Richard Moore

An interesting (but long) piece. Be warned, it features ideas from the 

Those who judge the messenger rather than the message might want to skip this 

For others, there is considerable food for thought.


From: Alan Lewis <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Date: many moons ago, i just found it again - rkm

Kaczynski, Nietzsche, Schlossberg, Ressentiment, Left Psychotype

Offered for Contrast with Walter Davis' "The Psychology of Christian 
Fundamentalism" (


In all the furor over the Unabomber and his manifesto (circa 1993) -- which was 
eventually published, in capitulation to his bombing threat, as a supplement to 
the Washington Post -- I was amazed that apparently almost no one actually READ 
the manifesto, or if they did they had little or nothing to say about it.

Below, I have excerpted two passages of special vitality.

Bear in mind that this was NOT written by some right-wing fruitcake or 
ditto-head demagogue, but rather by an ultra-radical biocentrist anarchist and 
enemy of urban-industrialism and technology. He has no use for conspiracy 
theories, New World Order paranoia, Constitutionalism, nationalism, cultural 
conservatism, ethnocentrism, and other staples of the right. He singles out the 
left for criticism not because he is on the right, but because the left 
psychotype that he describes does as much as the right to support what is in his
view an insane and doomed system. He himself came from the left and was involved
early on with leftish groups or movements, and was thus able to view them 
"up-close and personal", and thus identify core tendencies more readily than 
could an outsider.

He sees the ways in which the dysfunctional psychological attributes of typical 
leftists act to abort or pervert their (ostensibly) noble purposes, and how 
those same attributes foster statism and authoritarianism, even totalitarianism.
He may or may not prove to be correct about the fate of urban-industrialism and 
technology (i.e. that it is doomed), and his style is blunt, but he has said 
some insightful and riveting things in this essay -- to which leftish types 
should pay close attention, and should use as fuel for serious introspection.

Kaczynski's tract was, for me, the beginning of a process of awakening and 
eventual dis-identification with the left. Over the next decade I came to see 
identification with either right or left as an addiction, and worse. The 
original green vision of "beyond left and right" came to have real resonance 
(sadly, just as it was losing traction amongst the greens themselves, as they 
yielded to a tide of conventional leftists and "progressives").

I owe it all to Kaczynski, whose trenchant savagery was perhaps the only thing 
that could have jogged me out of my self-satisfied intellectual torpor, and 

Great stuff. Read it.

I reproduce below the Table of Contents, followed by the relevant passages. The 
whole manifesto is worth reading, as well.

Next, for more scholarly/historic context, I reproduce a selection from Herbert 
Schlossberg's book Idols for Destruction (given in a letter to a friend of 
mine). Schlossberg discusses Nietszche's and Scheler's "ressentiment" -- the 
basis, more abstractly, of much of what Kaczynski is talking about. After that 
there is a brief clip describing Neitszche's "underman" -- also relevant.

The only problem with all of this is that ressentiment -- just like the 
Protestant fundamentalist pathologies described in the Davis article, which 
precipitated this --  tends to be invisible to the very people who suffer from 
it. I've found that people (including myself at one time) who consciously 
identify with an ideology or orientation -- commonly "right" or "left", 
"conservative" or "liberal" -- almost invariably are in a pre-rational thrall, 
with areas of cognition that are "off limits" to rational or super-rational 
appraisal. In other words, that their orientations are rooted in prejudice. Thus
they cannot *see* in a self-critical way. In evolutionary psychological terms 
they are informed by deeply-embedded "dominant" or "counter-dominant" 
tendencies, as described in this remarkable, must-read article: Injustice, 
Inequality and Evolutionary Psychology, by Bruce G Charlton -

Another way of expressing this, in neurological structure terms, is by way of 
MacLean's "triune brain" thesis, and the relative dominance of the pre-rational 
structures (reptilian and limbic) -- fears, hungers, lusts, territorial 
imperatives, status/hierarchy imperatives -- over the rational faculties 
(neocortical). The pre-rational structures tend to be dominant in everyone, 
"right" and "left" alike. The only problem with the triune brain thesis (as with
Charlton's thesis, above) is that it gives no account of the super-rational or 
spiritual. Nevertheless it does explain a great deal and is an essential element
in the world-explanatory "toolkit" of anyone who is truly seeking to get to the 
bottom of things (not just rationalize prejudices). The best single introduction
to the triune brain thesis, that I know of, is John Brand's excellent four-part 
writeup "The Human Theater of the Absurd", here:

There's much more fun at the URLs.

