Leaders and the Best (Even if its Terrorism: Unabomber-Visionary, Bomb-constructing Warrior, and Math Genius)

theodore_kaczynski    University of Michigan grads have excelled in every field of study, in business, and in the arts. Hell, we Wolverines count Bill Ayers, legendary founder of the far-left Weather Underground, amateur bomb builder, and poster child for “Daddy’s Spoiled Little Scamp”.

Let’s forget that dilettante, though.

Ted Kaczynski, better known by his moniker the Unabomber, also attended the University as a brilliant graduate student in the mathematics department. I was ignorant the Unabomber’s true identity until I came across this germane quote:

Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness. Science fiction It is already happening to some extent in our own society. Instead of removing the conditions that make people depressed modern society gives them antidepressant drugs. In effect antidepressants are a means of modifying an individual’s internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise find intolerable.

Recall that at least 10% of Americans are on antidepressants today, and for women over 25, that figure is an astounding 1 in 4. He may have been a lonely homicidal hermit, but goddam this dude was perspicacious.

Or let’s take another topical bit from Kaczynski, which has only become exponentially obvious since its publication:

Those who are most sensitive about “politically incorrect” terminology are not the average black ghetto-dweller, Asian immigrant, abused woman or disabled person, but a minority of activists, many of whom do not even belong to any “oppressed” group but come from privileged strata of society.

I looked up Ted Kaczynski immediately after coming across this pithy, perspicuous observations, and lo and behold, he was the mothafuggin’ Unabomber that terrorized the country for over 15 years throughout the ’80s. Like a smack from the pimp hand across my face, I noticed with shock that he had graduated from the same university from which I will soon graduate.

By no means do I respect or admire him, but I cannot deny his piercing insight on the state of society and politics in the United States. I’m mostly happy that he had displaced Bill Ayers as the most infamous Wolverine terrorist.

Just so you don’t think I’m some fringe-political nutjob revering his work, check out the testimonials from his professors.

His professors, nonplussed by his later acts, corroborated his genius:

  • “He was an unusual person. He was not like the other graduate students,” said Peter Duren, one of Kaczynski’s math professors at Michigan. “He was much more focused about his work. He had a drive to discover mathematical truth.”
  • “It is not enough to say he was smart,” said George Piranian, another of his Michigan math professors. In fact, Kaczynski earned his Ph.D. by solving a problem so difficult that Piranian, now a professor emeritus, could not figure it out.

Apparently, the thrill of discovering mathematical truths that could potentially unravel some of the mysteries of the universe was not enough satisfaction for . Retiring from academia, he focused his intellectual prowess, eventually responsible for 15+ bombings, 3 deaths, and over 23 critical injuries. Sure, he could’ve piled the bodies higher if he wanted, but an anarchist to the bone, the recipients of his explosive plots were mostly academic-types, especially those involved in the computer sciences.

Besides the Zodiac Killer,  Kaczynski is perhaps America’s most brilliant and villainous domestic terrorist.

Go Blue!

P.S.  *Try looking through the stacks  at Hatcher or the shelves in Shapiro for evidence of Ted Kaczynski’s professorial role here at the university. I did; you won’t find any.*

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