Ted Kaczynski hit on many things with Industrial Society and Its Future, but perhaps his most devastating hit was describing the effect of progress on the individual: the more society determines its accepted methods for doing things, the less the individual must define himself by choice.
We saw this take over during the 1980s. Previously, you were responsible for finding a way to feed yourself; now, you had a “right way of doing things” set up from when you were born. Go to school as far as you can, find a job-type, and buy either suburban hutch-house or suburban apartment.
Doctors told you when you were born, and when you would die; educators informed you of what you could do, and business feared having people without qualifications (or more accurately, certification) because it could be sued if something went wrong. Your life was a series of choies like products on a shelf.
Progress 1.0 referred to the steady creep of industry to cover America during the 1840s-1980s. By the time the 2000s rolled around, the open spaces were gone… if they existed, it was as government land or large testing facilities for shadowy corporations. Everything had been made into a commodity regulated by government.
Not surprisingly, Progress 2.0 followed up on this by attempting to shape people so that government could serve its own ambitions. My guess is that government took over following WW1, based on the seeds laid after the civil war, because it had civil rights for its justification to expand to infinite power, and these rights had just been on the winning side against the Kaiser.
In other words, if you are a free world, focus on freedom, which requires removing the anti-freedom people, or in other words, inverting freedom. Kaczynski showed us how inversion works: society takes a thing, removes the dangerous parts, tunes up the parts tantalizing to our reptile brains, and then sells it as a “safe” and “normal” product, removing choice. We had to take “racism” out of society because otherwise, there was too much choice. People might stray from the little traces we set out to pip their signals down, like the layout of a circuit board.
Conservatives seem to be anarchists for two reasons. First, the fringe that wants to make itself “safe” inverts itself by removing conservatism and leaving only market economics, and second, because like Kaczynski, most of us believe that people need a wide range of choice so that they can demonstrate who they are.
In the traditional view of humankind, we saw just about everything as a choice, and tried to keep choice wide open. It was not a functional society unless someone could choose to be Diogenes, living in a ceramic pot on the edge of town, as well as aspire to be wealthy, successful, and live in the suburbs.
“Progress” consists of erosion of choice. Once economic and social choice were conquered, society had to conquer moral choice, and create an official religion that prescribes any discrimination on the basis of origin, mainly to conceal the class warfare essence of our modern society.
Why class warfare? If people are to have choices taken away, the last thing we want is to have people who show us how far we can rise above mass conformity. Humans suffer from something called “the committee mentality” which means that they always seek a group consensus to take the burden of choice — and by extension, of having to go against the crowd — away from them. Humans in groups adjust their thinking to what they think the others will support, both in order to be popular and not get attacked, but also to “rationalize” their decisions, or to choose something that the group supports so that it will win and therefore, they will not feel as if they had lost. The essence of a human group is not pro-positivity, but anti-negativity, an attitude which takes over and replaces the notion of affirmative striving toward the positive; instead, we have negative striving (“avoid”) of negativity such as career pitfalls, ghettos, covert sociopaths,dangerous opinions, and living in a shack in the woods eating vegetables fertilized with personal waste.
The difference between modernism and postmodernism is that the centralized agency is replaced by centralized authority, or a Gramscian cultural mandate on the political front and a bourgeois desire to avoid controversy (including anything against Progress) on the social front, creating a system with a dictatorship at its center that lives not in a single place, but in every mind:
The people of earth, conditioned to require the absolute “truth” from central agencies on matters of commerce and governmental regulation, promptly extend the same courtesy to political and social truth as conveyed by the “official” media.
The result of this is that a small group of people create our public perceptions of events; the events happen, and the rest of us, who are fated to find out about them second-hand in any case, rely on the descriptions of those events relayed to us by this centralized source.
We were told foreign dictators were bad, so we all banded together and crushed them. We were told that we needed to buy certain products, so we did, hoping to keep our families safe and futures secure. We were told that it was important to believe certain things, as they were ideologies of the future, and through this “progress” we got to a better life; who doesn’t want that?
The point here is that dark human tendencies arise in any group, and do not necessarily arise from government directly; in fact, you only get that kind of government once your society has lost direction and has enough lost directionless people to support such a government.
Realizations such as that take us away from playing the symbolic shell game of politics to seeing politics as a result of social conditions, namely quality of the population. When the directionless outnumber the thoughtful, you end up on a direction toward third-world status.
