This Guy Wants You Dead
Les Knight wants you dead. Not right now though, he doesn’t want to bury you neck-high in a desert and cover you in honey, or lock you in a septic tank at the bottom of his farm, no, he’s more sociopassive than sociopathic. Les just wants to see you die out quietly and happily of old age; just please try not to leave any kids behind.
Les is the founding member of VHEMT (pronounced: vehement, backronym to: The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, motto of: "May we live long and die out"). Les and his gang believe that the level of the human population has reached dangerous levels. And let's be honest, he's right. I mean have you tried getting a bag of grain in Somalia recently? Or getting on the list for the Odd Future show in London this week? We're dangerously overrun people! Not only that, but in Les' mind we, as a species, have been pissing in Gaia's scented bath of life for too long, proving that we can't be trusted to exist. So, he says, let's STOP having babies and let the remaining humans live long, greedy lives before perishing and letting the planet recover. It's a tough sell, but I called him up to see if he could convince me to smoke and drink enough to barren my balls.
Vice: Hello, Les. When did the movement start officially? Were you there at its birth?
Les Knight: No. I was not there at its birth because it's been around since humans have been around. I just gave it a name in the late 80s.
I’m not sure I believe it has existed since the dawn of man…
Even before we became Homo sapiens we have had fatal conflicts over limited resources. As we exceeded the carrying capacity in our little tribes, we had to invade the other tribes to get the resources we needed. We would always choose killing over starvation. This has continued on throughout history where we breed more than can be accommodated and the only solution is to take somebody else's or move into an unoccupied area.
Isn’t that an example of people being so desperate to survive that they’ll even kill? That’s kind of the opposite of voluntary extinction.
Yes, it is to survive. In order to prevent war, we need to stop breeding so that we are not fighting over the scarce resources. Those who breed more will overtake those who don't and that's what's happened throughout history, which is why we have evolved into such a fecund species.
OK. What was your eureka moment? When did you realise that you wanted to see humanity perish?
I was beginning to see problems all over the world and was trying to figure out solutions. And, if you take each problem far enough you'll see that it's exacerbated by the fact there are more of us then can be accommodated. The main cause of each problem is human beings. When you see that simply eliminating one species from the biosphere will improve things so much, that's the start, and the best way to spread this is by voluntary movement. Involuntary methods have failed throughout time.
Do you reckon your philosophy has become more or less popular with breeders since the eighties?
Well it's impossible to say, there are seventy six million more potential VHEMT participants each year, because that's the population increase, but we certainly aren't growing at the same rate. Internet networking has been wonderful for getting all of us in touch with each other though. Yet, I am not sure if we have converted anyone into a hardcore non-breeder. People are resistant to change. Simply explaining that we're overshooting Earth's optimum capacity by fifty percent is not going to change a couple's mind if their heart is set on having a little baby.
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