Industrial Society and Its Future

Full text of "Industrial Society and Its Future - The Unabomber's Manifesto"

" Never forget that a human being with technology is exactly like an alcoholic with a barrel of wine"

- Ted Kaczynski







The Unabomber's Manifesto


Aiui-Authorttartans Anonymous Po Box 11331 Eugene.Oregon 97440 U$.


Anti-Authoritarians AiioiiMiwus

TO Box 11331
Eugene, Oregon 9"-l4l)


1. The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster Tor the human race. They

have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in "advanced" countries,
but they hitvc destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings
to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical
suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued
development of technology will worsen the situation. Il will certainly subject human beings
lo greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to
greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical
suffering even in "advanced" countries.

2. The industrial-technological system may survive or it may break down. If it survives, it may

eventually achieve a low level of physical and psychological suffering, but only after passing
through a long and very painful period of adjustment and only at the cost of permanently
reducing human beings and many other living organisms lo engineered products and mere
cogs in the social machine. Furthermore, if the system survives, the consequences will be
inevitable; There is no way of reforming or modifying the system so as lo prevent it from
depriving people of dignity and autonomy.

3. If (lie system breaks down the consequences will still be very painful. But the bigger the
system grows the more disastrous the results of its breakdown will be, so if it is to break down
il had best break down sooner rather than later.

4. We therefore advocate a revolution against ihe industrial system. This revolution may or may

not make use of violence: il may he sudden or il may be a relatively gradual process spanning
a few decades. We can'l predict any of that. Bui we do outline in n very general way the
measures that those who hale the industrial system should take in order to prepare the way for
a revolution against that form or society. This is not lo be a political revolution. Its object will
be lo overt h ro w not governments but the economic and technological basis of Ihe present

5. In this mliclc we give atlcnlion to only some of ihe negative developments Hurt have grown
out of llie industrial-technological system. Other such developments we mention only briefly
or ignore altogether. This docs not mean that we regard these other developments as unimpor-
tant, For practical reasons we have lo confine our discussion lo areas thai have received
insufficient public attention or in which we have something new lo say. For example, since
there arc well-developed environmental and wilderness movements, we have written very
little about environmental degradation or the destruction of wild nature, even though we con-
sider these lo be highly important. , - •

The Psychology
Of Modern Leftism

6. Almost everyone will agree that we live in a deeply troubled society. One of the most wide-

spread manifestations of thecraziness of our world is leftism, so a discussion of the psychol-
ogy of leftism can serve as an introduction to the discussion of ihe problems of modern soci-
ety in general.

7. But what is leftism? During the first half of ihe 20th ceolury leftism could have been practi-
cally identified with socialism. Today the movement is fragmented and il is not clear who can
properly be called a leftist. When we speak of leftists in this article we have in mind mainly
socialists, collectivism, "politically correct" types, feminists, gay and disability activists, ani-
mal rights activists and the like. But not everyone who is associated with one of these move- ,
mcnls is a leftist. What we are trying to gel at in discussing leftism is not so much a movement
or an ideology as a psychological type, Of rather a collection of related types. Thus, what we
mean by "leftism" will emerge more clearly in the course of our discussion of leftist psychol-
ogy (Also, see paragraphs 227-230).

8. Even so, our conception of leftism will remain a good deal less clear than we would wish, but
there doesn't seem lo be any remedy for this. All we arc trying to do is indicate in a rough and
approximate way the two psychological tendencies that wc believe arc the maiu driving force

of modern leflism. We by no incnns claim to be Idling the whole truth about leftist psychol-
ogy. Also.our discussion is meant to apply to modern leftism only. We leave open the ques-
tion of the extent lo which our discussion could be applied (o the leftists of (he 1 9lh and early
20th century.

9. The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern leftism wc call "feelings of inferior-
' it y" and "ovcrsocinlizaiion." Peelings of inferiority arc characteristic of modern leftism as a

whole, while ovcrsocialization is characteristic only of a certain segment of modern leftism;
but this segment is highly influential.

Feelings Of Inferiority

10. By "feelings of inferiority" we mean not only inferiority feelings in the strictest sense but a
whole spectrum of related traits: low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, depressive ten-
dencies, defeatism, guilt, self-hatred, etc. We argue that modem leftists tend to have such
feelings (possibly more or less repressed) and that these feelings are decisive in determining
the direction of modern leftism.

1 1. When someone interprets as derogatory almost anything that is said about him (or about
groups witli whom be identifies) wc conclude that he has Inferiority feelings or low self-
esteem. This tendency is pronounced among minority rights advocates, whether or not they
belong to the minority groups whose rights they defend. They arc hypersensitive about the
words used to designate minorities. The terms "negro," "oriental," "handicapped" or "cluck"
for an African, an Asian, a disabled person or a woman originally had no derogatory connota-
tion. "Broad" and "chick" were merely the feminine equivalents of "guy," "dude" or "fel-
low." The negative connotations have been attached in these terms by the activists them-
selves. Some animal rights advocates have gone so far us to reject the word "pel" and insist on
its replacement by "animal companion." Leftist anthropologists go to great lengths to avoid
saying anything about primitive peoples that could conceivably be interpreted as negative.
They want to replace the word "primitive" by "nonl iterate." They seem almost pmaunid about
anything that might suggest that any primitive culture is inferior to our own. (Wc do not mean
to imply that primitive cultures are inferior to ours. Wc merely point out the hypersensitivity
of leftist anthropologists.)

