The (new|alt|whatever)-right

Posted on May 1, 2023

It seems to me that in the heart of the “new right” thinking lies the Unabomber manifesto, which must have been one of the most persistent producer of memes ("….x has been a disaster for the human race."), and underneath it lies a critique of the modern world. Fleming, Sean. “The Unabomber and the origins of anti-tech radicalism.” Journal of Political Ideologies 27, no. 2 (2022): 207-225., which I wouldn’t have found if it wasn’t the first wikipedia reference for the Unabomber, does a great job breaking down kaczynski’s argument.

Central to the premise seem to be three lines of thought (quoting):

  1. “… ‘modern society’, like a zookeeper, ‘tends to guarantee the physical necessities to everyone in exchange for only minimal effort’, modern humans are constantly struggling to find stimulation through ‘surrogate activities’…” (Moris)
  2. “…consistent failure to attain goals throughout life results in defeatism, low self-esteem or depression (Seligman)…”
  3. “…human beings are maladapted to life in a technological society” (Ellul)…"

In my opinion, statement (1) is catastrophically incorrect and appears to be the basis of ideologies such as “dark enlightenment” and Tea Party. While Morris’ ideas may have been accurate in the 1960s when social democracy had some influence and western societies provided some degree of reasonable living conditions and hope for their citizens, this is no longer the case. Even if one conforms to societal expectations, they may still be unable to obtain basic needs such as shelter. Statement (2) is a flawed attribution of agency as it assumes that escape opportunities exist when, in reality, they do not. Individuals cannot be blamed for not taking opportunities that do not exist. Finally, statement (3) cannot be given any credit unless one has internalized theology or belief, which may be difficult to find in contemporary society.