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A counter-intuitive perspective. If we want to advance peace, we need to know: "What have we been doing right?"
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Trevor Draegeth's profile photoMark Zug's profile photo
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When you decide to define violence only according to formal statistics for violent crime committed by those not authorized to do so by nation states, it makes it a lot easier to settle back into the chair and think, "Ahhh, things are improving!"

The old saw about statistics and their use may be of some help here. For example, if more people died while biking before the 1) helmet 2) modern emergency room 3) bike lane was developed, does it indicate that human bikers have become more skilled at the riding of bikes?
 
It pains to delve more, but even using his atrocious statistics:

1) Old population: 1 million. 100K violent deaths. New population: 6 billion. 4 million violent deaths. Is proportional peace an improvement?

2) Leftover land mines? Dead little brown people in dangerous places? Prison rape? State interrogation? Black ops? Not counted.

3) And, sardonically put, "It's a good thing that all rapes, child abuse and other violent crimes are now reported, so as to make Mr. Pinker's statistics accurate."

4) The violent crime rate in my gated community is lower than in certain eastern seaboard states. Conclusion: I rock!

(In closing, I'll suggest you peruse the works of the great Dr. Pangloss, and their countering, to gain a new perspective on Pinker.)
 
Yeah, we do rock, mostly -- despite the crap, the crappers, the piece of crap crap-eaters, lots of us do rock. And whether or not we ride bike more skillfully, more people ride without being maimed -- which, since I apparently need to specify, is a good thing. And that Pinker was only counting Western deaths is simply false. He is counting tribal deaths, the World Wars (eastern as well as western theaters) and global war estimates through history, and not just European and American phenomena. You may dispute his stats if you can (check his book "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined") but I'll take your bait anyway and state flatly that 4 million violent deaths out of four billion lives lived is a much better world than 100,000 violent deaths out of 1 million lives. Anyway, one I would rather live in -- thanks to the 3 billion, nine-hundred ninety six million alive with me. One doesn't have to be a Pangloss to see this particular glass as significantly more than half full.
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