Cruelty doesn’t get enough attention. Judith Shklar pointed that out; Montaigne pointed it out.

When I drew up that quick secular 10 commandments recently I put “don’t be cruel” first. I kind of take it for granted that that’s essential…but apparently I’m not in the majority on that.

I just Googled the word and I’m a bit shocked to find that most of the first entries are for cruelty to animals, as if cruelty to humans isn’t a thing.

Cruelty to humans is a thing.


  1. Desert Son, OM says

    The irony being that as humans pursue cruelty to humans, a by-product is very often cruelty to other species.

    To milsson’s point at #1, humans have too long had a conceptual identity problem as somehow separate from the whole big vast system that includes all the other parts such as single-celled organisms, geological features, flora, fungi, weather, chordates and invertebrates, space-time, and so on.

    We’re in it! We actually are in the thing that is! No foolin’! It’s another reason why religion-as-escape-pod is not just ridiculous, but treacherous.

    Still learning,


  2. johnthedrunkard says

    Writing off the cuff, I believe the RSPCA was founded a long time before any equivalent groups against cruelty to children.

    I suspect we normalize the cruelty we have suffered, hence perpetuating and camouflaging the next round. It may be easier to perceive cruelty to non-humans.

  3. ekwhite says

    In addition to what johnthedrunkard wrote, a lot of people who are cruel to other humans start out with cruelty to other animals. One example I can think of is George W. Bush blowing up frogs as a child. Eventually, he graduated to blowing up other countries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *