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October 25, 2014
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Hark, our better angels sing


And there are others—defense contractors and arms manufacturers, for example—who would find it much harder to make a buck in a more peaceful world. You can hear those people squawking even now, since the failure of the “Supercommittee” has brought about the heretofore unthinkable possibility of an actual cut in defense spending.

Pinker’s book makes an interesting prism through which to view current events. Even as our troops are about to be withdrawn (finally) from our misadventure in Iraq, the global chess game (or is it a game of “Risk”?) is becoming more intense. We remain enmeshed in Afghanistan, and the possibility of major conflicts arising with Iran and even China is growing. Will the nearly irresistible force of our “better angels,” these massive historical trends towards true civilization, overcome our “inner demons” and prevail over the nearly immovable status quo?

Cue Longfellow, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”
“...And in despair I bowed my head
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said,
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.’
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.’”

Happy Holidays to all of us—whether Ashura or Christmas or Hanukkah or Solstice or Kwanzaa. See you in 2012.