Unabomber's Manifesto

The following is full text of the Unabomber's Manifesto.


1. The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for
the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of
us who live in "advanced" countries, but they have 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. It
will certainly subject human beings to 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 to 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 to prevent it from depriving people of dignity and

3. If the 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 it had best break down sooner
rather than later.

4. We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system. This
revolution may or may not make use of violence: it may be sudden or it may
be a relatively gradual process spanning a few decades. We can't predict any
of that. But we do outline in a very general way the measures that those who
hate the industrial system should take in order to prepare the way for a
revolution against that form of society. This is not to be a POLITICAL
revolution. Its object will be to overthrow not governments but the economic
and technological basis of the present society.

5. In this article we give attention to only some of the negative
developments that have grown out of the industrial-technological system.
Other such developments we mention only briefly or ignore altogether. This
does not mean that we regard these other developments as unimportant. For
practical reasons we have to confine our discussion to areas that have
received insufficient public attention or in which we have something new to
say. For example, since there are well-developed environmental and
wilderness movements, we have written very little about environmental
degradation or the destruction of wild nature, even though we consider these
to be highly important.


6. Almost everyone will agree that we live in a deeply troubled society. One
of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is
leftism, so a discussion of the psychology of leftism can serve as an
introduction to the discussion of the problems of modern society in general.

7. But what is leftism? During the first half of the 20th century leftism
could have been practically identified with socialism. Today the movement is
fragmented and it is not clear who can properly be called a leftist. When we
speak of leftists in this article we have in mind mainly socialists,
collectivists, "politically correct" types, feminists, gay and disability
activists, animal rights activists and the like. But not everyone who is
associated with one of these movements is a leftist. What we are trying to
get at in discussing leftism is not so much a movement or an ideology as a
psychological type, or rather a collection of related types. Thus, what we
mean by "leftism" will emerge more clearly in the course of our discussion
of leftist psychology (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 to be any remedy for this. All we
are trying to do is indicate in a rough and approximate way the two
psychological tendencies that we believe are the main driving force of
modern leftism. We by no means claim to be telling the WHOLE truth about
leftist psychology. Also, our discussion is meant to apply to modern leftism
only. We leave open the question of the extent to which our discussion could
be applied to the leftists of the 19th and early 20th century.

9. The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern leftism we call
"feelings of inferiority" and "oversocialization." Feelings of inferiority
are characteristic of modern leftism as a whole, while oversocialization is
characteristic only of a certain segment of modern leftism; but this segment
is highly influential.


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 tendencies, defeatism, guilt,
self-hatred, etc. We argue that modern leftists tend to have such feelings
(possibly more or less repressed) and that these feelings are decisive in
determining the direction of modern leftism.

11. When someone interprets as derogatory almost anything that is said about
him (or about groups with whom he identifies) we 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 are hypersensitive about the words used to
designate minorities. The terms "negro," "oriental," "handicapped" or
"chick" for an African, an Asian, a disabled person or a woman originally
had no derogatory connotation. "Broad" and "chick" were merely the feminine
equivalents of "guy," "dude" or "fellow." The negative connotations have
been attached to these terms by the activists themselves. Some animal rights
advocates have gone so far as to reject the word "pet" 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 "nonliterate." They seem almost paranoid about anything that
might suggest that any primitive culture is inferior to our own. (We do not
mean to imply that primitive cultures ARE inferior to ours. We merely point
out the hypersensitivity of leftish anthropologists.)

12. Those who are most sensitive about "politically incorrect" terminology
are not the average black ghetto-dweller, 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 privileged strata of society.
Political correctness has its stronghold among university professors, who
have secure employment with comfortable salaries, and the majority of whom
are heterosexual, 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 are 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. (We 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 as 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 hate
white males, they hate rationality. The reasons that leftists give for
hating 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 he 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. He hates America and
the West because they are strong and successful.

16. Words like "self-confidence," "self-reliance," "initiative",
"enterprise," "optimism," etc. play little role in the liberal and leftist
vocabulary. The leftist is anti-individualistic, pro-collectivist. He wants
society to solve everyone's needs for them, take care of them. He is not the
sort of person who has an inner sense of confidence in his own ability to
solve his own problems and satisfy his own needs. The leftist is
antagonistic to the concept of competition because, deep inside, he feels
like a loser.

17. Art forms that appeal to modern leftist intellectuals tend to focus on
sordidness, defeat and despair, or else they take an orgiastic tone,
throwing off rational control as if there were no hope of accomplishing
anything through rational calculation and all that was left was to immerse
oneself in the sensations of the moment.

18. Modern leftist philosophers tend to dismiss reason, science, objective
reality and to insist that everything is culturally relative. It is true
that one can ask serious questions about the foundations of scientific
knowledge and about how, if at all, the concept of objective reality can be
defined. But it is obvious that modern leftist philosophers are not simply
cool-headed logicians systematically analyzing the foundations of knowledge.
They are deeply involved emotionally in their attack on truth and reality.
They attack these concepts because of their own psychological needs. For one
thing, their attack is an outlet for hostility, and, to the 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 things as failed or inferior. This also underlies the rejection by
many leftists of the concept of mental illness and of the utility of IQ
tests. Leftists are antagonistic to genetic explanations of human abilities
or behavior because such explanations tend to make some persons appear
superior or inferior to others. Leftists prefer to give society the credit
or blame for an individual's ability or lack of it. Thus if a person is
"inferior" it is not his fault, but society's, because he has not been
brought up properly.

19. The leftist is not typically the kind of person whose feelings of
inferiority make him a braggart, an egotist, a bully, a self-promoter, a
ruthless competitor. This kind of person has not wholly lost faith in
himself. He has a deficit in his sense of power and self-worth, but he can
still conceive of himself as having the capacity to be strong, and his
efforts to make himself strong produce his unpleasant behavior. [1] But the
leftist is too far gone for that. His feelings of inferiority are so
ingrained that he cannot conceive of himself as individually strong and
valuable. Hence the collectivism of the leftist. He can feel strong only as
a member of a large organization or a mass movement with which he identifies

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 them not as a means to an end but because they PREFER
masochistic tactics. Self-hatred is a leftist trait.

21. Leftists may claim that their activism is motivated by compassion or by
moral principle, and moral principle does play a role for the leftist of the
oversocialized type. But compassion and moral principle cannot be the main
motives for leftist activism. Hostility is too prominent a component of
leftist behavior; so is the drive for power. Moreover, much leftist behavior
is not rationally calculated to be of benefit to the people whom the
leftists claim to be trying to help. For example, if one believes that
affirmative action is good for black people, does it make sense to demand
affirmative action in hostile or dogmatic terms? Obviously it would be more
productive to take a diplomatic and conciliatory approach that would make at
least verbal and symbolic concessions to white people who think that
affirmative action discriminates against them. But leftist activists do not
take such an approach because it would not satisfy their emotional needs.
Helping black people is not their real goal. Instead, race problems serve as
an excuse for them to express their own hostility and frustrated need for
power. In doing so they actually harm black people, because the activists'
hostile attitude toward the white majority tends to intensify race hatred.

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

23. We emphasize that the 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 leftism.


24. Psychologists use the term "socialization" to designate the process by
which children are trained to think and act as society demands. A person is
said to be well socialized if he believes 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,
feel and act in a completely moral way. For example, we are not supposed to
hate anyone, yet almost everyone hates somebody at some time or other,
whether he admits it to himself or not. Some people are so highly socialized
that 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
themselves 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. [2]

26. Oversocialization can lead to low self-esteem, a sense of powerlessness,
defeatism, guilt, etc. One of the most important means by which our society
socializes children is by making them feel ashamed of behavior or speech
that is contrary to society's expectations. If this is overdone, 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
oversocialized person are 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 hate someone, they say
spiteful things or they use some underhanded trick to get ahead of the other
guy. The oversocialized person cannot do these things, or if he does do them
he generates in himself a sense of shame and self-hatred. The oversocialized
person cannot even experience, without guilt, thoughts or feelings that are
contrary to the accepted morality; he cannot think "unclean" thoughts. And
socialization is not just a matter of morality; we are socialized to confirm
to many norms of behavior that do not fall under the heading of morality.
Thus the oversocialized person is kept on a psychological leash and spends
his life running on rails that society has laid down for him. In many
oversocialized people this results in a sense of constraint and
powerlessness that can be a severe hardship. We suggest that
oversocialization is among the more serious cruelties that human beings
inflict on one another.

27. We argue that a very important and influential segment of the modern
left is oversocialized and that their oversocialization is of great
importance in determining the direction of modern leftism. Leftists of the
oversocialized type tend to be intellectuals or members of the upper-middle
class. Notice that university intellectuals (3) constitute the most highly
socialized segment of our society and also the most left-wing segment.

28. The leftist of the oversocialized type tries to get off his
psychological leash and assert his autonomy by rebelling. But usually he is
not strong enough to rebel against the most basic values of society.
Generally speaking, the goals of today's leftists are NOT in conflict with
the accepted morality. On the contrary, the left takes an accepted moral
principle, adopts it as its own, and then accuses mainstream society of
violating that principle. Examples: racial equality, equality of the sexes,
helping poor people, peace as opposed to war, nonviolence generally, freedom
of expression, kindness to animals. More fundamentally, the duty of the
individual to serve society and the duty of society to take care of the
individual. All these have been deeply rooted values of our society (or at
least of its middle and upper classes (4) for a long time. These values are
explicitly or implicitly expressed or presupposed in most of the material
presented to us by the mainstream communications media and the educational
system. Leftists, especially those of the oversocialized type, usually do
not rebel against these principles but justify their hostility to society by
claiming (with some degree of truth) that society is not living up to these

29. Here is an illustration of the way in which the oversocialized leftist
shows his real attachment to the conventional attitudes of our society while
pretending to be in rebellion against it. Many leftists push for affirmative
action, for moving black people into high-prestige jobs, for improved
education in black schools and more money for such schools; the way 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-middle-class white people. The leftists
will reply that the last thing they want is to make the black man into a
copy of the white man; instead, they want to preserve African American
culture. But in what does this preservation of African American culture
consist? It can hardly consist in anything more than eating black-style
food, listening to black-style music, wearing black-style clothing and going
to a black-style church or mosque. In other words, it can express itself
only in superficial matters. In all ESSENTIAL respects more leftists of the
oversocialized type want to make the black man conform to white,
middle-class ideals. They want to make him study technical subjects, become
an executive or a scientist, spend his life climbing the status ladder to
prove that black people are as good as white. They want to make black
fathers "responsible." 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 to, 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 nonviolent and so forth. In effect, however much he
may deny it, the oversocialized leftist wants to integrate the black man
into the system and make him adopt its values.

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

31. We realize that many objections could be raised to the foregoing
thumb-nail sketch of leftist psychology. The real situation is complex, and
anything like a complete description of it would take 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

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


33. Human beings have a need (probably based in biology) for something that
we will call the "power process." This is closely related to the need for
power (which is widely recognized) but is not quite the same thing. The
power process has four elements. The three most clear-cut of these we call
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 element is more difficult to define and may not be
necessary for everyone. We call 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, but by and by he
will become acutely bored and demoralized. Eventually he may become
clinically depressed. History shows that leisured aristocracies tend to
become decadent. This is not true of fighting aristocracies that have to
struggle to maintain their power. But leisured, secure aristocracies that
have no need to exert themselves usually become bored, hedonistic and
demoralized, even though they have power. This shows that power is not
enough. One must have goals toward which to exercise one's power.

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

36. Nonattainment of important goals results in death if the goals are
physical necessities, and in frustration if nonattainment of the goals is
compatible with survival. Consistent failure to 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 goals.


38. But not every leisured aristocrat becomes bored and demoralized. For
example, the emperor Hirohito, instead of sinking into decadent hedonism,
devoted himself to marine biology, a field in which he became distinguished.
When people do not have to exert themselves to satisfy their physical needs
they often set up artificial goals for themselves. In many cases they then
pursue these goals with the same energy and emotional involvement that they
otherwise would have put into the search for physical necessities. Thus the
aristocrats of the Roman Empire had their literary pretentions; many
European aristocrats a few centuries ago invested tremendous time and energy
in hunting, though they certainly didn't need the meat; other aristocracies
have competed for status through elaborate displays of wealth; and a few
aristocrats, like Hirohito, have turned to science.

39. We use the term "surrogate activity" to designate an activity that is
directed toward an artificial goal that people set up for themselves merely
in order to have some goal to work toward, or let us say, merely for the
sake of the "fulfillment" that they get from pursuing the goal. Here is a
rule of thumb 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 time and energy to 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 feel seriously
deprived because he did not attain goal X? If the answer is no, then the
person's pursuit of a goal X is a surrogate activity. Hirohito's studies in
marine biology clearly constituted a surrogate activity, since it is pretty
certain that if Hirohito had had to spend his time working at interesting
non-scientific tasks in order to obtain the 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 hand the pursuit of sex and love
(for example) is not a surrogate activity, because most people, even if
their existence were otherwise satisfactory, would feel deprived if they
passed their lives without ever having a relationship with a member of the
opposite sex. (But pursuit of an excessive amount of sex, more than one
really needs, can be a surrogate activity.)

40. In modern industrial society only minimal effort is necessary to satisfy
one's physical needs. It is enough to go through a training program to
acquire some petty technical skill, then come to work on time and exert very
modest effort needed to hold a job. The only requirements are a moderate
amount of intelligence, and most of all, simple OBEDIENCE. If one has those,
society takes care of one from cradle to grave. (Yes, there is an underclass
that cannot take physical necessities for granted, but we are speaking here
of mainstream society.) Thus it is not surprising that modern society is
full of surrogate activities. These include scientific work, athletic
achievement, humanitarian work, artistic and literary creation, climbing the
corporate ladder, acquisition of money and material goods far beyond the
point at which they cease to give any additional physical satisfaction, and
social activism when it addresses issues that are not important for the
activist personally, as in the case of white activists who work for the
rights of nonwhite minorities. These are not always pure surrogate
activities, since for many people they may be motivated in part by needs
other than the need to have some goal to pursue. Scientific work may be
motivated in part by a drive for prestige, artistic creation by a need to
express feelings, militant social activism by hostility. But for most people
who pursue them, these activities are in large part surrogate activities.
For example, the majority of scientists will probably agree that the
"fulfillment" they get from their work is more important than the money and
prestige they earn.

41. For many if not most people, surrogate activities are less satisfying
than the pursuit of real goals ( that is, goals that people would want to
attain even if their need for the power process were already fulfilled). One
indication of this is the fact that, in many or most cases, people who are
deeply involved in surrogate activities are never satisfied, never at rest.
Thus the money-maker constantly strives for more and more wealth. The
scientist no sooner solves one problem than he moves on to the next. The
long-distance runner drives himself to run always farther and faster. Many
people who pursue surrogate activities will say that they get far more
fulfillment from these activities than they do from the "mundane" business
of satisfying their biological needs, but that it is because in our society
the effort needed to satisfy the biological needs has been reduced to
triviality. More importantly, in our society people do not satisfy their
biological needs AUTONOMOUSLY but by functioning as parts of an immense
social machine. In contrast, people generally have a great deal of autonomy
in pursuing their surrogate activities. have a great deal of autonomy in
pursuing their surrogate activities.


42. Autonomy as a part of the power process may not be necessary for every
individual. But most people need a greater or lesser degree of autonomy in
working toward their goals. Their efforts must be undertaken on their own
initiative and must be under their own direction and control. Yet most
people do not have to exert this initiative, direction and control as single
individuals. It is usually enough to act as a member of a SMALL group. Thus
if half a dozen people discuss a goal among themselves and make a successful
joint effort to attain that goal, their need for the power process will be
served. But if they work under rigid orders handed down from above that
leave them no room for autonomous decision and initiative, then their need
for the power process will not be served. The same is true when decisions
are made on a collective bases if the group making the collective decision
is so large that the role of each individual is insignificant [5]

43. It is true that some individuals seem to have little need for autonomy.
Either their drive for power is weak or they satisfy it by identifying
themselves with some powerful organization to which they belong. And then
there are unthinking, animal types who seem to be satisfied with a purely
physical sense of power(the good combat soldier, who gets his sense of power
by developing fighting skills that he is quite content to use in blind
obedience to his superiors).

44. But for most people it is through the power process-having a goal,
making an AUTONOMOUS effort and attaining t the goal-that self-esteem,
self-confidence and a sense of power are acquired. When one does not have
adequate opportunity to go throughout the power process the consequences are
(depending on the individual and on the way the power process is disrupted)
boredom, demoralization, low self-esteem, inferiority feelings, defeatism,
depression, anxiety, guilt, frustration, hostility, spouse or child abuse,
insatiable hedonism, abnormal sexual behavior, sleep disorders, eating
disorders, etc. [6]


45. Any of the foregoing symptoms can occur in any society, but in modern
industrial society they are present on a massive scale. We aren't the first
to mention that the world today seems to be going crazy. This sort of thing
is not normal for human societies. There is good reason to believe that
primitive man suffered from less stress and frustration and was better
satisfied with his way of life than modern man is. It is true that not all
was sweetness and light in primitive societies. Abuse of women and common
among the Australian aborigines, transexuality was fairly common among some
of the American Indian tribes. But is does appear that GENERALLY SPEAKING
the kinds of problems that we have listed in the preceding paragraph were
far less common among primitive peoples than they are in modern society.

