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It's Time to Revisit Ted Kaczynski
Chapter Four in the Humility Series
It’s dangerous to admit that I found the Unibomber’s so-called manifesto rather brilliant. It was. But I’m also one of those one-percent of people who spell “unibomber” correctly. (Unibomber is short for “university bomber” because most of his victims were university professors. Idiot journalists gave us the incorrect spelling out of ignorance and lack of imagination.)
Nonetheless, had Kaczynski refrained from blowing people up with mail bombs, his manifesto might have become the intellectual basis of much needed cultural shift—a shift away from what Nassim Taleb calls neomania and the interventionista mindset.
After re-reading “The Industrial Society and Its Future,” by Ted Kaczynski last fall, I began writing a series of articles about it. My attention deficit and work schedule stopped me. There is just too much cover.
Happily, Ben Bartee of The Daily Bell has decided to take on the challenge I refused. Writing yesterday, Bartee announced:
In upcoming articles, we’ll dive into exactly what the Unabomber got right — given his literal genius (an IQ in the 160s according to most estimates), experiences in the elite strata of academia, and prescient foresight — in his diagnosis of a sick techno-society via his manifesto.
Bartee’s approach to an examination of Kaczynski’s masterpiece starts off better than mine. He begins his series by delving into why Kaczynski did what he did.
To kick the series off, though, we’re going to dive into the why – to uncover the motivations that would drive an otherwise promising candidate for an American “success” story (in the conventional sense of the word) into a life of isolation, malevolence, and violence.
Bartee settles on the manifesto’s study of “oversocialization” to explain the Unibomber’s life and crimes. By starting here, Bartee opens our minds to the possibility that Kaczynski’s crimes prove the validity of his theories. In essence, Kaczynski is the product of oversocialization.
Taleb often reminds us that the only real test of anything is the test of time. And Kaczynski warned us that oversocialization would produce more men like him.
On this measure, Kaczynski was absolutely right. Oversocialization leads young men to blow things up and shoot people.
But what is “oversocialization?”
In the case of oversocialization, what Kaczynski meant was that the confines of acceptable moral behavior (beginning in early childhood) are squeezed tighter and tighter across time through a variety of means, but most effectively through shame:
As Kaczynski put it:
“One of the most important means by which our society socializes children is by making them feel ashamed of behavior or speech that is contrary to society’s expectations. If this is overdone, or if a particular child is especially susceptible to such feelings, he ends by feeling ashamed of HIMSELF.”
Did a lightbulb just go on?
Everything we have witnessed since Donald Trump descended the escalator has been an attempt to make the vast majority of Americans ashamed of themselves. From statue destruction to the Russian Collusion Hoax to the Fine People Hoax to masking and social distancing, BLM, critical race theory, and vaccine mandates. For seven years, now, oversocialization has become our cultural norm.
Universities, public schools, movies, social media, and the pope all want us to be ashamed of ourselves simply for being human. They want us to hate ourselves, not before God, but before their elusive and shifting ideal of the perfect man. They demand nothing but self-abnegation and shame. The face diaper is the perfect symbol and proof of that shame. A mask announces to the world, “stay away from me because I am dangerous.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that self-abnegation is not humility, and abnegation imposed on people does not engender humility. In the context of theological humility, in fact, self-abnegation is pride.
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First, you can’t force people to be humble anymore than you can force your way into heaven. Humility like faith, hope, charity, and salvation is a gift from God, freely given.
Second, forcing humility onto others is what Satan does, not what God does. God leaves us free to choose whether or not we accept the gifts He gives us. Like Satan and the fallen angels, we are free to reject eternity in heaven. We are free to reject humility. There are consequences to our choice, but God does not make us choose Him. The government and our culture are not God. They give us no choice. At least, they try to remove choice. “Get vaccinated or die of exposure” is not really a choice. “Wear a mask or starve to death” is not a choice. “Use made-up pronouns or live in the gutter” is not a choice. God floods us with the gift of humility, but most of us step around the packages in search of a mirror. Oversocialization, then, seems the work of the devil, not of God. Forcing people to humble themselves or else, even if successful in creating a mindset of self-loathing, must be regarded as evil.
Third, the good society the left claims to seek can come about only from bottom-up, voluntary construction of a good society. It cannot be imposed from the top down. America was once a good (though imperfect) society because of its democratic process and republican form. Good people built a good society. People chose to be good and to create good institutions. Top-downism has turned all those institutions bad. Now, having corrupted and ruined every major institution in the world, the folks at the top want to do the same to you and me. Again, we see the hand of Lucifer in this.
Finally, theological humility is a solo sport. It requires the cooperation of no one else. I can choose to accept God’s gifts, regardless of anything or anyone else. The oversocializers reject this notion. They insist that I cannot be humble unless everyone else is humble, and no one can be humble unless they say we must be humble. Critical race theory teaches that if one person is a racist, all people are racists. The LGBTQ Nazis tell us that if one person acts upon his deviant desires, we all must act upon our deviant desires. The abortionists argue that if one woman kills her child, we all must kill her child.
Kaczynski saw this situation coming, and we should have listened. (Then, again, he shouldn’t have blown people up.) But it’s not too late. And it takes a degree of humility, in my unhumble opinion, to try to learn good, even from someone who's famous for doing evil things.
Please bookmark The Daily Bell and follow Ben Bartee’s series on the Unibomber. What could be more humbling than to learn that even villains have something to teach.
Update: The Daily Bell website has been down a lot, but you can read Ben Bartee’s article on ZeroHedge (for now, at least).