SO, without further ado, here's Kaczynski, followed by



The Unabomber's Manifesto:

Industrial Society And Its Future

The Psychology Of Modern Leftism (6-9)
Feelings Of Inferiority
Oversocialization (24-32)
The Power Process
Surrogate Activities (38-41)
Sources Of Social Problems (45-58)
Disruption Of The Power Process In Modern Society
How Some People Adjust (77-86)
The Motives Of Scientists
The Nature Of Freedom (93-98)
Some Principles Of History
Industrial-Technological Society Cannot Be Reformed (111-113)
Restriction Of Freedom Is Unavoidable In Industrial Society

The 'Bad' Parts Of Technology Cannot Be Separated From The 'Good' Parts 

Technology Is A More Powerful Social Force Than The Aspiration For Freedom

Simpler Social Problems Have Proved Intractable (136-139)
Revolution Is Easier Than Reform
Control Of Human Behavior (143-160)
Human Race At A Crossroads
Human Suffering (167-170)
The Escape
Strategy (180-206)
Two Kinds Of Technology
The Danger Of Leftism (213-230)
Final Note



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 and 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 himself.

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

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 fuss.

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]

[Note 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 

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.

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

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 principles.

[Note 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 morale 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 what 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 

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 leftism.

32. The problems of the leftist are indicative of the problems of our society as
a whole.  Low self-esteem, depressive tendencies and defeatism 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.

..... ..... .....


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.

[Note 34. 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.]

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 goal.[35]

[Note 35. Many leftists are motivated also by hostility, but the hostility 
probably results in part from a frustrated need for power.]

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-educate 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 alcohol, 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 

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]

[Note 36. 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.]

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 


Date: Tue, 07 May 2002 13:47:53 -0400
From: •••@••.•••
To: •••@••.•••

Subject: Kaczynski, Nietzsche, Schlossberg, Ressentiment, Left Pathology

Rich, did you read the Unabomber (Kaczynski) passages yet?

You may find them offensive. I know I did, when I first read them about 10 years
ago. Offensive, but also powerfully *arousing* in a way that I had not imagined 
possible. For me they were the beginning of a long thought process that has been
absolutely invaluable.

Kaczynski's insights are not new. As I've subsequently learned, they hearken 
back to Nietzsche, and the German sociologist Max Scheler. I ran into a great 
passage about this in a book titled Idols for Destruction, by Herbert 
Schlossberg (a worthwhile work, generally). In the passage below (pgs 51-54), 
Schlossberg, a Christian, is taking aim at humanism, and finds Nietzsche's 
concept of "ressentiment" at the core of what he sees as the failed humanist 
enterprise. In this passage you will find a more scholarly and considered 
version of what Kaczynski was saying.



The twisted path from humanism's soaring tributes in honor of the
human divinity to the consequences of modern humanitarianism is
best explained by the concept of *ressentiment*. When Nietzsche
wrote his celebrated attack on Christianity, he transliterated
this word from the French because he could find no German
equivalent. Max Scheler [author of Ressentiment, 1915], a German
sociologist, built on and corrected Nietzsche's work and again
used the French word. When Scheler's book was translated into
English the same practice was followed, because "ressentment" is
too weak to convey the meaning he intended. *Ressentiment* begins
with perceived injury that may have a basis in fact, but more
often is occasioned by envy for the possessions or the qualities
possessed by another person. If the perception is not either
sublimated or assuaged by the doing of some injury to the object
of the feeling, the result is a persistent mental condition,
stemming from the repression of emotions that are not acceptable
when openly expressed. The result is hatred and the impulse to
spite and to say things that detract from the other's worth. One
of the most common secret elements to be repressed is
*Schadenfreude*, the rejoicing at another person's misfortune;
vengeance is the principle manifestation of *ressentiment*.

This phenomenon differs from mere envy or resentment because it is
not content to suffer quietly but has a festering quality that
seeks outlet in doing harm to its object. *Ressentiment* has its
origin in the tendency to make comparisons between the attributes
of another and one's own attributes: wealth, possessions,
appearance, intelligence, personality, friends, children. Any
perceived difference is enough to set the pathology in motion.
*Ressentiment* "whispers continuously: 'I can forgive everything,
but not what you *are* --  indeed that I am not *you*'".[22] The
other's very existence is a reproach. "There is no vice of which a
man can be guilty", said an English newspaper more than a century

