I understand misanthropy. True confession -- I have a complete set of serial killer trading cards, collected at the ripe old age of nineteen. I made tasteless jokes about Team Ebola during the pandemic scare, albeit in my private Facebook groups. I often root for the monsters in slasher films.
There is no love lost between me and the human race. I get it. Still, I try to keep my misanthropy well in check because in brief, I am not a fool.
Recently, a vegan fruitarian Youtube personality named Freelee made an internet stir by asking if people who ate meat, knowing the suffering of the animals and the environmental impact of their choice, deserved to live. Another unrelated vegan Youtube personality named Vegan Gains followed in Freelee’s footsteps by recommending vasectomies to all men and ended with a satirical rant about stomping babies to death.
Though I find it bizarrely reassuring to know that prominent vegans share my childfree, vegan stance, I do wish they would learn to keep their misanthropy in check for the sake of the animals.
I adore Freelee. That said, Freelee, for all her refreshing honesty and candor, is frequently a tacky, foot-in-mouth buffoon, as is her partner Durianrider. The first unfortunate assumption Freelee and Durianrider make is that a vegan diet is a panacea for every human ailment. Their rallying cries of “Carb the f**k up” are funny and attention getting, but what happens once Freelee is too old by society’s measures to dance in a bikini? What if one of them gets fat, or gets cancer? Yes, vegans also get cancer. We’re not bulletproof.
Then there is the matter of Vegan Gains, who is very entertaining, and who comes off as a punk. He’s obviously winging it. His Achille’s heel is that he comes from privilege, and in particular, his male privilege is evident to everyone except him. He’s also an excellent actor, which is why many were convinced of his psychopathy when he went on his disturbing baby-beating monologue.
Freelee, Durian Rider, and Vegan Gains may think they’re uniquely dark, but I would argue that most vegans, especially childfree vegans, have very nasty, misanthropic thoughts. We see meat-eaters, whom I like to taunt on occasion by calling them necrovores, as evil personified. We recognize the suffering of animals that happens for no good reason and we hate it. We also hate our own impotence in the face of the fact 99% of the world’s people choose to eat or exploit animals at almost every turn. Humans are the problem. There are too many of us and way, way too many of our farmed animals. The planet is going through a Great Dying and it is our fault. We shout at the tempest. We stick our fingers in the leaky dam.
I think if Freelee, Durianrider, and Vegan Gains thought it through, they would come to the same conclusion that I have arrived at: We're doomed.
There is most likely no way of stopping the Sixth Extinction from putting an end to approximately 90% of life on Earth within ten thousand years or less. So yes, we should advocate veganism. We should also advocate being childfree. But we should not expect a vegan world. The bottom line is we should try to save as many animals as possible before the inevitable End. That is all we can do.
This is where I suggest vegans closet their misanthropy. Here is why: an entire culture dedicated to castigating and scolding the obese (ours) never helped anybody lose weight. Yelling at any given wannabe-parent person not to have children will travel in one echoey ear and go out the other. Screaming at meat eating restaurant-goers until you’re hoarse or the officer kicks you out of Chipotle is largely a waste of time. I believe I have inspired more people to try vegan at a single sushi class than a thousand “organized” guilt-trippers crying about the plight of chickens at Whole Foods. Telenovellas about people living the fabulous childfree life have dropped fertility rates in Brazil, from an era when a woman had six children on average to less than two.
Misanthropy and darkness need outlets, however, I don’t think shouting at people on Youtube is the best one. There is also the literal danger they face from the most disgusting denizens of the internet. Vegan Gains might as well have painted a target on his own back for every violent troll who slobbered into his beer while watching his videos on repeat. Knowing this man’s world, demonic male free-for-all rape culture, I am terrified for Freelee.
There are Facebook groups for vegans and childfree people with dark thoughts; I know, I moderate three of them. I would also like to suggest the outlets of fiction, art, and music. I absolutely use my fiction to vent my deepest, darkest thoughts that I could never utter in public -- that’s what makes it horror and why it contains lots of swear words.
I believe Freelee, Durianrider, and Vegan Gains want to save animals as badly as I do. Perhaps their vitriolic brands of in-your-face anger will help the movement in ways I cannot fathom. As I often say, I could be wrong. If so, more power to them.