12. Those who arc most sensitive about "politically incorrect" terminology arc not the average
black ghcllo-dwcllcr, Asian immigrant, abused woman or disabled person, but a minority of
activists, many of whom do not even belong to any "oppressed" group but come from privi-
leged strata of society. Political correctness has its stronghold among university professors,
who have secure employment with comfortable salaries, and the majority of whom arc het-
erosexual, white males from middle-class families.

13. Many leftists have an intense identification with the problems of groups that have an image
of being weak (women), defeated (American Indians), repellent (homosexuals), or otherwise
inferior. The leftists themselves feel that these groups arc inferior. They would never admit it
to themselves that they have such feelings, but it is precisely because they do see these groups
as inferior that they identify with their problems, (Wc do not suggest that women, Indians,
etc., are inferior; we are only making a point about leftist psychology).

14. Feminists are desperately anxious to prove that women are M strong as capable as men.
Clearly they are nagged by a fear that women may not be as strong and as capable as men.

15. Leftists tend to hate anything that has an image of being strong, good and successful. They
hate America, they hate Western civilization, they hale white mates, they hate rationality. The
reasons that leftists give for haling the West, etc. clearly do not correspond with their real
motives. They say they hate the West because it is warlike, imperialistic, sexist, ethnocentric
and so forth, but where these same faults appear in socialist countries or in primitive cultures,
the leftist Finds excuses for them, or at best he grudgingly admits that they exist; whereas lie
enthusiastically points out (and often greatly exaggerates) these faults where they appear in
Western civilization. Thus it is clear that these faults are not the leftist's real motive for hating
America and the West, lie hales America ami the West because I hey are strong and successful

16. Words like "self-confidence," "self-reliance," "initiative", "enterprise," "optimism," clc. play
litlle role in the liberal and leftist vocabulary. The leftist is anti-individualistic, pro-collcctiv-

229. The leftist is oriented toward large scale collectivism. He emphasizes the duly of the indi-
vidual to serve society and the duly of society to take care of the individual. He has a negative
attitude toward individualism. He often takes a moralistic tone. Me lends to be for gun con-
trol, ftu sex education and other psychologically "enlightened** educational methods, lor plan-
ning, for affirmative action, for multictiltiiraiism. He tends to identify with victims. He tends
to be against competition and against violence, but he often finds excuses for those leftists
who do commit violence. He is fond of using the common catch-phrases of the left like
"racism, ""sexism, " "homophobia, " "capitalism," "imperialism," "neocolonialism " "geno-
cide," "social change," "social justice," "social responsibility." Maybe the best diagnostic ,
Irait of the leftist is his tendency lo sympathize with the following movements: feminism, gay
rights, ethnic rights, disability rights, animal rights, and political correctness. Anyone who
strongly sympathizes with all of these movements is almost certainly a leftist.'*

230. The more dangerous leftists, that is. those who are most power hungry, are often character-
ized by arrogance or by a dogmatic approach to ideology. However, the most dangerous
leftists of all may be certain oversocialized types who avoid irritating displays of aggressive-
ness and refrain from advertising their leftism, but work quietly and unobtrusively to promote
collcclivisl values, "enlightened" psychological techniques for socializing children, depen-
dence of the individual on the system, and so forth, These crypto- Icliisls (as wc may call
them) approximate certain bourgeois types as far as practical action is concerned, but differ
from them in psychology, ideology and motivation. The ordinary bourgeois tries lo bring
people under control of the system in order to protect his way of life, or he docs so simply
because his attitudes arc conventional. The crypto- leftist tries to bring people under control of
the system because he is a True Believer in a collcctivistic ideology. The crypto- leftist is
differentiated from the average leftist of the oversocialized type by the fact that his rebellious
impulse is weaker and he is more securely socialized. He is differentiated brim the ordinary
well-socialized bourgeois by the fact that ihcrc is some deep lack within him thai makes it
necessary for him to devote himself to a cause and Immerse Mntsetf in a collectivity. And
may he his (well-sublimated) drive fur power is stronger than that of the average bourgeois.


231 . Throughout this article we've made imprecise statements and statements that ought to have
had all sorts of qualifications and reservations attached to them; and some of our statements
may he flatly false. Lack of sufficient in formation and the need for brevity made it impossible
for us to fomulale our assertions more precisely or add all the necessary qualifications. And of
course in a discussion of this kind one must rely heavily on intuitive judgment, and that can
sometimes be wrong. So we don't claim that this article expresses more than a crude approxi-
mation to the truth.

232. AH the same wc arc reasonably confident that the general outlines of the picture we have
painted here arc roughly correct. Wc have portrayed leftism in its modern form as a phenom-
enon peculiar to our time and as a symptom of the disruption of the power process. But we
might possibly be wrong about this. Oversocialized types who try to satisfy their drive for
power by imposing their morality on everyone have certainly been around for a long time.
But wc think that the decisive role played by feelings of inferiority, low self-esteem, power-
lessness. identification with victims by people who are not themselves victims, is a peculiar-
ity of modern leftism. Identification with victims by people not themselves victims can be
seen lo some extent in 19th century leftism and early Christianity but as far as we can make
out, symptoms of low self-esteem, etc., were not nearly so evident in these movements, or in
any other movements, as they are in modem leftism. But we are not in a position to assert
confidently that no such movements have existed prior lo modern leftism. This is a significant
question to which historians ought to give their attention.