This requires us to reject equality for the contrary hypothesis of the varied quality of people, recognizing that some Know Better than others by virtue of intelligence and moral diligence to finding the root of a problem, historical antecedents, and from among those, the potential solutions that will endure for millennia while producing the best qualitative result.
Without this kind of social hierarchy, the crowd dominates over whoever Knows Better with votes, purchases, and social tropes spread around by people who think they are slick for manipulating others with obvious lies, creating an in-joke based on who is in the know and can see past face value, versus the many who are fooled and manipulated, giving the manipulator some sort of charge for feeling superior.
The dirty little secret of the West’s collapse is that it has come from within. The extent of our modern disease is revealed by the fact that when we think this, we immediately try to blame either everyone, or no one. We are afraid to blame a process and implicate certain people as its methods. And why not? We’re not passing moral judgment, claiming them to be the spawn of Satan, as our leaders do to enemies during wartime. All we are saying is that they, by what they do, have caused a massive problem. The real social taboo broken here is the unstated obvious: in order to fix the problem, we have to limit their sainted “freedom.”
In other words, population quality matters and individuals are different. Some can handle power and freedom; the rest will abuse these.
When groups lose their focus on a goal, especially an ongoing and eternal one like self-improvement, they focus instead on making all individuals feel comfortable in the ruins that remain.
We can call these “dark organizations” when they emerge in a company, as happens with a badly-run firm. People stop believing in the goal, and instead focus on looting everything they can from the dying beast before they flee. The only thing that stops this is a strong belief in the group, its culture, and genetics, since that is a family-like similarity which is therefore immutable and eternal.
The presence of any diversity interrupts that recovery, which is why tyrants always seek to bring in foreigners to support them. It interrupts the process of a population recovering, waking up, and restoring itself.
Dark organizations come about when the individualism — “me first before all else, and no one can tell me that I am wrong” — of lower-skilled individuals takes over, usually because the group has expanded beyond its initial quality control and now uses a large number of low-skilled intermediaries to achieve its ends.
Natural selection opposes the human notion of tool-making, which extends to the ability to instruct large masses in what to do, and by having them use the same method at the same time, achieve a transformation of nature. People like to use each other, but they never think through the consequences of that achievement; the intermediate goal will be realized, but the long term goal is lost, since people now think in terms of method and not goal, and therefore no one can be “wrong” as long as they keep applying the method.
This shows us why decay hits the most prosperous societies first: they develop winning methods, and apply those to their population, which causes a surge in those who do not understand the goal and, as a result, destroy any information pointing toward what that was. Simultaneously, those who could not survive outside of the civilization appear in greater numbers, and their resentment at being inferior causes them to scheme in classic Dunning-Kruger methods for ways to steal from that civilization.
The rise of individualism gives birth in turn to collectivism, or the self-defensive strategies of the individual employed by a crowd, such that in the grand tradition of gangs, mafias, cliques, cults, and pitchfork mobs, they attack anyone who attacks any one of their members. Again, method wins out over goal, since the method here is to keep the group together in order to protect individuals, especially when they are doing wrong.
The belief, whether known in language to its bearer or not, that the individual should predominate over all other concerns is Crowdism. We name it according to the crowd because crowds are the fastest to defend individual autonomy; if any of its members are singled out, and doubt thrown upon their activities or intentions, the crowd is fragmented and loses its power. What makes crowds strong is an inability of any to criticize their members, or to suggest any kind of goal that unites people, because what makes for the best crowds is a lack of goal. Without a higher vision or ideal, crowds rapidly degenerate into raiding parties, although of a passive nature.
At this point, the morality of the Crowd explicitly endorses dark organization:
Of course, since the crowd has disclaimed all true idealism, its only ideology is that of personal gain. It is by nature opposed to culture, since culture establishes a values system against which one can refer any potential choice to determine its viability in the community’s preference. Crowdists like to replace culture with the grandfather of multiculture, which is the idea of a facilitative society, or one in which the only goal is to satisfy its members. In this vision, a common goal or even standard of society is not needed. Society exists for its members to fulfil their personal needs, and it explicitly disclaims the ability or need to oversee those, unless they violate the basic tenets of Crowdism, of course.
