Academic: Never mind the news, we live in safe times

From Harvard prof Steve Pinker at Slate:

In 1993 the U.N. General Assembly adopted a Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and polling data show widespread support for women’s rights, even in countries with the most benighted practices. Many countries have implemented laws and public awareness campaigns to reduce rape, forced marriage, genital mutilation, honor killings, domestic violence, and wartime atrocities. Though some of these measures are toothless, and the effectiveness of others has yet to be established, there are grounds for optimism over the long term. Global shaming campaigns, even when they start out as purely aspirational, have led in the past to dramatic reductions of practices such as slavery, dueling, whaling, foot binding, piracy, privateering, chemical warfare, apartheid, and atmospheric nuclear testing.

So when it starts to happen in our own neighbourhoods because measures are toothless or yet to be established and shaming campaigns are “purely aspirational” (and quickly shut down due to claims that it is wrong to attack another’s culture), well don’t worry, be happy, we live in safe times.

Safe for whom?

Reality check: This guy is the kind of support to expect from the U we will get if we think our own safety and well-being matters.

See also: Respecting one’s heroes but taking issue – Thomas Sowell edition

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

  • Brett_McS

    These “global” shaming campaigns were limited to western countries. In the west the concept of shame has some meaning (the west is a shame culture, most others are honour cultures). That principle was well understood by the Soviet-loving leaders of the western campaigns for nuclear disarmament, active in the west during the ’70s and ’80s. The other campaigns which made it beyond the west (against slavery, foot binding, piracy, etc) were not made successful by shame but by force.

    Now, the spread of western culture, on the other hand, is a grounds for optimism.

  • Exile1981

    He’s an idiot.

  • Brett_McS

    Slightly OT, but a lot of fun. I’m reading Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book at the mo, so was interested when I saw this linked on Istapundit:

    • Brett_McS

      His explanation of the two options on how to treat ‘inherited’ wealth is not quite correct. There is the ‘reparations’ option, which fails from hypocrisy as he notes. But the real response to the ‘problem’ of ‘inherited’ wealth is: “This is mine. If you think that you can prove in a court of law that you or someone else has a better claim to it, then go for it”.

  • Everyone Else

    Have you read the whole Slate article you’re glibly criticizing?

    • Minicapt

      He’s from Montreal, why?


  • UCSPanther

    These fools were saying the same claptrap before the First Great War…