5 okt. 2011

Våldsspiralen

Äntligen stod Pinkers bok på bokhandelshyllan! Ända sedan jag såg honom presentera sin tes att "Våldet har minskat genom historien" har jag velat få hela uppbackningen, alla siffror. Och nu är det dags; nu finns den att köpa. Sam Harris har påpassligt intervjuat Pinker på sin egen blogg. Där kan man bland annat läsa följande:
Harris: I suspect that when most people hear the thesis of your book—that human violence has steadily declined—they are skeptical: Wasn’t the 20th century the most violent in history?

Pinker: Probably not. Data from previous centuries are far less complete, but the existing estimates of death tolls, when calculated as a proportion of the world’s population at the time, show at least nine atrocities before the 20th century (that we know of) which may have been worse than World War II. They arose from collapsing empires, horse tribe invasions, the slave trade, and the annihilation of native peoples, with wars of religion close behind. World War I doesn’t even make the top ten.

Also, a century comprises a hundred years, not just fifty, and the second half of the 20th century was host to a Long Peace among great powers and developed nations (the subject of one of the book’s chapters) and more recently, to a New Peace in the rest of the world (the subject of another chapter), with unusually low rates of warfare.

Harris: Need I remind you that the “atheist regimes” of the 20th century killed tens of millions of people?

Pinker: This is a popular argument among theoconservatives and critics of the new atheism, but for many reasons it is historically inaccurate.

First, the premise that Nazism and Communism were “atheist” ideologies makes sense only within a religiocentric worldview that divides political systems into those that are based on Judaeo-Christian ideology and those that are not. In fact, 20th-century totalitarian movements were no more defined by a rejection of Judaeo-Christianity than they were defined by a rejection of astrology, alchemy, Confucianism, Scientology, or any of hundreds of other belief systems. They were based on the ideas of Hitler and Marx, not David Hume and Bertrand Russell, and the horrors they inflicted are no more a vindication of Judeao-Christianity than they are of astrology or alchemy or Scientology.

Second, Nazism and Fascism were not atheistic in the first place. Hitler thought he was carrying out a divine plan. Nazism received extensive support from many German churches, and no opposition from the Vatican. Fascism happily coexisted with Catholicism in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Croatia.

Third, according to the most recent compendium of history’s worst atrocities, Matthew White’s Great Big Book of Horrible Things (Norton, 2011), religions have been responsible for 13 of the 100 worst mass killings in history, resulting in 47 million deaths. Communism has been responsible for 6 mass killings and 67 million deaths. If defenders of religion want to crow, “We were only responsible for 47 million murders—Communism was worse!”, they are welcome to do so, but it is not an impressive argument.

Fourth, many religious massacres took place in centuries in which the world’s population was far smaller. Crusaders, for example, killed 1 million people in world of 400 million, for a genocide rate that exceeds that of the Nazi Holocaust. The death toll from the Thirty Years War was proportionally double that of World War I and in the range of World War II in Europe.

When it comes to the history of violence, the significant distinction is not one between theistic and atheistic regimes. It’s the one between regimes that were based on demonizing, utopian ideologies (including Marxism, Nazism, and militant religions) and secular liberal democracies that are based on the ideal of human rights. I present data from the political scientist Rudolph Rummel showing that democracies are vastly less murderous than alternative forms of government.

10 kommentarer:

Lennart W sa...

"when calculated as a proportion of the world’s population at the time"

Är ett människoliv mindre värt idag eftersom vi är så många..? Det tycker inte jag.

Patrik N sa...

Om man räknar procentuellt var det första mordet som någonsin skedde sannolikt mycket allvarligare än både första och andra världskrigen tillsammans.

Anonym sa...

Räknas "passiva" förintelser in i denna bok? I så fall är liberalismen en av de värsta ideologierna. Det beräknade dödstalet i tre globala senviktorianska torkor (1876-1902)ligger mellan 31.7 och 61.3 miljoner. Detta var en medveten strategi av kolonialmakterna. Mike Davis skriver att dessa människor “died in the golden age of Liberal Capitalism; indeed, many were murdered […] by the theological application of the sacred principles of Smith, Bentham and Mill” (Davis 2001:9).

Davis, Mike (2001). Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño and the Making of the Third World. Verso.

Daniel Weston sa...

Lennart W:
Läs svaret till den tredje intervjufrågran.

Eric Wadenius sa...

LennartW,

Är det mindre farligt att döda en kvinna än att döda en man...? Det tycker inte jag.

Lennart W sa...

Daniel W: `If I were one of the people who were alive in a particular era, what would be the chances that I would be a victim of violence?’

Här är det iofs inte trivialt vad som menas med "jag". Min genuppsätting, men uppvuxen under t.ex. medeltiden? Men då blir det väl ändå inte jag.. Min själ? Om jag har nån.. Men OK, om man godtar att formuleringen är meningsfull finns det också en annan spännande fråga: När är det mest sannolikt att vara född? Svar: i nutid eftersom det föds mest människor per år nu..

OK, sannolikheten att bli dödad är förstås en intressant siffra. Antar iofs att den måste ha varierat rätt ordentligt över hela världen vid varje given tidpunkt.

Apropå moraliska absurdiditer finns iofs även såna med Pinkers mått. Är det värre om en korsfarare dödade en muslim än om en nazist dödade fem judar?

Erik M sa...

Aqurette har en intressant kommentar om denna artikel på sin blogg:

"I have to say that the Humanists write one of the most fascinating blogs in Sweden. Today they hail a man who argues that the severity of genocide depends on the numeric size of the targeted minority."

"The only other Swedish publication I know of that has advocated this defence of oppression is the Pentecostal Världen Idag, which ran a leader arguing that the police should ignore violent hate crimes against gay people because far more (heterosexual) people are affected by theft."


Kan någon hitta var Pinker hävdar detta?

http://aqurette.com/journal/2011/10/your-atheism-is-not.html

Anonym sa...

Erik M: den där karl´n du länkar till verkar se saker och ting på sitt eget sätt. Att slänga sig med begreppet xenofobi som om det vore en leksak kan aldrig vara bra i längden.

Nils sa...

Aqurette tycks mena att en demokrati där det dör tio människor är lika illa som en kommunistregim som tar död på 50 miljoner.

Ett människoliv är väl alltid värt lika mycket, men nog är en Breivik eller Jihad-bombare som tar med sig 70 personer i döden värre än en mördare som slår ihjäl motståndaren i ett slagsmål. Omfattningen har betydelse.

Patrik Lindenfors sa...

Aqurette har helt egna tolkningar av det mesta. För det mesta bara konstiga, ibland upplysande, men alltid ... eh ... underhållande. Här kan ni förresten läsa New York Times recension av boken: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/books/review/the-better-angels-of-our-nature-by-steven-pinker-book-review.html?pagewanted=all

 
Religion Blogg listad på Bloggtoppen.se