Industrial Society and its Future, Cont’d
The following continues a condensed summary of the Unabomber Manifesto: Industrial Society and its Future. The ideas, below, are Kaczynski’s. The headings and numbers are his. This is no endorsement of violence or anarchy. The document is presented in parts. Previous parts include:
Industrial-Technological Society Cannot be Reformed
- Only revolution can protect freedom over time. History shows the futility of reform. Long-term, the industrial system grows at the expense of freedom. Reform would be timid and ineffective. Large change is threatening, risky, and unpredictable. Only revolutionaries would risk radical change, and accept dangerous, unpredictable results.
- It is naive to believe we can reconcile freedom with technology. That is not reform of industrial society, but reinventing society. We can’t plan utopian society and expect it to function as planned. So, any new society will give unpredictable results and might collapse.
- In general, it seems highly unlikely we can reconcile freedom with technology. More specific reasons follow.
Restriction of Freedom is Unavoidable in Industrial Society
- Industrial society must control us in order to function. We depend on the system for survival and basic security needs. To meet those needs, the system must control our behavior with rules, regulations, and bureaucracies. Increasingly, it must control us by shaping our minds, using manipulation and the education system.
- The system forces us ever further from natural human behavior. It forces children ever further from natural outdoor play, into unnatural classroom study and academic pressure. The system pushes grudging boys into what it needs – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
- The relentless pressure to control us causes a growing backlash. Growing numbers of people can’t or won’t conform: the dependent, gangs, rebels, radicals, saboteurs, dropouts and assorted resisters.
- Industrial society must manipulate and demean us, or it can’t function. Our votes are insignificant. Our decisions matter little. Each day, we lose more control. Propaganda peddles the illusion of control.
- Conservatives call for “local autonomy” that no longer exists. Local communities completely depend on the larger system and are vulnerable to it, even to distant environmental threats.
- We serve industrial society, not the reverse. This is not political ideology. It is technical necessity. The system meets basic human needs because it needs humans. It meets some psychological needs for the same reason. “Mental health” means not showing stress in a stressful system.
- Technical necessity limits autonomy. Workers must sacrifice personal goals for enterprise goals, for the sake of the enterprise. Industrial society requires most of us to lack autonomy. Small businesses enjoy limited autonomy. Nobody can escape technological change and remain competitive.
The ‘Bad’ Parts of Technology Cannot be Separated from the ‘Good’ Parts
- Industrial society cannot be reformed because its parts are interdependent. The “good” can’t be separated from the “bad”. We can’t have modern medicine without industrial society because modern medicine depends upon industrial society.
- Modern medicine brings good and bad. Some people are genetically predisposed to disease. The population becomes more vulnerable if modern medicine makes genetic susceptibility more widespread. There are two solutions: eugenics or human genetic engineering. Eugenics is unthinkable. Human genetic engineering makes us a manufactured product.
- Human genetic engineering may be the ultimate threat to freedom. Government regulation of human genetic engineering is needed or disaster beckons. Government will first regulate human genetic engineering, then will regulate our children’s genetics.
- Extensive human genetic engineering is inevitable. Its benefits are irresistible. Protecting freedom requires banning human genetic engineering – which won’t happen. Industrial society seems certain to make us a government regulated, manufactured product.
Technology is a More Powerful Social Force Than the Aspiration for Freedom
- Freedom loses when it compromises with technology. Technology is more powerful and repeatedly forces us to compromise our freedom, bit by bit. In the end, freedom vanishes.
- Technology is a far more powerful social force than the aspiration for freedom.
- Today’s innovations may threaten freedom, tomorrow. Today’s optional technology may be required, tomorrow. Automobiles were optional, once. Transportation is required, today. Our survival depends on the transportation system. The price we pay includes transportation costs, licensing, insurance, regulation, and freedom from that system.
- Technology is a powerful social force because of our desires. We desire small technical advances that accumulate to erode our freedom. Few complain about electricity, indoor plumbing, or phones. Technological society demands a price – that we surrender control and freedom. We may yet become genetically engineered products at the price of our humanity.
- Technology is a powerful social force because it moves only forward. We and the system depend on technology advancement. As technology marches forward, it forces freedom to retreat.
- Industrial society rapidly advances, endlessly launching simultaneous attacks on our our freedom. It invades our privacy, spies on us, spewing rules and regulations, and propagandizing us. Resistance is futile. No reform can stem technology’s overwhelming tide.
- Our governments, schools, institutions, and corporations manipulate us and trample our freedom and privacy. Government, law enforcement, and corporations are inconvenienced by our freedom, privacy, and rights. They believe their goals are more important.
- Psychology favors industrial society, not its opponents. People work harder for rewards than to avoid punishment (negative outcome). Industrial society rewards scientists and technicians, not its opponents. Opponents are less motivated because they strive to avoid negative outcomes. This weighs against reform efforts.
- Social arrangements are weak defenses against technological advance. Laws, institutions, customs, and ethical codes change over time. Technological advances are more lasting. Social arrangements may pause technological advances, before breaking down, but lasting protection is an illusion.
- For these reasons, technology is a more powerful social force than freedom. However, industrial society is under stress – economic, environmental, and social. This may cause it to break down. This may weaken it, such that revolution succeeds and freedom proves more powerful.
- If stress weakens the industrial system, Kaczynski argues, then we must destroy it. We cannot compromise and let it recover, he says. If it recovers, it will wipe out all of our freedom.
Simpler Social Problems Have Proved Intractable
- We can reform industrial society no better than we can deal with less complex social problems. Society struggles with environmental protection, political corruption, domestic abuse, and drug trafficking.
- It is doubtful that we can ever succeed at rational, long-term social planning. We leave the hard decisions and consequences to future generations. We solve major social problems, rarely, if ever. Problems are dealt with politically and not with rational planning.
- If we lack the capacity to solve less complex social problems, we can’t solve more complex social problems. The problem of reconciling freedom with technology is far too complex for us to solve.
- Perhaps, we may solve our environmental problems. If we do, that will require even more control, more effective “socialization”, less freedom, and less autonomy.