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History of violence

Enjoyed this article  – and the video – by Steven Pinker on the history of violence both from ancient times through to the “Long Peace” after 1945.   In almost every respect the world has grown less violent through history and the decline has been most marked after 1945.  Conflicts and wars within countries, between countries, within families and violence involving marital partners, rapes, children and towards animals have all shown steady decline.  Modernity and “progress” have, on balance, been a good thing and they have not – as much popular opinion contends – involved a price in terms of increased violence.  The institutions of civilisation and the development of abstract thinking about ethical issues have been worthwhile.  We should be grateful for the progress made and not look romantically towards a distant past when things were simpler.  I am interested in the idea that the breakdown in tribalism and in the exclusive focus of individuals to family and clan have been a positive and worthwhile development.

Pinker a flexible and interesting thinker.


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