Myth Of The 20th Century – Episode 40: Uncle Ted’s Cabin

Welcome to the Myth of the 20th Century. The podcast airs on Fridays.

— Brought to you by —

Adam Smith, Hank Oslo, Nick Mason, and Hans Lander


Consider first our physical health. We suffer from a range of modern ills that have traditionally been very rare: obesity, cancers, accidental death and injury, deliberate death through high-tech weapons (including handguns) and warfare, global plagues like AIDS. Automobile accidents kill over 40,000 Americans every year, and about 1.3 million people globally-that’s roughly 3,300 people killed every day. Nearly 44% of the American population is medicated. A recent study suggests that 28% of all teenagers suffer chronic headaches, with 40% of these occurring daily. Even the mundane daily computer use that many of us experience imposes its own risks: carpal­ tunnel syndrome, eyestrain, back and joint pain, headache, toxic chemicals on keyboards and monitors, and the general ill health that results from sedentary behavior. – Introduction: A Revolutionary for Our Times, Dr. David Skrbina


1942 – Theodore John Kacyznski is born in a small, Polish Catholic neighborhood.
1959 – Participates in psychological study created by Henry Murray, prematurely scarring Ted and creating a lasting impact on his psyche.
1962 – Graduates from Harvard University with a degree in Mathematics.
1969 – Leaves tenure track at Berkeley having earned his PhD in Mathematics, becomes disillusioned with the world of mathematics.
1971 – Purchases property and builds a small cabin just outside of Lincoln, Montana.
1978 – Sends his first bomb to Northwestern University.
1979 – A bomb explodes inside the cargo hold of an American Airlines 727 plane in midair, causing minor smoke inhalation.
1985 – After several bombs ranging from minor combustions to life-threatening explosions, the Unabomber finally succeeds in killing a target. Computer store owner Hugh Scrutton is killed outside of his store’s parking lot.
1987 – The Unabomber is spotted in Salt Lake City, Utah after leaving a bomb at a computer store. Goes silent, fearing detection.
1993 – The Unabomber begins his campaign once again, maiming a genetics professor. Also sends his first letter to the New York Times.
1994 – Thomas Mosser, an advertising executive, is killed by a bomb sent to his home.
1995 – Gilbert Murray, the President of the California Forestry Association, is killed by a bomb send to his home. The WaPo and NYT finally publish the 35,000-word essay “Industrial Society and its Future”.
1996 – Ted Kaczynski is taken into federal custody by the FBI after linguistic analysis grants a warrant for his arrest.
1998 – Ted Kaczynski is sentenced to life in prison without parole.


– Man and Technics, Spengler (1930)
– The Question Concerning Technology, Heidegger (1977)
– The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”: The CIA and Mind Control, Marks (1991)
– Unabomber’s Elusive Trial, Barbara Vobejda; Lorraine Adams (1996) –
– The Unabomber’s Targets: An Interactive Map, CNN (1997) –
– Kaczynski pleads guilty, avoids death sentence, CNN (1998) –
– Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber, Chase (2000) –
– Unabomber Evidence Reveals New Insights, Alfano, (2006) –
– My Brother, the Unabomber, The Guardian (2009) –
– Matching Wits with the Unabomber, Vizard (2013) –
– How publishing a 35,000-word manifesto led to the Unabomber, Washington Post (2015) –
– Every Last Tie: The Story of the Unabomber and His Family, David Kaczynski (2016)
– ‘Manhunt: Unabomber:’ FBI Profiler on Catching Ted Kaczynski, True Crime Stories and Meeting Donald Trump, Newsweek (2017) –
– The iPhone X proves the Unabomber was right (2107) –
– Myth Of The 20th Century – Episode 28: Nice Try, FBI – Hoover’s Legacy And The War On Crime (2017) –
– FBI Profiler Says Linguistic Work Was Pivotal In Capture Of Unabomber, Davies (2017) –
– Published Works of Ted Kaczynski –
– Timeline of the Unabomber Case,
– Kenneth Michael Trentadue –
– MKUltra Documents as released by the CIA –
– The Unabomber Letters –—a-yahoo-news-special-report-170846210.html
– Chronology of the UNABOM investigation, Cornell University –
– Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, A.k.a “The Unabomber”, Theodore John Kaczynski

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  1. SecretForumLurker October 20, 2017 at 11:08 am

    A weird legacy possibility for Ted K is for the rise of a neo-luddite movement using him as the prophet. The dangers Ted warned about are coming to fruition or just over the horizon with transhumanism, robotics, ai and zombified phone users. Ted could become a schelling point of sorts for such an organization. Eco terror types have been from the left and poorly organized. Ted’s arguments aren’t going to appeal to dummies. A crowd with Ted as a schelling point would have their figurehead martyred leader and know specific points in the industrial chain are the weakest spots. They’d also have a guide map for who or what to target. Tech itself has become more complex and fragile, which makes Ted’s desires easier to fulfill. Soft versions of his ideas are pushed with off-grid living, preppers and even localtarians going mainstream.

  2. Ted Kaczynski along with Eric Rudolph and Timothy McVeigh, men with as accurate insight into the problem, but a myopic view of circumstances and the subsequent solution taken in conjunction.

    I’ve always wondered if Kaczynski’s analysis of the Power Process in liberalism could be ironically, and perhaps cynically, applied to his own actions in some way.

    1. I own and regularly peruse the full manifesto and while there were many brilliant insights, I would agree that both the man and work had irredeemable flaws.

      There was a good long form article a while back that argued that Ted’s experience at Harvard, where he was subject to what would today be considered deeply unethical experiences, may have cracked his precociously delicate egg.

      1. typo: unethical “experiments”

  3. Great episode! You’ve quickly become one of my go-to podcasts–keep it up, goys.

  4. Great work as usual guys. I wonder how much Kacizynski knows of what is going on in the world today and how much technology, especially computerization has accelerated since he was put behind bars.

    An interesting work in the same philosophical vein as “Industrial Society and It’s Future” is Dmitry Orlov’s “Shrinking the Technosphere”. He rolls with Ted’s thesis of technological society subsuming man into it as a cog and models it as “The Technosphere”, an expanding organism that seeks only to grow at our expense. He thinks it’s going to kill us.

  5. If Ted hadn’t done what he did nobody would be reading or talking about his work. He is the author of one of the most advertised political manifestos there ever was. He was reaching out to people that desire radical destruction of the system. He wasn’t reaching out to people that would be turned off by his tactics.

    You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs — historical heroes nearly every last one of them are killers. The only difference between him and them is that he is not venerated.

    1. So what are you saying, that the Unabomber’s actions were justified? After all, you did say that in order to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs.

  6. Excellent episode! Please do an episode on Eric Robert Rudolph. His “Between the Lines of Drift” is a very interesting and well written book. You could present his story and case in the same way you did Ted’s.

    1. Very good suggestion. We’ll take a look, thank you.

  7. I love the show but Nick is annoying as hell. He shouts, interrupts and gets too autistic on mere details. Two thirds on the show talking about the case? Common!

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