36. (Paragraph 229) tt is important In understand that we mean lameone who sympathize* with these movements
01 they exist today in our society One wlm believes that women, homosexuals, etc., shonUI have equal lights is
not necessarily a leftist. The feminist, gay rights, etc., movements thai exist in our society have the particular
ideological tone that characiemes leftism, and if one believes, for example, that women should have equal
tights it tines not necessarily fallow that one must sympathize with the feminist movement as it exists today.

is in die struggle lo impose their morality on everyone,

222. Leftists, especially lliuse of I lie ovcrsocinli/nl type, ate 'line Believers in llie sense of line
Holler's book. "The True Believer." Hut nol till 'line Believers are of lite same psychological
lypc as leftists. Presumably a liuc-belicving uazi, lor instance is very different psychologi-
cally from a iruc-believing Icftisl. Because of their capacity for single-minded devotion lo I
cause, True Believers arc a useful, perhaps a necessary, ingredient ninny revolutionary move-
ment. This presents a problem with which wc musl admit we don'l know how to deal. We
aren't sure how to harness lite energies of llie True Believer lo h revolution against technol-
ogy. Al present all we can say is thai no True Believer will make a safe recruit lo llie revolu-
tion unless his commitment is exclusively lo the destruction of technology. If he is committed
also lo another ideal, he may want to use technology as a lool for pursuing thai olhcr ideal (sec
paragraphs 220. 22 1 ).

223. Some readers may say, "This sluffuboui leftism is a lot of crap. I know John and June who
are lefiish types and (hey don'l have all these lotalitarian Icndcncics." Il's quite true lhat many
leftists, possibly even a numerical majority, are decenl people who sincerely believe in toler-
aiing others' values (up to a point) and wouldn't want lo use high-handed methods lo reach
iheir social goals. Our remarks about leftism are nol meant to apply to every individual lefiisi
but to describe ihe general character of leftism as a movement. And the general character or a
movement is not necessarily determined by the numerical proportions of the various kinds or
|ieople involved in Ihe movement.

224. The people who rise lo positions of power in leftist ntovcincnls lend to be leftists of ihe
most power-hungry lypc because power-hungry people arc those who si rive battiest lo gel
into positions of power. Once ihe power-hungry types have captured conlrol of ihe move-
ment, ihere arc many leftists of a genllcr breed who inwardly disapprove of many of the
actions of ihe lenders, but cannot bring themselves lo oppose them. They need their faith in
Ihe movement, and because they cannol give up litis failh ihcy go along with Ihe lenders,
True, SOttH leftists do have the guls lo oppose Ihe totalitarian tendencies thai emerge, hut Ihey
generally lose, because lite power-hungry types ate bciler oitiinizcd, aic more ruthless and
Machiavellian and have laken care to build themselves a strong power base.

225. These phenomena appeared clearly in Russia and olhcr countries were taken over by
leftists. Similarly, before Ihe breakdown of communism in the USSR, lefiish types in the
West would seldom criticize llial country. If prodded Ihcy would admil (hut llie UJj.SK did
many wrong tilings, but then ihey would try lo find excuses for l he communists and begin
talking about die faults of the West. They alwnys opposed Western military resistance to
communist aggression, Leftish lypes all over the world vigorously protested ihe U.S.! military
action in Vielnam, but when the USSR invaded Afghanistan Ihcy did nothing. Not thai ihey
approved of ihe Soviet actions; bul because of their leftist faith, they just couldn't bear lo put
themselves in opposition lo communism. Today, in those or our universities where "political
correctness" has become dominant, there are probably many leftist types who privately dis-
approve of the suppression of academic freedom, but ihcy go along with il anyway.^

226. Thus (he fact that many individual leftists are personally mild and fairly tolerant people by
no means prevents leftism as a whole form having a totalitarian tendency.

227. Our discussion of leftism has a serious weakness. It is still far from clear whal we mean by
the word "leftist." There doesn't seem to be much we can do about this. Today leftism is
fragmented into a whole spectrum of aclivisl movements. Yet not all activist movements arc
leftist, and some activist movements (e.g.., radical cnvironmenlalism) seem to include boih
personalities of Ihe leftist type and personalities of thoroughly un-lcftisl types who ought lo
know better than lo collaborate wilh leftists. Varieties of leftists fade out gradually inlo vari-
eties of non-leftists and we ourselves would often be hnrd-presscd to decide whether a given
individual is or is not a leftist. To the extent thai il is defined at all, our conception of leftism
is defined by the discussion of it lhat we have given in this article, and we can pnly advise Ihe
reader to use his own judgment in deciding who is a leftist.

228. But il will be helpful lo list some criteria for diagnosing leftism. These criteria cannot be
applied in a cut and dried manner. Some individuals may meet some of the criteria without
being leftists, some leftists may not mcel any of the crilcrin. Again, you just have lo use your

ist. I Ic wants society lo solve everyone's needs for litem, take enre of them. He is not the soil
of pci son who has an inner sense ol confidence in his own ability to solve his own problems
and satisfy his own needs, flic leftist is anlagonislic to ihe concept of competition because,
deep inside, he feels like a loser.

17. Art forms lhat appeal to modern leftist intellectuals tend to focus on sordiilness. defeat and
despair, or else they lake an orgiastic tone, throwing off rational control as if there were no
hope of accomplishing anything through rational calculation and all that was lcfl\vas tp tin-'
mcrsc oneself in llie sensations of llie moment.

