30 September 2011

If Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined is accurately portrayed in Elizabeth Kolbert's New Yorker review (abstract here), God help those students who are assigned to read it. Consider this:
Do [New Orleans, St. Louis and Detroit] lag behind in "the civilizing process" because they're poor or educationally disadvantaged? No, Pinker argues; the key factor is that they have large African-American populations. Low-income blacks in the US are "effectively stateless," living in a sort of Hobbesian dystopia beyond the reach of law enforcement.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that every low-income black man who's ever been arrested for possession of marijuana would love to live in that Hobbesian dystopia. And this:
There is no indication that anyone but Hitler and a few fanatical henchmen thought it was a good idea for the Jews to be exterminated.
French Fascist collaborators? Didn't exist. Polish anti-Semites? Didn't exist. Catholic Church? Didn't exist.

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