Jul 202013

This Freakonomics Radio podcast: When we all learned last week that the alleged Boston Marathon bombers are brothers, it made me think of the massive leverage that an older brother can exert on a younger one. Ted and David Kaczynski were extraordinarily close for many years, and shared a view of the modern world as impure and overly industrialized. But as Ted went further down the path toward fundamentalism and violence, David not only extricated himself but ultimately made the painful decision to tell the FBI that the terrorist who had become known as the Unabomber was likely his brother.

The prison interview with Ted Kaczynski was conducted for an article I published in Time magazine. Much of the conversation that day concerned the relationship between Ted and David:

TED KACZYNSKI: It was in many respects, not in all respects, but in many respects a positive relationship from my point of view. But I don’t think it was from my brother’s point of view. And in the end it turned out to be disastrous from my point of view, as you can see.


Stephen J. DUBNER: If you are a man, or a boy, and you have a brother, especially an older brother, then you know that the bond between brothers is unlike any other. Sometimes that bond is almost impossibly wonderful:

Ted KACZYNSKI:  We used to, very often we used to go out and play catch, or one of us would hit the ball with the bat and the other one would catch it.  And I remember one time when we were throwing that ball. We were as far as apart as we could get and still reach each other with the ball.  We were throwing that ball as hard as we could, and as far as we could. And, of course, the ball was thrown very inaccurately, because we were trying so hard to throw it.  And so we would — we were making these running, leaping catches. We made more fantastic catches that day than I think we did in all the rest of our years together. That was more fun.


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Source: Freakonomics

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