Humanity has always had an indifferent press, particularly outside Britain. The only people who believe in progress, Baudelaire wrote, are fools and Belgians. For the Romanian Emil Cioran, ‘existence is our exile and nothingness our home’, while generations of Russians have displayed a degree of misanthropy understandable to anyone who has lived in their country.
Now an Englishman is taking this tradition further. In his book Straw Dogs John Gray declared that humankind was composed of predatory and destructive animals, pitiably self-deluded creatures unable to see beyond the end of their noses and ‘not obviously worth preserving’. The book was well received.
The Silence of Animals