I'm Not a Misanthrope

(from a conversation at work)

I used to think I was a misanthrope. I was an angry teenager and an angry young adult. I looked around me at a world that seemed to reward people who didn't seem all that different from me, but all out of proportion with the value I perceived in them. The athletes at my school. The lucky people who got into industries earlier than me. I walked the walk of the tough young man, wearing my "FIST FUCK" NIN shirt, listening to angry music and projecting it into the world.

I got older and the hot anger I felt at the world has cooled into a curmudgeony crust that covers a real temper that I've learned to restrain and direct productively. I don't hate the world any more, and some of that is due to personal growth: I've had the chance to realize that the anger I felt at the world was a reflection of unhappiness with who I was and where I was. And some of the anger was just the gap between my expectations and the reality of life; opportunity and results are unevenly distributed, and I used to be pretty mad at that.

But...

But, but, but.

What I've also learned is that there are some true misanthropes; people whose hatred of humanity motivates them to change the world for the worse every chance they can. To lash out at the shared humanity around them out of what seems from the outside to be a nearly omnidirectional outward hate. It took me a while to recognize them for what they were, but they're very real.

The state legislators who criminalize transgender youth's access to treatment are misanthropes.

The ICE agents who set up a sting to lure foreign students to apply for a fake student Visa are misanthropes.

The Men Going Their Own Way who spew abuse at women who dare to have a public opinion on the internet

Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist who embrace a chromosomally essentialist definition of "woman"

These groups all hate so much of humanity. Any part that doesn't correspond to their narrow view of it, in fact. This is misanthropy. Not the shallow anger of a teenager. It took me a long time to learn it, but I got there.

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