.  no meanness, no shabbiness, no unkindness which excites so
.  much indignation among his contemporaries, friends and
.  neighbors as his success. This is the one unpardonable crime,
.  which reason cannot defend, nor humility mitigate. "When
.  heaven with such parts blest him, have I not reason to detest
.  him?" is a genuine and natural expression of the human mind.
.  The man who writes as we cannot write, who speaks as we cannot
.  speak, labours as we cannot labour, thrives as we cannot
.  thrive, has accumulated on his own person all the offenses of
.  which man can be guilty. Down with him! Why cumbereth he the
.  ground? [23]

*Ressentiment* does much to explain the existence of crimes that otherwise are 
thought of as "senseless". They are senseless from a materialist perspective 
because the criminal does not gain anything tangible from his action. But if he 
is striking at the object of *ressentiment*, his crime is as rational as if he 
had made off with the crown jewels. He has gained what he desired. 
*Ressentiment* values its own welfare less than it does the debasement or harm 
of its object. Many crimes of vandalism, brutality, and murder might be 
explained that way. Even anti-intellectualism is described by Richard Hofstadter
in *ressentiment* terms, being "a resentment and suspicion of the life of the 
mind and of those who are considered to represent it; and a disposition 
constantly to minimize the value of that life".

In attacking the sources of its irritation, Scheler says, *ressentiment* uses 
third parties as foils. "The formal structure of *ressentiment* expression is 
always the same: A is affirmed, valued and praised not for its own intrinsic 
quality, but with the unverbalized intention of denying, devaluing, and 
denigrating B. A is 'played off' against B." Therefore, what appear to be 
positive affirmations of the worth of others are really disguised attacks on 
still others. Altruism has its source in this poisonous brew. The word was 
invented by Auguste Comte, who thought that self-love was immoral. In common 
with other forms of *ressentiment*, altruism glories in the praise of the weak 
and base, even at its own expense, if that will debase the strong and good.

    Thus the "altruistic" urge is really a form of hatred, of
    self-hatred, *posing* as its opposite ("Love") in the false
    perspective of consciousness. In the same way, in
    *ressentiment* morality, love for the "small", the "poor",
    the "weak", and the "oppressed" is really disguised hatred,
    repressed envy, and impulse to detract...directed against
    the opposite phenomena: "wealth", "strength", "power",
    "*largess*". When hatred does not dare come out into the
    open it can be easily expressed in the form of ostensible
    love -- love for something which has features that are
    opposite of those of the hated object. This can happen in
    such a way that the hatred remains secret. [25] [ref 25 is
    to Scheler's book Ressentiment. --AEL]

Altruism is thus best interpreted as a counterfeit of Christian love, informed 
by the ideology of humanism and powered by *ressentiment*. It permits demeaning 
the successful, or those who display any form of superiority, by pulling over 
that act the mask of concern for the poor and weak. Scheler believed that the 
counterfeit is often good enough to fool the astute, and he concluded that 
Nietzsche confused Christian love with its imitator. Of course, by the time 
Nietzsche wrote, the church was sufficiently infused with humanism to make his 
mistake understandable.

Christian love, says Scheler, does not help the weak, sick, and helpless because
it values those attributes but because of concern for the person who lies behind
them... The fake love of altruism perverts the sense of values so that sickness 
and poverty approach the status of virtues. Christian love seeks to help the 
person but refuses to elevate the problem by giving it ontological status and 
worth. It also avoids helping the weak as a means of causing harm to the strong.
In this it heeds the apostle's admonition that love "does not rejoice at wrong, 
but rejoices in the right" (1 Cor. 13:6). That is the meaning of Goethe's 
statement that "against another's great merits, there is no remedy but love". 
Christian love is directed toward persons who need help and not at abstractions 
such as humanity or the general welfare.

The *ressentiment* penchant for creating wards in order to strike at enemies is 
illustrated in humanitarianism's treatment of class in Western nations. So 
effusive has been its praise of the lower class that Jacques Ellul protests what
he calls the "divinization of the poor" [26]... In general this phenomenon 
praises the worthiness of what is unsuccessful or debased while expressing 
contempt for the exceptional and successful. Along with the exaltation of the 
poor comes the abasement of the middle class; "bourgeois" has become an epithet 
of hatred among those who chortle at H L Mencken's lampooning of the 
"booboisie". Michael Harrington recalled that in his youth in Greenwich Village 
the chief moral stricture in the midst of a dissolute life was "thou shalt not 
be bourgeois". Thus the poor are foils through whom *ressentiment* can strike at
the successful while hiding its evil intentions under a mask of goodwill.

