A Commentary on the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

The following is an excerpt of a letter from Ted Kaczynski to Último Reducto (UR). I have translated it back into English here, but one should of course be aware that the process of reverse translation can be fraught with errors.


The majority of the people responsible for the disaster are British Petroleum, the oil industry, or large corporations in general. It is true, of course, that multinationals are greedy, cruel, and dishonest, and that the oil industry, and British Petroleum in particular, has immediate responsibility for what occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.

However, as long as modern technology continues to progress, it is going to continue producing artificial disasters of one kind or another. Regulation, no matter how strict, would never completely eradicate these kinds of disasters. Not only because there will always be irresponsibility, negligence, and errors, but also because the introduction of new technologies inevitably give rise to problems that no one could predict beforehand, even if these technologies are introduced carefully and responsibility. This is the reason that disasters regularly happen in unexpected ways. And the more powerful technology gets, the bigger the disasters it produces.

For this reason although the immediate cause of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is negligence on the part of British Petroleum, the ultimate cause is modern technology itself. People commit an error when they see modern problems as isolated incidents: there has been a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, therefore, we must impose stricter regulations on oil companies; the rate of clinical depression continues to increase, therefore, we must find better therapies; the planet is warming, therefore, we must develop new ways of producing electricity; etc. It is necessary that people take into account the cause of these problems, and practically all the most serious problems of modern times are direct or indirect consequences of technological progress. As long as technology continues to advance, we are going to continue to encounter its traps and problems, and we will not be free of these problems until we collectively dismantle the technological system. If we do not free ourselves of the technological system, it will free itself of us, sooner or later.

Ted Kaczynski
10 June 2010

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