What do Osama bin Laden, Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, and David Koresh all have in common?*

*That is, what do they share besides the obvious: antisocial personalities, hunger to commit murder and mayhem, extremist ideologies, etc,?

Answer to the Riddle: All of these terrorists share the same enemy, the process of modernization with its technological progress.  Regardless of which tradition they represent, they would all like to return to some mythical good old days before modernization took hold.  Modernization represents the ultimate enemy to any traditional society or any fundamentalist.The technological seductions of modernization–television, the Internet, the DVD–threaten to lure members away from any traditional society. The glitter of the gadgets attracts them like moths to a flame.  Built as it is on hypertext, the Internet is highly subversive. Type in a word from a holy book and you get 20 hyperlinks to different versions or translations of that particular word. There is no “truth” in such a universe. Relativism abounds; orthodoxy and creed unravel towards chaos and oblivion. No Islamic fundamentalist like Osama bin Laden can tolerate such a world. Neither can a Christian fundamentalist like Koresh. Theodore Kaczynski was an anti-technology Luddite, a Wendell Barry with intent to kill. He sent letter bombs to computer company executives to try to stop the march of progress. The shift from the Industrial Age to the Age of Information left Timothy McVeigh with no job, nothing to do, no place to go. What can an uneducated farmer do in our brave new Information Age? Answer, in frustration and rage he can blow up a building with people in it.  McVeigh and Kaczynski, for different reasons, saw progressive, modernizing change as highly threatening to their lives and/or life philosophies.


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “What do Osama bin Laden, Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, and David Koresh all have in common?*

  1. My name is Paul Ewing and I wrote this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s