Theodore Kaczynski (born May 22, 1942) is an American anarchist and an important figure in the green anarchist and anarcho-primitivist movements. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, where, as an intellectual child prodigy, he excelled in academics from an early age. Kaczynski received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He became an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley at age twenty-five, but resigned two years later. In 1971, he moved to a remote cabin in Lincoln, Montana, where he sought to live closer to nature.
From 1978 to 1995, Kaczynski sent sixteen bombs to several people he saw as key agents in the development of the industrial society, creating what came to be known as the "Unabomber case". A total of three people died and twenty-three were injured. Kaczynski sent a letter to The New York Times on April 24, 1995 in which he threatened further attacks if his manifesto were not published. In the manifesto, called Industrial Society and Its Future, he argues that mass society is inherently oppressive to man, with its development progressively depriving the individual of his autonomy. He then refers to primitive society, without the dependence on large social institutions, as an ideal of freedom.
Anarchist authors such as John Zerzan
and John Moore
, have come to Kaczynski's defense, while expressing some concerns over his actions. He has also been criticised by primitivists for having failed to understand the underlying aspects of civilization/domestication, which he might have perceived as non-issues, such as poverty, sexism, racism and homophobia. Even outside the anarchist movement, Kaczynski's writing has been referenced for the importance of its critiques and for its analysis of technology in relation to social organization and freedom. Part of Kaczynski's manifesto was cited by the scientist and author Raymond Kurzweil
in his book The Age of Spiritual Machines
, and then mentioned in the article "Why the future doesn't need us
" by computer scientist Bill Joy
. His FBI
-granted name, Unabomber ("UNiversity and Airline BOMber") stands now in popular culture both as an example of a lone-wolf
mad bomber and a symbol of resistance against a future technological, Orwellian
dystopia. (read more...