46. We attribute the social and psychological problems of modern society to
the fact that that society requires people to live under conditions
radically different from those under which the human race evolved and to
behave in ways that conflict with the patterns of behavior that the human
race developed while living under the earlier conditions. It is clear from
what we have already written that we consider lack of opportunity to
properly experience the power process as the most important of the abnormal
conditions to which modern society subjects people. But it is not the only
one. Before dealing with disruption of the power process as a source of
social problems we will discuss some of the other sources.

47. Among the abnormal conditions present in modern industrial society are
excessive density of population, isolation of man from nature, excessive
rapidity of social change and the break-down of natural small-scale
communities such as the extended family, the village or the tribe.

48. It is well known that crowding increases stress and aggression. The
degree of crowding that exists today and the isolation of man from nature
are consequences of technological progress. All pre-industrial societies
were predominantly rural. The industrial Revolution vastly increased the
size of cities and the proportion of the population that lives in them, and
modern agricultural technology has made it possible for the Earth to support
a far denser population than it ever did before. (Also, technology
exacerbates the effects of crowding because it puts increased disruptive
powers in people's hands. For example, a variety of noise-making devices:
power mowers, radios, motorcycles, etc. If the use of these devices is
unrestricted, people who want peace and quiet are frustrated by the noise.
If their use is restricted, people who use the devices are frustrated by the
regulations... But if these machines had never been invented there would
have been no conflict and no frustration generated by them.)

49. For primitive societies the natural world (which usually changes only
slowly) provided a stable framework and therefore a sense of security. In
the modern world it is human society that dominates nature rather than the
other way around, and modern society changes very rapidly owing to
technological change. Thus there is no stable framework.

50. The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional
values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and
economic growth. Apparently it never occurs to them that you can't make
rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society with
out causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and
that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values.

51.The breakdown of traditional values to some extent implies the breakdown
of the bonds that hold together traditional small-scale social groups. The
disintegration of small-scale social groups is also promoted by the fact
that modern conditions often require or tempt individuals to move to new
locations, separating themselves from their communities. Beyond that, a
technological society HAS TO weaken family ties and local communities if it
is to function efficiently. In modern society an individual's loyalty must
be first to the system and only secondarily to a small-scale community,
because if the internal loyalties of small-scale small-scale communities
were stronger than loyalty to the system, such communities would pursue
their own advantage at the expense of the system.

52. Suppose that a public official or a corporation executive appoints his
cousin, his friend or his co-religionist to a position rather than
appointing the person best qualified for the job. He has permitted personal
loyalty to supersede his loyalty to the system, and that is "nepotism" or
"discrimination," both of which are terrible sins in modern society.
Would-be industrial societies that have done a poor job of subordinating
personal or local loyalties to loyalty to the system are usually very
inefficient. (Look at Latin America.) Thus an advanced industrial society
can tolerate only those small-scale communities that are emasculated, tamed
and made into tools of the system. [7]

53. Crowding, rapid change and the breakdown of communities have been widely
recognized as sources of social problems. but we do not believe they are
enough to account for the extent of the problems that are seen today.

54. A few pre-industrial cities were very large and crowded, yet their
inhabitants do not seem to have suffered from psychological problems to the
same extent as modern man. In America today there still are uncrowded rural
areas, and we find there the same problems as in urban areas, though the
problems tend to be less acute in the rural areas. Thus crowding does not
seem to be the decisive factor.

55. On the growing edge of the American frontier during the 19th century,
the mobility of the population probably broke down extended families and
small-scale social groups to at least the same extent as these are broken
down today. In fact, many nuclear families lived by choice in such
isolation, having no neighbors within several miles, that they belonged to
no community at all, yet they do not seem to have developed problems as a

56.Furthermore, change in American frontier society was very rapid and deep.
A man might be born and raised in a log cabin, outside the reach of law and
order and fed largely on wild meat; and by the time he arrived at old age he
might be working at a regular job and living in an ordered community with
effective law enforcement. This was a deeper change that that which
typically occurs in the life of a modern individual, yet it does not seem to
have led to psychological problems. In fact, 19th century American society
had an optimistic and self-confident tone, quite unlike that of today's
society. [8]

57. The difference, we argue, is that modern man has the sense (largely
justified) that change is IMPOSED on him, whereas the 19th century
frontiersman had the sense (also largely justified) that he created change
himself, by his own choice. Thus a pioneer settled on a piece of land of his
own choosing and made it into a farm through his own effort. In those days
an entire county might have only a couple of hundred inhabitants and was a
far more isolated and autonomous entity than a modern county is. Hence the
pioneer farmer participated as a member of a relatively small group in the
creation of a new, ordered community. One may well question whether the
creation of this community was an improvement, but at any rate it satisfied
the pioneer's need for the power process.

58. It would be possible to give other examples of societies in which there
has been rapid change and/or lack of close community ties without he kind of
massive behavioral aberration that is seen in today's industrial society. We
contend that the most important cause of social and psychological problems
in modern society is the fact that people have insufficient opportunity to
go through the power process in a normal way. We don't mean to say that
modern society is the only one in which the power process has been
disrupted. Probably most if not all civilized societies have interfered with
the power ' process to a greater or lesser extent. But in modern industrial
society the problem has become particularly acute. Leftism, at least in its
recent (mid-to-late -20th century) form, is in part a symptom of deprivation
with respect to the power process.


59. We divide human drives into three groups: (1) those drives that can be
satisfied with minimal effort; (2) those that can be satisfied but only at
the cost of serious effort; (3) those that cannot be adequately satisfied no
matter how much effort one makes. The power process is the process of
satisfying the drives of the second group. The more drives there are in the
third group, the more there is frustration, anger, eventually defeatism,
depression, etc.

60. In modern industrial society natural human drives tend to be pushed into
the first and third groups, and the second group tends to consist
increasingly of artificially created drives.

61. In primitive societies, physical necessities generally fall into group
2: They can be obtained, but only at the cost of serious effort. But modern
society tends to guaranty the physical necessities to everyone [9] in
exchange for only minimal effort, hence physical needs are pushed into group
1. (There may be disagreement about whether the effort needed to hold a job
is "minimal"; but usually, in lower- to middle-level jobs, whatever effort
is required is merely that of obedience. You sit or stand where you are told
to sit or stand and do what you are told to do in the way you are told to do
it. Seldom do you have to exert yourself seriously, and in any case you have
hardly any autonomy in work, so that the need for the power process is not
well served.)

62. Social needs, such as sex, love and status, often remain in group 2 in
modern society, depending on the situation of the individual. [10] But,
except for people who have a particularly strong drive for status, the
effort required to fulfill the social drives is insufficient to satisfy
adequately the need for the power process.

63. So certain artificial needs have been created that fall into group 2,
hence serve the need for the power process. Advertising and marketing
techniques have been developed that make many people feel they need things
that their grandparents never desired or even dreamed of. It requires
serious effort to earn enough money to satisfy these artificial needs, hence
they fall into group 2. (But see paragraphs 80-82.) Modern man must satisfy
his need for the power process largely through pursuit of the artificial
needs created by the advertising and marketing industry [11], and through
surrogate activities.

64. It seems that for many people, maybe the majority, these artificial
forms of the power process are insufficient. A theme that appears repeatedly
in the writings of the social critics of the second half of the 20th century
is the sense of purposelessness that afflicts many people in modern society.
(This purposelessness is often called by other names such as "anomic" or
"middle-class vacuity.") We suggest that the so-called "identity crisis" is
actually a search for a sense of purpose, often for commitment to a suitable
surrogate activity. It may be that existentialism is in large part a
response to the purposelessness of modern life. [12] Very widespread in
modern society is the search for "fulfillment." But we think that for the
majority of people an activity whose main goal is fulfillment (that is, a
surrogate activity) does not bring completely satisfactory fulfillment. In
other words, it does not fully satisfy the need for the power process. (See
paragraph 41.) That need can be fully satisfied only through activities that
have some external goal, such as physical necessities, sex, love, status,
revenge, etc.

65. Moreover, where goals are pursued through earning money, climbing the
status ladder or functioning as part of the system in some other way, most
people are not in a position to pursue their goals AUTONOMOUSLY. Most
workers are someone else's employee as, as we pointed out in paragraph 61,
must spend their days doing what they are told to do in the way they are
told to do it. Even most people who are in business for themselves have only
limited autonomy. It is a chronic complaint of small-business persons and
entrepreneurs that their hands are tied by excessive government regulation.
Some of these regulations are doubtless unnecessary, but for the most part
government regulations are essential and inevitable parts of our extremely
complex society. A large portion of small business today operates on the
franchise system. It was reported in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago
that many of the franchise-granting companies require applicants for
franchises to take a personality test that is designed to EXCLUDE those who
have creativity and initiative, because such persons are not sufficiently
docile to go along obediently with the franchise system. This excludes from
small business many of the people who most need autonomy.

66. Today people live more by virtue of what the system does FOR them or TO
them than by virtue of what they do for themselves. And what they do for
themselves is done more and more along channels laid down by the system.
Opportunities tend to be those that the system provides, the opportunities
must be exploited in accord with the rules and regulations [13], and
techniques prescribed by experts must be followed if there is to be a chance
of success.

67. Thus the power process is disrupted in our society through a deficiency
of real goals and a deficiency of autonomy in pursuit of goals. But it is
also disrupted because of those human drives that fall into group 3: the
drives that one cannot adequately satisfy no matter how much effort one
makes. One of these drives is the need for security. Our lives depend on
decisions made by other people; we have no control over these decisions and
usually we do not even know the people who make them. ("We live in a world
in which relatively few people - maybe 500 or 1,00 - make the important
decisions" - Philip B. Heymann of Harvard Law School, quoted by Anthony
Lewis, New York Times, April 21, 1995.) Our lives depend on whether safety
standards at a nuclear power plant are properly maintained; on how much
pesticide is allowed to get into our food or how much pollution into our
air; on how skillful (or incompetent) our doctor is; whether we lose or get
a job may depend on decisions made by government economists or corporation
executives; and so forth. Most individuals are not in a position to secure
themselves against these threats to more [than] a very limited extent. The
individual's search for security is therefore frustrated, which leads to a
sense of powerlessness.

68. It may be objected that primitive man is physically less secure than
modern man, as is shown by his shorter life expectancy; hence modern man
suffers from less, not more than the amount of insecurity that is normal for
human beings. but psychological security does not closely correspond with
physical security. What makes us FEEL secure is not so much objective
security as a sense of confidence in our ability to take care of ourselves.
Primitive man, threatened by a fierce animal or by hunger, can fight in
self-defense or travel in search of food. He has no certainty of success in
these efforts, but he is by no means helpless against the things that
threaten him. The modern individual on the other hand is threatened by many
things against which he is helpless; nuclear accidents, carcinogens in food,
environmental pollution, war, increasing taxes, invasion of his privacy by
large organizations, nation-wide social or economic phenomena that may
disrupt his way of life.

69. It is true that primitive man is powerless against some of the things
that threaten him; disease for example. But he can accept the risk of
disease stoically. It is part of the nature of things, it is no one's fault,
unless is the fault of some imaginary, impersonal demon. But threats to the
modern individual tend to be MAN-MADE. They are not the results of chance
but are IMPOSED on him by other persons whose decisions he, as an
individual, is unable to influence. Consequently he feels frustrated,
humiliated and angry.

70. Thus primitive man for the most part has his security in his own hands
(either as an individual or as a member of a SMALL group) whereas the
security of modern man is in the hands of persons or organizations that are
too remote or too large for him to be able personally to influence them. So
modern man's drive for security tends to fall into groups 1 and 3; in some
areas (food, shelter, etc.) his security is assured at the cost of only
trivial effort, whereas in other areas he CANNOT attain security. (The
foregoing greatly simplifies the real situation, but it does indicate in a
rough, general way how the condition of modern man differs from that of
primitive man.)

71. People have many transitory drives or impulses that are necessary
frustrated in modern life, hence fall into group 3. One may become angry,
but modern society cannot permit fighting. In many situations it does not
even permit verbal aggression. When going somewhere one may be in a hurry,
or one may be in a mood to travel slowly, but one generally has no choice
but to move with the flow of traffic and obey the traffic signals. One may
want to do one's work in a different way, but usually one can work only
according to the rules laid down by one's employer. In many other ways as
well, modern man is strapped down by a network of rules and regulations
(explicit or implicit) that frustrate many of his impulses and thus
interfere with the power process. Most of these regulations cannot be
disposed with, because the are necessary for the functioning of industrial

72. Modern society is in certain respects extremely permissive. In matters
that are irrelevant to the functioning of the system we can generally do
what we please. We can believe in any religion we like (as long as it does
not encourage behavior that is dangerous to the system). We can go to bed
with anyone we like (as long as we practice "safe sex"). We can do anything
we like as long as it is UNIMPORTANT. But in all IMPORTANT matters the
system tends increasingly to regulate our behavior.

73. Behavior is regulated not only through explicit rules and not only by
the government. Control is often exercised through indirect coercion or
through psychological pressure or manipulation, and by organizations other
than the government, or by the system as a whole. Most large organizations
use some form of propaganda [14] to manipulate public attitudes or behavior.
Propaganda is not limited to "commercials" and advertisements, and sometimes
it is not even consciously intended as propaganda by the people who make it.
For instance, the content of entertainment programming is a powerful form of
propaganda. An example of indirect coercion: There is no law that says we
have to go to work every day and follow our employer's orders. Legally there
is nothing to prevent us from going to live in the wild like primitive
people or from going into business for ourselves. But in practice there is
very little wild country left, and there is room in the economy for only a
limited number of small business owners. Hence most of us can survive only
as someone else's employee.

74. We suggest that modern man's obsession with longevity, and with
maintaining physical vigor and sexual attractiveness to an advanced age, is
a symptom of unfulfillment resulting from deprivation with respect to the
power process. The "mid-life crisis" also is such a symptom. So is the lack
of interest in having children that is fairly common in modern society but
almost unheard-of in primitive societies.

75. In primitive societies life is a succession of stages. The needs and
purposes of one stage having been fulfilled, there is no particular
reluctance about passing on to the next stage. A young man goes through the
power process by becoming a hunter, hunting not for sport or for fulfillment
but to get meat that is necessary for food. (In young women the process is
more complex, with greater emphasis on social power; we won't discuss that
here.) This phase having been successfully passed through, the young man has
no reluctance about settling down to the responsibilities of raising a
family. (In contrast, some modern people indefinitely postpone having
children because they are too busy seeking some kind of "fulfillment." We
suggest that the fulfillment they need is adequate experience of the power
process -- with real goals instead of the artificial goals of surrogate
activities.) Again, having successfully raised his children, going through
the power process by providing them with the physical necessities, the
primitive man feels that his work is done and he is prepared to accept old
age (if he survives that long) and death. Many modern people, on the other
hand, are disturbed by the prospect of death, as is shown by the amount of
effort they expend trying to maintain their physical condition, appearance
and health. We argue that this is due to unfulfillment resulting from the
fact that they have never put their physical powers to any use, have never
gone through the power process using their bodies in a serious way. It is
not the primitive man, who has used his body daily for practical purposes,
who fears the deterioration of age, but the modern man, who has never had a
practical use for his body beyond walking from his car to his house. It is
the man whose need for the power process has been satisfied during his life
who is best prepared to accept the end of that life.

76. In response to the arguments of this section someone will say, "Society
must find a way to give people the opportunity to go through the power
process." For such people the value of the opportunity is destroyed by the
very fact that society gives it to them. What they need is to find or make
their own opportunities. As long as the system GIVES them their
opportunities it still has them on a leash. To attain autonomy they must get
off that leash.


77. Not everyone in industrial-technological society suffers from
psychological problems. Some people even profess to be quite satisfied with
society as it is. We now discuss some of the reasons why people differ so
greatly in their response to modern society.

78. First, there doubtless are differences in the strength of the drive for
power. Individuals with a weak drive for power may have relatively little
need to go through the power process, or at least relatively little need for
autonomy in the power process. These are docile types who would have been
happy as plantation darkies in the Old South. (We don't mean to sneer at
"plantation darkies" of the Old South. To their credit, most of the slaves
were NOT content with their servitude. We do sneer at people who ARE content
with servitude.)

79. Some people may have some exceptional drive, in pursuing which they
satisfy their need for the power process. For example, those who have an
unusually strong drive for social status may spend their whole lives
climbing the status ladder without ever getting bored with that game.

80. People vary in their susceptibility to advertising and marketing
techniques. Some people are so susceptible that, even if they make a great
deal of money, they cannot satisfy their constant craving for the shiny new
toys that the marketing industry dangles before their eyes. So they always
feel hard-pressed financially even if their income is large, and their
cravings are frustrated.

81. Some people have low susceptibility to advertising and marketing
techniques. These are the people who aren't interested in money. Material
acquisition does not serve their need for the power process.

82. People who have medium susceptibility to advertising and marketing
techniques are able to earn enough money to satisfy their craving for goods
and services, but only at the cost of serious effort (putting in overtime,
taking a second job, earning promotions, etc.) Thus material acquisition
serves their need for the power process. But it does not necessarily follow
that their need is fully satisfied. They may have insufficient autonomy in
the power process (their work may consist of following orders) and some of
their drives may be frustrated (e.g., security, aggression). (We are guilty
of oversimplification in paragraphs 80-82 because we have assumed that the
desire for material acquisition is entirely a creation of the advertising
and marketing industry. Of course it's not that simple.

