The ultimate Academic Edgelord has died: Ted Kaczynski. This domestic terrorist was also a real scholar, with a few peer-reviewed works in mathematics. On this episode, we read his manifesto: Industrial Society and its Future.
Why has Kaczynski become so popular with young people? He is just one extreme proponent of an anti-civilizational political theory called anarcho-primitivism. Few call themselves anarcho-primitivists, yet the basic ideas have become widespread, thanks to worsening environmental degradation and the ongoing techlash. You probably saw some anarcho-primitive thinking on Twitter right after Kaczynski died; many people lamented his death, and praised his arguments.
What makes his thinking appealing to some? What does it get right about technology, and what does it get very wrong? We also discuss the broader anarcho-primitivist tradition, with the help of Chamsy el-Ojeili and Dylan Taylor’s critical but generous review article from April, 2020, “the Future in the Past”: Anarcho-primitivism and the Critique of Civilization Today,” in Rethinking Marxism.