Delusions of peace

Prospect Magazine

Delusions of peace

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Steven Pinker argues that we are becoming less violent. Nonsense, says John Gray

Storming of the Bastille by Francois Leonard. Many of the French revolutionaries favoured violence as an “engine of social transformation”


“Today we take it for granted that war happens in smaller, poorer and more backward countries,” Steven Pinker writes in his new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: the Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes. The celebrated Harvard professor of psychology is discussing what he calls “the Long Peace”: the period since the end of the second world war in which “the great powers, and developed states in general, have stopped waging war on one another.” As a result of “this blessed state of affairs,” he notes, “two entire categories of war—the imperial war to acquire colonies, and the colonial war to keep them—no longer exist.” Now and then there have been minor conflicts. “To be sure, [the super-powers] occasionally fought each other’s smaller allies and stoked proxy wars among their client states.” But these episodes do not diminish Pinker’s enthusiasm about the Long Peace. Chronic warfare is only to be expected in backward parts of the world. “Tribal, civil, private, slave-raiding, imperial, and colonial wars have inflamed the territories of the developing world for millennia.” In more civilised zones, war has all but disappeared. There is nothing inevitable in the process; major wars could break out again, even among the great powers. But the change in human affairs that has occurred is fundamental. “An underlying shift that supports predictions about the future,” the Long Peace points to a world in which violence is in steady decline.

A sceptical reader might wonder whether the outbreak of peace in developed countries and endemic conflict in less fortunate lands might not be somehow connected. Was the immense violence that ravaged southeast Asia after 1945 a result of immemorial backwardness in the region? Or was a subtle and refined civilisation wrecked by world war and the aftermath of decades of neo-colonial conflict—as Norman Lewis intimated would happen in his prophetic account of his travels in the region, A Dragon Apparent (1951)? It is true that the second world war was followed by over 40 years of peace in North America and Europe—even if for the eastern half of the continent it was a peace that rested on Soviet conquest. But there was no peace between the powers that had emerged as rivals from the global conflict.

In much the same way that rich societies exported their pollution to developing countries, the societies of the highly-developed world exported their conflicts. They were at war with one another the entire time—not only in Indo-China but in other parts of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The Korean war, the Chinese invasion of Tibet, British counter-insurgency warfare in Malaya and Kenya, the abortive Franco-British invasion of Suez, the Angolan civil war, decades of civil war in the Congo and Guatemala, the Six Day War, the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the Iran-Iraq war and the Soviet-Afghan war—these are only some of the armed conflicts through which the great powers pursued their rivalries while avoiding direct war with each other. When the end of the Cold War removed the Soviet Union from the scene, war did not end. It continued in the first Gulf war, the Balkan wars, Chechnya, the Iraq war and in Afghanistan and Kashmir, among other conflicts. Taken together these conflicts add up to a formidable sum of violence. For Pinker they are minor, peripheral and hardly worth mentioning. The real story, for him, is the outbreak of peace in advanced societies, a shift that augurs an unprecedented transformation in human affairs.

***

While Pinker makes a great show of relying on evidence—the 700-odd pages of this bulky treatise are stuffed with impressive-looking graphs and statistics—his argument that violence is on the way out does not, in the end, rest on scientific investigation. He cites numerous reasons for the change, including increasing wealth and the spread of democracy. For him, none is as important as the adoption of a particular view of the world: “The reason so many violent institutions succumbed within so short a span of time was that the arguments that slew them belong to a coherent philosophy that emerged during the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment. The ideas of thinkers like Hobbes, Spinoza, Descartes, Locke, David Hume, Mary Astell, Kant, Beccaria, Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft, Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton and John Stuart Mill coalesced into a worldview that we can call Enlightenment humanism.” (The italics are Pinker’s.)

Yet these are highly disparate thinkers, and it is far from clear that any coherent philosophy could have “coalesced” from their often incompatible ideas. The difficulty would be magnified if Pinker included Marx, Bakunin and Lenin, who undeniably belong within the extended family of intellectual movements that comprised the Enlightenment, but are left off the list. Like other latter-day partisans of “Enlightenment values,” Pinker prefers to ignore the fact that many Enlightenment thinkers have been doctrinally anti-liberal, while quite a few have favoured the large-scale use of political violence, from the Jacobins who insisted on the necessity of terror during the French revolution, to Engels who welcomed a world war in which the Slavs—“aborigines in the heart of Europe”—would be wiped out.

The idea that a new world can be constructed through the rational application of force is peculiarly modern, animating ideas of revolutionary war and pedagogic terror that feature in an influential tradition of radical Enlightenment thinking. Downplaying this tradition is extremely important for Pinker. Along with liberal humanists everywhere, he regards the core of the Enlightenment as a commitment to rationality. The fact that prominent Enlightenment figures have favoured violence as an instrument of social transformation is—to put it mildly—inconvenient.

There is a deeper difficulty. Like so many contemporary evangelists for humanism, Pinker takes for granted that science endorses an Enlightenment account of human reason. Since science is a human creation, how could humans not be rational? Surely science and humanism are one and the same. Actually it’s extremely curious—though entirely typical of current thinking—that science should be linked with humanism in this way. A method of inquiry rather than a settled view of the world, there can be no guarantee that science will vindicate Enlightenment ideals of human rationality. Science could just as well end up showing them to be unrealisable.

Admittedly, this was not a conflict that faced any of the thinkers Pinker cites. None of them based their view of the human animal on the findings of science. The Origin of Species appeared in the same year as John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty (1859), but the most influential liberal humanist (who died in 1873) never mentioned Darwin in his seminal works. Although Mill wrote extensively on the need for “moral science,” his view of human beings was a mix of classical philosophy (especially Aristotle) and the ideas of personal development he imbibed from the Romantics. Mill never considered the possibility that his view of human beings could be falsified by scientific investigation. Still, one must not judge him too harshly. He did not have to consider whether his view of humankind squared with science because the science of evolution was only just coming into being.

Pinker and his fellow humanists have no such excuse today. Evolutionary psychology is in its infancy, and much of what passes for knowledge in the subject is not much more than speculation—or worse. There have been countless attempts to apply evolutionary theory to social life but, since there is no mechanism in society comparable to natural selection in biology, they have produced only a succession of misleading metaphors, in which social systems are mistakenly viewed as living organisms. Indeed, if there is anything of substance to be derived from an evolutionary view of the human mind, it must be the persistence of unreason.

As the related discipline of behavioural finance has shown in some detail with regard to decision-making under conditions of risk and uncertainty, human thought and perception are riddled with bias, inconsistency and self-deception. Since our minds are animal minds—as Darwin argued in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872)—things could hardly be otherwise. Shaped by imperatives of survival, the human mind will not normally function as an organ for seeking out the truth. If science is the pursuit of truth—an assumption that begs some tricky questions—it doesn’t follow that anything similar is possible in other areas of human life. The idea that humans can shape their lives by the use of reason is an inheritance from rationalist philosophy that does not fit easily with what we know of the evolution of our mammalian brain. The end result of scientific inquiry may well be that irrational beliefs are humanly indispensable.

