The Myth of Violence

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, July 16, 2010 | Published in

I finally found a TED Talk that I've been searching for for months. It's the 2007 talk of linguist Steven Pinker about the myth of violence in modern society. In it he shows that despite the large scale wars of the last 100 years the actual rate of violence has gone down considerably especially in the areas of murder and capital punishment. The death rate from wars has also plummeted since the end of World War II. He doesn't mention it in this talk but the rates for assault, burglary, and rape have also been in decline since the 1960s.

It's an interesting debunking of the religious (and sometimes secular) myth that the world is constantly spiraling down the drain. Our moral code has been steadily making progress despite all the complaints that we are the worst generation headed on a bullet train to Hades. We've managed to get this far thanks to improved education and effective deterrents.

I don't think we will ever get to the point where violence will be completely eliminated (it's too much a part of human nature) but we should endeavor to push that number as low as we can without also giving up our freedoms. Strife will always be with us, but we are civilized and creative enough to find non-violent solutions for our problems.

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