Monday, August 17, 2009

Complete Control

A truism of life is that people are convinced that the world is becoming an ever more dangerous or violent place, that the generation coming after them values life less and has less respect for others.

In Ireland people think back to the 50s and 60s when the murder rate was non-existent and people, apparently, could leave their doors unlocked. That we now know children were being beaten and abused in their thousands by the religious orders seems to be by-the-by. Anyway the fact is those times were a blip in Irish history. Ireland had higher murder rates in the 1800s than it does today, for example.

I recently came across this:

"Now that social scientists have started to count bodies in different historical periods, they have discovered that the romantic theory gets it backward: Far from causing us to become more violent, something in modernity and its cultural institutions has made us nobler. In fact, our ancestors were far more violent than we are today. Indeed, violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species' time on earth..."

Unsurprisingly he fingers modern media for scaring the crap out of us. Something I have raged about before. It's worth reading.
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