We live in such a time of prole-rule (a prole, by definition, is someone who has not distinguished himself by specific skills, moral attributes, intelligence, or abilities). The mob has overwhelmed those who Know Better, and has redefined Knowing into doing what is pathologically self-destructive instead of what leads upward.
Prole-rule demands the inversion of what exists in order to support this dark organization. The term “good,” for example, generally means things outside of dark organization, and therefore, it must be edited to include only dark organization friendly ideas.
This shows us the roots of political correctness and modern political censorship; the ancient form of censorship meant removing those who were hostile to the society, but the modern form removes those who do not endorse the agenda of decay.
Prole-rule establishes the inversion of both pluralism and natural selection. Pluralism, through the “paradox of tolerance,” is redefined to mean only those who support pluralism, no matter what their individual viewpoints are; for this reason, “conservative” is edited to remove nationalism and class, and ends up being another type of argument for “equality.” Natural selection changes from rewarding those who succeed to removing those who are against equality, and therefore produces a utilitarian (demotist, popular, crowd-approved) standard where those who are not pro-equality are removed, and those who say that is popular — in an egalitarian time, variations on equality — are promoted.
In this sense, progress is anti-life. Natural selection establishes infinite choices but rewards only those which adapt; progress rewards those who obey the dominant method, and restricts choices to force people to comply. It removes the ability to understand oneself and make moral choices as a result.
Consider the people who came staggering out of East Germany after two generations of Communist rule. They had no idea how to order their own lives; ironically, they came out of Communism as consumerists, only able to choose the best option from what was on offer, and unable to formulate direction or moral frameworks on their own. The same happens to everyone in a dying civilization, which is why third world civilizations display such learned helplessness; people shrug at the incompetence, corruption, and criminality of the system, and simply buy a house far away from the disaster if they can find one.
In a living society, people care about the future of the civilization more than their own lives, since their contributions become destroyed and forgotten in a dying civilization. They aim toward constant improvement, which requires goal and not method.
By moving to the remote woods and living off his wits, Kaczynski restored choice to his life. Instead of simply selecting one of the choices the System offered him, he made his own way, and came to know himself more clearly as a result.
We suffer from two dual evils as humanity: first, the tendency of people to choose chaotic paths for the sake of making themselves seem different and cool, and second, our fear of bucking the trend of what “seems to” be working, at least according to the near past.
Not surprisingly, our political parties reflect these two extremes. Leftists emphasize individualism, while conservatives emphasize “tradition” (meaning: convention) from within the last known time frame, despite both approaches being boat anchors to quality of life. Fair note: the conservatives are misinterpreting their own philosophy, which is to conserve the best of all ages for all time. Leftists are simply egalitarians, or those who want individualism granted through the “you cannot tell me that you Know Better” mentality of the Crowd.
A pro-life society would emphasize individual choice and reward those who achieve good, promoting them above the rest. This would constantly sort people upward, producing creative geniuses and wise people over time, and the rest would benefit from this qualitative growth. Instead of more people, make better people.
In a pro-life society, people would not waste most of their time at jobs. They would spend most of their time bored, daydreaming, such that they could get to know themselves. Most of our most profound realizations come from sorting ourselves within and discovering that the world is, in fact, a good place, motivated toward the good, even when it appears otherwise.
In a pro-life society, there would be no single standard for what everyone should do, because each person is different. Some are destined to do basic labor but can still have good, productive, and fruitful lives in which they enjoy themselves instead of grousing about how they should have the job of the CEO or king. Social mobility increases class warfare discontent, not limits it!
A pro-life society requires that we allow Ted Kaczynski to move to the remote forest and do his thing. He has chosen a path; if it ends in him dying alone from some illness or injury, we should not begrudge him that fate. It is the complement to his choices, and may be the best possible outcome. Culture preserves this outlook; after all, what is culture but a series of attitudes about what is best, encoded into our genes?
Pro-life societies always push upward so that they create the best people, but this requires less time spent working on minutiae and tedium, and more time spent thinking about the big picture, what is important, and how to make life beautiful (including quality and aesthetics).
For a civilization to defend life, it must also defend people against the incursion of the many, who simply want what they think benefits them in the short term. These will use both novelty and convention as arguments for what they want.
Everything that our modern society does goes against this idea, which makes it easy enough to throw out modernism and progress in order to replace them with policies which are not anti-life. Instead of demanding standardization and obedience, we can open our minds to the potential of existence.