The creator of McAfee Anti-Virus was once an alleged murderer on the run in Bolivia
John McAfee hates his own software just as much as you do. The man behind the name, now ubiquitous with personal computers, has fully embraced the mystical madness of the world in the most hyper-masculine and nihilistic way possible.
At the height of his powers, McAfee ran an alternative antibiotics compound in Bolivia with a harem of sex slaves, hundreds of guns, a fleet of vicious guard dogs, and ultimately fled to Guatemala to avoid questioning for the murder of his neighbor.
Today, McAfee lives in Lexington, Tennessee with a wife 30 years his younger, who was once his well-paid prostitute. He keeps stacks of rifles in the house and a pistol on his hip, enjoying his 70s with bliss and a heavy dash of paranoia.
“I have no fascination with guns,” he said. “I have a fascination with survival.”
To this day, McAfee believes that the Sinaloa cartel wants him dead. He claims that vehicles are always following him around, that his guns and his bodyguard, named Pool, are all that separate him from life and death.
McAfee has always walked a fine line. At the young age of 15, his father committed suicide, leaving a gaping crater in his masculinity that would recover in the form of the harshest chauvinist attitudes toward women and violence possible.
McAfee suffered a series of identity-shattering events at a young age. After college, while working for the Missouri Pacific Railroad as a young man, McAfee began dosing LSD almost every day, and once did an entire bag of DMT. He ended up hiding behind a garbage can in a strange street in St. Louis, in a life-defining trip that forced eternity into his soul and made it rub chaos all over his face like a cheese grater.
This trip, and its sense of eternal duration, stayed with McAfee for the rest of his life.
In the 70s, he moved to Silicon Valley, and working for NASA, then Omex and Lockheed, he picked up a habit of snorting cocaine almost daily. He finally went sober in 1983. It was a good move - by the end of the 1980s, McAfee Associates was a multi-million dollar company. He had gotten into the cyber security space before most people understood what viruses were.
Selling his shares and becoming a multi-millionaire, McAfee became bored of life. So he moved to Belize in 2008, hired a microbiologist named Allison Adonizio, and opened an alternative antibiotics company.
This was where he became more himself than any troubled man could think possible.
“My fragile connection with the world of polite society has, without a doubt, been severed. My attire would rank me among the worst-dressed Tijuana panhandlers. My hygiene is no better. Yesterday, for the first time, I urinated in public, in broad daylight.”
In Belize, McAfee became a monster. He allegedly raped Ms. Adonizio, the microbiologist he had hired, the night after she raised concerns about their business relationship. He kept a pack of hungry attack dogs and an armada of guns, fearing that he was being watched at all times. He bought local women to be his permanent prostitutes, and descended into the pit of sex, guns and nihilistic detachment from the world.
McAfee also rarely had sex with these prostitutes, many of whom were under-aged. He had coprophilia, a fetish for fecal matter, and well, you get the idea.
The void in modern life defined John McAfee. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote that the person of the future, to deal with the death of God, the end of universal meaning and the collapse of coherency between individuals and the world, would have to create their own values. The ideal of the Ubermensch was a person who, through force of will alone, created the world they sought to live in. Think the self-resigned inner peace of Gandhi, but with the ruthlessness of Napoleon and the will to do anything, no matter how moral or immoral.
John McAfee, suicidal, drug-addicted and alienated by the culture of Silicon Valley, literally fled civilization for the jungles of Belize. But all his chickens came to roost when one of his guard dogs had been poisoned. Finding the dog dead outside his compound, his neighbor, Gregory Faull, became the chief suspect. At least, that’s what a Showtime documentary called Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee alleges, as Faull died in the following days and the police subsuquently raided McAfee’s compound, suspecting that he was using it to cook methamphetamine.
No meth was ever found, and McAfee insists that he did not kill his neighbor. But he fled to Guatemala, and was soon deported from Guatemala, where he found himself in Miami, Florida, starting anew in the United States.
He's stayed here ever since, immune from the Bolivian authorities. But there's no escape from paranoia, nor from unease of the soul.
In 2016, he ran unsuccessfully for the nomination of the Libertarian Party. McAfee, as his origins in anti-virus software prove, genuinely cares about cyber-security:
“Our freedoms are being restricted," he told ABC news in an interview last year. “Our security is being eroded, and we have no more privacy. If we lose privacy, we lose civilization and we will certainly lose our humanity.”
The story of John McAfee may sound like an oddball parody, The Wolf of Wall Street meets Scarface. But the type of man who binges on paranoia, guns and keeps sex slaves permanently surrounding him in a jungle compound has become increasingly common in Western civilization.
Hyper-masculine fantasies emerge, in part, out of the indignity and soulless nature of modern life. The suicide of a father, a psychedelic bender, and a disconnect from ordinary people have the capability of producing people who truly live by the beat of their own sadistic and masochistic drum, and answer to no one but themselves.
The 19th century poet Arthur Rimbaud famously gave up poetry to become a gun runner in Africa, selling outdated British rifles to warlords for massive profits at the young age of 21.
No matter who you are, there is a droplet of John McAfee inside you, a person who wishes to move into the jungle with a case of guns, a harem of prostitutes, and live a life of fear and fury, unmarred by the mediocrity of the day and its thankless grind. His story is a perpetual reminder of the chaotic hell that exists inside us all, and if not for the angels of our better nature, would make us all a horde of ruthless savages on a planet of endless war.
Maybe, we're all more like John McAfee than we would like to think we are.