83. Some people partly satisfy their need for power by identifying
themselves with a powerful organization or mass movement. An individual
lacking goals or power joins a movement or an organization, adopts its goals
as his own, then works toward these goals. When some of the goals are
attained, the individual, even though his personal efforts have played only
an insignificant part in the attainment of the goals, feels (through his
identification with the movement or organization) as if he had gone through
the power process. This phenomenon was exploited by the fascists, nazis and
communists. Our society uses it, too, though less crudely. Example: Manuel
Noriega was an irritant to the U.S. (goal: punish Noriega). The U.S. invaded
Panama (effort) and punished Noriega (attainment of goal). The U.S. went
through the power process and many Americans, because of their
identification with the U.S., experienced the power process vicariously.
Hence the widespread public approval of the Panama invasion; it gave people
a sense of power. [15] We see the same phenomenon in armies, corporations,
political parties, humanitarian organizations, religious or ideological
movements. In particular, leftist movements tend to attract people who are
seeking to satisfy their need for power. But for most people identification
with a large organization or a mass movement does not fully satisfy the need
for power.

84. Another way in which people satisfy their need for the power process is
through surrogate activities. As we explained in paragraphs 38-40, a
surrogate activity that is directed toward an artificial goal that the
individual pursues for the sake of the "fulfillment" that he gets from
pursuing the goal, not because he needs to attain the goal itself. For
instance, there is no practical motive for building enormous muscles,
hitting a little ball into a hole or acquiring a complete series of postage
stamps. Yet many people in our society devote themselves with passion to
bodybuilding, golf or stamp collecting. Some people are more
"other-directed" than others, and therefore will more readily attack
importance to a surrogate activity simply because the people around them
treat it as important or because society tells them it is important. That is
why some people get very serious about essentially trivial activities such
as sports, or bridge, or chess, or arcane scholarly pursuits, whereas others
who are more clear-sighted never see these things as anything but the
surrogate activities that they are, and consequently never attach enough
importance to them to satisfy their need for the power process in that way.
It only remains to point out that in many cases a person's way of earning a
living is also a surrogate activity. Not a PURE surrogate activity, since
part of the motive for the activity is to gain the physical necessities and
(for some people) social status and the luxuries that advertising makes them
want. But many people put into their work far more effort than is necessary
to earn whatever money and status they require, and this extra effort
constitutes a surrogate activity. This extra effort, together with the
emotional investment that accompanies it, is one of the most potent forces
acting toward the continual development and perfecting of the system, with
negative consequences for individual freedom (see paragraph 131).
Especially, for the most creative scientists and engineers, work tends to be
largely a surrogate activity. This point is so important that is deserves a
separate discussion, which we shall give in a moment (paragraphs 87-92).

85. In this section we have explained how many people in modern society do
satisfy their need for the power process to a greater or lesser extent. But
we think that for the majority of people the need for the power process is
not fully satisfied. In the first place, those who have an insatiable drive
for status, or who get firmly "hooked" or a surrogate activity, or who
identify strongly enough with a movement or organization to satisfy their
need for power in that way, are exceptional personalities. Others are not
fully satisfied with surrogate activities or by identification with an
organization (see paragraphs 41, 64). In the second place, too much control
is imposed by the system through explicit regulation or through
socialization, which results in a deficiency of autonomy, and in frustration
due to the impossibility of attaining certain goals and the necessity of
restraining too many impulses.

86. But even if most people in industrial-technological society were well
satisfied, we (FC) would still be opposed to that form of society, because
(among other reasons) we consider it demeaning to fulfill one's need for the
power process through surrogate activities or through identification with an
organization, rather then through pursuit of real goals.


87. Science and technology provide the most important examples of surrogate
activities. Some scientists claim that they are motivated by "curiosity,"
that notion is simply absurd. Most scientists work on highly specialized
problem that are not the object of any normal curiosity. For example, is an
astronomer, a mathematician or an entomologist curious about the properties
of isopropyltrimethylmethane? Of course not. Only a chemist is curious about
such a thing, and he is curious about it only because chemistry is his
surrogate activity. Is the chemist curious about the appropriate
classification of a new species of beetle? No. That question is of interest
only to the entomologist, and he is interested in it only because entomology
is his surrogate activity. If the chemist and the entomologist had to exert
themselves seriously to obtain the physical necessities, and if that effort
exercised their abilities in an interesting way but in some nonscientific
pursuit, then they couldn't giver a damn about isopropyltrimethylmethane or
the classification of beetles. Suppose that lack of funds for postgraduate
education had led the chemist to become an insurance broker instead of a
chemist. In that case he would have been very interested in insurance
matters but would have cared nothing about isopropyltrimethylmethane. In any
case it is not normal to put into the satisfaction of mere curiosity the
amount of time and effort that scientists put into their work. The
"curiosity" explanation for the scientists' motive just doesn't stand up.

88. The "benefit of humanity" explanation doesn't work any better. Some
scientific work has no conceivable relation to the welfare of the human race
- most of archaeology or comparative linguistics for example. Some other
areas of science present obviously dangerous possibilities. Yet scientists
in these areas are just as enthusiastic about their work as those who
develop vaccines or study air pollution. Consider the case of Dr. Edward
Teller, who had an obvious emotional involvement in promoting nuclear power
plants. Did this involvement stem from a desire to benefit humanity? If so,
then why didn't Dr. Teller get emotional about other "humanitarian" causes?
If he was such a humanitarian then why did he help to develop the H-bomb? As
with many other scientific achievements, it is very much open to question
whether nuclear power plants actually do benefit humanity. Does the cheap
electricity outweigh the accumulating waste and risk of accidents? Dr.
Teller saw only one side of the question. Clearly his emotional involvement
with nuclear power arose not from a desire to "benefit humanity" but from a
personal fulfillment he got from his work and from seeing it put to
practical use.

89. The same is true of scientists generally. With possible rare exceptions,
their motive is neither curiosity nor a desire to benefit humanity but the
need to go through the power process: to have a goal (a scientific problem
to solve), to make an effort (research) and to attain the goal (solution of
the problem.) Science is a surrogate activity because scientists work mainly
for the fulfillment they get out of the work itself.

90. Of course, it's not that simple. Other motives do play a role for many
scientists. Money and status for example. Some scientists may be persons of
the type who have an insatiable drive for status (see paragraph 79) and this
may provide much of the motivation for their work. No doubt the majority of
scientists, like the majority of the general population, are more or less
susceptible to advertising and marketing techniques and need money to
satisfy their craving for goods and services. Thus science is not a PURE
surrogate activity. But it is in large part a surrogate activity.

91. Also, science and technology constitute a mass power movement, and many
scientists gratify their need for power through identification with this
mass movement (see paragraph 83).

92. Thus science marches on blindly, without regard to the real welfare of
the human race or to any other standard, obedient only to the psychological
needs of the scientists and of the government officials and corporation
executives who provide the funds for research.


93. We are going to argue that industrial-technological society cannot be
reformed in such a way as to prevent it from progressively narrowing the
sphere of human freedom. But because "freedom" is a word that can be
interpreted in many ways, we must first make clear what kind of freedom we
are concerned with.

94. By "freedom" we mean the opportunity to go through the power process,
with real goals not the artificial goals of surrogate activities, and
without interference, manipulation or supervision from anyone, especially
from any large organization. Freedom means being in control (either as an
individual or as a member of a SMALL group) of the life-and-death issues of
one's existence; food, clothing, shelter and defense against whatever
threats there may be in one's environment. Freedom means having power; not
the power to control other people but the power to control the circumstances
of one's own life. One does not have freedom if anyone else (especially a
large organization) has power over one, no matter how benevolently,
tolerantly and permissively that power may be exercised. It is important not
to confuse freedom with mere permissiveness (see paragraph 72).

95. It is said that we live in a free society because we have a certain
number of constitutionally guaranteed rights. But these are not as important
as they seem. The degree of personal freedom that exists in a society is
determined more by the economic and technological structure of the society
than by its laws or its form of government. [16] Most of the Indian nations
of New England were monarchies, and many of the cities of the Italian
Renaissance were controlled by dictators. But in reading about these
societies one gets the impression that they allowed far more personal
freedom than out society does. In part this was because they lacked
efficient mechanisms for enforcing the ruler's will: There were no modern,
well-organized police forces, no rapid long-distance communications, no
surveillance cameras, no dossiers of information about the lives of average
citizens. Hence it was relatively easy to evade control.

96. As for our constitutional rights, consider for example that of freedom
of the press. We certainly don't mean to knock that right: it is very
important tool for limiting concentration of political power and for keeping
those who do have political power in line by publicly exposing any
misbehavior on their part. But freedom of the press is of very little use to
the average citizen as an individual. The mass media are mostly under the
control of large organizations that are integrated into the system. Anyone
who has a little money can have something printed, or can distribute it on
the Internet or in some such way, but what he has to say will be swamped by
the vast volume of material put out by the media, hence it will have no
practical effect. To make an impression on society with words is therefore
almost impossible for most individuals and small groups. Take us (FC) for
example. If we had never done anything violent and had submitted the present
writings to a publisher, they probably would not have been accepted. If they
had been accepted and published, they probably would not have attracted many
readers, because it's more fun to watch the entertainment put out by the
media than to read a sober essay. Even if these writings had had many
readers, most of these readers would soon have forgotten what they had read
as their minds were flooded by the mass of material to which the media
expose them. In order to get our message before the public with some chance
of making a lasting impression, we've had to kill people.

97. Constitutional rights are useful up to a point, but they do not serve to
guarantee much more than what could be called the bourgeois conception of
freedom. According to the bourgeois conception, a "free" man is essentially
an element of a social machine and has only a certain set of prescribed and
delimited freedoms; freedoms that are designed to serve the needs of the
social machine more than those of the individual. Thus the bourgeois's
"free" man has economic freedom because that promotes growth and progress;
he has freedom of the press because public criticism restrains misbehavior
by political leaders; he has a rights to a fair trial because imprisonment
at the whim of the powerful would be bad for the system. This was clearly
the attitude of Simon Bolivar. To him, people deserved liberty only if they
used it to promote progress (progress as conceived by the bourgeois). Other
bourgeois thinkers have taken a similar view of freedom as a mere means to
collective ends. Chester C. Tan, "Chinese Political Thought in the Twentieth
Century," page 202, explains the philosophy of the Kuomintang leader Hu
Han-min: "An individual is granted rights because he is a member of society
and his community life requires such rights. By community Hu meant the whole
society of the nation." And on page 259 Tan states that according to Carsum
Chang (Chang Chun-mai, head of the State Socialist Party in China) freedom
had to be used in the interest of the state and of the people as a whole.
But what kind of freedom does one have if one can use it only as someone
else prescribes? FC's conception of freedom is not that of Bolivar, Hu,
Chang or other bourgeois theorists. The trouble with such theorists is that
they have made the development and application of social theories their
surrogate activity. Consequently the theories are designed to serve the
needs of the theorists more than the needs of any people who may be unlucky
enough to live in a society on which the theories are imposed.

98. One more point to be made in this section: It should not be assumed that
a person has enough freedom just because he SAYS he has enough. Freedom is
restricted in part by psychological control of which people are unconscious,
and moreover many people's ideas of what constitutes freedom are governed
more by social convention than by their real needs. For example, it's likely
that many leftists of the oversocialized type would say that most people,
including themselves are socialized too little rather than too much, yet the
oversocialized leftist pays a heavy psychological price for his high level
of socialization.


99. Think of history as being the sum of two components: an erratic
component that consists of unpredictable events that follow no discernible
pattern, and a regular component that consists of long-term historical
trends. Here we are concerned with the long-term trends.

100. FIRST PRINCIPLE. If a SMALL change is made that affects a long-term
historical trend, then the effect of that change will almost always be
transitory - the trend will soon revert to its original state. (Example: A
reform movement designed to clean up political corruption in a society
rarely has more than a short-term effect; sooner or later the reformers
relax and corruption creeps back in. The level of political corruption in a
given society tends to remain constant, or to change only slowly with the
evolution of the society. Normally, a political cleanup will be permanent
only if accompanied by widespread social changes; a SMALL change in the
society won't be enough.) If a small change in a long-term historical trend
appears to be permanent, it is only because the change acts in the direction
in which the trend is already moving, so that the trend is not altered but
only pushed a step ahead.

101. The first principle is almost a tautology. If a trend were not stable
with respect to small changes, it would wander at random rather than
following a definite direction; in other words it would not be a long-term
trend at all.

102. SECOND PRINCIPLE. If a change is made that is sufficiently large to
alter permanently a long-term historical trend, than it will alter the
society as a whole. In other words, a society is a system in which all parts
are interrelated, and you can't permanently change any important part
without change all the other parts as well.

103. THIRD PRINCIPLE. If a change is made that is large enough to alter
permanently a long-term trend, then the consequences for the society as a
whole cannot be predicted in advance. (Unless various other societies have
passed through the same change and have all experienced the same
consequences, in which case one can predict on empirical grounds that
another society that passes through the same change will be like to
experience similar consequences.)

104. FOURTH PRINCIPLE. A new kind of society cannot be designed on paper.
That is, you cannot plan out a new form of society in advance, then set it
up and expect it to function as it was designed to.

105. The third and fourth principles result from the complexity of human
societies. A change in human behavior will affect the economy of a society
and its physical environment; the economy will affect the environment and
vice versa, and the changes in the economy and the environment will affect
human behavior in complex, unpredictable ways; and so forth. The network of
causes and effects is far too complex to be untangled and understood.

106. FIFTH PRINCIPLE. People do not consciously and rationally choose the
form of their society. Societies develop through processes of social
evolution that are not under rational human control.

107. The fifth principle is a consequence of the other four.

108. To illustrate: By the first principle, generally speaking an attempt at
social reform either acts in the direction in which the society is
developing anyway (so that it merely accelerates a change that would have
occurred in any case) or else it only has a transitory effect, so that the
society soon slips back into its old groove. To make a lasting change in the
direction of development of any important aspect of a society, reform is
insufficient and revolution is required. (A revolution does not necessarily
involve an armed uprising or the overthrow of a government.) By the second
principle, a revolution never changes only one aspect of a society; and by
the third principle changes occur that were never expected or desired by the
revolutionaries. By the fourth principle, when revolutionaries or utopians
set up a new kind of society, it never works out as planned.

109. The American Revolution does not provide a counterexample. The American
"Revolution" was not a revolution in our sense of the word, but a war of
independence followed by a rather far-reaching political reform. The
Founding Fathers did not change the direction of development of American
society, nor did they aspire to do so. They only freed the development of
American society from the retarding effect of British rule. Their political
reform did not change any basic trend, but only pushed American political
culture along its natural direction of development. British society, of
which American society was an off-shoot, had been moving for a long time in
the direction of representative democracy. And prior to the War of
Independence the Americans were already practicing a significant degree of
representative democracy in the colonial assemblies. The political system
established by the Constitution was modeled on the British system and on the
colonial assemblies. With major alteration, to be sure - there is no doubt
that the Founding Fathers took a very important step. But it was a step
along the road the English-speaking world was already traveling. The proof
is that Britain and all of its colonies that were populated predominantly by
people of British descent ended up with systems of representative democracy
essentially similar to that of the United States. If the Founding Fathers
had lost their nerve and declined to sign the Declaration of Independence,
our way of life today would not have been significantly different. Maybe we
would have had somewhat closer ties to Britain, and would have had a
Parliament and Prime Minister instead of a Congress and President. No big
deal. Thus the American Revolution provides not a counterexample to our
principles but a good illustration of them.

110. Still, one has to use common sense in applying the principles. They are
expressed in imprecise language that allows latitude for interpretation, and
exceptions to them can be found. So we present these principles not as
inviolable laws but as rules of thumb, or guides to thinking, that may
provide a partial antidote to naive ideas about the future of society. The
principles should be borne constantly in mind, and whenever one reaches a
conclusion that conflicts with them one should carefully reexamine one's
thinking and retain the conclusion only if one has good, solid reasons for
doing so.


111. The foregoing principles help to show how hopelessly difficult it would
be to reform the industrial system in such a way as to prevent it from
progressively narrowing our sphere of freedom. There has been a consistent
tendency, going back at least to the Industrial Revolution for technology to
strengthen the system at a high cost in individual freedom and local
autonomy. Hence any change designed to protect freedom from technology would
be contrary to a fundamental trend in the development of our society.

Consequently, such a change either would be a transitory one -- soon swamped
by the tide of history -- or, if large enough to be permanent would alter
the nature of our whole society. This by the first and second principles.
Moreover, since society would be altered in a way that could not be
predicted in advance (third principle) there would be great risk. Changes
large enough to make a lasting difference in favor of freedom would not be
initiated because it would realized that they would gravely disrupt the
system. So any attempts at reform would be too timid to be effective. Even
if changes large enough to make a lasting difference were initiated, they
would be retracted when their disruptive effects became apparent. Thus,
permanent changes in favor of freedom could be brought about only by persons
prepared to accept radical, dangerous and unpredictable alteration of the
entire system. In other words, by revolutionaries, not reformers.

112. People anxious to rescue freedom without sacrificing the supposed
benefits of technology will suggest naive schemes for some new form of
society that would reconcile freedom with technology. Apart from the fact
that people who make suggestions seldom propose any practical means by which
the new form of society could be set up in the first place, it follows from
the fourth principle that even if the new form of society could be once
established, it either would collapse or would give results very different
from those expected.

113. So even on very general grounds it seems highly improbably that any way
of changing society could be found that would reconcile freedom with modern
technology. In the next few sections we will give more specific reasons for
concluding that freedom and technological progress are incompatible.


