major ones, but similar (and often much, much worse) problems existed before modern civilization came to be. The world was an ugly, cruel, dangerous and often incredibly deadly place before modern societies and technology (medicine in particular), much more so than it is now... and is definitely something I would not personally ever want to return to.

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        Pilgrim
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It's the same driving undercurrent of Fight Club - your skills (or more accurately lack-there-of) are not beneficial to society and so you lack status thus let's destroy society so that those...

        It's the same driving undercurrent of Fight Club - your skills (or more accurately lack-there-of) are not beneficial to society and so you lack status thus let's destroy society so that those (perceived) skills you do have are back in demand and more likely to grant you status.

        EDIT: This is obviously a broad generalization. My understanding is that Kaczynski was quite capable and doesn't fit that mold, but I think many that obsess about "end times" absolutely fit that mold.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          elcuello
          Link Parent
          Oh I like this phrasing. I've heard similar before but this is well put.

          your skills (or more accurately lack-there-of) are not beneficial to society and so you lack status thus let's destroy society so that those (perceived) skills you do have are back in demand and more likely to grant you status.

          Oh I like this phrasing. I've heard similar before but this is well put.

          2 votes
          1. Pilgrim
            Link Parent
            Thank you for the compliment. My writing skills are quite rusty as I'm often reminded when reading the very talented contributors on Tildes.

            Thank you for the compliment. My writing skills are quite rusty as I'm often reminded when reading the very talented contributors on Tildes.

            3 votes