The Unabombers at the EPA

Students of recent history will remember Ted Kaczynski as the man who is responsible for three murders and sixteen bombings over a period of eighteen years. These actions were fully excusable from Kaczynski's point of view.  As he dispassionately puts it, “In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we’ve had to kill people.” 

Kaczynski, popularly known as the Unabomber, is now 72 years old, two years past the biblically allotted time granted to the majority of mankind, and only three years to go until his time should probably be up, according to bioethicist Ezekiel Emmanuel, who agrees with the Unabomber that “[...]extending life is misguided and potentially destructive.” Kaczynski is experiencing the fulfillment of his own prophecy: “The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in ‘advanced’ countries.”

Regardless of the tragedy of his longevity, Kaczynski has definitely made his mark as a crazed anarchical Luddite for whom a Thoreau-type retreat to an unheated 10-by-12 foot cabin without electricity did not result in the urge to transcend the limitations and imperfections of industrialized society. Unlike Thoreau, who (erroneously) viewed human nature as intrinsically good and who believed humanity could transcend and reform the ills of society, Kaczynski’s time cogitating in his cabin resulted in a philosophy characterized by marked antipathy to what he termed the technological-industrial complex, a construct he saw as completely antithetical to human freedom. His philosophy reached its full flowering in what is known as the Unabomber Manifesto.  

Kaczynski came to the conclusion that the entire societal complex had to be blown up in order that humanity could return to the wild and begin again, free at last to control the environment. Reform was not possible. Anarchical revolution was the answer. Total destruction of technology and the bases of industrialized society were necessary. As he put it in his Manifesto, “To make a lasting change in the direction of development of any important aspect of a society, reform is insufficient and revolution is required... [W]hile the industrial system is sick, we must destroy it.”

Now in federal lockup in Florence, Colorado, along with radical comrades such as terrorists Abu Hamza and Richard “Shoe Bomber” Reid, Kaczynski cannot put his radical notions into effect. But his philosophical heritage lives on, not only at Harvard, where to be radical is not just chic but almost demanded, but also within our government’s administration and its agencies. Kaczynski’s recommendations for achieving what is currently termed “fundamental transformation” of American society are apparently de rigueur. 

As he wrote:

“[...] the two main tasks for the present are to promote social stress and instability in industrial society and to develop and propagate an ideology that opposes technology and the industrial system. When the system becomes sufficiently stressed and unstable, a revolution against technology may be possible.”

Few can argue that this administration has not excelled at promoting “social stress and instability in industrial society.” 

But not enough realize that the ultimate aim of “fundamental transformation,” at least among radicals, is to destroy the old societal form and to set up a new form, holding out the positive ideal of a return to independence characterized by survival in Wild Nature. Some of the soldiers who are to comprise the new vanguard are to be radical environmentalists -- folks Kaczynski admired. Like him, their ultimate goal is to return nature to its original state, which state is actualized by destroying the bases of industrialization, including the energy sources that drive the whole wretched technological-industrial complex.

For example, the industry which most represents the loathed technological-industrial complex is the coal industry, which has had a target on its back for a very long time, but which has been particularly targeted by President Obama himself, who has recently mandated a 30-percent cut in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030, a move that coal companies cannot possibly meet without loss of jobs and a wrenching adjustment of the entire economy.  

Never mind how much the industry has tried to clean up its act. Coal itself is carbon, and carbon-based fuels are inherently evil, as they contribute to global warming and are part and parcel of the coming apocalypse. Never mind that solar energy is evaporating insects, roasting birds and baking desert tortoises in their shells en papillote; or that centuries-old barrel cacti are biting the dust. Never mind that windmills are hacking rare birds to pieces while despoiling pricelessly beautiful landscapes. Never mind the fact that solar and wind energy sources are in no position to supply the enormous amounts of energy needed to sustain the economy.

Coal must go. 

Why?  Because “We have a moral obligation to act,’ said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The president echoed McCarthy’s moral objections, arguing that carbon-dioxide emissions are a national health crises: “We don’t have to choose between the health of our economy and the health of our children. As president and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that’s beyond fixing.”

Coal is evil and thus considered beyond fixing. So despite the wrench to what Democratic West Virginia’s Representative Nick Rahall predicts as disastrous new rules that would wreak havoc on West Virginia’s already fragile economy, the industrial complex must be undermined when it does not meet the rigorous anti-industrial morality characterized by Kaczynski’s Manifesto. Coal is seen inherently evil as it has been behind technology that produced the“dark, satanic mills” characterizing industrialization. It is a chief obstacle to creating an Edenic return to “Wild Nature.”

Evidently, there are a number of back to nature environmental groups who are wholeheartedly behind the push to eliminate coal.

In a recent report aired by Stuart Varney and Tracy Byrnes of Fox News, it was revealed through the exposure of incriminating emails that the Environmental Protection Agency is colluding with green groups such as the Sierra Club in order to bankrupt the U.S. coal industry as well as to jettison the Keystone Pipeline.

While it is true that our administration favors “clean” energy projects and that some green lobbyists are as interested in making money as the next capitalist, it should be remembered that the underlying anti-industrial and anti-technological philosophy currently gripping the extremist radical environmentalist movement is the one outlined by the Unabomber’s Manifesto.

His disastrous recipe for fundamentally transforming the industrial-technological complex by leveling it back to the Stone Age evidently holds great appeal for extremists who believe our planet has been so completely despoiled by humanity it is, in the immortal words of our own president,  “beyond fixing.”

It’s all so unnecessary -- more an exhibition of rage and desire for power than interest in the welfare of humanity and its institutions. It is also ironic, a stubborn nostalgia for a return to primitivism comes at a time of absolutely unparalleled, virtually miraculous, advances in technology.  

The radical changes being promoted by Kaczynski-type radicals, including those in our current administration, do not have to be promoted, much less be forced on us. When free market principles are allowed to reign in advanced technological and industrialized societies, gradual obsolescence of inventions as well as forms of energy happen naturally -- technological and industrial evolution rather than revolution.

Finally, it is a fantastical notion that somehow, if only the present order is destroyed utterly, humanity will create an Eden from the ashes. Given the unchanging state of human nature, it is clear that any new order will closely resemble the old, with an admixture of good and evil infiltrating all of any given society. The good is always in need of preservation while the evil is in need of being extinguished.  

Theologians during the Protestant Reformation employed the phrase “Semper Reformanda," often translated as “Reformed but always reforming.” The phrase is applicable not only to orthodoxy of Church doctrine and practice, but to the world of politics and governance as well. 

Rather than looking to annihilate the existing technological-industrial order which has brought so much good into the world, Americans should exercise eternal and unflagging vigilance in order to preserve what is good while working hard to reform what has gone wrong.

Fay Voshell is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She may be reached at

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