A common humanitarian complaint is that the poor are not sufficiently interested
in their own welfare, making it necessary for the humanitarian gospel to be 
preached among them. B F Skinner's behavioral controller explained that they 
would not speak out on their own behalf because the environment had implanted a 
system of beliefs that inclined them toward compliancy. J K Galbraith is 
offended by what he thinks is indifference of people toward their own economic 
improvement and thinks that only trauma or education will bring them to their 
senses. Helmut Schoeck, a German sociologist now living in the U.S., finds it 
ominous that equalitarians are striving with greater urgency to whip up among 
poor people a keener sense of resentment against their neighbors.[27]  Galbraith
and others complain of their difficulty in this task; PERHAPS THAT IS BECAUSE 

[Note interjected, 30 Jan 05: for more along these lines see Thomas Frank's 
fatuous and stunningly-blinkered book "What's The Matter With Kansas", or google
for reviews. Frank just can't understand why people "vote against their class 
interests". There are several reasons -- one just explained by Schlossberg. 


Nietzsche's archetypal "underman" suffers from ressentiment and Kaczynskian 
"feelings of inferiority" and "oversocialization" (sorry, no URL):


"The Underman" (untermensch)

    -- merely human type of person who cannot face being alone
    in a godless universe. Refuses to be an individual; cannot
    even exist as an individual. Underman turns to group or herd
    for power, identity, purpose. He has envy and ressentiment
    (deep form of psychically polluting resentment) of all
    "higher types" and "elitist" value systems

    -- uses slave morality, a value system based on guilt, fear,
    and a distortion of the will to power, to control superiors;
    praises virtues of humility, passivity, dependency, and
    condemns love of domination, delight in one's own talents,
    fearlessness (traits of superior type)

    -- slave morality is alien to true individuality: it is
    "inauthentic" (phony and uncreative).

    -- the healthy aesthetic perspective (N's) finds underman
    repulsive, weak, evasive, hypocritical


...... anything sound familiar there? There's much more on Nietzsche's 
"underman" elsewhere, of course. Try google.

In reading Schlossberg, Nietzsche, and Kaczynski, the inner reactionary (the 
reptile brain) springs up, attempting to protect the ego and the emotional 
investments of the little self in its pet prejudices. I won't bother setting up 
and knocking down a litany of specific typical reactions. You can do that for 
yourself, and it would be a profitable exercise.

You CAN do that, I believe. Whether you will or not is another matter, but at 
least I believe in the possibility, which is why I sent this to you, 
specifically. Most leftists don't "get it", and never will.

I said that "Kaczynski's insights are not new", but they were certainly new to 
me when I first read them, as was the hearkening to Nietzsche and Scheler, 
later. Why is this? Why isn't such a stimulating, core-level challenge a routine
part of left curricula and a broad topic of discussion? Why did the substance of
Kaczynski's essay go almost entirely unremarked and undiscussed? What could be 
more important? I think it has to do with a constitutional blindness that can be
explained in evolutionary psychological terms; more on this to follow, later. In
brief: for the left to lay its own psychotype so bare is something that the 
pre-rational structures will not tolerate. It is too painful.

And by the way, in my view nothing that Kaczynski and Schlossberg/Scheler has 
said suggests that there are not in the world gross inequities (far greater than
could be accounted for by natural disparities of ability, talent, industry) and 
oppressions, or that these things should not be remedied, or that their 
remediation need necessarily involve envy or "ressentiment". That's not the 
point. Schlossberg goes on in subsequent pages to make serious errors, claiming 
for example that equality has *increased* -- when in fact it has decreased, 
along with a parallel growth of social democratic schemes to prevent total 
destitution (which he confuses with "equality"). Whatever. Everything must be 
read with a critical eye, ever making adjustments for the inevitable biasses and
misapprehensions, while refusing to yield to one's own prejudicial tendencies. 
The typical Marxist (say) would dismiss Schlossberg as a toadying bourgeois 
apologist -- when in reality that is only a PART of what Schlossberg is, and not
(for the leftist whose thinking sorely needs correction) the most important 
part. Ah, well.

Also by the way, Kaczynski (the fiery anti-tech anarchist), Nietszche (the fiery
anti-Christian) and Schlossberg (the devout Christian) obviously make very odd 
bedfellows indeed! But they form a nexus about this subject which I hope has 
been clear, and all the more fun for being so unlikely.

SO, I leave you to enjoy the rest of your Tuesday (or whatever day you read 




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