Misanthropy is nothing new to many corners of the Internet, especially newspaper comment sections.
So it’s no surprise that users of social news site Reddit -- well known for their nerdy, brutally honest, and often esoteric discussions of popular phenomena -- took the humans-suck vibe of the general Internet and turned it into a serious (if tongue-in-cheek) point of debate.
“If you had to cull 10 percent of the human race, what selection criteria would you use?” asked mattimeo, opening a thread in the AskReddit subforum that, as of this afternoon, had already gathered 4,192 comments. (That's a big number compared to most threads on the site.)
“Gee, there's so many choices. I'm not sure I'd be able to stop myself at 10 percent,” wrote machinebot, in the thread’s top-voted comment. (“You know this makes you a bad person, right?” asked one redditor in response. “Oh well...” replied machinebot.)
The viewership of the Jersey Shore was another top vote for hypothetical extermination, as were commenters on YouTube (a frequent target of Redditor ire).
And quite unsurprising for a site that features a raucous and often confrontational atheism section, religious fanatics ranked highly, too.
“Death to all fanatics!!!” suggested Lochmon, getting 102 points (upvotes minus downvotes).
“Religious fanatics,” suggested General_Specific, more sedately. That idea had 65 points.
Redditor Aethe decided the question deserved some serious reflection. He pumped out a 540 word comment that can only be described as a veritable essay by Reddit standards.
For Aethe, first to get the ax should be people who actually want to die. Then, Aethe would turn to violent religious extremists. Next come the “sociopaths” and their henchman who rule certain African countries and, then, oddly enough, himself:
Aethe would have “no place in this new Earth” and would be “disappointed” by the outcome.
But for Redditor Roisen, the power of a potential slaughter is more powerful than the slaughter itself (carrot and guillotine, if you will):
“I would wait. I would make sure that everyone knew that I was going to kill 10% of the worlds population. … I would force politicians to get their shit together, CEOs to redistribute their wealth voluntarily, foreign regimes to cut it the fuck out. I'd force politicians to give grants to researchers looking to increase food production or cheaper ways to create potable water. Also hippies. I'd kill the hippies.”
But perhaps Marvelous_Individual seemed to have the most reasonable solution:
“I'd start with those who told me I had to cull 10 percent of the human race.”