Science and humanism are at odds more often than they are at one. For a devoted Darwinist like Pinker to maintain that the world is being pacified by the spread of a particular world view is deeply ironic. There is nothing in Darwinism to suggest that ideas and beliefs can transform human life. To be sure, there have been attempts to formulate an idea of progress in terms of competing memes—vaguely defined concepts or units of meaning that are held to be in some ways akin to genes—although nothing like a scientific theory has been developed. Even if there were such things as memes and they did somehow compete with one another, there is nothing to say that benign memes would be the winners. Quite to the contrary, if history is any guide. Racist ideas are extremely resilient and highly contagious, as is shown by the re-emergence of xenophobic ethnic nationalism and antisemitism in post-communist Europe. So are utopian ideas, which have resurfaced in neoconservative thinking about regime change. The recurrent appearance of these memes suggests that outside of some fairly narrowly defined areas of scientific investigation, progress is at best fitful and elusive. Science may be the cumulative elimination of error, but the human fondness for toxic ideas is remarkably constant.

The irony is compounded when we recall that Pinker achieved notoriety through his attempt to reinstate the idea that the human mind is fixed and limited. His bestseller The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (2002), an assault on the idea that human behaviour is indefinitely malleable, was controversial for several reasons—not least for its attack on the belief that pre-agricultural cultures were inherently peaceable. The book provoked a storm of criticism from liberal humanists who sensed—rightly—that this emphasis on the constancy of human nature limited the scope of future human advance. Pinker seems to have come to share this anxiety, and the present volume is the result. The decline of violence posited in The Better Angels of Our Nature is a progressive transformation of precisely the kind his earlier book seemed to preclude. But the contradiction in which Pinker is stuck is not his alone. It afflicts anyone who tries to combine rigorous Darwinism with a belief in moral progress. Darwinism is unlikely to be the last word on evolution and, rather than identifying universal laws of natural selection, it may only apply in our corner of the universe. But if Darwin’s theory is even approximately right, there can be no rational basis for expecting any revolution in human behaviour.

***

This is a troubling truth for humanists, including Pinker. It can be avoided only by pointing to some kind of ongoing evolution in humans, and Pinker is now ready to entertain “the possibility that in recent history Homo Sapiens has literally evolved to become less violent in the biologist’s technical sense of a change in our genome.” He concludes that there is very little evidence that this is so, but the fact that he takes the possibility seriously is telling. Social violence is coeval with the human species. This is not because humans have always been driven by an inbuilt instinct of aggression. Some of the impulses we inherit from our evolutionary past may incline us to conflict, but others— “the better angels of our nature,” as Abraham Lincoln called them—incline us to peaceful cooperation. In order to show that conflicts between the two will in future increasingly be settled in favour of peace, Pinker needs to be able to identify some very powerful trends. He does his best, but the changes to which he points—the spread of democracy and the increase of wealth, for example—are more problematic than he realises. The formation of democratic nation-states was one of the principal drivers of violence of the last century, involving ethnic cleansing in inter-war Europe, post-colonial states and the post-communist Balkans. Steadily-growing prosperity may act as a kind of tranquilliser, but there is no reason to think the increase of wealth can go on indefinitely—and when it falters violence will surely return. In quite different ways, attacks on minorities and immigrants by neo-fascists in Europe, the popular demonstrations against austerity in Greece and the English riots of the past summer show the disruptive and dangerous impact of sudden economic slowdown on social peace. All the trends that supposedly lie behind the Long Peace are contingent and reversible.

Hobbes is cited more than once by Pinker, but he misses Hobbes’s most important insight: that even if humans were not moved by the pursuit of power and glory, scarcity and uncertainty would drive them repeatedly into conflict with one another. Recurrent violence is a result of the normal disorder of human life. In some ways Hobbes—an early Enlightenment thinker and an intrepid rationalist—was overly sanguine about the capacity of humans to lift themselves out of conflict. Envisioning a social contract in which the power of violence is handed over to a peace-making state, he failed to take account of the fact that humans adapt to violence and often turn it into a way of life. (The novelist Cormac McCarthy presents an image of such a way of life in Blood Meridian, his fictional recreation of the mid-19th century American-Mexican borderlands.) When it is not a way of life, violence is often simply a method. Suicide bombing is morally repugnant but it is also cheap and highly effective, deploying an abundant and easily replaceable resource—human life—to achieve objectives that could be compromised if the perpetrators survived to be captured and interrogated. Humans use violence for many reasons, and everything points to their doing so for the foreseeable future.

No doubt we have become less violent in some ways. But it is easy for liberal humanists to pass over the respects in which civilisation has retreated. Pinker is no exception. Just as he writes off mass killing in developing countries as evidence of backwardness without enquiring whether it might be linked in some way to peace in the developed world, he celebrates “recivilisation” in America without much concern for those who pay the price of the recivilising process. Focusing on large, ill-defined cultural changes—a decline of the values of respectability and self-control in the 1960s, for example, which he tells us resulted from the influence of “the counterculture”—his analysis has a tabloid flavour, not improved by his repeated recourse to not always very illuminating statistics.

One set of numbers does stand out, however. “By the early 1990s Americans had gotten sick of the muggers, vandals and drive-by shootings.” The result is clear: “Today more than two million Americans are in jail, the highest incarceration rate on the planet. This works out to three-quarters of a percent of the entire population and a much larger percentage of young men, especially African Americans.” (Again the italics are Pinker’s.) The astonishing numbers of black young men in jail in the US is due to the disproportionate impact on black people of the “decivilising process,” notably the high rate of black children born out of wedlock and what Pinker sees as the resulting potential for violence in families (black or white) that lack the civilising influence of women. While “massive imprisonment” has not reversed this trend, it “removes the most crime-prone individuals from the streets, incapacitating them.” America’s experiment in mass incarceration is, apparently, an integral part of the recivilising process.

The vast growth of the American penal state, reaching a size not achieved in any other country, does not immediately present itself as an advance in civilisation. A large part of the rise in the prison population has to do with America’s repressive policies on drugs, which Pinker endorses when he observes: “A regime that trawls for drug users or other petty delinquents will net a certain number of violent people as a by-catch, further thinning the ranks of the violent people who remain on the streets.” While it may be counter-productive in regard to its stated goal of controlling drugs use, it seems America’s prohibitionist regime offers a useful means of banging up troublesome people. The possibility that mass incarceration of young males may be in some way linked with family breakdown is not considered. Highly uneven access to education, disappearing low-skill jobs, cuts in welfare and greatly increased economic inequality are also disregarded, even though these factors go a long way in explaining why there are so many poor blacks and so few affluent whites in prison in America today.

