04 September 2015

The Worse Devils of Our Nature

2015 is a little more than half over and already wars have claimed 100,000 lives. In case you are wondering, that is more people than you will meet in your entire life. As I have been outlining every year since 2011 we are in a world gone mad. Tying into that thesis is a refutation of its antithesis, expressed in its most famous iteration in Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels of Our Nature, namely that this is the safest time in history.

To quote Samuel Johnson, I refute Pinker thus.

The 20th century was one long war, during which time more people died than at any time in history. And the wars have not ceased. There have been wars going on somewhere in the world during my entire life. 20,000 nuclear weapons sit on standby to wipe out humanity, up until the fall of the USSR there were stockpiles of enough biological weapons to kill 50 billion people. 200 million people have been killed by communism in the past century, another 500 million have been aborted, mostly in China.

On top of the out of control homicide of the past century there is the great danger of globalism in the spread of terrible diseases. The Spanish Flu in 1918 infected a quarter the population of the world, something that would have been impossible prior to the invention of trans-oceanic travel, killing 100 million people. The world has become so inter-connected that any disease can just hop a plane and be anywhere in a day. And with the insane level of sanitation and over reliance on antibiotics of modern society these diseases have once again become impossible to treat, just like the Black Death from six centuries ago. Germs never had it so easy.

The 20th century saw the unnatural deaths of 800 million people, making it, without question, the bloodiest century ever. If people died at this rate this at any other time in history humans would have gone extinct a long time ago.

This is absolutely not the safest time in history, it is by far the most dangerous.

And here's even more evidence. Look at all these wars, all over the world, with tens of thousands of deaths.

• Civil war in Ukraine has claimed nearly 2000 lives in these past 8 months
• The same for Libya
• 20,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan
• The war with ISIS has killed 10,000 people in Iraq and 30,000 in Syria

infographic

One inevitably wonders what ancient wars Steven Pinker hallucinated to reach his conclusion that the past was so much more dangerous than today? The only genocidal monsters from antiquity were Chingis Khan and Timur, and while the Islamic conquest of India and the Black Death were certainly horrific, humans were largely powerless to act on those catastrophes. Any modern army in the world could have prevented the genocide in Darfur or Rwanda, but instead chose to sit back and watch. Modern people are certainly no more moral than people from antiquity. In fact, the converse is probably true, that modern people are far less moral than at any time in history, choosing to do nothing while millions are raped and murdered around the world.

More people are dying today than have died before. There are more slaves today than at any time in the past. 85 people control half the world's wealth and use it to manipulate world events for their own benefit instead of wiping out disease, famine, and poverty for two billion people. People absolutely are less moral today than ever before, and the world is a far more dangerous place because of it. And if Steven Pinker thinks the opposite then he is deluding himself and is another part of the problem instead of the solution.