Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Decline of Violence

Instapundit links to an interesting Reason piece on the decline of violence throughout history, as chronicled by Harvard University cognitive neuroscientist Steven Pinker in his new book.

The book is entitled The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.  Ronald Bailey, the author of the piece writes:
Human nature did not change, but our institutions did, encouraging people to restrain their natural tendencies toward violence.
I am reminded of a Usenet sigline by one Trefor Thomas:
To be civilized is to restrain the ability to commit mayhem. To be incapable of committing mayhem is not the mark of the civilized, merely the domesticated.
I get the uncomfortable feeling that the decline of violence is due to that violence being banked away for a rainy day. As Bailey notes, human nature hasn't changed.

What has changed is that violence has largely gone from from personal, retail events to state-level wholesale slaughter. As Tam has noted,
Central governments have managed to turn murder from a hobby pursued at home by individual craftsmen into a wholesale industry churning out slipshod and substandard corpses in numbers that can't be read without sounding like Carl Sagan.
True, the overall percentages have declined, but when violence is really unleashed the casualties are overwhelming. And if there's one thing we've learned from economics, it's that past performance is no guarantee of future results.

If When Iran does go nuclear, for instance ....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.