Talking to the vacuum cleaner salesman and part-time British agent James Wormold in Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana, the Cuban secret policeman Captain Segura refers to “the torturable class”: those, chiefly the poor, who expect to be tortured and who (according to Segura) accept the fact. The poor in America may not fall exactly into this category—even if some of the practices to which they are subject in US prisons are not far from torture. But there is certainly an imprisonable class in the United States, largely composed of people that Pinker describes as decivilised, and once they have been defined in this way there is a kind of logic in consigning this category of human beings to the custody of America’s barbaric justice system.

Pinker’s attempt to ground the hope of peace in science is profoundly instructive, for it testifies to our enduring need for faith. We don’t need science to tell us that humans are violent animals. History and contemporary experience provide more than sufficient evidence. For liberal humanists, the role of science is, in effect, to explain away this evidence. They look to science to show that, over the long run, violence will decline—hence the panoply of statistics and graphs and the resolute avoidance of inconvenient facts. The result is no more credible than the efforts of Marxists to show the scientific necessity of socialism, or free-market economists to demonstrate the permanence of what was until quite recently hailed as the Long Boom. The Long Peace is another such delusion, and just as ephemeral.

  1. September 23, 2011

    Alyson King

    Balanced between The ‘Sound of Capitalism’ and ‘Can Britain Make It?’, ‘Delusions of Peace’ brings into focus the zeitgeist of global monetarism, in all its fluid instability. Wars for oil, and ideological debate about access to wealth, across the globe, link the world in its dream of belonging in the part of the world where there is freedom of speech, enough to eat, and meaningful work.

    There is however no single vision of how this should work. Enlightenment philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries belonged to a class which ruled, in an era when education included Greek and Latin models of philosophical debate and of government.

    Marx and Engels exposed the fixity of these models and suggested violent revolution was the only way for oppressed people to make their views count. British socialism, however, showed that democratically agreed taxation could bring better conditions to the workers, with free education and healthcare, which we now take for granted.

    I denote here just 3 models of social organisation. Greek debate, Roman top-down government, with effective armed forces, and competing class viewpoints for profit and wages. Since the 1980′s, however, a new model of capitalism has been in existence, and it has not yet been defined. It has grown from the roots of the free market and evolved a parallel exchange barter of shares, alongside profit and loss. The Thatcher government removed the goal posts. Old class wars became obsolete. Bosses were no longer kings of the castle. The System became more complex. The service industry replaced manual skills. Identity became individual rather than community. Mobility attached change to everything, and change became the norm.

    Now we have global markets which few people really understand. It will become essential to work out which elements are the underpinning foundations of this system. Exchange of goods and services uses money. Investment banks also use money. The question I now ask is, if investment has squandered housing debt, as theoretical money, how does this impact on the exchange of goods and services? If there is talk of splitting investment banks from wages and salaries banks, should there be different currency tiers, more suited to this global market?

    If there is an undefined idea in this article it is that science and evidence are now the accepted idioms of meaning. I would agree with this. Evidence and processes have now replaced organisational models in the definition of the inter-relatedness of everything and everyone. Defining what these are, and how they work, will be the next philosophical and pragmatic question to debate.

  2. October 5, 2011

    Rob

    “Highly uneven access to education, disappearing low-skill jobs, cuts in welfare and greatly increased economic inequality are also disregarded, even though these factors go a long way in explaining why there are so many poor blacks and so few affluent whites in prison in America today.”

    It’s the same in Britain, though less harsh. The police do most of their stop and search in poor neighbourhoods as opposed to middle class ones which are just as rife with drugs.

    If stop and search was done more equally across society, a lot of middle class parents (i.e “the real people”) would view the government’s drugs policy very differently once Toby and Molly is slapped with a criminal record for carrying E.

  3. October 6, 2011

    Samuel R

    This article suffers from a very poor understanding of Evolutionary Psychology, and in its brief attempt to give an alternative explanation for human nature (specifically in the explanations of violence and the limits of rationality), offers a confusing case lacking coherence, cohesion, and evidence. I also feel that the writer was very unfair in his insinuation of Pinker having offered his evidence as normative claims; I strongly doubt Steve thinks that mass incarceration ought to be carried out, even if he concedes and indicates as scientifically relevant the fact that such a policy has clear effects on the reduction of violence in American urban communities.

  4. October 6, 2011

    Everyone Else

    Steven Pinker doesn’t “argue that we are becoming less violent”. It’s not his opinion. It’s clear from the data, which John Gray does not challenge.

    Pinker’s “argument” is about the causes of the change. John Gray has every right to dispute Pinker’s theories on that.

    The book is important because popular media make us feel the world is becoming more dangerous. This is a sorely needed correction to conventional thinking.

  5. October 6, 2011

    Laurie McGinness

    I accept many of the arguments here and I don’t think Pinker would deny that much of what he proposes as reasons for the decline in violence is speculative. His statistical argument, as outlined at the edge website, for the fact that there has been an on going global reduction in violence seemed sound and there is no attempt to address it here.
    Unfortunately this makes for what appears to be a highly prejudiced review. The reviewer, not liking Pinker’s ideas, attacks them but fails to address the substance of the matter – Pinker’s historical analysis of a decline in violence. Pinker’s analysis may be wrong but attacking his speculative explanations does not deal with the substance of his claims.

  6. October 6, 2011

    Erik

    Wow, this author reallllly doesn’t understand evolution. I mean, I’m no fan of Pinker, but at least he’s compiled data (note that Gray relies heavily on movie references). This is just disconnected ramblings about how science and humanism are at odds, which, let’s face it, given the number of humanistic scientists, isn’t true at all. With ridiculous leading statements, this really falls below the standards of both prospect magazine and A&L daily (which linked me to it). I assume this is John Gray the philosopher – and this is exactly the problem with philosophy nowadays – god nothing gets done does it?

  7. October 6, 2011

    Chrysostom

    Pinker does not seem to include inconvenient data, for example the statistics on abortion. Abortion might be right, or wrong, a good thing or a bad thing, but surely the killing of human life in the womb must count as violence?

    • August 6, 2012

      Lyle

      Actually, he talks at length about abortion, which is also beginning to decline. Read the book.

  8. October 6, 2011

    Mike Cope

    I too disagree with the conclusions that Pinker draws from his data, but this article has not helped me a scrap, since the data seem to be the important thing, not the opinions derived from them. I’m more interested in things like
    * Are Pinker’s figures in fact reliable? (I don’t know, but assume they are.)
    * Is the way he has gone for global averages suspect? If so, why? (I think it is but am how to articulate that)
    * How would a leftist viewpoint interpret the data (virtual elimination of slavery, reduction in genocide deaths, etc, all global)? There’s a long list over several metrics.

    and so on.

    The attack on Pinker and the humanism of his tentative interpretation seems beside the point. If the data is not a hoax, then it is important to try to understand it, not to shoot the messenger.

