Theodore Kaczynski killed 3 and injured 23 more in a bombing campaign inspired by the erosion of human freedom and dignity under modern technology. The Chicago Tribune's Steve Chapman writes that the latest iPhone proves him right: "it’s an excellent illustration of something that has long gone unrecognized: The Unabomber had a point."
To do without a cellphone — and soon, if not already, a smartphone — means estranging oneself from normal society. We went from “you can have a portable communication device” to “you must have a portable communication device” practically overnight.
I was all geared up to enjoy a diarrhea-hot take from a suddenly and insanely woke normie but this column doesn't quite live up to its implicit billing! There's no real discussion of the new iPhone scanning our faces in 3D, for example, which is clearly its go-to dystopian feature. If you're going to dive in to the ideology of a man who found anarcho-primitivism too comprimised for his liking, details would be nice.
In fact, of all the human things Kaczynski math-dorked his way to being insightful about, Chapman's pick is tres basic. It amounts to the cri de coeur of the cartoon Millennial: "It's impossible to go off-grid! Without my phone!" But unlike them, it led not into a subscription to Tiny House Magazine but to a new appreciation of the Unambomber manifesto.
People on the left complain about the center, liberals and libertarians and whatnot, accommodating fascism out of an active commitment to principles of civility that tend to mediate whatever extremes are in play -- a commitment that becomes grotesque when the "extremes" move from the once-cosy fringes of political normality to, say, "anti-fascism vs. white supremacy."
But "the unabomber was right" is a reminder that this casting of the problem has limits. Kaczynski's opinions were off the chart, yet they enchant serious thinkers alarmed by trivial discomforts. Sighed at for checking my tweets again at brunch! The center falls not to ideology but fatalistic indifference to anything beyond its comforts.