The Bloody Road To Peace

Oct 18 2011 @ 8:45am

Douthat finds several blind spots in Steven Pinker's latest book on the decline of violence:

[W]hile the gradual consolidation of the modern state may eventually tend toward the relative pacific conditions that currently prevail in Europe, that consolidation tends to be so bloody in and of itself — thick with persecutions and genocides and “cleansings” of various sorts — that one could reasonably doubt whether the ends were worth the means. (If you look at Europe’s settler states, for instance, from the United States and Latin America to South Africa and Australia, there’s often a plausible correlation between how completely the native population was wiped out during the age of colonization and how stable and prosperous they are today.) When Pinker talks about the benefits of “the civilizing process,” in other words, he doesn’t give enough weight to the interests of the peoples who were “civilized” out of existence.

 Earlier posts on Pinker's book hereherehereherehere and here.