  9. October 6, 2011

    Brian

    This article is so bad I had to stop halfway through.

  10. October 6, 2011

    sblakey

    The reviewer rejects statistical data from Pinker and counters with references to fiction.

    He also doesn’t like the speculative parts of Pinker’s book but is quite sure that Pinker’s answers are motivated by a desire for the answer he gets and delusional. Framing speculation as a conclusion doesn’t make it so.

    Perhaps Prospect should add “Crass hypocrisy” to its self description on the about page. It would better fit this article than “informative and open-minded” or “compelling argument and clear headed”

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/about/

  11. October 6, 2011

    FredR

    This article doesn’t make much sense. I wish John Gray would take the time to answer the question: “has violence decreased?”

    Also, these two descriptions of Pinker’s book seem mutually contradictory:
    1. “the astonishing numbers of black young men in jail in the US is due to the disproportionate impact on black people of the “decivilising process,” notably the high rate of black children born out of wedlock and what Pinker sees as the resulting potential for violence in families (black or white) that lack the civilising influence of women.”

    2. “The possibility that mass incarceration of young males may be in some way linked with family breakdown is not considered.”

    I guess Gray could say: “what I meant to say but didn’t was that he doesn’t consider the causal relationship might be entirely: mass incarceration -> family breakdown,” but considering the Moynihan report, for instance, was written in 1965, this seems chronologically impossible.

  12. October 6, 2011

    Peter Jukes

    John Gray’s philosophical pessimism is a good counter balance to Pinker’s speculations about the decline of violence over the last few centuries, but it still does nothing to explain the evidential decline.

    As for tremendous decline in violent over a longer period – what else can explain it except the rise of cities, states, culture and civilisation. True, these were created out of often large scale bloodshed – but nothing like the random lawless violence that preceded for millennia.

  13. October 6, 2011

    Simon

    John Gray has apparently allowed his pessimism to shut off the one unique thing which evolution has given us: the mind. This rambling piece does not attempt to refute any of Pinker’s arguments, and is instead a Pollock like splatter of unfortunate historical events and irrelevant literary references.

  14. October 6, 2011

    Rhages

    I realize from the replies that most of you already understand what follows, but, for you neophytes, here is the template for replying to this sort of article:

    1. Read the aggregator Arts & Letters Daily.

    2. Find a link to an article that deals with evolution (there are many, as the subject of evolution seems to be an obsession of the creators of that aggregator) and click the link.

    3. Note, in particular, any article is critical of any aspect of evolutionary theory, especially of Neo-Kiplingism (aka, “evolutionary psychology”, more honestly, sociobiology).

    4. Hastily skim the critical article as your blood pressure rises. Become more careless in your reading the angrier you get.

    5. Next, type huffy and ignorant replies that demonstrate your failure to read the article carefully.

    You might also try the time-tested techniques of accusing the author of not understanding the subject, or berating him for not being able to fit into a single book review a refutation of every statistic contained in a massive book.

    You get the idea. Now, carry on….

  15. October 6, 2011

    Simon

    @ Rhages

    I am amused, for you did correctly identify the route that led me to this page! Nonetheless, I think you misunderstand my argument. I agree with Gray’s skepticism of evolutionary psychology and his assertion that a study of history is all that is needed to prove that humans have animal like tendencies. Yet, as I said, Gray does nothing to refute the quantitative argument that Pinker makes regarding violence. Please don’t be so dismissive!

  16. October 6, 2011

    Jack Bronston

    If we are to turn to evolution as a key to the peace/violence argument (as we should), let us not forget that the most critical event of evolution was the transition of living organisms from water to land. That event required an aggressive effort far exceeding the effect of any subsequent evolutionary event and remains within us as a constant impulse manifesting itself from time to time in horrendous violence. Time is needed to eliminate that impulse, and the time has not yet arrived.

  17. October 6, 2011

    Yan Doodan

    Gray calls this “Delusions of Peace” but he nowhere states why Pinker’s data are deluded. Instead, Gray states why Pinker’s theory on the reasons for the data are deluded — but the data stand, uncontradicted by Gray.

    Pinker shows a major, long-term, and accelerating decline in violence. Gray does not dispute this. What, then, is Gray’s point?

    What impresses me about Pinker’s data is that their inherent methodological bias would (I expect) weigh them towards *increasing* violence. This is because data collection can be presumed to be increasing in quality as time goes on, and hence fewer countable incidents are missed in current counts than in past ones. Despite this, the counts go down. Honestly, that surprises me. But, unlike Gray, I will not reject data merely because they surprise me.

  18. October 6, 2011

    Rhages

    Simon,

    My remarks were not directed (solely) at you, but at the aggregate of nit-pickers here who swung blindly when they saw their cherished shibboleths challenged.

    Your subsequent comment surprised me, as I would never have inferred any agreement with Gray from your remark antecedent to mine.

    As to how well Gray refutes Pinker’s number-crunching, as I mentioned, I think that he does that as successfully as he can within the confines of a brief book review. Of course, reasonable minds will disagree. Perhaps Gray will expand his critique in the future.

  19. October 6, 2011

    Patrick

    Peace in our time, indeed. Great article. I haven’t sifted through all of Pinker’s charts and graphs myself, but I’m fairly certain that “history” and “violence” are far too general, widespread, and poorly documented to be meaningfully analyzed statistically.

    Some of the comments here argue that the author doesn’t address Pinker’s data. This is true to an extent, and I suppose a bit more could have been said about the statistics. Many hours could be spent dissecting and analyzing Pinker’s numerous graphs and charts. In the end, though, I doubt it would matter much.

    Anyone who has studied statistics (or history) knows that one can easily select data and make it say whatever you want it to say, particularly if your domain is essentially the entire history of the human race. In such a broad field, the amount of evidence available is practically infinite. Thus, however many graphs, charts, formulae, programs, models, and other complex mathematical apparatuses are levied, they have a practically infinite amount of data to process, and are therefore fairly meaningless. This is why history, as both art and science, is generally written in the style of this article, rather than in the style of a scientific paper with which Pinker may, as a psychologist with (as far as I am aware) no formal training in history, be more familiar.

  20. October 6, 2011

    Rhages

    P.S. The repeated insistence here that Gray’s critique fails because he does not refute “the data” is amusingly bovine and literal minded.

    Data and facts require interpretation. I, for one, have never seen a fact or a datum interpret itself. Have any of you? What Gray is doing is taking a meta-level approach by critiquing Pinker’s *interpretation* of his data.

  21. October 6, 2011

    Lane

    Pinker’s caveats and concessions here,

    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/643345-twilight-of-violence

    make me suspect that Gray hasn’t read the book in its entirety, or forgot that Pinker has anticipated these criticisms. I doubt that he said these things in a short interview online but didn’t put them in the 700-page book (which I admit I haven’t read yet either). But I give you, for example…

    Have there been times in history when violence has increased? If so, couldn’t it happen again?

