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Biggest Challenge to Anarchy Since Hobbes: Steven Pinker's New Book; Buy it, you'll be happy you did.

So Leviathan AND "gentle commerce" has smothered human violence....

This is book is for the thinkers and intellectuals of our movement...
I am only past page 36 in this 700 page monster and its already paying dividends. Most excellent book that I am sure all libertarians will be discussing for the next 20 years...Enjoy.

THE BETTER ANGELS OF NATURE: Why Violence Has Declined
by Dr. Steven Pinker... http://www.amazon.com/The-Better-Angels-Our-Nature/dp/014312...

Here is Dr. Pinker at TED... video: http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violen...

Here is another good book: WAR BEFORE CIVILIZATION ... http://www.amazon.com/War-Before-Civilization-Peaceful-Savag...

And one of my favorite writers: Robert Ardrey... THE HUNTING HYPOTHESIS ... http://www.amazon.com/The-Hunting-Hypothesis-Conclusion-Evol...

Robert Wright has many great books, THE MORAL ANIMAL, THE EVOLUTION OF GOD, RELIGION IN HUMAN EVOLUTION... and this book that was brought up in Steven Pinker's TED talk: NONZERO... http://www.amazon.com/Nonzero-Logic-Destiny-Robert-Wright/dp...


PS...If you are an anarcho capitalist (like me), you NEED to read Pinker's book. Sticking your head into the sand won't help.

PSS... Here are a few choice paragraphs from the book: ENJOY


Libertarians, anarchist, and other skeptics of the Leviathan point out that when communities are left to their own devices, they often develop norms of cooperation that allow them to settle their disputes nonviolently, without laws, police, courts, or the other trappings of government. In Moby-Dick, Ishmael explains ho American whalers thousands of miles from the reach of the law dealt with disputes over whales that had been injured or killed by on ship and then claimed by the another:...
---page 79

Is The Long Peace A Liberal Peace? .... Such findings have led some political scientists to entertain a heretical idea called the Capitalist Peace. The word 'liberal' in Liberal Peace refers both to the political openness of democracy and to the economic openness of capitalism, and according to the Capitalist Peace heresy, it's the economic openness that does most of the pacifying."
--- page 287

In the wake of World War II, leading thinkers were desperate to figure out what had gone wrong and tossed around a number of schemes for preventing a repeat performance.... World government seems like a straightforward extension of the logic of the Leviathan. If a national government with a monopoly on the use of force is the solution to the problem of homicide among individuals and of private and civil wars among factions, isn't a 'worlds' government with a a monopoly on the legitimate us of 'military ' force the solution to the problem of wars among nations? Most intellectuals did not go as far as Bertrand Russell, who in 1948 proposed that the Soviet union should be given an ultimatum that unless it immediately submitted to world government, the United States would attack it with nuclear weapons. But world government was endorsed by, among others, Einstein, Wendell Willkie, Hubert Humphrey, Norman Cousins, Robert Maynard Hutchens, and William O. Douglas. many people thought world government would gradually emerge out of the United Nations.
--- page 289

But the main problem with the anarchist interpretation [of Rummel's 'Death by Government 1994] is that it isn't governments in general that kill large numbers of people but a handful of governments of a specific type. To be exact, three-quarters of all the deaths from all 141 democidal regimes were committed by just four governments, which Rummel calls the deka-mega-murderers: The Soviet Union with 62 million, the Peoples Republic of China with 35 million, Nazi Germany with 21 million, and the 1928-49 Nationalist China with 10 million. Another 11% of the total were killed by eleven mega-murderers, including Imperial Japan with 6 million, Cambodia with 2 million, and Ottoman turkey with 1.9 million. The remaining 13% of the deaths were spread out over 126 regimes.....But the distribution is enormously lopsided, 80% of the deaths were caused by 4 percent of the regimes.
--- page 337

[as we can see]..."The momentum of social norms in the direction of Market Pricing gives many people the willies, but it would, for better or worse, extrapolate the trend toward nonviolence. Radical libertarians, who of the Market Pricing model, would decriminalize prostitution, drug possession, and gambling, and thereby empty the world's prisons of millions of people currently kept there by force (to say nothing of sending pimps and drug lords the way of Prohibition gangsters). The progression towards personal freedom raises the question of whether it is morally 'desirable' to trade a measure of socially sanctioned violence for a measure of behavior that many people deem intrinsically wrong, such as blasphemy, homosexuality, drug use, and prostitution. But that's just the point: right or wrong, retracting the moral sense from its traditional spheres of community, authority, and purity entails a reduction of violence. And that retraction is precisely the agenda of classical liberalism: a freedom of individuals from tribal and authoritarian force, and a tolerance of personal choices as long as the do not infringe on the autonomy of an well-being of others."
--- page 637.

Gentle Commerce: The idea that an exchange of benefits can turn zero-sum warfare into positive-sum mutual profit was one of the key ideas of the Enlightenment, and it was revived in modern biology as an explanation of how cooperation among non-relatives evolved. It changes the Pacifist's Dilemma by sweetening the outcome of mutual pacifism with the mutual gains of exchange (see figure 10-3) Though gentle commerce does not eliminate the disaster of being defeated in an attack, it eliminates the adversary's incentive to attack ( since he benefits from peaceful exchange too) and so takes that worry off the table....
--- page 683

In the theory of Norbert Elias, the Leviathan and Gentle Commerce were the two drivers of the European 'Civilizing Processes' (chapter 3)...... these narratives have been supported by quantitative studies.
--- page 683

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Dr. Pinker is an MIT professor and he's Atheist & Jewish

But remember, so was Von Mises, Hayek, Ayn Rand, Rothbard, Milton Friedman, David Friedman...ie good ideas are good ideas, no matter where they come from.