18. Modem leftist philosophers (end lo dismiss reason, science, objective reality and to insist
lhat everything is culturally relative. It is (rue that one can ask serious questions about Ihe
foundations of scientific knowledge and about how, if at all, ihe concept of objective reality
can be defined. Bul it is obvious that modern leftist philosophers arc not simply cool-headed
logicians systematically analyzing the foundations of knowledge. Ihcy arc deeply involved
emotionally in their attack on n nth and reality. They attack these concepts because of their
own psychological needs. For one thing, iheir attack is an outlet for hostility, and, to ihe
extent that it is successful, it satisfies the drive for power. More importantly, the leftist hates
science and rationality because they classify certain beliefs as true (i.e., successful, superior)
and other beliefs as false (i.e. failed, inferior). The leftist's feelings of inferiority run so deep
that he cannot tolerate any classification of some things as successful or superior and other
ihings as failed or inferior. This also underlies the rejection by many leftists of the concept of
menial illness and of ihe utility of IQ tests. Leftists arc antagonistic lo genetic explanations of
human abilities or behavior because such explanations tend to make some persons appear
superior or inferior lo others. Leftists prefer lo give society ihe credit or blame for an individual's
ability or lack of it. Thus if a person is "inferior" it is nol his fault, but society's, because he
has not been brought up properly.

19. The leftist is nol typically the kind of person whose feelings of inferiority make him a brng-
garl, an egotist, a bully, a self- pro molcr, a ruthless competitor. This kind of person has not
wholly lost failh in himself, lie has a deficit in his sense of power and self-worth, bul he can
Mill conceive of himself as having the capacity lo be strong, and his efforts to make himself
strong produce his unpleasant behavior. 1 But the lefiisi is too far gone for that. His feelings of
Inferiority arc so ingrained that he cannot conceive of himself ns individually strong and
v ul liable, llcncc the collectivism of the leftist. He can feci strong only ns a member of a large
organization or a mass movement wilh which he identifies himself.

20. Notice the masochistic tendency of leftist tactics, Leftists protest by lying down in front of
vehicles, they intentionally provoke police or racists to abuse them, etc. These tactics may
often be effective, but many leftists use (hem nol as a means lo an end but because they prefer
masochistic tactics. Self-halted is a leftist trait.

21. Lcftisls may claim lhat their activism is motivated by compassion or by moral principle, and
moral principle does play a role for the Icftisl of the ovcrsocialized type. But compassion and
moral principle cannot be the main motives for leftist activism. Hostility is loo promincul a
component of leftist behavior; so is the drive for power. Moreover, much leftist bchnvior is
not rationally calculated lo be of benefit lo the people whom the leftists claim to be trying lo
help. For example, tT one believes lhat affirmative action is good Tor black people, does it
make sense lo demand affirmative action in hostile or dogmatic terms? Obviously il would be
more productive to lake n diplomatic and conciliatory approach llml would make al Icasl
verbal and symbolic concessions to while people who think thai affirmative action discrimi-
nates against llicm, But lefiisi activists do nol lake such an approach because il would not
satisfy their emotional needs. Helping black people is not their real goal. Instead, race prob-
lems serve as an excuse for ihem to express Iheir own hostility and frustrated need for power.
In doing so they actually harm black people, because the activists' hostile attitude toward the
while majority tends lo intensify race hatred.

22. If our society had no social problems at all, the leftists would have to invent problems in
order lo provide themselves with an excuse for making a fuss.

/. {Paragraph 19) We are asserting that all, or even most, bullies and ruthless competitors suffer from feelings
ofinferiurity, <

23. We emphasize that tlie foregoing does not pretend to be an accurate description of everyone
who might be considered a leftist. It is only a rough indication of a general tendency of


24. Psychologists use the term "socialization" to designate the process by which children arc
trained to think and act as society demands. A person is said to be well socialized if he be-
lieves in and obeys the moral code of his society and fits in well as a functioning part of that
society. It may seem senseless to say that many leftists are over-socialized, since the leftist is
perceived as a rebel. Nevertheless, the position can be defended. Many leftists are not such
rebels as they seem.
25. The moral code of our society is so demanding that no one can think, feci and act in a
completely moral way. For example, wc are not supposed to hate anyone, yet almost every-
one hates somebody nt some lime or other, whether he admits H to himself or not. Some
people are so highly socialized thai the attempt to think, feel and act morally imposes a severe
burden on them. In order to avoid feelings of guilt, they continually have to deceive them-
selves about their own motives and find moral explanations for feelings and actions that in
reality have a non-moral origin. We use the term "oversocialized" to describe such people. 1

26. Ovcrsocializalion can lend to low self-esteem, a sense of powerlcssness, defeatism, guilt, etc.
One of the most important means by which our society socializes children is by making them
feci ashamed of behavior or speech that is contrary to society's expectations. If this is over-
done, or if a particular child is especially susceptible to such feelings, he ends by feeling
ashamed of himself. Moreover the thought and the behavior of the ovcrsocializcd person arc
more restricted by society's expectations than are those of the lightly socialized person. The
majority of people engage in a significant amount of naughty behavior. They lie, they commit
petty thefts, they break traffic laws, they goof off at work, they hale someone, they say spite-
ful tilings or they use some underhanded trick to get ahead olthc other guy. The ovei socialized
person cannot do these things, or if he docs do them he generates in himscirn sense of shame
and self-hatred. The ovcrsocializcd person cannot even experience, without guilt, thoughts or
feelings that are contrary to the accepted morality; he cannot think "unclean" ihoughls.And
socialization is not just a matter of morality; wc are socialized to confirm to many norms of
behavior that do not fall under the heading of morality. Thus the ovcrsocializcd person is kept
on a psychological leash and spends his life running on rails that society has laid down for
him. In many oversocializcd people this results in a sense of constraint and powerlcssness
that can be a severe hardship. We suggest that ovcrsocializalion is among the more serious
cruelties that human beings inflict on one another,

