UNIBOMBER MANIFESTO

“It is overwhelmingly probable that if the industrial-technological system
survives the next 40 to 100 years, it will by that time have developed certain
general characteristics: Individuals (at least those of the ‘bourgeois’ type,
who are integrated into the system and make it run, and who therefore have
all the power) will be more dependent than ever on large organizations;
they will be more ‘socialized’ than ever and their physical and mental
qualities to a significant extent (possibly to a very great extent) will be those
that are engineered into them rather than being the results of chance (or of
God’s will, or whatever); and whatever may be left of wild nature will be
reduced to remnants preserved for scientific study and kept under the
supervision and management of scientists (hence it will no longer be wild).”

“It would be better to dump the whole stinking system and take the

Human Race at a Crossroads
We have developed psychological and biological techniques for
manipulating human behavior. Some people have been molded to fit the
system, the ‘bourgeois.’ But there are a growing number of rebellious
people who are violent and/or threaten the system.

We are facing crises in population and pollution which must be controlled
through the control of human behavior. We must make human beings
docile so their behavior does not threaten the need for global stability.
Human freedom will end because of the critical need to control behavior.

Those who hate the servitude to which the industrial-technological system
has led us can fight it by destabilizing it and preaching an ideology against
the domesticating, emasculating influences of the industrial system.

The industrial system has caused great suffering. Overpopulation has led to
hunger and death. The destruction of traditional cultures has led to
psychological suffering. Those who believe in progress think science can
conquer all suffering but it cannot. It has always created as much suffering
as it intended to solve.

The Escape
Suppose industrial society does survive. Human beings will become
increasingly dependent on machines.
...control over large systems of machines will be in the hands of a tiny
elite...because human work will no longer be necessary the masses will be
superfluous, a useless burden on the system. If the elite is ruthless they may
simply decide to exterminate the mass of humanity. If they are humane they
may use propaganda or other psychological or biological techniques to
reduce the birth rate until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the
world to the elite. Or, if the elite consist of soft-hearted liberals, they may
decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human race...life
will be so purposeless that people will have to be biologically or
psychologically engineered either to remove their need for the power
process or to make them ‘sublimate’ their drive for power into some
harmless hobby. These engineered human beings may be happy in such a
society, but they most certainly will not be free. They will have been
reduced to the status of domestic animals.

This quote brings us back to the theme throughout the class: What is good
leadership? What will be the main problems in the world into which you
are going? How do you plan to deal with these problems?

We have looked at religious leadership:
1. Euthyphro, Augustine, Aquinas, Archbishop Romero, the Popes, and
Luther provided religious leadership.

2. Bacon, Pascal, Burke, and deToqueville all made positive comments
about the place of religious beliefs in human life.

3. Machiavelli, Hobbes, the Grand Inquisitor and Hitler used religion to
exercise absolute political power.

4. de Condercet and Mill wanted to replace religious beliefs with an
enlightened cultivation of compassion and empathy for one’s fellows.

5. Marx was cynical about religion and believed it served only as a drug to
keep the masses from recognizing their oppression and rebelling

We have looked at political leadership:
1. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Burke, and the Grand Inquisitor are anti-
democratic. They either think that human beings are incapable of exercising
freedom, personal or political, and always look for someone to give them
something to believe in or they think people are better off and societies are
more stable if wealth and privilege are hereditary, hence undemocratic.

2. Locke, Mill and de Condercet are super-democratic. They believe that
human beings are capable of exercising freedom and should be left alone to
live as they like. Once they are conditioned correctly they will take care of
themselves and respect others. Our own political tradition is heavily biased
in this way. This is a very optimistic tradition and reflects the unique
historical context of the birth of our nation. This ideology also prevents us
from seeing the violence and oppression we have actually engaged in over
the centuries because we cloaked our behavior and motives under
enlightenment ideals.

We have looked at human nature:

1. The most fundamental question is: is human nature innate, are there
some aspects of human nature which never change, which societies have to
deal with in some way? Or are we born blank slates, capable of being
molded in whatever way societies and personal experience determine?

2. Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Pascal, Burke, and
Pope Leo all believed in innate ideas, some purely natural and others
supernatural. Plato, Aristotle and Seneca had a naturalistic view of the
human soul as potentially wise but requiring a rational upbringing to reach
its healthy end: wisdom. Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Pascal, Burke and
Pope Leo all believed part of the goal of human life is wisdom but another
part of the soul is supernatural and aims at grace and eternal salvation.

3. Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, de Condercet, Beccaria, and Mill all
focused on the blank slate and how science could be used to mold people to
become virtuous and just. Modern science would not only improve the
material conditions of human life, but would actually make people moral.

4. The unibomber agrees, on the one hand, that modern psychological and
biological sciences have, indeed, made it possible to mold human life to a
great extent and to get people to adjust to a world run by computers and
computer nerds.

5. But the unibomber also thinks human beings have some natural will to
power or aggression but in an industrial-technological society even this
quality will be able to be domesticated. However, he thinks this would
make life purposeless.

6. The unibomber recognizes violence as an issue in society, but he
advocates using violence to disrupt and destroy the direction that
technology is taking us.

What do you think are the most positive directions human life should go?

What do you think are the most negative directions we should avoid?

To top