Why World Violence Is DecliningSubmitted by Treg on Fri, 06/21/2013 - 13:20
Dear Daily Paul reader,
I would like to request your thoughtful reply, hopefully in a lengthy paragraph or essay, upon the book written by Dr. Steven Pinker.
As you may know, Dr. Pinker is an author, a self described “classical liberal-atheist-evolutionist-philosopher-linguist-humanitarian”. He is the author of several books that I've read. His book “THE BLANK SLATE: The Modern Denial of Human Nature” was very sympathetic to the conservative/libertarian understanding of human nature and very unfavorable to the socialist/Marxist understanding. His other book which I found simply amazing was “HOW THE MIND WORKS”. Notice it was “how”. Most neuro-biologists and evolutionary-psychologists agree, it’s an amazing book and a bold one at that.
Now comes his latest book, the book for which I seek your insightful response, is a masterful 700 page argument. Like his other books, it does not appear to be an “ought” argument, or normative argument. For this reason, libertarians such as you and I should take this work very seriously. This book is called, “THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE: WHY VIOLENCE HAS DECLINED”.
Here, he convinces me with fact after fact that indeed, violence has declined and declined on a massive scale. He also convinces me that this is true even despite Rummels documentation of murderous governments, including WWI and WWII. From Pinker’s book, I agree, we are living in a rare but wonderful “Long Peace”. It seems factually true that we are living in a time of unprecedented world peace, and the facts, as presented, force me to agree.
But notice this book title uses the word “Why”. And to answer that, Dr. Pinker marshals his facts and says that the answer is two-fold, A Market Based Economy and a Government. While his market based economy arguments are solid & strong & tight, his arguments for government are troubling because they are also so solid, strong and tight. Its a total rebuke of anarchy because it increases violence significantly. For “Rothbardinan anarcho-capitalists”, this is indeed a challenging book and it deserves a well thought out reply. No doubt this is the kind of book that Dr. Murray Rothbard would, if he was around, answer the call. For what Dr. Pinker has done is show that Hobbes was "mostly right". Pinker even states this several times.
Now if one is a classical liberal/Randian/Friedman “minarchist”, perhaps this is a welcome book. But I am not so sure about that either, because it seems to imply one world govt is the best. Now Pinker addresses that in a sentence or two and then dismisses it, but besides choking on the brevity, I conclude he is not clear on this either and decides to sidestep a landmine.
So, please move this book to the top of your “to read” pile. As a “Daily Paul reader”, I am very curious to read your thoughts after you've had time to fully digest Pinker’s book. Agree or disagree with Dr. Pinker, either way I look forward to your wise thoughts on the subject. (and if you have not read it, read it first!)
In peace & liberty,