27. Wc argue that a very important and influential segment of the modern left is oversocializcd
and that their ovcrsocializalion is of great importance in determining the direction of modem
leftism. Leftists of the oversocialized type tend to be intellectuals or members of the upper-
middle class. Notice that university intellectuals 1 constitute the most highly socialized seg-
ment or our society and also the most left-wing segment.

28. The leftist of the oversocializcd type tries to gel off bis psychological leash and assert his
autonomy by rebelling. But usually lie is nol strong enough to rebel against the most basic
values of society. Generally speaking, the goals of today's leftists arc not in conflict 1 with the
accepted morality. On the contrary, the left lakes an accepted moral principle, adopts it as its
own, and then accuses mainstream society of violating that principle. Examples: racial equal-
ity, equality of the sexes, helping poor people, jicacc as opposed to war, nonviolence gener-
ally, freedom of expression, kindness to animals. More fundamentally, the duly oflhe indi-
vidual to serve society and the duty of society to take care of the individual. All these have
been deeply rooted values of our society (oral least of its middle and uppei classes* Tor a long
lime. These values are explicitly or implicitly expressed or presupposed in most of the inate-

2. (Paragraph 25) During the Victorian period many oversocialized people suffered from Striata psychologi-
cal problems at a result of repressing or trying to repress llteir sexual feelings, Freud apparently based his
theories on people of this type. Today the focus of socialization has shifted f torn sex to aggression.

3. (Paragraph 27J Not necessarily including specialists in engineering "hard" sciences.

dom, but today, in those universities where leftists have become dominant, they have shown
themselves ready to lake away from everyone else's academic freedom. (This is "political
correctness .") The same will happen with leftists and technology: They will use it to oppress
everyone else if they ever gel it under their own control.

217. In earlier revolutions, leftists oflhe most power-hungry type, repeatedly, have first cooper-
ated with non-leftist revolutionaries, as well as with leftists of a more libertarian inclination,
and later have double-crossed them to seize power for themselves. Robespierre did this in the
French Revolution, the Bolsheviks did it in the Russian Revolution, the communists did it in
Spain in 1938 and Castro and his followers did it in Cuba. Given the past history of leftism, it
would be utterly foolish for non-leftist revolutionaries today to collaborate with leftists.

218. Various thinkers have pointed out that leftism is a kind of religion. Leftism is nol a religion
in the strict sense because leftist doctrine docs not postulate the existence of any supernatural
hcing. But for the leftist, leftism plays a psychological role much like that which religion
plays for some people. The leftist needs to believe in leftism; it plays a vital role in his psy-
chological economy. His beliefs are not ensily modified by logic or facts. Me has a deep
conviction that leftism is morally Right with a capital R. and thai he has not only a right but a
duty 10 impose leftist morality on everyone. (1 lowcvcr, many oflhe people wc arc referring lo
as "leftists" do not think of themselves as leftists and would nol describe their system of
beliefs as leftism. We use the term "leftism" because we don't know of any belter words to
designate the spectrum of related creeds that includes the feminist, gay rights, pohticaf cor-
rectness, clc, movements, and because these movements have a strong affinity with the old
left. Sec paragraphs 227-230.)

219. Leftism is totalitarian force. Wherever leftism is in a position of power it tends to invade
every private corner and force every thought into a leftist mold. In pari this is because oflhe
quasi-religious character of leftism; everything contrary lo leftists beliefs represents Sin. More
i in porl ant ly. leftism is a totalitarian force because oflhe leftists' drive for power, The
seeks to satisfy his need for power through identification with n social movement and he tries
lo go through the power process by helping lo pursue and attain the goals of the movement
(see paragraph 83). But no mailer how far the movement has gone in attaining its goals the
leftist is never satisfied, because his activism is a surrogate activity (see paragraph 41). That
is, the leftist's real motive is not to allntn the ostensible goals of leftism; in reality he is
motivated by the sense of power he gets from struggling for and then reaching a social goal."
Consequently I he leftist is never satisfied with the goals he has already attained; his need for
the power process leads him always lo pursue some new goal. The leftist wants equal oppor-
tunities for minorities. When that is attained he instsls on statistical equality of achievement
by minorities. And as long as anyone harbors in some comer of his mind a negative attitude
toward some minority, the leftist has to reeducate him. And ethnic minorities are not enough;
no one can be allowed to have a negative altitude toward homosexuals, disabled people, fat
people, old people, ugly people, and on and on and on. It's not enough that the public should
be informed about the hazards of smoking; a warning has to be stamped on every package of
cigarcltcs. Then cigarette advertising has lo be restricted if not banned. The activists will
never be satisfied until lobacco is outlawed, and after that it will be alcohol, then junk food,
etc. Activists have fought gross child abuse, which is reasonable. But now Ihey want to stop
all spanking, When they have done that they will want to ban something else they consider
unwholesome, then another thing and then another. They will never be satisfied until they
have complete control over all child rearing practices. And then they will move on lo another cause.

