Thursday, March 22, 2007
It’s official; the meek shall inherit the Earth, but only after they fight everyone else and win.
Steven Pinker has some great thoughts on the decline of violence in the western world in this month’s The New Republic. It’s nice to cut past the reactionary screaming of Midwestern mothers lamenting about how violent and uncaring ‘the media’ has made their sons and the friends of their sons. There were times when mothers were cheering for their sons to be the deadliest killers out of all their peers, and those boys who couldn’t hang were ridiculed at best, or killed eventually at worst. (God knows I wouldn’t last long. I felt remorse after the first and only time I boiled a lobster.)
Here’s an except:
“The decline of violent behavior has been paralleled by a decline in attitudes that tolerate or glorify violence, and often the attitudes are in the lead. As deplorable as they are, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the lethal injections of a few murderers in Texas are mild by the standards of atrocities in human history. But, from a contemporary vantage point, we see them as signs of how low our behavior can sink, not of how high our standards have risen.”
A History of Violence