The NY Mag article “Children of Ted” was discussed on an excellent podcast series, Last Born in the Wilderness. I recommend listening to other episodes, such as the discussion on “collapse management” or the problems with the Green New Deal.
In this episode, I speak with journalist John H. Richardson. Former Writer at Large for Esquire, John is the author of the captivating article ‘Children of Ted: The Unlikely New Generation of Unabomber Acolytes,’ published December 2018 in New York Magazine.
In the article ‘Children of Ted,’ John takes a deep dive into the world of Theodore Kaczynski (aka the Unabomber) acolytes and apostates, a journey that documents his interactions with various individuals and groups that have been inspired (or adjacently-inspired) by the anti-civilizational writings and philosophy of Kaczynski (and even his multiple deadly acts of terrorism leading up to his arrest by the FBI in 1996). While John’s article is centered around the story of John Jacobi, who become radicalized (in part) through his exposure to Kaczynski’s manifesto ‘Industrial Society and Its Future’ and his subsequent correspondences with him, the article more broadly examines a phenomenon Richardson describes as Kaczynski Moments. “The Kaczynski moment dislocates. Suddenly, everyone seems to be living in a dream world. Why are they talking about binge TV and the latest political outrage when we’re turning the goddamn atmosphere into a vast tanker of Zyklon B? Was he right? Were we all gelded and put in harnesses without even knowing it? Is this just a simulation of life, not life itself?” (http://bit.ly/ChildrenOfTed) As John writes and states in this interview, Kaczynski Moments cut through almost every political tendency and ideology, and yield wide and varied results. In writing the piece, John interviewed some of the most prominent anti-civilizational activists, writers, and even a terror-friendly propagandist for an eco-extremist outfit operating in Mexico and South/Central America. We discuss John’s own Kaczynski Moment and interactions with the man himself, and how his research into the lives of Kaczynski-inspired or Kaczynski-adjacent-inspired individuals and groups has informed his journalism and life after the publication of ‘Children of Ted’ this past December.