220. Suppose you asked leftists to make a list or ALL the things thai were wrong with society,
and then suppose you instituted every social change that they demanded. It is safe lo say thai
within a couple of years the majority of leftists would find something new lo complain about,
some new social "evil" lo correct because, once again, the leftist is motivated less by distress
at society's ills than by Ihc need lo satisfy his drive for power by imposing his solutions on society.

221. Because of the restrictions placed on ihcir thoughts and behavior by their high level of
socialization, many leftists of the oversocialized lype cannot pursue power in the ways that
olhcr people do. For them the drive for power has only one morally acceptable outlet, and (tint

,\5. (Paragraph 219) Matty leftists ate motivated also by hostility, but the hostility probably results in part
from a frustrated need for power.

would be few and scattered. An industrial society, if built from scratch without outside help,
cim only be built in a series of stages: You need tools to make tools to make tools to make
tools ... . A long process of economic development and progress in social organization is
required. And, even in the absence of an ideology opposed to technology, there is no reason to
believe that anyone would be interested in rebuilding industrial society. The enthusiasm for
"progress" is a phenomenon particular to the modern form of society, and it seems not to have
existed prior to the 17th century or thereabouts.

211. In the laic Middle Ages there were four main civilizations that were about equally "ad-
vanced": Europe, the Islamic world, India, and the Far Fast (China, Japan, Korea). Three of
those civilizations remained more or less stable, and only Europe became dynamic. No one
knows why Europe became dynamic at (hat lime; historians have their thcoiics hut these arc
only speculation. At any rale, it is clear that rapid development toward a technological form
of society occurs only under special conditions. So there is no mason to assume thai long-
lasting technological regression cannot he brought about.

212. Would society eventually develop again toward an indusliiul-lcchtiological form? Maybe.
hut there is no use in worrying about it, since wc can't predict or control events 500 or 1,000
years in the future. Those problems must be dealt with by the people who will live al that lime.


213. Because of their need for rebellion and for membership in a movement, leftists or persons
or similar psychological type are often unattracled to a rebellious or activist movement whose
goals and membership arc not initially leftist. The resulting influx of leftish types can easily
turn a non-leftist movement into a leftist one, so (hat leftist goals replace or distort the original
goals of the movement.

214. To avoid this, a movement that exalts nature and opposes technology must take a resolutely
anti-leftist stance and must avoid all collaboration with leftists. Leftism is in the long tun
inconsistent with wild nature, with human freedom and with Ihc elimination of modern tech-
nology. Left ism is collectivism it seeks to bind together the ciltirc world (both nature and the
human race) into a unified whole. But this implies management of nature and of human life
by organized society, and il requires advanced technology. You can't have a united world
without rapid transportation and communication, you can't make all people love one another
without sophisticated psychological techniques, you can't have a "planned society" without
the necessary technological base. Above all, leftism is driven by the need for power, and the
leftist seeks power on a collective basis, through identification with a mass movement or an
organization. Leftism is unlikely ever to give up technology, because technology is too valu-
able a source of collective power.

215. The anarchist" too seeks power, but he seeks it on an individual or small-group basis; he
wants individuals and small groups to be able to control the circumstances of their own lives.
He opposes technology because it makes small groups dependent on large organizations.

216. Some leftists may seem to oppose technology, but they will oppose il only so long as they
are outsiders and the technological system is controlled by non-leftists, [f leftism ever be-
comes dominant in society, so that the technological system becomes a tool in the hands of
leftists, they will enthusiastically use it and promote its growth. In doing this they 1 will be
repealing a pattern that leftism has shown again and again in the past. When the Bolsheviks in
Russia were outsiders, they vigorously opposed censorship and the secret police, they advo-
cated scir- determination for ethnic minorities, and so forth; hut as soon as they crime into
power themselves, they imposed a lighter censorship and crealed a more ruthless secret po-
lice than any that had existed under the Isars, and they oppressed ethnic minorities at least as
much as the tsars had done. In the United Stales, a couple of decades ago when leftists were a
minority in our universities, leftist professors were vigorous proponents of academic frcc-

34. (Paragraph 215) Tltis statement refers to our particular brand of anarchism. A wide vmiety of social
altitudes have been called "anarchist, " and it may be that many who consider themselves anatchists would
not accept our statement of paragraph 215. It should be noted, by the way, dial there is a nonviolent
anarvhist movement whose members probably would nut accept FCas anarchist and certainly would not
appiave ofFC's violent methods.

rial presented to us by the mainstream communications media and the educational system.
Leftists, es|jccially those of the ovcrsocialized type, usually do not rebel against these prin-
ciples but justify their hostility to society by claiming (with some degree of truth) that society
is not living up to these principles.