114. As explained in paragraph 65-67, 70-73, modern man is strapped down by
a network of rules and regulations, and his fate depends on the actions of
persons remote from him whose decisions he cannot influence. This is not
accidental or a result of the arbitrariness of arrogant bureaucrats. It is
necessary and inevitable in any technologically advanced society. The system
HAS TO regulate human behavior closely in order to function. At work, people
have to do what they are told to do, otherwise production would be thrown
into chaos. Bureaucracies HAVE TO be run according to rigid rules. To allow
any substantial personal discretion to lower-level bureaucrats would disrupt
the system and lead to charges of unfairness due to differences in the way
individual bureaucrats exercised their discretion. It is true that some
restrictions on our freedom could be eliminated, but GENERALLY SPEAKING the
regulation of our lives by large organizations is necessary for the
functioning of industrial-technological society. The result is a sense of
powerlessness on the part of the average person. It may be, however, that
formal regulations will tend increasingly to be replaced by psychological
tools that make us want to do what the system requires of us. (Propaganda
[14], educational techniques, "mental health" programs, etc.)

115. The system HAS TO force people to behave in ways that are increasingly
remote from the natural pattern of human behavior. For example, the system
needs scientists, mathematicians and engineers. It can't function without
them. So heavy pressure is put on children to excel in these fields. It
isn't natural for an adolescent human being to spend the bulk of his time
sitting at a desk absorbed in study. A normal adolescent wants to spend his
time in active contact with the real world. Among primitive peoples the
things that children are trained to do are in natural harmony with natural
human impulses. Among the American Indians, for example, boys were trained
in active outdoor pursuits -- just the sort of things that boys like. But in
our society children are pushed into studying technical subjects, which most
do grudgingly.

116. Because of the constant pressure that the system exerts to modify human
behavior, there is a gradual increase in the number of people who cannot or
will not adjust to society's requirements: welfare leeches, youth-gang
members, cultists, anti-government rebels, radical environmentalist
saboteurs, dropouts and resisters of various kinds.

117. In any technologically advanced society the individual's fate MUST
depend on decisions that he personally cannot influence to any great extent.
A technological society cannot be broken down into small, autonomous
communities, because production depends on the cooperation of very large
numbers of people and machines. Such a society MUST be highly organized and
decisions HAVE TO be made that affect very large numbers of people. When a
decision affects, say, a million people, then each of the affected
individuals has, on the average, only a one-millionth share in making the
decision. What usually happens in practice is that decisions are made by
public officials or corporation executives, or by technical specialists, but
even when the public votes on a decision the number of voters ordinarily is
too large for the vote of any one individual to be significant. [17] Thus
most individuals are unable to influence measurably the major decisions that
affect their lives. Their is no conceivable way to remedy this in a
technologically advanced society. The system tries to "solve" this problem
by using propaganda to make people WANT the decisions that have been made
for them, but even if this "solution" were completely successful in making
people feel better, it would be demeaning.

118 Conservatives and some others advocate more "local autonomy." Local
communities once did have autonomy, but such autonomy becomes less and less
possible as local communities become more enmeshed with and dependent on
large-scale systems like public utilities, computer networks, highway
systems, the mass communications media, the modern health care system. Also
operating against autonomy is the fact that technology applied in one
location often affects people at other locations far away. Thus pesticide or
chemical use near a creek may contaminate the water supply hundreds of miles
downstream, and the greenhouse effect affects the whole world.

119. The system does not and cannot exist to satisfy human needs. Instead,
it is human behavior that has to be modified to fit the needs of the system.
This has nothing to do with the political or social ideology that may
pretend to guide the technological system. It is the fault of technology,
because the system is guided not by ideology but by technical necessity.
[18] Of course the system does satisfy many human needs, but generally
speaking it does this only to the extent that it is to the advantage of the
system to do it. It is the needs of the system that are paramount, not those
of the human being. For example, the system provides people with food
because the system couldn't function if everyone starved; it attends to
people's psychological needs whenever it can CONVENIENTLY do so, because it
couldn't function if too many people became depressed or rebellious. But the
system, for good, solid, practical reasons, must exert constant pressure on
people to mold their behavior to the needs of the system. Too much waste
accumulating? The government, the media, the educational system,
environmentalists, everyone inundates us with a mass of propaganda about
recycling. Need more technical personnel? A chorus of voices exhorts kids to
study science. No one stops to ask whether it is inhumane to force
adolescents to spend the bulk of their time studying subjects most of them
hate. When skilled workers are put out of a job by technical advances and
have to undergo "retraining," no one asks whether it is humiliating for them
to be pushed around in this way. It is simply taken for granted that
everyone must bow to technical necessity and for good reason: If human needs
were put before technical necessity there would be economic problems,
unemployment, shortages or worse. The concept of "mental health" in our
society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in
accord with the needs of the system and does so without showing signs of

120. Efforts to make room for a sense of purpose and for autonomy within the
system are no better than a joke. For example, one company, instead of
having each of its employees assemble only one section of a catalogue, had
each assemble a whole catalogue, and this was supposed to give them a sense
of purpose and achievement. Some companies have tried to give their
employees more autonomy in their work, but for practical reasons this
usually can be done only to a very limited extent, and in any case employees
are never given autonomy as to ultimate goals -- their "autonomous" efforts
can never be directed toward goals that they select personally, but only
toward their employer's goals, such as the survival and growth of the
company. Any company would soon go out of business if it permitted its
employees to act otherwise. Similarly, in any enterprise within a socialist
system, workers must direct their efforts toward the goals of the
enterprise, otherwise the enterprise will not serve its purpose as part of
the system. Once again, for purely technical reasons it is not possible for
most individuals or small groups to have much autonomy in industrial
society. Even the small-business owner commonly has only limited autonomy.
Apart from the necessity of government regulation, he is restricted by the
fact that he must fit into the economic system and conform to its
requirements. For instance, when someone develops a new technology, the
small-business person often has to use that technology whether he wants to
or not, in order to remain competitive.


121. A further reason why industrial society cannot be reformed in favor of
freedom is that modern technology is a unified system in which all parts are
dependent on one another. You can't get rid of the "bad" parts of technology
and retain only the "good" parts. Take modern medicine, for example.
Progress in medical science depends on progress in chemistry, physics,
biology, computer science and other fields. Advanced medical treatments
require expensive, high-tech equipment that can be made available only by a
technologically progressive, economically rich society. Clearly you can't
have much progress in medicine without the whole technological system and
everything that goes with it.

122. Even if medical progress could be maintained without the rest of the
technological system, it would by itself bring certain evils. Suppose for
example that a cure for diabetes is discovered. People with a genetic
tendency to diabetes will then be able to survive and reproduce as well as
anyone else. Natural selection against genes for diabetes will cease and
such genes will spread throughout the population. (This may be occurring to
some extent already, since diabetes, while not curable, can be controlled
through the use of insulin.) The same thing will happen with many other
diseases susceptibility to which is affected by genetic degradation of the
population. The only solution will be some sort of eugenics program or
extensive genetic engineering of human beings, so that man in the future
will no longer be a creation of nature, or of chance, or of God (depending
on your religious or philosophical opinions), but a manufactured product.

123. If you think that big government interferes in your life too much NOW,
just wait till the government starts regulating the genetic constitution of
your children. Such regulation will inevitably follow the introduction of
genetic engineering of human beings, because the consequences of unregulated
genetic engineering would be disastrous. [19]

124. The usual response to such concerns is to talk about "medical ethics."
But a code of ethics would not serve to protect freedom in the face of
medical progress; it would only make matters worse. A code of ethics
applicable to genetic engineering would be in effect a means of regulating
the genetic constitution of human beings. Somebody (probably the
upper-middle class, mostly) would decide that such and such applications of
genetic engineering were "ethical" and others were not, so that in effect
they would be imposing their own values on the genetic constitution of the
population at large. Even if a code of ethics were chosen on a completely
democratic basis, the majority would be imposing their own values on any
minorities who might have a different idea of what constituted an "ethical"
use of genetic engineering. The only code of ethics that would truly protect
freedom would be one that prohibited ANY genetic engineering of human
beings, and you can be sure that no such code will ever be applied in a
technological society. No code that reduced genetic engineering to a minor
role could stand up for long, because the temptation presented by the
immense power of biotechnology would be irresistible, especially since to
the majority of people many of its applications will seem obviously and
unequivocally good (eliminating physical and mental diseases, giving people
the abilities they need to get along in today's world). Inevitably, genetic
engineering will be used extensively, but only in ways consistent with the
needs of the industrial-technological system. [20]


125. It is not possible to make a LASTING compromise between technology and
freedom, because technology is by far the more powerful social force and
continually encroaches on freedom through REPEATED compromises. Imagine the
case of two neighbors, each of whom at the outset owns the same amount of
land, but one of whom is more powerful than the other. The powerful one
demands a piece of the other's land. The weak one refuses. The powerful one
says, "OK, let's compromise. Give me half of what I asked." The weak one has
little choice but to give in. Some time later the powerful neighbor demands
another piece of land, again there is a compromise, and so forth. By forcing
a long series of compromises on the weaker man, the powerful one eventually
gets all of his land. So it goes in the conflict between technology and

126. Let us explain why technology is a more powerful social force than the
aspiration for freedom.

127. A technological advance that appears not to threaten freedom often
turns out to threaten freedom often turns out to threaten it very seriously
later on. For example, consider motorized transport. A walking man formerly
could go where he pleased, go at his own pace without observing any traffic
regulations, and was independent of technological support-systems. When
motor vehicles were introduced they appeared to increase man's freedom. They
took no freedom away from the walking man, no one had to have an automobile
if he didn't want one, and anyone who did choose to buy an automobile could
travel much faster than the walking man. But the introduction of motorized
transport soon changed society in such a way as to restrict greatly man's
freedom of locomotion. When automobiles became numerous, it became necessary
to regulate their use extensively. In a car, especially in densely populated
areas, one cannot just go where one likes at one's own pace one's movement
is governed by the flow of traffic and by various traffic laws. One is tied
down by various obligations: license requirements, driver test, renewing
registration, insurance, maintenance required for safety, monthly payments
on purchase price. Moreover, the use of motorized transport is no longer
optional. Since the introduction of motorized transport the arrangement of
our cities has changed in such a way that the majority of people no longer
live within walking distance of their place of employment, shopping areas
and recreational opportunities, so that they HAVE TO depend on the
automobile for transportation. Or else they must use public transportation,
in which case they have even less control over their own movement than when
driving a car. Even the walker's freedom is now greatly restricted. In the
city he continually has to stop and wait for traffic lights that are
designed mainly to serve auto traffic. In the country, motor traffic makes
it dangerous and unpleasant to walk along the highway. (Note the important
point we have illustrated with the case of motorized transport: When a new
item of technology is introduced as an option that an individual can accept
or not as he chooses, it does not necessarily REMAIN optional. In many cases
the new technology changes society in such a way that people eventually find
themselves FORCED to use it.)

128. While technological progress AS A WHOLE continually narrows our sphere
of freedom, each new technical advance CONSIDERED BY ITSELF appears to be
desirable. Electricity, indoor plumbing, rapid long-distance communications
. . . how could one argue against any of these things, or against any other
of the innumerable technical advances that have made modern society? It
would have been absurd to resist the introduction of the telephone, for
example. It offered many advantages and no disadvantages. Yet as we
explained in paragraphs 59-76, all these technical advances taken together
have created world in which the average man's fate is no longer in his own
hands or in the hands of his neighbors and friends, but in those of
politicians, corporation executives and remote, anonymous technicians and
bureaucrats whom he as an individual has no power to influence. [21] The
same process will continue in the future. Take genetic engineering, for
example. Few people will resist the introduction of a genetic technique that
eliminates a hereditary disease It does no apparent harm and prevents much
suffering. Yet a large number of genetic improvements taken together will
make the human being into an engineered product rather than a free creation
of chance (or of God, or whatever, depending on your religious beliefs).

129 Another reason why technology is such a powerful social force is that,
within the context of a given society, technological progress marches in
only one direction; it can never be reversed. Once a technical innovation
has been introduced, people usually become dependent on it, unless it is
replaced by some still more advanced innovation. Not only do people become
dependent as individuals on a new item of technology, but, even more, the
system as a whole becomes dependent on it. (Imagine what would happen to the
system today if computers, for example, were eliminated.) Thus the system
can move in only one direction, toward greater technologization. Technology
repeatedly forces freedom to take a step back -- short of the overthrow of
the whole technological system.

130. Technology advances with great rapidity and threatens freedom at many
different points at the same time (crowding, rules and regulations,
increasing dependence of individuals on large organizations, propaganda and
other psychological techniques, genetic engineering, invasion of privacy
through surveillance devices and computers, etc.) To hold back any ONE of
the threats to freedom would require a long different social struggle. Those
who want to protect freedom are overwhelmed by the sheer number of new
attacks and the rapidity with which they develop, hence they become pathetic
and no longer resist. To fight each of the threats separately would be
futile. Success can be hoped for only by fighting the technological system
as a whole; but that is revolution not reform.

131. Technicians (we use this term in its broad sense to describe all those
who perform a specialized task that requires training) tend to be so
involved in their work (their surrogate activity) that when a conflict
arises between their technical work and freedom, they almost always decide
in favor of their technical work. This is obvious in the case of scientists,
but it also appears elsewhere: Educators, humanitarian groups, conservation
organizations do not hesitate to use propaganda or other psychological
techniques to help them achieve their laudable ends. Corporations and
government agencies, when they find it useful, do not hesitate to collect
information about individuals without regard to their privacy. Law
enforcement agencies are frequently inconvenienced by the constitutional
rights of suspects and often of completely innocent persons, and they do
whatever they can do legally (or sometimes illegally) to restrict or
circumvent those rights. Most of these educators, government officials and
law officers believe in freedom, privacy and constitutional rights, but when
these conflict with their work, they usually feel that their work is more

132. It is well known that people generally work better and more
persistently when striving for a reward than when attempting to avoid a
punishment or negative outcome. Scientists and other technicians are
motivated mainly by the rewards they get through their work. But those who
oppose technilogiccal invasions of freedom are working to avoid a negative
outcome, consequently there are a few who work persistently and well at this
discouraging task. If reformers ever achieved a signal victory that seemed
to set up a solid barrier against further erosion of freedom through
technological progress, most would tend to relax and turn their attention to
more agreeable pursuits. But the scientists would remain busy in their
laboratories, and technology as it progresses would find ways, in spite of
any barriers, to exert more and more control over individuals and make them
always more dependent on the system.

133. No social arrangements, whether laws, institutions, customs or ethical
codes, can provide permanent protection against technology. History shows
that all social arrangements are transitory; they all change or break down
eventually. But technological advances are permanent within the context of a
given civilization. Suppose for example that it were possible to arrive at
some social arrangements that would prevent genetic engineering from being
applied to human beings, or prevent it from being applied in such a ways as
to threaten freedom and dignity. Still, the technology would remain waiting.
Sooner or later the social arrangement would break down. Probably sooner,
given that pace of change in our society. Then genetic engineering would
begin to invade our sphere of freedom, and this invasion would be
irreversible (short of a breakdown of technological civilization itself).
Any illusions about achieving anything permanent through social arrangements
should be dispelled by what is currently happening with environmental
legislation. A few years ago it seemed that there were secure legal barriers
preventing at least SOME of the worst forms of environmental degradation. A
change in the political wind, and those barriers begin to crumble.

134. For all of the foregoing reasons, technology is a more powerful social
force than the aspiration for freedom. But this statement requires an
important qualification. It appears that during the next several decades the
industrial-technological system will be undergoing severe stresses due to
economic and environmental problems, and especially due to problems of human
behavior (alienation, rebellion, hostility, a variety of social and
psychological difficulties). We hope that the stresses through which the
system is likely to pass will cause it to break down, or at least weaken it
sufficiently so that a revolution occurs and is successful, then at that
particular moment the aspiration for freedom will have proved more powerful
than technology.

135. In paragraph 125 we used an analogy of a weak neighbor who is left
destitute by a strong neighbor who takes all his land by forcing on him a
series of compromises. But suppose now that the strong neighbor gets sick,
so that he is unable to defend himself. The weak neighbor can force the
strong one to give him his land back, or he can kill him. If he lets the
strong man survive and only forces him to give his land back, he is a fool,
because when the strong man gets well he will again take all the land for
himself. The only sensible alternative for the weaker man is to kill the
strong one while he has the chance. In the same way, while the industrial
system is sick we must destroy it. If we compromise with it and let it
recover from its sickness, it will eventually wipe out all of our freedom.


136. If anyone still imagines that it would be possible to reform the system
in such a way as to protect freedom from technology, let him consider how
clumsily and for the most part unsuccessfully our society has dealt with
other social problems that are far more simple and straightforward. Among
other things, the system has failed to stop environmental degradation,
political corruption, drug trafficking or domestic abuse.

137. Take our environmental problems, for example. Here the conflict of
values is straightforward: economic expedience now versus saving some of our
natural resources for our grandchildren [22] But on this subject we get only
a lot of blather and obfuscation from the people who have power, and nothing
like a clear, consistent line of action, and we keep on piling up
environmental problems that our grandchildren will have to live with.
Attempts to resolve the environmental issue consist of struggles and
compromises between different factions, some of which are ascendant at one
moment, others at another moment. The line of struggle changes with the
shifting currents of public opinion. This is not a rational process, or is
it one that is likely to lead to a timely and successful solution to the
problem. Major social problems, if they get "solved" at all, are rarely or
never solved through any rational, comprehensive plan. They just work
themselves out through a process in which various competing groups pursing
their own usually short-term) self-interest [23] arrive (mainly by luck) at
some more or less stable modus vivendi. In fact, the principles we
formulated in paragraphs 100-106 make it seem doubtful that rational,
long-term social planning can EVER be successful. 138. Thus it is clear that
the human race has at best a very limited capacity for solving even
relatively straightforward social problems. How then is it going to solve
the far more difficult and subtle problem of reconciling freedom with
technology? Technology presents clear-cut material advantages, whereas
freedom is an abstraction that means different things to different people,
and its loss is easily obscured by propaganda and fancy talk.

139. And note this important difference: It is conceivable that our
environmental problems (for example) may some day be settled through a
rational, comprehensive plan, but if this happens it will be only because it
is in the long-term interest of the system to solve these problems. But it
is NOT in the interest of the system to preserve freedom or small-group
autonomy. On the contrary, it is in the interest of the system to bring
human behavior under control to the greatest possible extent. <24> Thus,
while practical considerations may eventually force the system to take a
rational, prudent approach to environmental problems, equally practical
considerations will force the system to regulate human behavior ever more
closely (preferably by indirect means that will disguise the encroachment on
freedom.) This isn't just our opinion. Eminent social scientists (e.g. James
Q. Wilson) have stressed the importance of "socializing" people more


140. We hope we have convinced the reader that the system cannot be reformed
in a such a way as to reconcile freedom with technology. The only way out is
to dispense with the industrial-technological system altogether. This
implies revolution, not necessarily an armed uprising, but certainly a
radical and fundamental change in the nature of society.

141. People tend to assume that because a revolution involves a much greater
change than reform does, it is more difficult to bring about than reform is.
Actually, under certain circumstances revolution is much easier than reform.
The reason is that a revolutionary movement can inspire an intensity of
commitment that a reform movement cannot inspire. A reform movement merely
offers to solve a particular social problem A revolutionary movement offers
to solve all problems at one stroke and create a whole new world; it
provides the kind of ideal for which people will take great risks and make
great sacrifices. For this reasons it would be much easier to overthrow the
whole technological system than to put effective, permanent restraints on
the development of application of any one segment of technology, such as
genetic engineering, but under suitable conditions large numbers of people
may devote themselves passionately to a revolution against the
industrial-technological system. As we noted in paragraph 132, reformers
seeking to limite certain aspects of technology would be working to avoid a
negative outcome. But revolutionaries work to gain a powerful reward --
fulfillment of their revolutionary vision -- and therefore work harder and
more persistently than reformers do.

142. Reform is always restrainde by the fear of painful consequences if
changes go too far. But once a revolutionary fever has taken hold of a
society, people are willing to undergo unlimited hardships for the sake of
their revolution. This was clearly shown in the French and Russian
Revolutions. It may be that in such cases only a minority of the population
is really committed to the revolution, but this minority is sufficiently
large and active so that it becomes the dominant force in society. We will
have more to say about revolution in paragraphs 180-205.


143. Since the beginning of civilization, organized societies have had to
put pressures on human beings of the sake of the functioning of the social
organism. The kinds of pressures vary greatly from one society to another.
Some of the pressures are physical (poor diet, excessive labor,
environmental pollution), some are psychological (noise, crowding, forcing
humans behavior into the mold that society requires). In the past, human
nature has been approximately constant, or at any rate has varied only
within certain bounds. Consequently, societies have been able to push people
only up to certain limits. When the limit of human endurance has been
passed, things start going rong: rebellion, or crime, or corruption, or
evasion of work, or depression and other mental problems, or an elevated
death rate, or a declining birth rate or something else, so that either the
society breaks down, or its functioning becomes too inefficient and it is
(quickly or gradually, through conquest, attrition or evolution) replaces by
some more efficient form of society.


144. Thus human nature has in the past put certain limits on the development
of societies. People coud be pushed only so far and no farther. But today
this may be changing, because modern technology is developing way of
modifying human beings.

145. Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that amke them
terribley unhappy, then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness.
Science fiction? It is already happening to some extent in our own society.
It is well known that the rate of clinical depression had been greatly
increasing in recent decades. We believe that this is due to disruption fo
the power process, as explained in paragraphs 59-76. But even if we are
wrong, the increasing rate of depression is certainly the result of SOME
conditions that exist in today's society. Instead of removing the conditions
that make people depressed, modern society gives them antidepressant drugs.
In effect, antidepressants area a means of modifying an individual's
internal state in such a way as to enable him to toelrate social conditions
that he would otherwise find intolerable. (Yes, we know that depression is
often of purely genetic origin. We are referring here to those cases in
which environment plays the predominant role.)

146. Drugs that affect the mind are only one example of the methods of
controlling human behavior that modern society is developing. Let us look at
some of the other methods.

147. To start with, there are the techniques of surveillance. Hidden video
cameras are now used in most stores and in many other places, computers are
used to collect and process vast amounts of information about individuals.
Information so obtained greatly increases the effectiveness of physical
coercion (i.e., law enforcement).[26] Then there are the methods of
propaganda, for which the mass communication media provide effective
vehicles. Efficient techniques have been developed for winning elections,
selling products, influencing public opinion. The entertainment industry
serves as an important psychological tool of the system, possibly even when
it is dishing out large amounts of sex and violence. Entertainment provides
modern man with an essential means of escape. While absorbed in television,
videos, etc., he can forget stress, anxiety, frustration, dissatisfaction.
Many primitive peoples, when they don't have work to do, are quite content
to sit for hours at a time doing nothing at all, because they are at peace
with themselves and their world. But most modern people must be contantly
occupied or entertained, otherwise the get "bored," i.e., they get fidgety,
uneasy, irritable.

148. Other techniques strike deeper that the foregoing. Education is no
longer a simple affair of paddling a kid's behind when he doesn't know his
lessons and patting him on the head when he does know them. It is becoming a
scientific technique for controlling the child's development. Sylvan
Learning Centers, for example, have had great success in motivating children
to study, and psychological techniques are also used with more or less
success in many conventional schools. "Parenting" techniques that are taught
to parents are designed to make children accept fundamental values of the
system and behave in ways that the system finds desirable. "Mental health"
programs, "intervention" techniques, psychotherapy and so forth are
ostensibly designed to benefit individuals, but in practice they usually
serve as methods for inducing individuals to think and behave as the system
requires. (There is no contradiction here; an individual whose attitudes or
behavior bring him into conflict with the system is up against a force that
is too powerful for him to conquer or escape from, hence he is likely to
suffer from stress, frustration, defeat. His path will be much easier if he
thinks and behaves as the system requires. In that sense the system is
acting for the benefit of the individual when it brainwashes him into
conformity.) Child abuse in its gross and obvious forms is disapproved in
most if not all cultures. Tormenting a child for a trivial reason or no
reason at all is something that appalls almost everyone. But many
psychologists interpret the concept of abuse much more broadly. Is spanking,
when used as part of a rational and consistent system of discipline, a form
of abuse? The question will ultimately be decided by whether or not spanking
tends to produce behavior that makes a person fit in well with the existing
system of society. In practice, the word "abuse" tends to be interpreted to
include any method of child-rearing that produces behavior inconvenient for
the system. Thus, when they go beyond the prevention of obvious, senseless
cruelty, programs for preventing "child abuse" are directed toward the
control of human behavior of the system.

149. Presumably, research will continue to increas the effectiveness of
psychological techniques for controlling human behavior. But we think it is
unlikely that psychological techniques alone will be sufficient to adjust
human beings to the kind of society that technology is creating. Biological
methods probably will have to be used. We have already mentiond the use of
drugs in this connection. Neurology may provide other avenues of modifying
the human mind. Genetic engineering of human beings is already beginning to
occur in the form of "gene therapy," and there is no reason to assume the
such methods will not eventually be used to modify those aspects of the body
that affect mental funtioning.

150. As we mentioned in paragraph 134, industrial society seems likely to be
entering a period of severe stress, due in part to problems of human
behavior and in part to economic and environmental problems. And a
considerable proportion of the system's economic and environmental problems
result from the way human beings behave. Alienation, low self-esteem,
depression, hostility, rebellion; children who won't study, youth gangs,
illegal drug use, rape, child abuse , other crimes, unsafe sex, teen
pregnancy, population growth, political corruption, race hatred, ethnic
rivalry, bitter ideological conflict (i.e., pro-choice vs. pro-life),
political extremism, terrorism, sabotage, anti-government groups, hate
groups. All these threaten the very survival of the system. The system will
be FORCED to use every practical means of controlling human behavior.

151. The social disruption that we see today is certainly not the result of
mere chance. It can only be a result fo the conditions of life that the
system imposes on people. (We have argued that the most important of these
conditions is disruption of the power process.) If the systems succeeds in
imposing sufficient control over human behavior to assure itw own survival,
a new watershed in human history will have passed. Whereas formerly the
limits of human endurance have imposed limits on the development of
societies (as we explained in paragraphs 143, 144), industrial-technological
society will be able to pass those limits by modifying human beings, whether
by psychological methods or biological methods or both. In the future,
social systems will not be adjusted to suit the needs of human beings.
Instead, human being will be adjusted to suit the needs of the system.

[27] 152. Generally speaking, technological control over human behavior will
probably not be introduced with a totalitarian intention or even through a
conscious desire to restrict human freedom. [28] Each new step in the
assertion of control over the human mind will be taken as a rational
response to a problem that faces society, such as curing alcoholism,
reducing the crime rate or inducing young people to study science and
engineering. In many cases, there will be humanitarian justification. For
example, when a psychiatrist prescribes an anti-depressant for a depressed
patient, he is clearly doing that individual a favor. It would be inhumane
to withhold the drug from someone who needs it. When parents send their
children to Sylvan Learning Centers to have them manipulated into becoming
enthusiastic about their studies, they do so from concern for their
children's welfare. It may be that some of these parents wish that one
didn't have to have specialized training to get a job and that their kid
didn't have to be brainwashed into becoming a computer nerd. But what can
they do? They can't change society, and their child may be unemployable if
he doesn't have certain skills. So they send him to Sylvan.

153. Thus control over human behavior will be introduced not by a calculated
decision of the authorities but through a process of social evolution (RAPID
evolution, however). The process will be impossible to resist, because each
advance, considered by itself, will appear to be beneficial, or at least the
evil involved in making the advance will appear to be beneficial, or at
least the evil involved in making the advance will seem to be less than that
which would result from not making it (see paragraph 127). Propaganda for
example is used for many good purposes, such as discouraging child abuse or
race hatred. [14] Sex education is obviously useful, yet the effect of sex
education (to the extent that it is successful) is to take the shaping of
sexual attitudes away from the family and put it into the hands of the state
as represented by the public school system.

154. Suppose a biological trait is discovered that increases the likelihood
that a child will grow up to be a criminal and suppose some sort of gene
therapy can remove this trait. [29] Of course most parents whose children
possess the trait will have them undergo the therapy. It would be inhumane
to do otherwise, since the child would probably have a miserable life if he
grew up to be a criminal. But many or most primitive societies have a low
crime rate in comparison with that of our society, even though they have
neither high-tech methods of child-rearing nor harsh systems of punishment.
Since there is no reason to suppose that more modern men than primitive men
have innate predatory tendencies, the high crime rate of our society must be
due to the pressures that modern conditions put on people, to which many
cannot or will not adjust. Thus a treatment designed to remove potential
criminal tendencies is at least in part a way of re-engineering people so
that they suit the requirements of the system.

155. Our society tends to regard as a "sickness" any mode of thought or
behavior that is inconvenient for the system, and this is plausible because
when an individual doesn't fit into the system it causes pain to the
individual as well as problems for the system. Thus the manipulation of an
individual to adjust him to the system is seen as a "cure" for a "sickness"
and therefore as good.

156. In paragraph 127 we pointed out that if the use of a new item of
technology is INITIALLY optional, it does not necessarily REMAIN optional,
because the new technology tends to change society in such a way that it
becomes difficult or impossible for an individual to function without using
that technology. This applies also to the technology of human behavior. In a
world in which most children are put through a program to make them
enthusiastic about studying, a parent will almost be forced to put his kid
through such a program, because if he does not, then the kid will grow up to
be, comparatively speaking, an ignoramus and therefore unemployable. Or
suppose a biological treatment is discovered that, without undesirable
side-effects, will greatly reduce the psychological stress from which so
many people suffer in our society. If large numbers of people choose to
undergo the treatment, then the general level of stress in society will be
reduced, so that it will be possible for the system to increase the
stress-producing pressures. In fact, something like this seems to have
happened already with one of our society's most important psychological
tools for enabling people to reduce (or at least temporarily escape from)
stress, namely, mass entertainment (see paragraph 147). Our use of mass
entertainment is "optional": No law requires us to watch television, listen
to the radio, read magazines. Yet mass entertainment is a means of escape
and stress-reduction on which most of us have become dependent. Everyone
complains about the trashiness of television, but almost everyone watches
it. A few have kicked the TV habit, but it would be a rare person who could
get along today without using ANY form of mass entertainment. (Yet until
quite recently in human history most people got along very nicely with no
other entertainment than that which each local community created for
itself.) Without the entertainment industry the system probably would not
have been able to get away with putting as much stress-producing pressure on
us as it does.

157. Assuming that industrial society survives, it is likely that technology
will eventually acquire something approaching complete control over human
behavior. It has been established beyond any rational doubt that human
thought and behavior have a largely biological basis. As experimenters have
demonstrated, feelings such as hunger, pleasure, anger and fear can be
turned on and off by electrical stimulation of appropriate parts of the
brain. Memories can be destroyed by damaging parts of the brain or they can
be brought to the surface by electrical stimulation. Hallucinations can be
induced or moods changed by drugs. There may or may not be an immaterial
human soul, but if there is one it clearly is less powerful that the
biological mechanisms of human behavior. For if that were not the case then
researchers would not be able so easily to manipulate human feelings and
behavior with drugs and electrical currents.

158. It presumably would be impractical for all people to have electrodes
inserted in their heads so that they could be controlled by the authorities.
But the fact that human thoughts and feelings are so open to biological
intervention shows that the problem of controlling human behavior is mainly
a technical problem; a problem of neurons, hormones and complex molecules;
the kind of problem that is accessible to scientific attack. Given the
outstanding record of our society in solving technical problems, it is
overwhelmingly probable that great advances will be made in the control of
human behavior.

159. Will public resistance prevent the introduction of technological
control of human behavior? It certainly would if an attempt were made to
introduce such control all at once. But since technological control will be
introduced through a long sequence of small advances, there will be no
rational and effective public resistance. (See paragraphs 127,132, 153.)

160. To those who think that all this sounds like science fiction, we point
out that yesterday's science fiction is today's fact. The Industrial
Revolution has radically altered man's environment and way of life, and it
is only to be expected that as technology is increasingly applied to the
human body and mind, man himself will be altered as radically as his
environment and way of life have been.


161. But we have gotten ahead of our story. It is one thing to develop in
the laboratory a series of psychological or biological techniques for
manipulating human behavior and quite another to integrate these techniques
into a functioning social system. The latter problem is the more difficult
of the two. For example, while the techniques of educational psychology
doubtless work quite well in the "lab schools" where they are developed, it
is not necessarily easy to apply them effectively throughout our educational
system. We all know what many of our schools are like. The teachers are too
busy taking knives and guns away from the kids to subject them to the latest
techniques for making them into computer nerds. Thus, in spite of all its
technical advances relating to human behavior the system to date has not
been impressively successful in controlling human beings. The people whose
behavior is fairly well under the control of the system are those of the
type that might be called "bourgeois." But there are growing numbers of
people who in one way or another are rebels against the system: welfare
leaches, youth gangs cultists, satanists, nazis, radical environmentalists,
militiamen, etc..

162. The system is currently engaged in a desperate struggle to overcome
certain problems that threaten its survival, among which the problems of
human behavior are the most important. If the system succeeds in acquiring
sufficient control over human behavior quickly enough, it will probably
survive. Otherwise it will break down. We think the issue will most likely
be resolved within the next several decades, say 40 to 100 years.

163. Suppose the system survives the crisis of the next several decades. By
that time it will have to have solved, or at least brought under control,
the principal problems that confront it, in particular that of "socializing"
human beings; that is, making people sufficiently docile so that their
behavior no longer threatens the system. That being accomplished, it does
not appear that there would be any further obstacle to the development of
technology, and it would presumably advance toward its logical conclusion,
which is complete control over everything on Earth, including human beings
and all other important organisms. The system may become a unitary,
monolithic organization, or it may be more or less fragmented and consist of
a number of organizations coexisting in a relationship that includes
elements of both cooperation and competition, just as today the government,
the corporations and other large organizations both cooperate and compete
with one another. Human freedom mostly will have vanished, because
individuals and small groups will be impotent vis-a-vis large organizations
armed with supertechnology and an arsenal of advanced psychological and
biological tools for manipulating human beings, besides instruments of
surveillance and physical coercion. Only a small number of people will have
any real power, and even these probably will have only very limited freedom,
because their behavior too will be regulated; just as today our politicians
and corporation executives can retain their positions of power only as long
as their behavior remains within certain fairly narrow limits.

164. Don't imagine that the systems will stop developing further techniques
for controlling human beings and nature once the crisis of the next few
decades is over and increasing control is no longer necessary for the
system's survival. On the contrary, once the hard times are over the system
will increase its control over people and nature more rapidly, because it
will no longer be hampered by difficulties of the kind that it is currently
experiencing. Survival is not the principal motive for extending control. As
we explained in paragraphs 87-90, technicians and scientists carry on their
work largely as a surrogate activity; that is, they satisfy their need for
power by solving technical problems. They will continue to do this with
unabated enthusiasm, and among the most interesting and challenging problems
for them to solve will be those of understanding the human body and mind and
intervening in their development. For the "good of humanity," of course.

