Jacques Ellul

Last month the Heartland Institute, a climate-denying “think tank,” plastered Ted “The Unabomber” Kaczynski’s scowling face on a series of billboards in Chicago.

I still believe in global warming,” the copy read. “Do you?

Kaczynski has long been the figurative poster boy for technophobic insanity, of course, but the Heartland Institute made it literal. The billboard campaign was quickly recognized as a miscalculation and withdrawn, but it served as a reminder of what a gift Kaczynski turned out to be for some of the very enemies he sought to destroy. It also served as a reminder of how egregiously he misused the ideas of a philosopher who is revered as a genius by many people, myself included.

I refer to Jacques Ellul, author of The Technological Society. Ellul died 18 years ago last month; this year marks the hundredth anniversary of his birth. more...