Redditors Debate 'Man's Worst Enemy' in Viral Post

It's commonly accepted that dogs are "man's best friend." But if that's the case, wondered one Redditor, then who (or what) is man's worst enemy? The question has gone viral on the platform since it was shared on Monday, accumulating nearly 25,000 upvotes and over 10,000 replies.

According to Rover, the idea that dog was man's best friend dates back at least to 1870, when lawyer George Graham Vest made an argument to the United States Supreme Court regarding the killing of his client's dog.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world—the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous—is his dog," he said.

Man With Dog
On Monday, the following question went viral on Reddit: "If a dog is man's best friend, what's man's worst enemy?" Above, a man and a dog sitting outside. Chalabala/iStock / Getty Images Plus

While that phrase became widely popular, its opposite—"man's worst enemy"—has not really caught on. Redditors, however, jumped at the chance to share their top contenders for the title.

The top-voted response to the question reflected a popular theme in the thread: bugs and the various diseases they carry. "Mosquito," wrote u/Degenerate_Saint, in a simply-put comment with almost 50,000 votes.

"There is a claim that half of all humans who have ever lived have been killed by mosquito [borne] malaria," explained u/Loki-L. "That claim is disputed, but the fact that people argue about it being closer to a third or a tenth or even a twentieth of all humans who have ever lived, says a lot about just how bad these things are."

"Also ticks. Ticks can rot in hell, too," added u/KomodoJo3.

Some, meanwhile, replied with humor. "That guy she told you not to worry about," said u/shrink-ray2333, referencing a popular meme.

"Printers," replied another.

Suggested u/potluck88: "One ply toilet paper that rips with the slightest tension."

Another portion of responders offered serious answers to the question, referencing some of humankind's biggest issues.

"Disease," wrote u/TheAssholeBloggerOrg. "War is a close second."

"Time. It always kills us with 100% mortality rate," said u/bikbar1 with a dash of irony.

Echoed u/Mygaffer: "Time. Not a joke response, but time will erode away at our bodies, at our minds, at our opportunities, it will rob us of those we have ever loved, and even in time break down all works we may have created and all records thereof."

Other popular worst-enemy nominations included "politicians," "lawyers," "billionaires," "landlords" and "wasps."

Overwhelmingly, however, Redditors seemed drawn to variations on one answer in particular: that man's worst enemy is himself.

"Another man," wrote u/SpazzKill in a popular comment.

Echoed u/do_you-know-me: "Human stupidity."

Countless more simply wrote "Himself" or "Man."

"Man is man's greatest enemy," concluded u/KlutzyFriendship574. "Most of our greatest achievements were new ways to slaughter each other."