165. But suppose on the other hand that the stresses of the coming decades
prove to be too much for the system. If the system breaks down there may be
a period of chaos, a "time of troubles" such as those that history has
recorded: at various epochs in the past. It is impossible to predict what
would emerge from such a time of troubles, but at any rate the human race
would be given a new chance. The greatest danger is that industrial society
may begin to reconstitute itself within the first few years after the
breakdown. Certainly there will be many people (power-hungry types
especially) who will be anxious to get the factories running again.

166. Therefore two tasks confront those who hate the servitude to which the
industrial system is reducing the human race. First, we must work to
heighten the social stresses within the system so as to increase the
likelihood that it will break down or be weakened sufficiently so that a
revolution against it becomes possible. Second, it is necessary to develop
and propagate an ideology that opposes technology and the industrial society
if and when the system becomes sufficiently weakened. And such an ideology
will help to assure that, if and when industrial society breaks down, its
remnants will be smashed beyond repair, so that the system cannot be
reconstituted. The factories should be destroyed, technical books burned,


167. The industrial system will not break down purely as a result of
revolutionary action. It will not be vulnerable to revolutionary attack
unless its own internal problems of development lead it into very serious
difficulties. So if the system breaks down it will do so either
spontaneously, or through a process that is in part spontaneous but helped
along by revolutionaries. If the breakdown is sudden, many people will die,
since the world's population has become so overblown that it cannot even
feed itself any longer without advanced technology. Even if the breakdown is
gradual enough so that reduction of the population can occur more through
lowering of the birth rate than through elevation of the death rate, the
process of de-industrialization probably will be very chaotic and involve
much suffering. It is naive to think it likely that technology can be phased
out in a smoothly managed orderly way, especially since the technophiles
will fight stubbornly at every step. Is it therefore cruel to work for the
breakdown of the system? Maybe, but maybe not. In the first place,
revolutionaries will not be able to break the system down unless it is
already in deep trouble so that there would be a good chance of its
eventually breaking down by itself anyway; and the bigger the system grows,
the more disastrous the consequences of its breakdown will be; so it may be
that revolutionaries, by hastening the onset of the breakdown will be
reducing the extent of the disaster.

168. In the second place, one has to balance the struggle and death against
the loss of freedom and dignity. To many of us, freedom and dignity are more
important than a long life or avoidance of physical pain. Besides, we all
have to die some time, and it may be better to die fighting for survival, or
for a cause, than to live a long but empty and purposeless life.

169. In the third place, it is not all certain that the survival of the
system will lead to less suffering than the breakdown of the system would.
The system has already caused, and is continuing to cause , immense
suffering all over the world. Ancient cultures, that for hundreds of years
gave people a satisfactory relationship with each other and their
environment, have been shattered by contact with industrial society, and the
result has been a whole catalogue of economic, environmental, social and
psychological problems. One of the effects of the intrusion of industrial
society has been that over much of the world traditional controls on
population have been thrown out of balance. Hence the population explosion,
with all that it implies. Then there is the psychological suffering that is
widespread throughout the supposedly fortunate countries of the West (see
paragraphs 44, 45). No one knows what will happen as a result of ozone
depletion, the greenhouse effect and other environmental problems that
cannot yet be foreseen. And, as nuclear proliferation has shown, new
technology cannot be kept out of the hands of dictators and irresponsible
Third World nations. Would you like to speculate abut what Iraq or North
Korea will do with genetic engineering?

170. "Oh!" say the technophiles, "Science is going to fix all that! We will
conquer famine, eliminate psychological suffering, make everybody healthy
and happy!" Yeah, sure. That's what they said 200 years ago. The Industrial
Revolution was supposed to eliminate poverty, make everybody happy, etc. The
actual result has been quite different. The technophiles are hopelessly
naive (or self-deceiving) in their understanding of social problems. They
are unaware of (or choose to ignore) the fact that when large changes, even
seemingly beneficial ones, are introduced into a society, they lead to a
long sequence of other changes, most of which are impossible to predict
(paragraph 103). The result is disruption of the society. So it is very
probable that in their attempt to end poverty and disease, engineer docile,
happy personalities and so forth, the technophiles will create social
systems that are terribly troubled, even more so that the present one. For
example, the scientists boast that they will end famine by creating new,
genetically engineered food plants. But this will allow the human population
to keep expanding indefinitely, and it is well known that crowding leads to
increased stress and aggression. This is merely one example of the
PREDICTABLE problems that will arise. We emphasize that, as past experience
has shown, technical progress will lead to other new problems for society
far more rapidly that it has been solving old ones. Thus it will take a long
difficult period of trial and error for the technophiles to work the bugs
out of their Brave New World (if they ever do). In the meantime there will
be great suffering. So it is not all clear that the survival of industrial
society would involve less suffering than the breakdown of that society
would. Technology has gotten the human race into a fix from which there is
not likely to be any easy escape.


171. But suppose now that industrial society does survive the next several
decade and that the bugs do eventually get worked out of the system, so that
it functions smoothly. What kind of system will it be? We will consider
several possibilities.

172. First let us postulate that the computer scientists succeed in
developing intelligent machines that can do all things better that human
beings can do them. In that case presumably all work will be done by vast,
highly organized systems of machines and no human effort will be necessary.
Either of two cases might occur. The machines might be permitted to make all
of their own decisions without human oversight, or else human control over
the machines might be retained.

173. If the machines are permitted to make all their own decisions, we can't
make any conjectures as to the results, because it is impossible to guess
how such machines might behave. We only point out that the fate of the human
race would be at the mercy of the machines. It might be argued that the
human race would never be foolish enough to hand over all the power to the
machines. But we are suggesting neither that the human race would
voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would
willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might
easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the
machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the
machines decisions. As society and the problems that face it become more and
more complex and machines become more and more intelligent, people will let
machines make more of their decision for them, simply because machine-made
decisions will bring better result than man-made ones. Eventually a stage
may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running
will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them
intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control.
People won't be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so
dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.

174. On the other hand it is possible that human control over the machines
may be retained. In that case the average man may have control over certain
private machines of his own, such as his car of his personal computer, but
control over large systems of machines will be in the hands of a tiny elite
-- just as it is today, but with two difference. Due to improved techniques
the elite will have greater control over the masses; and because human work
will no longer be necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden
on the system. If the elite is ruthless the may simply decide to exterminate
the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or other
psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate until the
mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the elite. Or, if the
elite consist of soft-hearted liberals, they may decide to play the role of
good shepherds to the rest of the human race. They will see to it that
everyone's physical needs are satisfied, that all children are raised under
psychologically hygienic conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to
keep him busy, and that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes
"treatment" to cure his "problem." Of course, life will be so purposeless
that people will have to be biologically or psychologically engineered
either to remove their need for the power process or to make them
"sublimate" their drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered
human beings may be happy in such a society, but they most certainly will
not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic animals.

175. But suppose now that the computer scientists do not succeed in
developing artificial intelligence, so that human work remains necessary.
Even so, machines will take care of more and more of the simpler tasks so
that there will be an increasing surplus of human workers at the lower
levels of ability. (We see this happening already. There are many people who
find it difficult or impossible to get work, because for intellectual or
psychological reasons they cannot acquire the level of training necessary to
make themselves useful in the present system.) On those who are employed,
ever-increasing demands will be placed; They will need more and m ore
training, more and more ability, and will have to be ever more reliable,
conforming and docile, because they will be more and more like cells of a
giant organism. Their tasks will be increasingly specialized so that their
work will be, in a sense, out of touch with the real world, being
concentrated on one tiny slice of reality. The system will have to use any
means that I can, whether psychological or biological, to engineer people to
be docile, to have the abilities that the system requires and to "sublimate"
their drive for power into some specialized task. But the statement that the
people of such a society will have to be docile may require qualification.
The society may find competitiveness useful, provided that ways are found of
directing competitiveness into channels that serve that needs of the system.
We can imagine into channels that serve the needs of the system. We can
imagine a future society in which there is endless competition for positions
of prestige an power. But no more than a very few people will ever reach the
top, where the only real power is (see end of paragraph 163). Very repellent
is a society in which a person can satisfy his needs for power only by
pushing large numbers of other people out of the way and depriving them of
THEIR opportunity for power.

176. Once can envision scenarios that incorporate aspects of more than one
of the possibilities that we have just discussed. For instance, it may be
that machines will take over most of the work that is of real, practical
importance, but that human beings will be kept busy by being given
relatively unimportant work. It has been suggested, for example, that a
great development of the service of industries might provide work for human
beings. Thus people will would spend their time shinning each others shoes,
driving each other around inn taxicab, making handicrafts for one another,
waiting on each other's tables, etc. This seems to us a thoroughly
contemptible way for the human race to end up, and we doubt that many people
would find fulfilling lives in such pointless busy-work. They would seek
other, dangerous outlets (drugs, , crime, "cults," hate groups) unless they
were biological or psychologically engineered to adapt them to such a way of

177. Needless to day, the scenarios outlined above do not exhaust all the
possibilities. They only indicate the kinds of outcomes that seem to us mots
likely. But wee can envision no plausible scenarios that are any more
palatable that the ones we've just described. It is overwhelmingly probable
that if the industrial-technological system survives the next 40 to 100
years, it will by that time have developed certain general characteristics:
Individuals (at least those of the "bourgeois" type, who are integrated into
the system and make it run, and who therefore have all the power) will be
more dependent than ever on large organizations; they will be more
"socialized" that ever and their physical and mental qualities to a
significant extent (possibly to a very great extent ) will be those that are
engineered into them rather than being the results of chance (or of God's
will, or whatever); and whatever may be left of wild nature will be reduced
to remnants preserved for scientific study and kept under the supervision
and management of scientists (hence it will no longer be truly wild). In the
long run (say a few centuries from now) it is it is likely that neither the
human race nor any other important organisms will exist as we know them
today, because once you start modifying organisms through genetic
engineering there is no reason to stop at any particular point, so that the
modifications will probably continue until man and other organisms have been
utterly transformed.

178. Whatever else may be the case, it is certain that technology is
creating for human begins a new physical and social environment radically
different from the spectrum of environments to which natural selection has
adapted the human race physically and psychological. If man is not adjust to
this new environment by being artificially re-engineered, then he will be
adapted to it through a long an painful process of natural selection. The
former is far more likely that the latter.

179. It would be better to dump the whole stinking system and take the


180. The technophiles are taking us all on an utterly reckless ride into the
unknown. Many people understand something of what technological progress is
doing to us yet take a passive attitude toward it because they think it is
inevitable. But we (FC) don't think it is inevitable. We think it can be
stopped, and we will give here some indications of how to go about stopping

181. As we stated in paragraph 166, the two main tasks for the present are
to promote social stress and instability in industrial society and to
develop and propagate an ideology that opposes technology and the industrial
system. When the system becomes sufficiently stressed and unstable, a
revolution against technology may be possible. The pattern would be similar
to that of the French and Russian Revolutions. French society and Russian
society, for several decades prior to their respective revolutions, showed
increasing signs of stress and weakness. Meanwhile, ideologies were being
developed that offered a new world view that was quite different from the
old one. In the Russian case, revolutionaries were actively working to
undermine the old order. Then, when the old system was put under sufficient
additional stress (by financial crisis in France, by military defeat in
Russia) it was swept away by revolution. What we propose in something along
the same lines.

182. It will be objected that the French and Russian Revolutions were
failures. But most revolutions have two goals. One is to destroy an old form
of society and the other is to set up the new form of society envisioned by
the revolutionaries. The French and Russian revolutionaries failed
(fortunately!) to create the new kind of society of which they dreamed, but
they were quite successful in destroying the existing form of society.

183. But an ideology, in order to gain enthusiastic support, must have a
positive ideals well as a negative one; it must be FOR something as well as
AGAINST something. The positive ideal that we propose is Nature. That is ,
WILD nature; those aspects of the functioning of the Earth and its living
things that are independent of human management and free of human
interference and control. And with wild nature we include human nature, by
which we mean those aspects of the functioning of the human individual that
are not subject to regulation by organized society but are products of
chance, or free will, or God (depending on your religious or philosophical

184. Nature makes a perfect counter-ideal to technology for several reasons.
Nature (that which is outside the power of the system) is the opposite of
technology (which seeks to expand indefinitely the power of the system).
Most people will agree that nature is beautiful; certainly it has tremendous
popular appeal. The radical environmentalists ALREADY hold an ideology that
exalts nature and opposes technology. [30] It is not necessary for the sake
of nature to set up some chimerical utopia or any new kind of social order.
Nature takes care of itself: It was a spontaneous creation that existed long
before any human society, and for countless centuries many different kinds
of human societies coexisted with nature without doing it an excessive
amount of damage. Only with the Industrial Revolution did the effect of
human society on nature become really devastating. To relieve the pressure
on nature it is not necessary to create a special kind of social system, it
is only necessary to get rid of industrial society. Granted, this will not
solve all problems. Industrial society has already done tremendous damage to
nature and it will take a very long time for the scars to heal. Besides,
even pre-industrial societies can do significant damage to nature.
Nevertheless, getting rid of industrial society will accomplish a great
deal. It will relieve the worst of the pressure on nature so that the scars
can begin to heal. It will remove the capacity of organized society to keep
increasing its control over nature (including human nature). Whatever kind
of society may exist after the demise of the industrial system, it is
certain that most people will live close to nature, because in the absence
of advanced technology there is not other way that people CAN live. To feed
themselves they must be peasants or herdsmen or fishermen or hunter, etc.,
And, generally speaking, local autonomy should tend to increase, because
lack of advanced technology and rapid communications will limit the capacity
of governments or other large organizations to control local communities.

185. As for the negative consequences of eliminating industrial society --
well, you can't eat your cake and have it too. To gain one thing you have to
sacrifice another.

186. Most people hate psychological conflict. For this reason they avoid
doing any serious thinking about difficult social issues, and they like to
have such issues presented to them in simple, black-and-white terms: THIS is
all good and THAT is all bad. The revolutionary ideology should therefore be
developed on two levels.

187. On the more sophisticated level the ideology should address itself to
people who are intelligent, thoughtful and rational. The object should be to
create a core of people who will be opposed to the industrial system on a
rational, thought-out basis, with full appreciation of the problems and
ambiguities involved, and of the price that has to be paid for getting rid
of the system. It is particularly important to attract people of this type,
as they are capable people and will be instrumental in influencing others.
These people should be addressed on as rational a level as possible. Facts
should never intentionally be distorted and intemperate language should be
avoided. This does not mean that no appeal can be made to the emotions, but
in making such appeal care should be taken to avoid misrepresenting the
truth or doing anything else that would destroy the intellectual
respectability of the ideology.

188. On a second level, the ideology should be propagated in a simplified
form that will enable the unthinking majority to see the conflict of
technology vs. nature in unambiguous terms. But even on this second level
the ideology should not be expressed in language that is so cheap,
intemperate or irrational that it alienates people of the thoughtful and
rational type. Cheap, intemperate propaganda sometimes achieves impressive
short-term gains, but it will be more advantageous in the long run to keep
the loyalty of a small number of intelligently committed people than to
arouse the passions of an unthinking, fickle mob who will change their
attitude as soon as someone comes along with a better propaganda gimmick.
However, propaganda of the rabble-rousing type may be necessary when the
system is nearing the point of collapse and there is a final struggle
between rival ideologies to determine which will become dominant when the
old world-view goes under.

189. Prior to that final struggle, the revolutionaries should not expect to
have a majority of people on their side. History is made by active,
determined minorities, not by the majority, which seldom has a clear and
consistent idea of what it really wants. Until the time comes for the final
push toward revolution [31], the task of revolutionaries will be less to win
the shallow support of the majority than to build a small core of deeply
committed people. As for the majority, it will be enough to make them aware
of the existence of the new ideology and remind them of it frequently;
though of course it will be desirable to get majority support to the extent
that this can be done without weakening the core of seriously committed

190. Any kind of social conflict helps to destabilize the system, but one
should be careful about what kind of conflict one encourages. The line of
conflict should be drawn between the mass of the people and the
power-holding elite of industrial society (politicians, scientists,
upper-level business executives, government officials, etc..). It should NOT
be drawn between the revolutionaries and the mass of the people. For
example, it would be bad strategy for the revolutionaries to condemn
Americans for their habits of consumption. Instead, the average American
should be portrayed as a victim of the advertising and marketing industry,
which has suckered him into buying a lot of junk that he doesn't need and
that is very poor compensation for his lost freedom. Either approach is
consistent with the facts. It is merely a matter of attitude whether you
blame the advertising industry for manipulating the public or blame the
public for allowing itself to be manipulated. As a matter of strategy one
should generally avoid blaming the public.

191. One should think twice before encouraging any other social conflict
than that between the power-holding elite (which wields technology) and the
general public (over which technology exerts its power). For one thing,
other conflicts tend to distract attention from the important conflicts
(between power-elite and ordinary people, between technology and nature);
for another thing, other conflicts may actually tend to encourage
technologization, because each side in such a conflict wants to use
technological power to gain advantages over its adversary. This is clearly
seen in rivalries between nations. It also appears in ethnic conflicts
within nations. For example, in America many black leaders are anxious to
gain power for African Americans by placing back individuals in the
technological power-elite. They want there to be many black government
officials, scientists, corporation executives and so forth. In this way they
are helping to absorb the African American subculture into the technological
system. Generally speaking, one should encourage only those social conflicts
that can be fitted into the framework of the conflicts of power--elite vs.
ordinary people, technology vs nature.