    Of course. Examples of increases of violence I discuss include a rise in the concentration of destructiveness of European wars up until World War II, the heyday of genocidal dictators in the middle decades of the 20th century, the rise of crime in the 1960s, and the bulge of civil wars in the developing world following decolonization. Yet every one of these developments has been systematically reversed.

    The decline of violence isn’t a steady inclined plane from an original state of maximal and universal bloodshed. Technology, ideology, and social and cultural changes periodically throw out new forms of violence for humanity to contend with. The point of Better Angels is that in each case humanity has succeeded in reducing them. I even present some statistical evidence for this cycle of unpleasant shocks followed by sadder-but-wiser recoveries.

    As to whether violence might increase in the future: of course it might. My argument is not that an increase in violence in the future is impossible; it’s that a decrease in violence has taken place in the past. These are different claims.

  22. October 6, 2011

    H J Caponi

    It’s not that Humanists think that humans are rational in the decision making process, it’s that humans can be rational in that process. It makes a huge difference in valuing Humanism.

    Incidentally, Pinker’s case is a bore. It’s serial graphism.

  23. October 6, 2011

    mikeholcombejones

    “But if Darwin’s theory is even approximately right, there can be no rational basis for expecting any revolution in human behaviour.”

    Wait, what?

    It is clear throughout this article that the author does not understand Darwinism.

  24. October 7, 2011

    Simon

    The key to Pinker’s data is that there the population today is exponentially larger than in times past. Thus, he states that the even though World War II killed 75 million people, proportionally speaking it was less violent than the crusades, which killed 1 million out of a 400 million large population. I’m not sure I find this convincing, but I’d be curious to hear what other people think.

  25. October 7, 2011

    Gulliver

    Delusions of Peace versus Delusions of Marxism

  26. October 7, 2011

    Charles Frith

    Most people are manipulated into violence so it’s the elite that needs examining.

  27. October 7, 2011

    Aniruddha G. Kulkarni

    I wish Mr. Pinker lived in an ever growing Indian urban ghetto or lived as a Dalit in a North Indian village and made claims about declining violence…

    …What a letdown from the author of ‘The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature’…Are they the same guys?

  28. October 7, 2011

    Laurie McGinness

    I think someone back there nailed the source of the disagreement. Apparently some of us bovine evolutionists did not pick up the inferred point that Gray was trying, perhaps clumsily, to make – that the trend to reduced violence will almost certainly reverse itself in some catastrophic collision of the super powers at some point in the future. Perhaps we can all agree in hoping his dismal forecast is inaccurate regardless of our personal philosophies.

  29. October 7, 2011

    sblakey

    For those pointing out this review doesn’t address the facts given about the data. Well that would be missing the main thesis of the book so make a poor review. Further, the reviewer does denigrate the statistics used to support the authors point but fails to make a case for dismmissing the conclusion that violence is reduced over time.

    As for the possibility that if the trend is true it is reversible this is simply restating a point made by the author without giving the author credit.

    Anyone wanting a more in depth, honest and open minded review could try this one:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/books/review/the-better-angels-of-our-nature-by-steven-pinker-book-review.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&partner=rss&emc=rss

    They also have a link to an excerpt which is sufficient to make it clear Gray is not writing a review for potential readers.

  30. October 7, 2011

    Will Truth

    Simon says, “The key to Pinker’s data is that there the population today is exponentially larger than in times past. Thus, he states that the even though World War II killed 75 million people, proportionally speaking it was less violent than the crusades, which killed 1 million out of a 400 million large population. I’m not sure I find this convincing, but I’d be curious to hear what other people think.”

    I am constantly surprised by the strange way that some peoples’ minds work. The rate of violence is absolutely the most important thing. Simon, would you say that present day Japan is more violent than Panama because in Japan 1,075 people (out of 127 million) are murdered every year whereas in Panama only 748 (out of 3.4 million people) are murdered? Of course not. The rate is everything. For God’s sake use your brain!

  31. October 7, 2011

    Bruce

    Pretty weak assault on Pinkers work. Gray attacks his motives (humanism) and his interpretation of philosophical history (which is really only an aside to Pinker’s main point). But unlike Pinker who makes his points with data and analysis, Gray provides no concrete counter examples nor contradictory data. Merely a glib reference to some anecodatal examples which seem like a lot of violence to him.

  32. October 7, 2011

    Simon

    Peter Singer’s review absolutly devestates this superbly ignorant piece by John Gray, who appears not even to have read the book.

  33. October 7, 2011

    Simon

    It is important to remember that this is the John Gray who heartily supported the Reagan revolution and the New Right, which should give one pause regarding his overall mental capacity. As Henry Farrel has noted, there actually many John Grays: “John Gray the Millsian liberal, John Gray the post-Millsian liberal, Rawlsian John Gray, John Gray the green conservative, John Gray the German Christian Democracy-style Sozialmarkt advocate, John Gray the sort-of social democrat, and John Gray the nihilistic Ballardian.”

  34. October 7, 2011

    Rhages

    Ah, yes, that makes a great deal of sense: Gray gets to the foundations of Pinker’s argument, exposes the weaknesses in Pinker’s premises, and with it Pinker’s interpretation of the data that derives from them–and yet somehow that is supposed to a weaker attack than accepting Pinker’s premises and confronting his data directly. I get it: Gray is cheating, because he’s not playing according to Pinker’s established ground rules, or accepting Pinker’s frame of reference as the only valid one. Boo-hoo! *chuckles*

    At any rate, I see that it’s futile trying to clarify Gray’s angle of attack to certain of the willfully obtuse here, so I’ll simply urge interested parties to read Elizabeth Kolbert’s excellent review of Pinker’s book in *The New Yorker*, October 3, 2011, pp. 75-78. For the non-philosophically inclined among you, she does an excellent job of showing how selective Pinker’s perception is. An excerpt:

    “There is little discussion in ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’ about trends in violence in Asia or Africa or South America. Indeed, even the United States poses difficulties for him. There is much in ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’ that is confounding. Those developments which might seem to fit into his schema are treated in detail. Yet other episodes that one would think are more relevant to a history of violence are simply glossed over”.

    By the way, I would tangentially offer kudos to *The New Yorker*, as that magazine does an excellent job of publishing take-downs of Pinker and subjecting his over-simplifications and general overreaching to rigorous critique. For instance, see also Louis Menand’s masterful demolition of Pinker’s prior Icarean effort, *The Blank Slate*, a review entitled “What Comes Naturally”, here:

    http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2002/11/25/021125crbo_books.

  35. October 7, 2011

    A Proud Primate

    J. Gray, 1st sentence, last paragraph: “Pinker’s attempt to ground the hope of peace in science is profoundly instructive, for it testifies to our enduring need for faith.”

    Gray misses the boat (on purpose?) on human evolution. Faith is not science. Peace & war can be explained, rationalized, and even predicted in explicitly biological concepts.

    No “faith” is required to articulate that, for my example, wars are fought over scarce resources, be it land to occupy (Israel vs Palestine), water access (the reason for Stalin’s march to the Balkins), energy needs (pick your favorite oil-induced war), or most obviously a primal, evolutionary instinct the fight over mates (typically men fighting other men for access to females).

    Romanticize human tendencies all you wish to, J. Gray, but don’t peddle your opinions as fact. Writing that, “We don’t need science to tell us that humans are violent animals. History and contemporary experience provide more than sufficient evidence,” pulls at my heartstrings — I might throw you a life preserver from the top deck, seeing you flounder and choke in the sea of meaningless electronic ink you are in — because, silly philosopher, Dr. Pinker’s data supports a mechanism for human violence. You have no mechanism. You have faith.

  36. October 7, 2011

    silver_b

    1. Steven Pinker compiles evidence that appears to show that violence is declining.

    2. Steven Pinker develops some reasons why violence is declining.

    3. Because John Gray disagrees with Steven Pinker’s reasons, John Gray concludes that violence ISN’T decreasing.

    Is it just me, or is John Gray making a logical error here?

  37. October 7, 2011

    Enzomiles

    Violence has been going down due to abundant energy (i.e. oil) and technology giving people abundance. Modern people are not morally superior to our ancestors based on evolutionary psychology or humanism. Take away our oil and give us a few days of being cold, tired, and hungry and then see the level of violence. Evolution is amoral and it is not necessarily biased for or against violence, rationality, or progress.

  38. October 8, 2011

    Laurie McGinness

    “Pinker’s attempt to ground the hope of peace in science is profoundly instructive, for it testifies to our enduring need for faith. We don’t need science to tell us that humans are violent animals. History and contemporary experience provide more than sufficient evidence. For liberal humanists, the role of science is, in effect, to explain away this evidence. They look to science to show that, over the long run, violence will decline—hence the panoply of statistics and graphs and the resolute avoidance of inconvenient facts. ”

    This is a fairly offensive paragraph for a number of reasons. The role of science is never to explain away the evidence it is to seek ever more satisfactory explanations for it. To deny that science has a role in attempting to reduce violence would be laughable if it wasn’t such a thoroughly obnoxious notion.
    As a liberal humanist I also tend to resent those of other views creating straw men out of my supposed opinions. Like most reasonable people I hope that violence will decline. Pinker proposes some reasonable hypotheses to suggest that the decline he believes he has observed will continue. I don’t detect anything remotely resembling dogma in this. Finally, a reviewer accusing an author of avoiding inconvenient facts surely has the responsibility to identify at least some examples. In my original post I used the word prejudice in its literal sense of a matter being prejudged without fair consideration. If anything a second reading of the piece only confirms my view.

  39. October 8, 2011

    kenwil

    John Gray says “there can be no rational basis for expecting any revolution in human behaviour.”
    By “behaviour” did he really mean some sort of deep seated “motivation” or “character” instead? Because we have all changed our behaviour drastically just in few decades. Mobile phones, TV, Internet, on-line video games and on-line porn. It’s a different world, and maybe a less violent one.

  40. October 8, 2011

    shmoo-el

    Pinker’s argument is quantitative. So are arguments along the lines of: bathtubs are more deadly than terrorism because bathtubs kill more people, therefore more funding should be channeled towards fixing bathtubs than fighting terrorism. But this argument is flawed. Terrorism is a bigger threat to a collective human sense of well being because of the psychological and economic toll it takes on society on a whole. I wonder if Pinker isn’t committing a similar fallacy here (although my intuition is to agree with his general thesis).

  41. October 8, 2011

    sblakey

    Rhages,
    Is it possible you are simply projecting your own feelings onto the various commenters here.

    When you hear Pinker has a new best seller do you feel annoyed?
    When you hear of a new critique of Pinker’s work do you feel the world is a little bit better for it even before reading it?

    Sure we all have motives for wanting the world to be one way or another. But you might be doing just what you are complaining about in others.

    I suggest the answer to your concern about the critical comments of Gray’s review is not to offer another review with all the work it would require to assess that but to help Gray make his point if it can indeed be made.

    Even forgetting all the clear problems with the review – the misrepresentions mentioned by commenters and the handwaving off of evidence while offering fiction in its place, and several cases of asserting motives where there may none, if Gray has a point worth making that why not skip the insults to or questions on the motives other contributors here and help him make it.

    Otherwise you just come across as someone who whines when others don’t see the world the way you do.

  42. October 8, 2011

    vs

    and where’s Mr. Fukuyama and his End Of History now…

  43. October 8, 2011

    Doug

    Gray is right: [E]ven if humans were not moved by the pursuit of power and glory, scarcity and uncertainty would drive them repeatedly into conflict with one another. Recurrent violence is a result of the normal disorder of human life.

    Bad things happen in bad times.

  44. October 8, 2011

    Rhages

    Last round for me, here.

    Enzomiles: Thanks for offering a breath of intelligence to a comments thread that is otherwise sorely lacking it.

    A Proud Primate:”Dr. Pinker’s data supports [sic] a mechanism for human violence. You have no mechanism. You have faith.”

    You’re the one who has faith; namely, the faith that “Dr. Pinker’s” interpretation of his data is correct, and that his presentation of data is honest and non-selective. I urge you to read the review by Kolbert that I cited, earlier.

    silver_b says: “Because John Gray disagrees with Steven Pinker’s reasons, John Gray concludes that violence ISN’T decreasing”.

    What John Gray suggests is that Pinker’s data and conclusions are selective and not entirely reliable because Pinker has his own agenda to promote.

    sblakey says:

    “Is it possible you are simply projecting your own feelings onto the various commenters [sic] here.”

    You seem to me to be the one who is projecting, here. Your comment to me exemplifies every flaw you accuse my remarks of having, and you do not otherwise address a single point that I make.

    “When you hear Pinker has a new best seller do you feel annoyed?”

    Aren’t you being a little premature in in anointing Pinker’s latest book a best seller? According to Amazon, it was released four days ago.

    Anyway, to answer your silly question: No, I could not care less.

    “When you hear of a new critique of Pinker’s work do you feel the world is a little bit better for it even before reading it?”

    I could ask you the same stupid, tendentious question in reverse: When someone praises the latest Pinker masterwork of overreaching and over-simplification, do you feel that the world is now a better place, even before you’ve read the book?

    Apparently, you do. I had to laugh when you touted Peter Singer’s silly puff piece in the NYT as being “in depth, honest and open minded”. It’s sheer puffery, from start to finish, without a single critical remark.

    Did you notice how excited Singer became that Pinker cited some of Singer’s work? Did you also note Singer’s disclosure that Pinker recently wrote an endorsement for a publication of Singer’s? I didn’t think so.

    “I suggest the answer to your concern about the critical comments of Gray’s review is not to offer another review with all the work it would require to assess that but to help Gray make his point if it can indeed be made.”

    I did exactly this, by indicating how you and others here completely miss Gray’s point and purpose. I made clear that, because you cannot defeat Gray on his own ground, you try to shift the battlefield to Pinker’s (and your) preferred turf. I think that that offers Gray some help (not that he needs it).

    “Even forgetting all the clear problems with the review – the misrepresentions mentioned by commenters [sic]“‘

    You assume, without citing evidence, that the commentators’ perception of these alleged misrepresentations is accurate.

    “and the handwaving off of evidence while offering fiction in its place,”

    This is nonsense. Gray explains why he finds Piker’s evidence non-compelling, and he makes a total of, I believe, two allusions to fiction simply to illustrate his points, and not to make a counter-argument.

    “If Gray has a point worth making that [sic] why not skip the insults to or questions on the motives other contributors here and help him make it.’

    I have not insulted anyone; I have commented on the quality of their particular contributions to this thread as they relate to Gray’s argument. As for my helping Gray to make his argument, see my comment, above.

    “Otherwise you just come across as someone who whines when others don’t see the world the way you do.”

    Given the rampant negative reactions here to Gray’s piece, and the completely non-nuanced critiques of it, I think that it is self-evident as to which of us is doing the whining.

  45. October 9, 2011

    sblakey

    Rhages,
    I went over your comments again and besides some assertions that Gray has a point I can’t see how you are making Gray’s point any clearer.

    In fact you offer this: “I see that it’s futile trying to clarify Gray’s angle of attack to certain of the willfully obtuse here,”

    Simply claiming you have supported Gray’s point doesn’t mean you have.

    Labelling other comments as “bovine” or lacking in intelligence or the commenters as “willfully obtuse” is to offer insults in place of a supporting argument for your position. Claiming you are not doing this doesn’t make it so.

    I suggest that if you don’t want to come across as overly emotional you avoid judgemental langauge and just make your point.

    As for my not supporting my claim about the merits of the other comments. Those comments are right here, quoting them seems a bit redundant. You are the one labeling all of those that disagree with Gray as unintelligent.

    Gray does nothing but shift the ground when it comes to Pinker’s data. In paragraph four he starts to address the data but then jumps to Pinker’s hypothesis to explain the data. We go from talking about lots of data about the decline in violence to Gray disagrees with the hypothesis to explain the cause of the data and based on that there is insufficent data to support that violence is on the way out.

    The logical failing in this paragraph is about as bad as they get.

    It is only made worse by the fact that Pinker is not claiming that violence is on the way out but that it is declining. It’s a logical fallacy about a strawman. Yuck!

    The next argument is as bad. Somehow Darwin’s theories become a requirement for scientific investigation of society rather than a product of scientific investigation. Am I missing something, is he saying something else?

  46. October 9, 2011

    sblakey

    Another, to me obvious, flaw with Gray’s review is the attempt to make the simplistic argument that because we know – from both evolutionary psychology and other branches of science that humans can be irrational then increases in rationality cannot be a cause of a reduction in violence.

    If there is somewhere Pinker denies human irrationality it would be helpful quote for Gray. Not finding that he tries to argue that evidence of irrationaility must be evidence that rationality doesn’t happen or has no effect.

    Again it seems an obviously ludicrous argument.

  47. October 9, 2011

    JAnderson

    A relief to see Rhages bringing some clarity to this discussion.

    Yes Pinker compiles data about violence, but Gray’s point is that Pinker has misinterpreted that data.

    After 1945, the most powerful states no longer made war on each other–but they have fought through colonial proxies and they have continued to murder their own citizens at a historically unprecedented rate.

    According to R.J. Rummel, a political scientist at U of Hawaii who has studied violence for his entire career and whom Pinker entirely ignores, somewhere around 80 million people were killed in war or by genocide from 1947-1999. From 1900-1947 an estimated 90 million were killed.

    That statistic is ghastly, ironclad proof of Gray’s argument and a terrible testament to the wrongness of Pinker’s.

    Pinker argues that these violent places are “backward.” But this is obviously a terrible fallacy. It would be like arguing that the US has perfect employment because the 10% jobless are just “backward” people and therefore don’t count. I mean, you could make any argument look sound if you a priori dismiss all countervailing data as “backward” and irrelevant

  48. October 10, 2011

    Laurie McGinness

    Pinker’s argument is based on violent deaths as a proportion of world population. He presents a wide array of data to support his argument. To demonstrate that Pinker is wrong it is necessary to do the calculations to show that violent deaths per 100,000 of population have not declined.
    If Gray believes that Pinker has ignored relevant data or his statistical analysis of that data is invalid he has failed to identify those failings specifically. The figures JAnderson quotes have not been omitted from Pinker’s calculations but are dealt with as deaths per 100,000 of population. Claiming that the total number of violent deaths has increased does not address Pinker’s argument.
    As a simple matter of logic any further argument is dependent on this. What is the point of arguing against Pinker’s reasons for the decline in violence if you do not believe it has occurred in the first place?

  49. October 10, 2011

    Owen Glendower

    “Anyone who clings to the historically untrue — and thoroughly immoral — doctrine that ‘violence never solves anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.”

    –R.A.H.

  50. October 10, 2011

    greg

    “the high rate of black children born out of wedlock and what Pinker sees as the resulting potential for violence in families (black or white) that lack the civilising influence of women.”

    Huh? Pinker sees families where men are absent as lacking the civilizing influence of women. The influence of women would be strongest in such families. Doesn’t make sense.

  51. October 10, 2011

    Erik

    Good reading. Saw a brief interview with Pinker on the book, and his theory felt utterly reductionistic and faith-based on human advances. Apparently he assumes that evolution works in a positive direction of what some humans, e.g. Pinker, calls morality. But no real arguments for why the forces of evolution should affect an ideological concept as morality in such a way. He also conveniently takes away prisoners from his societal peace assessment, “as long as we get violence of the streets there is less violence in society”? Really? Prison is non-societal?
    Generally amazing how he dwells into social areas without much depth in his social theories. As seen above, easily debunked. Thx

  52. October 10, 2011

    sblakey

    For JAnderson, I just did a search on the Kindle edition of Pinker’s book and came up with 83 matches for Rummel.
    So either you are commenting on something you have not spent any time studying or you are delibrately being misleading.

    Either way what was the point?

  53. October 10, 2011

    sblakey

    To Greg,
    You are basing your critique on a rather sloppy review not what Pinker actually wrote.

    Spend your money, download the book, and search on wedlock. There are only two entries so it is not much work to read them both.

    You will find Pinker is reasonably skeptical about the role of parental influence and is claiming it is the young fathers who are not with the mothers who are not being civilized by the influence of women.

