By Colleen McGuire and Cathleen McGuire
The FBI is indulging in a lot of back-slapping lately
over their capture of the alleged Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. The agency
deserves about as much credit as Dr. Robert Gallo did for "discovering"
the HIV virus. (Does the name Dr. Luc Montagnier of France ring a bell?)
In other words, someone else cracked the case! In the Unabomber matter,
that someone else turned out to be Ted’s younger brother, David
Not since the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s has there been such anguish
and soul searching over naming names and co-operating with the Feds.
While McCarthy witnesses squealed for opportunistic political reasons,
David Kaczynski was motivated by a spiritual consciousness: his priority
was to stop the random murder of innocent lives.
Although, the younger Kaczynski probably won’t have any streets
or schools named after him, his actions beg respect. It must have taken
Herculean courage to identify his beloved kin as the potential culprit
in an era when prosecutors and politicians salivate over the death penalty.
The FBI’s million dollar reward reportedly never entered David’s
decision-making process. One can imagine how the Brothers Menendez would
have handled such a situation. Yes, Virginia, there still are principled
people in post-O.J. America.
Like many progressives, the Kaczynskis shared a distrust of advanced
capitalist society, abhorring its reverence for and dependence on The
Machine. Both retreated into the wilds of nature opting for alternative,
rugged life styles. David, however, returned to "civilization,"
and contributed to society by working at a shelter for runaway youths.
Ted stayed put in voluntary isolation, solipsistically absorbed in his
secret agenda. What message lies in the divergence of their paths?
It says something that David is the vegetarian and Ted the meat-eater.
That David was a "bunny hugger" (as described by one Texas
neighbor), while Ted stalked rabbits with military precision. That David
is a Buddhist and Ted an agnostic, if not atheist. Perhaps even that
David majored in literature (the humanities) while Ted excelled in the
abstract rationalism of mathematics.
Ted is sort of an Earth First! Dave Foreman gone amok. While Earth First!
long ago rejected Foreman’s macho world views, his notoriety lingers,
particularly his repugnant belief that nature needs AIDS and hunger
to combat overpopulation. Just as monkey wrenchers deemed human life
expendable in their crusade to save the earth, Ted Kaczynski’s
eco-jihad likewise represents extreme misanthropy.
From what little we know of David, on the other hand, his politics appear
to be based on a spiritual reverence for all life. It is doubtful that
he became a vegetarian strictly for health reasons. Although it cannot
be said that vegetarians are more caring than carnivores, one can’t
help but sense that David’s unwillingness to eat dead animals
coincides with his compassionate urge to save lives.
While the public and press monopolize attention on the latest postmodern
monster, the politics of the Unabomber’s brother go unexamined
except as simplistic black/white, good brother/bad brother portraits.
Perhaps useful lessons could be learned from David Kaczynski if the
meaning behind his life choices — including his refusal to hunt
and kill — were explored in greater depth.
Colleen McGuire and Cathleen McGuire
are ecofeminist activists who live in Hell’s Kitchen.