192. But the way to discourage ethnic conflict is NOT through militant
advocacy of minority rights (see paragraphs 21, 29). Instead, the
revolutionaries should emphasize that although minorities do suffer more or
less disadvantage, this disadvantage is of peripheral significance. Our real
enemy is the industrial-technological system, and in the struggle against
the system, ethnic distinctions are of no importance.

193. The kind of revolution we have in mind will not necessarily involve an
armed uprising against any government. It may or may not involve physical
violence, but it will not be a POLITICAL revolution. Its focus will be on
technology and economics, not politics. [32]

194. Probably the revolutionaries should even AVOID assuming political
power, whether by legal or illegal means, until the industrial system is
stressed to the danger point and has proved itself to be a failure in the
eyes of most people. Suppose for example that some "green" party should win
control of the United States Congress in an election. In order to avoid
betraying or watering down their own ideology they would have to take
vigorous measures to turn economic growth into economic shrinkage. To the
average man the results would appear disastrous: There would be massive
unemployment, shortages of commodities, etc. Even if the grosser ill effects
could be avoided through superhumanly skillful management, still people
would have to begin giving up the luxuries to which they have become
addicted. Dissatisfaction would grow, the "green" party would be voted out
of of fice and the revolutionaries would have suffered a severe setback. For
this reason the revolutionaries should not try to acquire political power
until the system has gotten itself into such a mess that any hardships will
be seen as resulting from the failures of the industrial system itself and
not from the policies of the revolutionaries. The revolution against
technology will probably have to be a revolution by outsiders, a revolution
from below and not from above.

195. The revolution must be international and worldwide. It cannot be
carried out on a nation-by-nation basis. Whenever it is suggested that the
United States, for example, should cut back on technological progress or
economic growth, people get hysterical and start screaming that if we fall
behind in technology the Japanese will get ahead of us. Holy robots The
world will fly off its orbit if the Japanese ever sell more cars than we do!
(Nationalism is a great promoter of technology.) More reasonably, it is
argued that if the relatively democratic nations of the world fall behind in
technology while nasty, dictatorial nations like China, Vietnam and North
Korea continue to progress, eventually the dictators may come to dominate
the world. That is why the industrial system should be attacked in all
nations simultaneously, to the extent that this may be possible. True, there
is no assurance that the industrial system can be destroyed at approximately
the same time all over the world, and it is even conceivable that the
attempt to overthrow the system could lead instead to the domination of the
system by dictators. That is a risk that has to be taken. And it is worth
taking, since the difference between a "democratic" industrial system and
one controlled by dictators is small compared with the difference between an
industrial system and a non-industrial one. [33] It might even be argued
that an industrial system controlled by dictators would be preferable,
because dictator-controlled systems usually have proved inefficient, hence
they are presumably more likely to break down. Look at Cuba.

196. Revolutionaries might consider favoring measures that tend to bind the
world economy into a unified whole. Free trade agreements like NAFTA and
GATT are probably harmful to the environment in the short run, but in the
long run they may perhaps be advantageous because they foster economic
interdependence between nations. I will be eaier to destroy the industrial
system on a worldwide basis if he world economy is so unified that its
breakdown in any on major nation will lead to its breakdwon in al
industrialized nations.

the long run they may perhaps be advantageous because they foster economic
interdependence between nations. It will be easier to destroy the industrial
system on a worldwide basis if the world economy is so unified that its
breakdown in any one major nation will lead to its breakdown in all
industrialized nations.

197. Some people take the line that modern man has too much power, too much
control over nature; they argue for a more passive attitude on the part of
the human race. At best these people are expressing themselves unclearly,
because they fail to distinguish between power for LARGE ORGANIZATIONS and
power for INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS. It is a mistake to argue for
powerlessness and passivity, because people NEED power. Modern man as a
collective entity--that is, the industrial system--has immense power over
nature, and we (FC) regard this as evil. But modern INDIVIDUALS and SMALL
GROUPS OF INDIVIDUALS have far less power than primitive man ever did.
Generally speaking, the vast power of "modern man" over nature is exercised
not by individuals or small groups but by large organizations. To the extent
that the average modern INDIVIDUAL can wield the power of technology, he is
permitted to do so only within narrow limits and only under the supervision
and control of the system. (You need a license for everything and with the
license come rules and regulations). The individual has only those
technological powers with which the system chooses to provide him. His
PERSONAL power over nature is slight.

198. Primitive INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS actually had considerable power
over nature; or maybe it would be better to say power WITHIN nature. When
primitive man needed food he knew how to find and prepare edible roots, how
to track game and take it with homemade weapons. He knew how to protect
himself from heat, cold, rain, dangerous animals, etc. But primitive man did
relatively little damage to nature because the COLLECTIVE power of primitive
society was negligible compared to the COLLECTIVE power of industrial

199. Instead of arguing for powerlessness and passivity, one should argue
that the power of the INDUSTRIAL SYSTEM should be broken, and that this will
greatly INCREASE the power and freedom of INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS.

200. Until the industrial system has been thoroughly wrecked, the
destruction of that system must be the revolutionaries' ONLY goal. Other
goals would distract attention and energy from the main goal. More
importantly, if the revolutionaries permit themselves to have any other goal
than the destruction of technology, they will be tempted to use technology
as a tool for reaching that other goal. If they give in to that temptation,
they will fall right back into the technological trap, because modern
technology is a unified, tightly organized system, so that, in order to
retain SOME technology, one finds oneself obliged to retain MOST technology,
hence one ends up sacrificing only token amounts of technology.

201. Suppose for example that the revolutionaries took "social justice" as a
goal. Human nature being what it is, social justice would not come about
spontaneously; it would have to be enforced. In order to enforce it the
revolutionaries would have to retain central organization and control. For
that they would need rapid long-distance transportation and communication,
and therefore all the technology needed to support the transportation and
communication systems. To feed and clothe poor people they would have to use
agricultural and manufacturing technology. And so forth. So that the attempt
to insure social justice would force them to retain most parts of the
technological system. Not that we have anything against social justice, but
it must not be allowed to interfere with the effort to get rid of the
technological system.

202. It would be hopeless for revolutionaries to try to attack the system
without using SOME modern technology. If nothing else they must use the
communications media to spread their message. But they should use modern
technology for only ONE purpose: to attack the technological system.

203. Imagine an alcoholic sitting with a barrel of wine in front of him.
Suppose he starts saying to himself, "Wine isn't bad for you if used in
moderation. Why, they say small amounts of wine are even good for you! It
won't do me any harm if I take just one little drink..." Well you know what
is going to happen. Never forget that the human race with technology is just
like an alcoholic with a barrel of wine.

204. Revolutionaries should have as many children as they can. There is
strong scientific evidence that social attitudes are to a significant extent
inherited. No one suggests that a social attitude is a direct outcome of a
person's genetic constitution, but it appears that personality traits tend,
within the context of our society, to make a person more likely to hold this
or that social attitude. Objections to these findings have been raised, but
objections are feeble and seem to be ideologically motivated. In any event,
no one denies that children tend on the average to hold social attitudes
similar to those of their parents. From our point of view it doesn't matter
all that much whether the attitudes are passed on genetically or through
childhood training. In either case the ARE passed on.

205. The trouble is that many of the people who are inclined to rebel
against the industrial system are also concerned about the population
problems, hence they are apt to have few or no children. In this way they
may be handing the world over to the sort of people who support or at least
accept the industrial system. To insure the strength of the next generation
of revolutionaries the present generation must reproduce itself abundantly.
In doing so they will be worsening the population problem only slightly. And
the 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 the 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 the
elimination of modern technology, and that no other goal can be allowed to
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 are not going to give good results, then
those recommendations should be discarded.


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

208. We distinguish between two kinds of technology, which we will call
small-scale technology and organization-dependent technology. Small-scale
technology is technology that can be used by small-scale communities without
outside assistance. Organization-dependent technology is technology that
depends on large-scale social organization. We are aware of no significant
cases of regression in small-scale technology. But organization-dependent
technology DOES regress when the social organization on which it depends
breaks down. Example: When the Roman Empire fell apart the Romans'
small-scale technology survived because any clever village craftsman could
build, for instance, a water 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 techniques of road construction were lost. The Roman system
of urban sanitation was forgotten, so that until rather recent times did the
sanitation of European cities 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, most technology
was small-scale technology. But most of the technology developed since the
Industrial Revolution is organization-dependent technology. Take the
refrigerator for example. Without factory-made parts or the facilities of a
post-industrial machine shop it would be virtually impossible for a handful
of local craftsmen to build a refrigerator. If by some miracle they did
succeed in building one it would be useless to them 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 trying
to make that wire without modern machinery. And where would they get a gas
suitable for refrigeration? It would be much easier to build an icehouse or
preserve food by drying or picking, as was done before the invention of the

210. So it is clear that if the industrial system were once thoroughly
broken down, refrigeration technology would quickly be lost. The same is
true of other organization-dependent technology. And once this technology
had been lost for a generation or so it would take centuries to rebuild it,
just as it took centuries to build it the first time around. Surviving
technical books would be few and scattered. An industrial society, if built
from scratch without outside help, can 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 late Middle Ages there were four main civilizations that were
about equally "advanced": Europe, the Islamic world, India, and the Far East
(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 that time; historians have their theories but these are only
speculation. At any rate, it is clear that rapid development toward a
technological form of society occurs only under special conditions. So there
is no reason to assume that long-lasting technological regression cannot be
brought about.

212. Would society EVENTUALLY develop again toward an
industrial-technological form? Maybe, but there is no use in worrying about
it, since we 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 at
that time.


213. Because of their need for rebellion and for membership in a movement,
leftists or persons of similar psychological type are often unattracted to a
rebellious or activist movement whose goals and membership are not initially
leftist. The resulting influx of leftish types can easily turn a non-leftist
movement into a leftist one, so that 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 run inconsistent with wild nature,
with human freedom and with the elimination of modern technology. Leftism is
collectivist; it seeks to bind together the entire 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 it 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 valuable a
source of collective power.

215. The anarchist [34] 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 it
only so long as they are outsiders and the technological system is
controlled by non-leftists. If leftism ever becomes 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 will
be repeating 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 advocated self-determination for
ethnic minorities, and so forth; but as soon as they came into power
themselves, they imposed a tighter censorship and created a more ruthless
secret police than any that had existed under the tsars, and they oppressed
ethnic minorities at least as much as the tsars had done. In the United
States, a couple of decades ago when leftists were a minority in our
universities, leftist professors were vigorous proponents of academic
freedom, but today, in those universities where leftists have become
dominant, they have shown themselves ready to take 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 get it under their own control.

217. In earlier revolutions, leftists of the most power-hungry type,
repeatedly, have first cooperated 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 not a religion in the strict sense because leftist doctrine does
not postulate the existence of any supernatural being. 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 psychological economy. His beliefs are not easily modified by logic
or facts. He has a deep conviction that leftism is morally Right with a
capital R, and that he has not only a right but a duty to impose leftist
morality on everyone. (However, many of the people we are referring to as
"leftists" do not think of themselves as leftists and would not describe
their system of beliefs as leftism. We use the term "leftism" because we
don't know of any better words to designate the spectrum of related creeds
that includes the feminist, gay rights, political correctness, etc.,
movements, and because these movements have a strong affinity with the old
left. See 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 part this is because of the quasi-religious character of
leftism; everything contrary to leftists beliefs represents Sin. More
importantly, leftism is a totalitarian force because of the leftists' drive
for power. The leftist seeks to satisfy his need for power through
identification with a social movement and he tries to go through the power
process by helping to pursue and attain the goals of the movement (see
paragraph 83). But no matter 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
attain 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

Consequently the leftist is never satisfied with the goals he has already
attained; his need for the power process leads him always to pursue some new
goal. The leftist wants equal opportunities for minorities. When that is
attained he insists on statistical equality of achievement by minorities.
And as long as anyone harbors in some corner of his mind a negative attitude
toward some minority, the leftist has to re-educated him. And ethnic
minorities are not enough; no one can be allowed to have a negative attitude
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 cigarettes. Then cigarette advertising has to be restricted if not
banned. The activists will never be satisfied until tobacco is outlawed, and
after that it will be alco hot then junk food, etc. Activists have fought
gross child abuse, which is reasonable. But now they 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 to another cause.

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

221. Because of the restrictions placed on their thoughts and behavior by
their high level of socialization, many leftists of the over-socialized type
cannot pursue power in the ways that other people do. For them the drive for
power has only one morally acceptable outlet, and that is in the struggle to
impose their morality on everyone.

222. Leftists, especially those of the oversocialized type, are True
Believers in the sense of Eric Hoffer's book, "The True Believer." But not
all True Believers are of the same psychological type as leftists.
Presumably a truebelieving nazi, for instance is very different
psychologically from a truebelieving leftist. Because of their capacity for
single-minded devotion to a cause, True Believers are a useful, perhaps a
necessary, ingredient of any revolutionary movement. This presents a problem
with which we must admit we don't know how to deal. We aren't sure how to
harness the energies of the True Believer to a revolution against
technology. At present all we can say is that no True Believer will make a
safe recruit to the revolution unless his commitment is exclusively to the
destruction of technology. If he is committed also to another ideal, he may
want to use technology as a tool for pursuing that other ideal (see
paragraphs 220, 221).

223. Some readers may say, "This stuff about leftism is a lot of crap. I
know John and Jane who are leftish types and they don't have all these
totalitarian tendencies." It's quite true that many leftists, possibly even
a numerical majority, are decent people who sincerely believe in tolerating
others' values (up to a point) and wouldn't want to use high-handed methods
to reach their social goals. Our remarks about leftism are not meant to
apply to every individual leftist but to describe the general character of
leftism as a movement. And the general character of a movement is not
necessarily determined by the numerical proportions of the various kinds of
people involved in the movement.

224. The people who rise to positions of power in leftist movements tend to
be leftists of the most power-hungry type because power-hungry people are
those who strive hardest to get into positions of power. Once the
power-hungry types have captured control of the movement, there are many
leftists of a gentler breed who inwardly disapprove of many of the actions
of the leaders, but cannot bring themselves to oppose them. They NEED their
faith in the movement, and because they cannot give up this faith they go
along with the leaders. True, SOME leftists do have the guts to oppose the
totalitarian tendencies that emerge, but they generally lose, because the
power-hungry types are better organized, are more ruthless and Machiavellian
and have taken care to build themselves a strong power base.

225. These phenomena appeared clearly in Russia and other countries that
were taken over by leftists. Similarly, before the breakdown of communism in
the USSR, leftish types in the West would seldom criticize that country. If
prodded they would admit that the USSR did many wrong things, but then they
would try to find excuses for the communists and begin talking about the
faults of the West. They always opposed Western military resistance to
communist aggression. Leftish types all over the world vigorously protested
the U.S. military action in Vietnam, but when the USSR invaded Afghanistan
they did nothing. Not that they approved of the Soviet actions; but because
of their leftist faith, they just couldn't bear to put themselves in
opposition to communism. Today, in those of our universities where
"political correctness" has become dominant, there are probably many leftish
types who privately disapprove of the suppression of academic freedom, but
they go along with it anyway.

226. Thus the 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 what 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
activist movements. Yet not all activist movements are leftist, and some
activist movements (e.g.., radical environmentalism) seem to include both
personalities of the leftist type and personalities of thoroughly un-leftist
types who ought to know better than to collaborate with leftists. Varieties
of leftists fade out gradually into varieties of non-leftists and we
ourselves would often be hard-pressed to decide whether a given individual
is or is not a leftist. To the extent that it is defined at all, our
conception of leftism is defined by the discussion of it that we have given
in this article, and we can only advise the reader to use his own judgment
in deciding who is a leftist.

228. But it will be helpful to 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
meet any of the criteria. Again, you just have to use your judgment.

229. The leftist is oriented toward largescale collectivism. He emphasizes
the duty of the individual to serve society and the duty of society to take
care of the individual. He has a negative attitude toward individualism. He
often takes a moralistic tone. He tends to be for gun control, for sex
education and other psychologically "enlightened" educational methods, for
planning, for affirmative action, for multiculturalism. 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 " "genocide,"
"social change," "social justice," "social responsibility." Maybe the best
diagnostic trait of the leftist is his tendency to sympathize with the
following movements: feminism, gay rights, ethnic rights, disability rights,
animal rights political correctness. Anyone who strongly sympathizes with
ALL of these movements is almost certainly a leftist. [36]

230. The more dangerous leftists, that is, those who are most power-hungry,
are often characterized 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 aggressiveness and refrain from
advertising their leftism, but work quietly and unobtrusively to promote
collectivist values, "enlightened" psychological techniques for socializing
children, dependence of the individual on the system, and so forth. These
crypto-leftists (as we 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 to bring people under
control of the system in order to protect his way of life, or he does so
simply because his attitudes are conventional. The crypto-leftist tries to
bring people under control of the system because he is a True Believer in a
collectivistic 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
from the ordinary well-socialized bourgeois by the fact that there is some
deep lack within him that makes it necessary for him to devote himself to a
cause and immerse himself in a collectivity. And maybe his (well-sublimated)
drive for 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 be flatly false. Lack of sufficient
information and the need for brevity made it impossible for us to fomulate
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
approximation to the truth.

232. All the same we are reasonably confident that the general outlines of
the picture we have painted here are roughly correct. We have portrayed
leftism in its modern form as a phenomenon 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 we THINK that the decisive role played by feelings of
inferiority, low self-esteem, powerlessness, identification with victims by
people who are not themselves victims, is a peculiarity of modern leftism.
Identification with victims by people not themselves victims can be seen to
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 modern
leftism. But we are not in a position to assert confidently that no such
movements have existed prior to modern leftism. This is a significant
question to which historians ought to give their attention.


