Humanitarianism and Misanthropy
Whenever I hear sentiments such as "I hate people," what I see is in most cases is a crisis of faith.
Christianity and Islam believe that people are evil, and people who follow these creeds are not surprised to see human ugliness. Whereas someone who believes in people's goodness finds such things a lot harder to bear. A person who believes that people are good is likely to be shocked or disheartened by human evil; whereas a person who believes human nature to be evil expects it.
For someone of humanitarian perspective to become misanthropic is like for a Christian to lose his faith or for a motivational speaker to become clinically depressed. It cuts to the very core of one's motivational structure. A crisis like that either requires one to regain one's faith or to find something else to believe.
Probably the best path to take is to see people by nature as neither good nor evil. It is to see what any given person is doing and whether it's good or bad. Anything capable of choice is capable of both right choice and wrong choice; and that means all people. Any number of people are perfectly happy to do wrong things, and most of these do not suffer from low self-esteem or personality disorders. People can be good; people can be bad; and anything capable of choice is capable of both.
Probably the best direction for humanitarian types to take, if one is to avoid this kind of disappointment, is make a recognition of these things. I do not say adopt a misanthropic creed such as Islam or right-wing Christianity. I mean having clarity. I mean seeing what any given person is doing and what is the character of the action. I mean recognizing difference in people and also recognizing the role of choice.
Humanitarianism runs into crises of faith all the time because it expects the good in people and is horrified to see what else is there. The humanitarian creeds of early 20th century gave way to existential despair in the wake of the Second World War. Compassion however does not have to be blind, nor should the compassionate become cold and mean-spirited. They simply need to have more discernment and recognize where choices that people make are in the wrong.
In a world where there are 7 billion people, it is foolishness to claim that all of them are one way or another. We will see all sorts of good and all sorts of bad. The humanitarian needs to understand that anything capable of choice is capable of evil. With that done, the humanitarian will be more immune to these kinds of crises and more effective at doing her work.