If you an anarcho capitalist (like me), you NEED to read this book. Sticking your head into the sand won't help.


Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820

Expected to see a review by

Expected to see a review by Thomas Friedman on amazon. Looks like central planner hog wash pining for authority over the slaves.

Southern Agrarian

So the book is above your reading level?

Not up to the intellectual challenge?

Or just in the business of pronouncing "hog wash" on things you have not read?


Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820

Dissecting Anarchism as an intellectual fraud is no challenge.

"So this book is above your reading level?"

Just stop with the whole I'm smarter than you BS. It's played out.

It's not YOU that's stupid, it's your ideas. You're probably a smart guy. It's how you've chosen to use your gifts that I find boring and morally repugnant.

"Dissecting anarchism as an intellectual fraud is no challenge?"

Um, where is your book or essay doing just that? Or, where are the essays or books that you've read that takes on Anarcho-Capitalism and its authors such as the Murray Rothbard, who wrote THE LIBERTARIAN MANIFESTO ?

I'm surprised and sorry that you find discussion about such things as "boring and morally repugnant".

Meanwhile, I find the lack of any intelligent addition to the discussion (either pro or con) as intellectually dishonest and well, boring, and perhaps indicative of having no well thought out position at all.

Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820

Looks to me like you're

Looks to me like you're getting the same kind of idiotic responses I as I've been getting. :(

I left my thoughts on Pinker's thesis on my other thread, sorry.

I cba to retype them. :P

Benettfreeman, I agree and I am thrown off by how

uncivil these responses are. Where is the goodwill among Patriots & freedom intellectuals?

Perhaps some need to be reminded that when one makes "an argument", that person is not trying to be "argumentative" and is not looking for an "argument". Rather, when one makes an 'argument', one is looking for "factually reasoned critiques" and or supporting facts to the main argument. Emotionally charged arguments that attack a person, smear, blame, condemn, express disbelief, restate ones argument incorrectly,... etc are all responses that are "beside the point".

So you are not an anarcho-capitalist and you are not a libertarian?

So, your position is... "Minarchism, utilitarianism and theism are contradictory to freedom" and we must come to terms with that and then sell freedom - anyway?

On to Steven Pinker and his Better Angels book. Yes, I understand your point about even if he's right, it does not make it morally right. I doubt that any libertarian 3.0, such as Pinker or Paul Rubin DARWINIAN POLITICS, wants to see a peaceful "Truman Show" world where he is "safe" and "free" all at the price universal all powerful & controlling hand of the State. Such "safety" and "freedom" turns us all into nothing but highly regulated "human zoo animals".

No what Steven has done in this book is more challenging to the Rothbardian Anarcho-Capitalism position. But notice, Pinker is not advancing an OUGHT, as in WE OUGHT TO DO THIS AND LIVE THIS WAY... Rather, he is advancing an IS, as in IT APPEARS TO BE THIS WAY...THE FACTS TO SUPPORT THAT IS ....

So, what is he saying? He is saying that it appears that Human Violence has declined amazingly low, compared to what we think it was.

Now to make that statement above, he must first (BLANK SLATE, BETTER ANGELS) show how violent we humans WERE in the past and even the not so recent past. Here is the reason why. Its not generally believed that we were so violent. There is the current NOBEL SAVAGE ideas that float around the liberal colleges who think, or like to think, that cro magnon man, or Early Modern Humans (EMH), some 90% of human time on the earth, was a peaceful one. That is a battle in itself, since the 'socialist-Rousseau bias' (SRB) pervades all of anthropology and most of the other science departments.

Second, he must then go over the data to show this huge decline in violence.

And finally, his IS argument can be made which is this: There is something called a "CIVILIZING PROCESS" which has lead to this huge drop in violence.

What is the Civilizing Process? Again, he is not advocating an ought, or morally sanctioning it, he is simply saying that this IS. He is saying that two components make up the Civilizing Process: A GENERALLY ACCEPTED Leviathan, coupled with a MARKET BASED trading culture, has together produced a huge drop in Human Violence.

Now, why is this a challenge to anarchists, particularly anarcho-capitalists of the Rothbardian bent? Well, this should be obvious. Anarcho-Capitalist claim that that we all can do without the leviathan, "Big Government".

Now notice, he is NOT saying that he is personally FOR or AGAINST or think one thing morally right and another "not right". He is making an IS statement, which is either provably true or not true. Its an hypothesis and like all hypothesis it needs to be examined and debated and most of all researched for facts, as best we can. And if we reject the hypothesis of the CIVILIZING PROCESS to reduce human violence, then that just begs the question, what did it?

Thanks for listening...


Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820

Haha To counter, I feel my

To counter, I feel my books are more intellectual than yours! touche, your move.

I read the reviews for this one and believe this book belongs on the pile of Reinhold Niebuhr utopian slop where United Nations Democracy schemes have the answer to all our problems, as Pinko err... Pinker is suggesting with his thesis.

Book Description:
...a remarkable picture of an increasingly enlightened world.

All that needs to be said.

Southern Agrarian

If you are an anarcho-capitalist-libertarian

you are the first anti-intellectual one I've meet.

Yes, please BUY this wonderful libertarian BOOK! We all must know the History of Freedom! Buy it today!

"The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism" ...by author George Smith --
Buy it Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/05211820