29. Here is an illustration of the way in which theoversocialized leftist shows his real attachment
to the conventional altitudes of our society while pretending to be in rebellion against it.
Many leftists push fur affirmative action, for moving black people into high-prestige jobs, for
improved education in black schools and more money for such schools; the wny of life of the
black "underclass" they regard as a social disgrace. They want to integrate the black man into
the system, make him a business executive, a lawyer, a scientist just like upper-middlc-class
while people. The leftists will reply flint ihc hist thing Ihcy want is to make the block man into
a copy of Ihc while man; instead, they want to preserve African Amcricnn culture. Bui in what
does this preservation of African American culture consist"/ It can hardly consist in anything
mote than caling black-style food, listening to black-style music, wearing black-style cloth-
ing and going to a black-style church or mosque. In other words, il can express itself only in
superficial mailers. In all essential respects more leftists of the ovcrsocialized type want to
make ihc black man conform to while, middle-class ideals. They want to make him s'tudy
technical subjects, become an executive or a scientist, spend his life climbing the status lad-
der to prove that black people nre as good as while. They want to make black fathers "respon-
sible." They want black gangs to become nonviolent, etc. But these are exactly the values of
the industrial-technological system. The system couldn't care less what kind of music a man
listens lo, what kind of clothes he wears or what religion he believes in as long as he studies
in school, holds a respectable job, climbs the status ladder, is a "responsible" parent, is non-
violent and so forth. In effect, however much he may deny it, the ovcrsocialized leftist wants
lo integrate the black man into the system and make him adopt its values.

30. We certainly do not claim that leftists, even of theoversocialized type, never rebel against the
Imulanicntal values of our society. Clearly they sometimes do, Some ovci socialized leftists
have gone so far as lo rebel against one of modern society's most iinpot Hint principles by
engaging in physical violence. By their own account, violence is for them a form of "libera-
tion." In other words, by committing violence they break through the psychological restraints
that have been trained into them. Because ihey are oversocialized these restraints have been
more confining for them than for others; hence their need lo break free of them. Bui (hey
usually justify their rebellion in terms of mainstream values. If they engage in violence they
claim to be fighting against racism or the like.

3 1 . We realize (hat many objections could be raised lo Ihc foregoing thumb-nail sketch of leftist
psychology. The teal situation is complex, and anything like a complete description of it
would lake several volumes even if the necessary data were available. We claim only to have
indicated very roughly the two most important tendencies in the psychology of modern leftism.

32. The problems of the leftist are indicative of the problems of our society as a whole. Low self-
esteem, depressive tendencies and defeatism arc not restricted to the left. Though they are
especially noticeable in the left, they arc widespread in our society. And today's society ivies
lo socialize us to a greater extent than any previous society. We are even told by experts how
lo eal, how lo exercise, how lo make love, how lo raise our kids and so forth.

4. (Paragraph 28) There are many individuals of the middle and upper classes who resist some of these values,
but usually their resistance is more or less covert. Such resistance appears in the mass media only to a
very limited extent. The main thiust of propaganda in our society is in favor of the stated values. The main
reasons why these values have become, so to speak, the official values of our society is that they are useful
to the industrial system. Violence is discouraged because it disrupts the functioning of the system. Racism
is discouraged because ethnic conflicts also disrupt the system, and discrimination wastes the talent of
minority- group members who could be useful to die system. Poverty must be "cured" because the underclass
rouses pirdilems far die system and contact with the underclass lowers the moral of the other classes.
Women are encouraged to have careers because their talents ate useful to the system anil, more impor-
tantly because by having regular jobs women became better integrated into the system and lied directly lo
it rather than to their families. This helps toweaken fatuity solidarity. (The leaders of the system say they
want to strengthen the family, but they really mean It that they want the family to serve as an effective tool
for socialiiing children in accord with the needs of the system. We atgue in paragraphs 51,52 that the
system cannot ajfoid to let the family or other small-scale social groups be strong or autonomous )

The Power Process

33. Human beings luivc a need (probably based in biology) Tor something that we wilt csdl llie
"power process." This is closely related lo the need for power (which is widely recognized)
bul is not quite the same tiling. The power process has four elements. The three most elenr-cul
of these we cnll goal, effort and attainment of goal. (Everyone needs to have goals whose
attainment requires effort, and needs to succeed in attaining at least some of his goals.) The
fourth clement is more difficult to define and may not lie necessary for everyone. Wc cidl it
autonomy and will discuss it later (paragraphs 42-44).

34. Consider the hypothetical case of a man who can have anything he wants just by wishing for
it. Such a man has power, but he will develop serious psychological problems. At first he will
have a lot of fun, bul by nnd by he will become acutely bored and demoralized. Eventually he
may become clinically depressed. History shows that leisured aristocracies tend lo become
decadent. This is not true of fighting aristocracies that have lo struggle lo maintain their
power. But leisured,, secure aristocracies that have no need to exert ihemselves usually be-
come bored, hedonistic and demoralized, even though they have power. This shows that power
is noi enough. One must have goals toward which to exercise one's power.

35. Everyone has goals; if nothing else, to obtain the physical necessities oflife: food, water and
whatever clothing and shelter are made necessary by lite climate. Bul the leisured aristocrat
obtains these things without effort. Hence his boredom and demoralization.

36. Non-altainineni of important goals results in death if the goals are physical necessities, and in
frustration if non-attainment of the goals is compatible with survival. Consistent failure lo
attain goals throughout life results in defeatism, low self-esteem or depression.

37. Thus, in order to avoid serious psychological problems, a human being needs goals whose
attainment requires effort, and he must have a reasonable rate of success in attaining his


38. But not every leisured aristocrat becomes bored and demoralized. Tor example, the emperor
Hirohilo, instead of sinking into decadent hedonism, devoted himself lo marine biology, n
field in which lie became distinguished. When people do not have to exerl Ihemselves In
satisfy Uieir physical needs they often scl up artificial goals for ihemselves. In many cases
(hey then pursue these goals with the same energy and emotional involvement (hat they oth-
erwise would have put into the search for physical necessities. Thus Ihc aristocrats of the
Roman Empire bad their literary pretentions; ninny European aristocrats n few centuries ago
invested tremendous lime and energy in hunting, though they certainly didn't need ihc meal;
other aristocracies have competed for status through elaborate displays of wealth; and a few
aristocrats, like Hirohilo. have turned to science.

