Sunday, September 22, 2013

CNN gives history of the Unabomber, explains the "Manifesto"; more on mental illness in intellectual young men

CNN resumed its “Crimes of the Cemtury” series Sunday night with a biography of Ted Kacyznski, the “Unabomber”.

The story is now well known, as on Wikipedia here. The most interesting and unusual part of the story concerns his writing a “Manifesto” and his demanding that newspapers publish it.  The Washington Post published it on Sept. 19, 1995, and eventually the wife of the brother of Ted recognized the writing style and material. The Manifesto was titled “Industrial Society and its Future”.  It is available free on the Internet, which makes the controversy over print 18 years ago seem dated.  One location is on the English Server here. Wikipedia’s piece on TK does analyze it.

The writer actually made some interesting comments about forced socialization, but his view that technology hampers freedom seems very much at odds with modern society, unless you are not just a Luddite but also a Doomsday Prepper.

TK lived for about seventeen years in a “cabin in the woods” in Montana and started mailing devices after about the first nine.  He had been admitted to Harvard early and was traumatized by social ostracism and apparently by a deliberate government experiment. Since TK earned a doctorate in his 20’s, his apparent mental illness (which he denied when he was apprehending, preferring prison or possible death penalty to being labeled insane) should be compared with that of James Holmes in Colorado. The documentary makes a disturbing reference to Asperger's Syndrome. 
I remember the controversy over the Manifesto well.  I had started working on my DADT book by then, and some coworkers knew about it and were already calling it “The Manifesto”.  

TK is presented as having no remorse at all.   He saw his victims as "war casualties" who had taken up what he saw as the immoral cause of technology.  It's hard to make sense of this.  

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