“Take a good hard look at people’s ruling principle, especially at the wise, what they run away from and what they seek out.” —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
I believe that the human species is small and unimportant on a universal scale, but that doesn’t keep me from being endlessly fascinated by the activity on this little planet. I recently finished a really great book, Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari. In it, he says, “Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behavior, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition.” We make up so many of our rules based solely on what we imagine the world to be like rather than on what the world truly is. In this age of nearly instantaneous transmission of information, many of us imagine the world is more violent than it has even been in our past. And this would be totally wrong.
That is not to discount violence, but only to put it through the filter of history, which gives everything more context. We are not living in the most violent time, rather we are living in relative peace. The only reason you don’t believe that is because we are also living in an age when many of us have near global sight. We are overexposed to the violence that exists in the now, and this leaves us with the false idea that we are living in the most violent era in history, a completely false reality.
In looking at the data, we can say that several things are true:
- The rate of violence declines as the rate of literacy increases. Access to knowledge, therefore, make people less violent.
- Democratically elected governments are less likely to start wars. There are more and more democracies with each passing decade.
- We spend more energy worrying about certain topics than we should. If you live in the United States, your lifetime risk of being killed in a car accident should worry you much more than the odds that you will become the victim of a terrorist attack.
Which brings us back around to ruling principles and wisdom. Are Trump and Pence operating under wise principles? I don’t think that either man is actually the one in charge of policy for the new and improved #MAGAUSA. The person actually pulling the strings is a man named Steve Bannon.
Bannon has unprecedented influence over the new ruling principles of the National Security Council, and that should probably worry you.
Here are a few Bannon quotes:
I’m a Leninist … Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment. The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: women should log off. Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer? Are there racist people involved in the alt-right? Absolutely. The progressive narrative and that is all about victimhood. They’re either a victim of race. They’re victim of their sexual preference. They’re a victim of gender. All about victimhood and the United States is the great oppressor, not the great liberator. What if the people getting shot by the cops did things to deserve it? There are, after all, in this world, some people who are naturally aggressive and violent. This country is in a crisis. And if you’re fighting to save this country, if you’re fighting to take this country back, it’s not going to be sunshine and patriots. It’s going to be people who want to fight.
I’m ready to fight Steve. Just not for the values and principles you espouse. You’re worried about all the wrong things, and your worldview is abhorrent. I want to fight for a world where everyone gets a place at the table, and that’s not what you believe in as far as I can tell. I want the levels of violence to keep going down, and that’s not going to happen with you pulling the strings.
Our World in Data, War and Violence: https://ourworldindata.org/slides/war-and-violence/#/title-slide