1. (Paragraph 19) We are asserting that ALL, or even most, bullies and
ruthless competitors suffer from feelings of inferiority.

2. (Paragraph 25) During the Victorian period many oversocialized people
suffered from serious psychological problems as a result of repressing or
trying to repress their sexual feelings. Freud apparently based his theories
on people of this type. Today the focus of socialization has shifted from
sex to aggression.

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

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 thrust 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 the system. Poverty must be "cured" because the underclass causes
problems for the system and contact with the underclass lowers the moral of
the other classes. Women are encouraged to have careers because their
talents are useful to the system and, more importantly because by having
regular jobs women become better integrated into the system and tied
directly to it rather than to their families. This helps to weaken family
solidarity. (The leaders of the system say they want to strengthen the
family, but they really mean is that they want the family to serve as an
effective tool for socializing children in accord with the needs of the
system. We argue in paragraphs 51,52 that the system cannot afford to let
the family or other small-scale social groups be strong or autonomous.)

5. (Paragraph 42) It may be argued that the majority of people don't want to
make their own decisions but want leaders to do their thinking for them.
There is an element of truth in this. People like to make their own
decisions in small matters, but making decisions on difficult, fundamental
questions require facing up to psychological conflict, and most people hate
psychological conflict. Hence they tend to lean on others in making
difficult decisions. The majority of people are natural followers, not
leaders, but they like to have direct personal access to their leaders and
participate to some extent in making difficult decisions. At least to that
degree they need autonomy.

6. (Paragraph 44) Some of the symptoms listed are similar to those shown by
caged animals.

To explain how these symptoms arise from deprivation with respect to the
power process:

Common-sense understanding of human nature tells one that lack of goals
whose attainment requires effort leads to boredom and that boredom, long
continued, often leads eventually to depression. Failure to obtain goals
leads to frustration and lowering of self-esteem. Frustration leads to
anger, anger to aggression, often in the form of spouse or child abuse. It
has been shown that long-continued frustration commonly leads to depression
and that depression tends to cause guilt, sleep disorders, eating disorders
and bad feelings about oneself. Those who are tending toward depression seek
pleasure as an antidote; hence insatiable hedonism and excessive sex, with
perversions as a means of getting new kicks. Boredom too tends to cause
excessive pleasure-seeking since, lacking other goals, people often use
pleasure as a goal. See accompanying diagram. The foregoing is a
simplification. Reality is more complex, and of course deprivation with
respect to the power process is not the ONLY cause of the symptoms
described. By the way, when we mention depression we do not necessarily mean
depression that is severe enough to be treated by a psychiatrist. Often only
mild forms of depression are involved. And when we speak of goals we do not
necessarily mean long-term, thought out goals. For many or most people
through much of human history, the goals of a hand-to-mouth existence
(merely providing oneself and one's family with food from day to day) have
been quite sufficient.

7. (Paragraph 52) A partial exception may be made for a few passive, inward
looking groups, such as the Amish, which have little effect on the wider
society. Apart from these, some genuine small-scale communities do exist in
America today. For instance, youth gangs and "cults". Everyone regards them
as dangerous, and so they are, because the members of these groups are loyal
primarily to one another rather than to the system, hence the system cannot
control them. Or take the gypsies. The gypsies commonly get away with theft
and fraud because their loyalties are such that they can always get other
gypsies to give testimony that "proves" their innocence. Obviously the
system would be in serious trouble if too many people belonged to such
groups. Some of the early-20th century Chinese thinkers who were concerned
with modernizing China recognized the necessity of breaking down small-scale
social groups such as the family: "(According to Sun Yat-sen) The Chinese
people needed a new surge of patriotism, which would lead to a transfer of
loyalty from the family to the state. . .(According to Li Huang) traditional
attachments, particularly to the family had to be abandoned if nationalism
were to develop to China." (Chester C. Tan, Chinese Political Thought in the
Twentieth Century," page 125, page 297.)

8. (Paragraph 56) Yes, we know that 19th century America had its problems,
and serious ones, but for the sake of breviety we have to express ourselves
in simplified terms.

9. (Paragraph 61) We leave aside the underclass. We are speaking of the

10. (Paragraph 62) Some social scientists, educators, "mental health"
professionals and the like are doing their best to push the social drives
into group 1 by trying to see to it that everyone has a satisfactory social

11. (Paragraphs 63, 82) Is the drive for endless material acquisition really
an artificial creation of the advertising and marketing industry? Certainly
there is no innate human drive for material acquisition. There have been
many cultures in which people have desired little material wealth beyond
what was necessary to satisfy their basic physical needs (Australian
aborigines, traditional Mexican peasant culture, some African cultures). On
the other hand there have also been many pre-industrial cultures in which
material acquisition has played an important role. So we can't claim that
today's acquisition-oriented culture is exclusively a creation of the
advertising and marketing industry. But it is clear that the advertising and
marketing industry has had an important part in creating that culture. The
big corporations that spend millions on advertising wouldn't be spending
that kind of money without solid proof that they were getting it back in
increased sales. One member of FC met a sales manager a couple of years ago
who was frank enough to tell him, "Our job is to make people buy things they
don't want and don't need." He then described how an untrained novice could
present people with the facts about a product, and make no sales at all,
while a trained and experienced professional salesman would make lots of
sales to the same people. This shows that people are manipulated into buying
things they don't really want.

12. (Paragraph 64) The problem of purposelessness seems to have become less
serious during the last 15 years or so, because people now feel less secure
physically and economically than they did earlier, and the need for security
provides them with a goal. But purposelessness has been replaced by
frustration over the difficulty of attaining security. We emphasize the
problem of purposelessness because the liberals and leftists would wish to
solve our social problems by having society guarantee everyone's security;
but if that could be done it would only bring back the problem of
purposelessness. The real issue is not whether society provides well or
poorly for people's security; the trouble is that people are dependent on
the system for their security rather than having it in their own hands.
This, by the way, is part of the reason why some people get worked up about
the right to bear arms; possession of a gun puts that aspect of their
security in their own hands.

13. (Paragraph 66) Conservatives' efforts to decrease the amount of
government regulation are of little benefit to the average man. For one
thing, only a fraction of the regulations can be eliminated because most
regulations are necessary. For another thing, most of the deregulation
affects business rather than the average individual, so that its main effect
is to take power from the government and give it to private corporations.
What this means for the average man is that government interference in his
life is replaced by interference from big corporations, which may be
permitted, for example, to dump more chemicals that get into his water
supply and give him cancer. The conservatives are just taking the average
man for a sucker, exploiting his resentment of Big Government to promote the
power of Big Business.

14. (Paragraph 73) When someone approves of the purpose for which propaganda
is being used in a given case, he generally calls it "education" or applies
to it some similar euphemism. But propaganda is propaganda regardless of the
purpose for which it is used.

15. (Paragraph 83) We are not expressing approval or disapproval of the
Panama invasion. We only use it to illustrate a point.

16. (Paragraph 95) When the American colonies were under British rule there
were fewer and less effective legal guarantees of freedom than there were
after the American Constitution went into effect, yet there was more
personal freedom in pre-industrial America, both before and after the War of
Independence, than there was after the Industrial Revolution took hold in
this country. We quote from "Violence in America: Historical and Comparative
perspectives," edited by Hugh Davis Graham and Ted Robert Gurr, Chapter 12
by Roger Lane, pages 476-478: "The progressive heightening of standards of
property, and with it the increasing reliance on official law enforcement
(in 19th century America). . .were common to the whole society. . .[T]he
change in social behavior is so long term and so widespread as to suggest a
connection with the most fundamental of contemporary social processes; that
of industrial urbanization itself. . ."Massachusetts in 1835 had a
population of some 660,940, 81 percent rural, overwhelmingly preindustrial
and native born. It's citizens were used to considerable personal freedom.
Whether teamsters, farmers or artisans, they were all accustomed to setting
their own schedules, and the nature of their work made them physically
dependent on each other. . .Individual problems, sins or even crimes, were
not generally cause for wider social concern. . ."But the impact of the twin
movements to the city and to the factory, both just gathering force in 1835,
had a progressive effect on personal behavior throughout the 19th century
and into the 20th. The factory demanded regularity of behavior, a life
governed by obedience to the rhythms of clock and calendar, the demands of
foreman and supervisor. In the city or town, the needs of living in closely
packed neighborhoods inhibited many actions previously unobjectionable.

Both blue- and white-collar employees in larger establishments were mutually
dependent on their fellows. as one man's work fit into another's, so one
man's business was no longer his own. "The results of the new organization
of life and work were apparent by 1900, when some 76 percent of the
2,805,346 inhabitants of Massachusetts were classified as urbanites. Much
violent or irregular behavior which had been tolerable in a casual,
independent society was no longer acceptable in the more formalized,
cooperative atmosphere of the later period. . .The move to the cities had,
in short, produced a more tractable, more socialized, more 'civilized'
generation than its predecessors."

17. (Paragraph 117) Apologists for the system are fond of citing cases in
which elections have been decided by one or two votes, but such cases are

18. (Paragraph 119) "Today, in technologically advanced lands, men live very
similar lives in spite of geographical, religious and political differences.
The daily lives of a Christian bank clerk in Chicago, a Buddhist bank clerk
in Tokyo, a Communist bank clerk in Moscow are far more alike than the life
any one of them is like that of any single man who lived a thousand years
ago. These similarities are the result of a common technology. . ." L.
Sprague de Camp, "The Ancient Engineers," Ballentine edition, page 17.

The lives of the three bank clerks are not IDENTICAL. Ideology does have
SOME effect. But all technological societies, in order to survive, must
evolve along APPROXIMATELY the same trajectory.

19. (Paragraph 123) Just think an irresponsible genetic engineer might
create a lot of terrorists.

20. (Paragraph 124) For a further example of undesirable consequences of
medical progress, suppose a reliable cure for cancer is discovered. Even if
the treatment is too expensive to be available to any but the elite, it will
greatly reduce their incentive to stop the escape of carcinogens into the

21. (Paragraph 128) Since many people may find paradoxical the notion that a
large number of good things can add up to a bad thing, we will illustrate
with an analogy. Suppose Mr. A is playing chess with Mr. B. Mr. C, a Grand
Master, is looking over Mr. A's shoulder. Mr. A of course wants to win his
game, so if Mr. C points out a good move for him to make, he is doing Mr. A
a favor. But suppose now that Mr. C tells Mr. A how to make ALL of his
moves. In each particular instance he does Mr. A a favor by showing him his
best move, but by making ALL of his moves for him he spoils the game, since
there is not point in Mr. A's playing the game at all if someone else makes
all his moves.

The situation of modern man is analogous to that of Mr. A. The system makes
an individual's life easier for him in innumerable ways, but in doing so it
deprives him of control over his own fate.

22. (Paragraph 137) Here we are considering only the conflict of values
within the mainstream. For the sake of simplicity we leave out of the
picture "outsider" values like the idea that wild nature is more important
than human economic welfare.

23. (Paragraph 137) Self-interest is not necessarily MATERIAL self-interest.
It can consist in fulfillment of some psychological need, for example, by
promoting one's own ideology or religion.

24. (Paragraph 139) A qualification: It is in the interest of the system to
permit a certain prescribed degree of freedom in some areas. For example,
economic freedom (with suitable limitations and restraints) has proved
effective in promoting economic growth. But only planned, circumscribed,
limited freedom is in the interest of the system. The individual must always
be kept on a leash, even if the leash is sometimes long( see paragraphs 94,

25. (Paragraph 143) We don't mean to suggest that the efficiency or the
potential for survival of a society has always been inversely proportional
to the amount of pressure or discomfort to which the society subjects
people. That is certainly not the case. There is good reason to believe that
many primitive societies subjected people to less pressure than the European
society did, but European society proved far more efficient than any
primitive society and always won out in conflicts with such societies
because of the advantages conferred by technology.

26. (Paragraph 147) If you think that more effective law enforcement is
unequivocally good because it suppresses crime, then remember that crime as
defined by the system is not necessarily what YOU would call crime. Today,
smoking marijuana is a "crime," and, in some places in the U.S.., so is
possession of ANY firearm, registered or not, may be made a crime, and the
same thing may happen with disapproved methods of child-rearing, such as
spanking. In some countries, expression of dissident political opinions is a
crime, and there is no certainty that this will never happen in the U.S.,
since no constitution or political system lasts forever.

If a society needs a large, powerful law enforcement establishment, then
there is something gravely wrong with that society; it must be subjecting
people to severe pressures if so many refuse to follow the rules, or follow
them only because forced. Many societies in the past have gotten by with
little or no formal law-enforcement.

27. (Paragraph 151) To be sure, past societies have had means of influencing
behavior, but these have been primitive and of low effectiveness compared
with the technological means that are now being developed.

28. (Paragraph 152) However, some psychologists have publicly expressed
opinions indicating their contempt for human freedom. And the mathematician
Claude Shannon was quoted in Omni (August 1987) as saying, "I visualize a
time when we will be to robots what dogs are to humans, and I'm rooting for
the machines."

29. (Paragraph 154) This is no science fiction! After writing paragraph 154
we came across an article in Scientific American according to which
scientists are actively developing techniques for identifying possible
future criminals and for treating them by a combination of biological and
psychological means. Some scientists advocate compulsory application of the
treatment, which may be available in the near future. (See "Seeking the
Criminal Element", by W. Wayt Gibbs, Scientific American, March 1995.) Maybe
you think this is OK because the treatment would be applied to those who
might become drunk drivers (they endanger human life too), then perhaps to
peel who spank their children, then to environmentalists who sabotage
logging equipment, eventually to anyone whose behavior is inconvenient for
the system.

30. (Paragraph 184) A further advantage of nature as a counter-ideal to
technology is that, in many people, nature inspires the kind of reverence
that is associated with religion, so that nature could perhaps be idealized
on a religious basis. It is true that in many societies religion has served
as a support and justification for the established order, but it is also
true that religion has often provided a basis for rebellion. Thus it may be
useful to introduce a religious element into the rebellion against
technology, the more so because Western society today has no strong
religious foundation.

Religion, nowadays either is used as cheap and transparent support for
narrow, short-sighted selfishness (some conservatives use it this way), or
even is cynically exploited to make easy money (by many evangelists), or has
degenerated into crude irrationalism (fundamentalist Protestant sects,
"cults"), or is simply stagnant (Catholicism, main-line Protestantism). The
nearest thing to a strong, widespread, dynamic religion that the West has
seen in recent times has been the quasi-religion of leftism, but leftism
today is fragmented and has no clear, unified inspiring goal.

Thus there is a religious vaccuum in our society that could perhaps be
filled by a religion focused on nature in opposition to technology. But it
would be a mistake to try to concoct artificially a religion to fill this
role. Such an invented religion would probably be a failure. Take the "Gaia"
religion for example. Do its adherents REALLY believe in it or are they just
play-acting? If they are just play-acting their religion will be a flop in
the end.

It is probably best not to try to introduce religion into the conflict of
nature vs. technology unless you REALLY believe in that religion yourself
and find that it arouses a deep, strong, genuine response in many other

31. (Paragraph 189) Assuming that such a final push occurs. Conceivably the
industrial system might be eliminated in a somewhat gradual or piecemeal
fashion. (see paragraphs 4, 167 and Note 4).

32. (Paragraph 193) It is even conceivable (remotely) that the revolution
might consist only of a massive change of attitudes toward technology
resulting in a relatively gradual and painless disintegration of the
industrial system. But if this happens we'll be very lucky. It's far more
probably that the transition to a nontechnological society will be very
difficult and full of conflicts and disasters.

33. (Paragraph 195) The economic and technological structure of a society
are far more important than its political structure in determining the way
the average man lives (see paragraphs 95, 119 and Notes 16, 18).

34. (Paragraph 215) This statement refers to our particular brand of
anarchism. A wide variety of social attitudes have been called "anarchist,"
and it may be that many who consider themselves anarchists would not accept
our statement of paragraph 215. It should be noted, by the way, that there
is a nonviolent anarchist movement whose members probably would not accept
FC as anarchist and certainly would not approve of FC's violent methods.

35. (Paragraph 219) Many leftists are motivated also by hostility, but the
hostility probably results in part from a frustrated need for power.

36. (Paragraph 229) It is important to understand that we mean someone who
sympathizes with these MOVEMENTS as they exist today in our society. One who
believes that women, homosexuals, etc., should have equal rights is not
necessarily a leftist. The feminist, gay rights, etc., movements that exist
in our society have the particular ideological tone that characterizes
leftism, and if one believes, for example, that women should have equal
rights it does not necessarily follow that one must sympathize with the
feminist movement as it exists today.

If copyright problems make it impossible for this long quotation to be
printed, then please change Note 16 to read as follows:

16. (Paragraph 95) When the American colonies were under British rule there
were fewer and less effective legal guarantees of freedom than there were
after the American Constitution went into effect, yet there was more
personal freedom in pre-industrial America, both before and after the War of
Independence, than there was after the Industrial Revolution took hold in
this country. In "Violence in America: Historical and Comparative
Perspectives," edited by Hugh Davis Graham and Ted Robert Gurr, Chapter 12
by Roger Lane, it is explained how in pre-industrial America the average
person had greater independence and autonomy than he does today, and how the
process of industrialization necessarily led to the restriction of personal

Back to document index

Original file name: Unabomber.html

This file was converted with TextToHTML - (c) Logic n.v.