According to news reports, “Uncle” Ted Kaczynski has died in prison at the age of 81 after a lengthy battle with illness. He was one of the only voices in our time calling out to say that not only was modernity ugly but destructive and that it kills the beautiful first.
For Kaczynski, this was most easily seen in the destruction of nature. To have industry is to create demand for expanding industry from the consumers, creating a runaway loop that will eventually consume every natural area and replace it with something exciting made of concrete and plastic.
Some of us agreed with Kaczynski on everything but his thesis. To us, the problem is civilization decay and technology, wealth, overpopulation, and military might are merely enablers. Nature is consumed because human egotism hates that anything exists outside of its grasp.
Despite his methods, which like those of most of the great people of history are questionable if not outright immoral, Kaczynski awakened us to the idea that an alternative could and should exist. Note: only transgressive methods and desecration toward realistic ends change history.
When Ted described the industry eating up the American heartland, he could as well have been C.S. Lewis or H.G. Wells describing what was called “progress” in the 1920s, namely replacing family farms and shops with factories and department stores.
Those who are keeping score might note that Kaczynski spared us the save-the-whales rhetoric and wailing over climate change. He saw the problem as far bigger: humanity has taken over the globe and will soon use all space for human ends, leaving nothing for nature.
In any case, for all who care about the human future, the Kaczynski viewpoint was necessary even if we had to lose a dozen people to mailbombs for the herd to wake up enough to start publishing his materials. He will be missed.