39. We use Ihe term "surrogate activity" to designate an activity that is directed toward an artifi-
cial goal that people set up for ihemselves merely in order lo have some goal to work toward,
or let us say, merely for the sake of the "fulfilhiienl" that (hey get from pursuing the goal.
Here is a rule of Ihumb for the identification of surrogate activities. Given a person who
devotes much time and energy to the pursuit of goal X, ask yourself this: If he had to devote
most of his lime and energy lo satisfying his biological needs, and if that effort required him
to use his physical and mental facilities in a varied and interesting way, would he feci seri-
ously deprived because he did not attain goal X? If ihc answer is no, then the person's pursuit
of a goal X is a surrogate activity. Hirohilo's studies in marine biology clearly conslitulcd a
surrogate activity, since it is prclty certain that if Hirohilo had had lo spend his time working
at interesting non-scientific tasks in order to obtain Ihc necessities of life, he would not have
felt deprived because he didn't know all about the anatomy and life-cycles of marine animals
On the other band the pursuit of sex nnd love (for example) is nol a surrogate activity, because
most people, even if llicir existence were otherwise satisfactory, would feel deprived if they
passed their lives without ever having a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. (Bul
pursuit of an excessive amount or sex, more than one really needs, can be a surrogate activity.)

40. Ill modern industrial society only minimal effort is necessary to satisfy one's physical needs.

altitude is a direct outcome of a person's genetic constitution, but it nppcnrs (hat personality
Iraits tend, within the context of our society, to make & person more likely to hold this or thai
social attitude. Objections to these findings have been raised, bul objections are feeble and
seem lo be ideologically motivated. In any evcnl, no one denies thai children tend on the
average lo bold social altitudes similar to those of (heir parents. From our point of view it
doesn't mailer all that much whether the altitudes are passed on genetically or through child-
hood training. In either case they aw passed on,

205. The trouble is thai many of ihc people who arc inclined to rebel against the industrial system
arc also concerned about the population problems, hence Ihey are apt to have few or no
children. In this way ihey may be handing the world over lo the sort of people who support or
al leasl accept the industrial system. To insure ihc strength of the next generation of revolu-
tionaries Ihc present generation must reproduce ilsclf abundantly. In doing so they will be
worsening Ihc population problem only slightly. And ihc most important problem is to get rid
of the industrial system, because once the industrial system is gone the world's population
necessarily will decrease (see paragraph 167); whereas, if ihe industrial system survives, it
will continue developing new techniques of food production that may enable the world's
population to keep increasing almost indefinitely.

206. With regard to revolutionary strategy, the only points on which we absolutely insist are that
the single overriding goal must be ihe elimination of modern technology, and lhat no other
goal can be allowed lo compete with this one. For the rest, revolutionaries should take an
empirical approach. If experience indicates that some of the recommendations made in the
foregoing paragraphs arc not going to give good results, then those recommendations should
be discarded.


207. An argument likely to be raised against our proposed revolution is lhat it is bound lo fiiil.
because (il is claimed) throughout history technology has always progressed, never regressed,
hence technological regression is impossible. But this claim is false.

208. Wc distinguish between ifvo kinds of technology, which wc will call small-scale technology
and organization-dependent technology. Small-scale technology is technology that can be
used by siniill-sciile communities without outside assistance. Organization-dependent tech-
nology is technology that depends on huge-scale social organization. Wc arc aware of no
significant cases of regression in small-scale technology. Bul organization-dependent tech-
nology does regress when the social organization on which it depends breaks down. Ex- .
ample: When Ihe Roman Umpire fell apart the Romans* small-scale technology surVivefd be-
cause any clever village craftsman could build, for instance, a waler wheel, any skilled smith
could make steel by Roman methods, and so forth. But the Romans' organization-dependent
technology did regress. Their aqueducts fell into disrepair and were never rebuilt. Their tech-
niques of road construction were lost. The Roman system of urban sanitation was forgotten,
so lhat until rather reccnl times did the sanitation of European cities match that of Ancient Rome.

209. The reason why technology has seemed always to progress is that, until perhaps a century
or two before the Industrial Revolution, mosl technology was small-scale technology. But
most of the technology developed since the Industrial Revolution is organization-dependent
technology. Take (he refrigerator for example. Without factory-made parts or the facilities of
a posl-iudusirial machine shop it would be virtually impossible for a handful of local crafts-
men lo build a re frige ralor. If by some miracle they did succeed in building one it would be
useless lo llicni without a reliable source of electric power. So they would have to dam a
stream and build a generator. Generators require large amounts of copper wire. Imagine try-
ing lo make that wire without modern machinery. And where would ihey get a gas suitable for
refrigeration? It would be much ensier lo build an icehouse or preserve food by drying or
picking, as was done before the invention of the refrigerator.

210. So il is clear lhat if ihc industrial system were once thoroughly broken down, refrigeration
technology would quickly be lost. The same is Irue of olher organ! ion -dependent technol-
ogy. And once this technology had been lost for a generation or so it would take centuries lo
rebuild it, just as it look centuries to build il the first lime around. Surviving technical books