Posts Tagged ‘Scott Strauss’

Perhaps genocide be stopped?

By Jonathan Power

July 5th 2016.

After Hitler’s Final Solution – the elimination of the Jews – came Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge and the murder of two million of the country’s people. After that came Rwanda when at least a million of the Tutsi people were slaughtered en masse by the Hutus. More recently we have seen large-scale killing in Sudan and now in Syria. The latter two can’t be called “genocide”- the attempt to totally eliminate a people – but the first three certainly were.

However bad that sounds the evidence is, whether it be genocide or mass slaughter, there has been significantly less of it during the last 50 years, despite the fact that most of us recall the horrors – thanks to the TV news producers’ mantra “if it bleeds it leads” – not the steady lessening of its frequency.

We are in the middle of a long-term downward decline in mass violence. Both frequency and intensity are much reduced. Even the recent increase in violent instability in the Middle East, North Africa, the Central African Republic, northern Nigeria and southern Sudan has not reversed this overall decline.

In his landmark book, “The Better Angels Of Our Nature” Harvard professor, Steven Pinker, writes that this decline in atrocities is part of a broader and longer decline in violence. He attributes that trend to changes in cultural and material conditions that increasingly favour and reward our cooperative instincts over our more violent ones. Read the rest of this entry »


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