Humans are Scum
By Dave Belden
The following was originally written and performed for BUGHOUSE! on August 5, 2019. Dave’s topic was “People: Inherently Good or Scum?” Dave’s argument won over Lauren Reed’s Humans are Inherently Good. You can listen to the live event on our podcast here.
I cannot express how excited I am. Because over the past couple weeks since I was assigned this topic, I’ve been overwhelmed by this deep, dark despair. But in the next few minutes, I get to unload it all onto you, and then I can resume the carefree complacency to which I’ve grown accustomed.
You. People. Suck.
It’s true and you all know it and here are seven reasons why:
#7 We are selfish, gaping mouths who consume and exploit all the resources we can extract.
#6 War, genocide, murder — basically anything involving the unnecessary deaths of our fellow humans. Some will quibble with the term “unnecessary;” those who see certain wars as having been beneficial to those of us who survived. But I’d argue that each and every war since the beginning of time could have been avoided, if only we weren’t such selfish, gaping mouths who consume and exploit all the resources we can extract.
#5 Rape, torture, mutilation. These might seem the same as war, genocide, and murder, except that rape, torture, and mutilation typically leave the victims alive. This is so we can all be reminded of the psychological terror we’re inflicting on the weaker person, culture, race, or even the countless other species with whom we “share” our planet.
#4 The saxophone.
#3 Guns. I was going to talk a lot about guns, but then we had these shootings over the weekend and They who know better suggested it was “too soon” to talk about guns. How we created them in order to aid and abet all the war, genocide, murder, rape, torture, and mutilation I’ve already mentioned and I’ll go ahead and lump in other great technologies like nuclear weapons, conventional weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons — hell cyber weapons are pretty awful.
They who know better like to say it’s for “defense” or “protection” or “in case someone else with weapons attacks us first” but of course they’d say that because guns are also fun and exciting and loud and powerful and psychologically manipulative and fuck you I like how it smells when I’m oiling my Glock. I don’t know if you actually oil a Glock. I don’t know guns, really. I do know bullies. Anyway, it’s too soon, so I’ll just skip to…
#2 Money. Another, frankly brilliant human invention that allows us to control resources, control people, control armies, control plumbers and politicians and employees. And it’s brilliant because money doesn’t exist, we just all agree that it exists. It’s this nice, clean medium that allows us to exchange resources without getting our hands dirty, or having to think about the strip mining, or the oil extraction, or over-farming, or exploitation of people who don’t understand money, I mean fuck them if they can’t figure out interest rates and inflation and mortgage-backed securities or why they can no longer live where they grew up because it’s now too expensive, yeah life sucks too bad, hey check out my new car it’s awesome yeah leather injection turbo horsepower I got the navigation package too even though I use my phone cuz I’m worth it. And that brings us to…
#1 We choose to live this way. We humans, all of us, choose to be awful. Even those of us who believe we’re virtuous and charitable and kind and woke and enlightened.
a. We overpopulate this little planet. We strip its soil, trees, fresh water, minerals, oil, gas, fish, cows, pigs, and chickens.
b. We don’t have to kill and maim our neighbors, or enslave them, or place a value on them and call it a minimum wage or a tip or a salary.
c. We don’t have to buy up all the land and call it real estate and tell the humans or animals who lived there previously that they’re no longer welcome, thanks bye.
d. We don’t have to allow fewer and fewer wealthy humans to control more and more of the power and land and money.
e. We know better. We’re taught what’s right and wrong, what’s good and bad, by our religions and our schools and the humans who came before us.
f. We know, in our souls, that we’re worth just as much or just as little as everyone else on this planet, and we know in our souls that we shouldn’t even be thinking about the value of others, but we’ve become so accustomed to assessing worth and value and what we can get out of a transaction that we conveniently and antiseptically forget that we’re often assessing people who are less capable of defending themselves. We do this through middlemen and corporations and the They who provide us with the separation we need so we’re not reminded of where our meat comes from, what chemicals are sprayed on our crops (oh, it’s too bad about the bees and butterflies and birds and babies), and how the fruit-pickers are treated, and gosh if only They could stop going to war. If only They would listen to me. If only They wouldn’t cut me off in traffic and make me mad. If only They could choose to live better.
We choose to suck. We know we could do better, but we don’t. And that’s why humans are scum.