    Your comment highlights the disservce to readers by Prospect and Gray in publishing such a poorly written review.

  54. October 10, 2011

    Tom

    Just the kind of ideological drivel that’s so easy to loathe. And the author actually thinks he’s refuted Pinker! What a laugh.

  55. October 10, 2011

    Daniel Murphy

    From time to time I read book reviews that make me wonder: has the reviewer actually read the book he purports to review? This is one such review. Mr. Gray seems more interested in advancing his own misgivings about the possibility of progress in human affairs than in engaging with Mr. Pinker’s actual argument or with his data. I have not read Mr. Pinker’s new book. But I have read The Blank Slate well enough to recognize that Mr. Gray’s summary of that book here indicates that he didn’t read that one very closely, either.

  56. October 11, 2011

    gl

    John Gray is monotonous, ubiquitous and downright boring by now.

    Next.

  57. October 11, 2011

    kk

    Are we considering mental violence at all in the equation? It seems to me the physical violence that has disappeared over the millenniums has been overshadowed by the high rates of depression, anxiety and other psychological ailments in society.

    Consider a jail with strict policing and control. There may be a semblance of peace. But the air must be thick with thoughts of savagery and violence. The same with society as well.

    But Pinker needs to be appreciated for giving us hope for an evolution towards peace.

  58. October 11, 2011

    kirk

    Yes, and Hobbs was full of crap too. Skinner was also a fool; not one human has ever been conditioned to change behavior. Einstein was silly to work for world peace. Stupid scientist; be less dependent on data.

  59. October 11, 2011

    Sal Monella

    “A regime that trawls for drug users or other petty delinquents will net a certain number of violent people as a by-catch, further thinning the ranks of the violent people who remain on the streets.” Yes. Although U.S. drug policies are irrational and generally counterproductive, as a former Detention Officer I can tell you that many, if not most inmates charged for drug crimes that I knew are profiteering criminals, not hapless users. It will remain so until money is removed from the equation.

  60. October 12, 2011

    John Poole

    I disagree with Pinker. I think the pathologically mendacious have found more subtle means to harm others. There are holocausts being hatched everyday by those who hate this existence and these holocausts are as unanticipated as tp what the Krauts hatched in the 30s and 40s. Battlefield gore? The clever monsters within our ranks are plying their psycho-sexual self hatred schemes in very subtle ways.

  61. October 12, 2011

    chris

    What a bizarre review. These are data that scholars have been talking about for years (the decline in interpersonal violence, the decline in mortality from organized violence, the democratic peace). Yet somehow the author’s theoretical disagreement nullifies the empirics?

  62. October 12, 2011

    Michael Rover

    A long review that says almost nothing. Pinker’s point is that violence has, empirically, declined to a tremendous extent. Gray does nothing to refute that point; he just say there have been a lot of wars and generalized antagonism. Pinker does not argue to the contrary. He just argues that, as a statistical matter, overt violence has drastically decreased in human society. Which it has, to an absolutely extraordinary extent, historically speaking.

    Pinker himself would be, and is, the first to note that not all aspects of this decrease in violence are wondrous and laudable — such as the increase in permanent incarceration. But that’s the background of the analysis, and Gray can’t make it go away by wishing it weren’t so.

    Also, Gray makes ludicrous statements like “But if Darwin’s theory is even approximately right, there can be no rational basis for expecting any revolution in human behaviour.” Absolute, unconstrained, unscientific gibberish. Gray appears to be about as familiar with what he labels “Darwinism” (a term, at least in the US, that is used almost entirely by cranks and whackos, while scientists refer to evolutionary theory) as he is with hydrodynamic analysis. There’s nothing in the theory of natural selection that implies human behavior cannot undergo radical modification. It’s a complete non sequitur. Evidently Gray thinks that sending a human being into space is a refutation of “Darwinism.” Whatever he may have in mind by that term, it bears no resemblance to modern evolutionary theory.

  63. October 13, 2011

    al-haytham

    Pinker’s arguments rest primarily on the observation that beginning roughly around the time of the Enlightenment there has been a consistent decline in violent deaths per capita, and that this trend is most pronounced in developed countries. He then speculates (rather compellingly, imho) on why this has been happening. If Gray is trying to make the case that Pinker’s is a “delusion of peace,” he simply has to show that Pinker’s statistics are false, which he fails to do. If Gray is arguing against Pinker’s speculations about the cause of the decline then he is tacitly acknowledging that there IS a historical decline in violence. These are the only ways one could logically disagree with what Pinker is saying. What I see here is a meandering and jargony refutation of arguments Pinker hasn’t really made.

  64. October 15, 2011

    Thom

    This is a disgraceful review, for the simple reasons that: (i) it is not at all an honest account of the reviewed book; and (ii) it does not engage with the arguments actually presented in Pinker’s work.

    This is basic intellectual dishonesty. Gray should be ashamed of himself – and Prospect should ask themselves whether they are prepared to publish pieces by Gray in the future.

  65. October 16, 2011

    lefthook

    Pinker’s idea of “decivilized” people really seems like a new sort of eugenics, and that is incredibly troubling. Humans in western liberal societies may be slightly less violent than our ancestors, but that is because of economic reasons, not biological. Human beings are addicted to violence and if they can’t kill each other, they will play out those fantasies in popular media.

  66. October 17, 2011

    arif

    I see that people are commenting that Gray doesn’t address the “empirics”. I guess that depends crucially on whether the empirical data in question is about the developed world or undeveloped. Gray addresses the decrease in the developed world by arguing that developed countries (the international powers) have exported their wars and therefore mortality due to violence elsewhere, namely the less developed world.

  67. October 17, 2011

    Jim Bob Owens

    And then Jesus said “Human sacrifice!!? What kind of Neanderthal bullshit is that!? What are we, living in the fucking Stone Age!?”

    And his disciples responded, “Umm, Huh?”

  68. October 17, 2011

    Franco

    Detractors of this article who have complained at Gray’s failure to challenge Pinker’s data are right to do so. To defend Gray by saying that he offering an opinion or interpretation, or that statistics can be misleading, lets him off the hook far too easily. Gray himself asserts:

    ‘While Pinker makes a great show of relying on evidence – the 700-odd pages of this bulky treatise are stuffed with impressive-looking graphs and statistics—his argument that violence is on the way out does not, in the end, rest on scientific investigation.’

    This statement seems to insinutate that Pinker’s methodology is wrong. Does not rest on ‘scientifc investigation’, does it? Yeah? How so?

  69. October 17, 2011

    Sean Santos

    This review does show a vague familiarity with the book it purports to be about, but the reviewer seems to have mixed up Pinker’s claims with some other set of claims.

    In particular, Pinker refuses to predict that the decline in violence will continue, or even that it will not be reversed. He does offer “reasons for optimism” but without an explicit blanket prediction. He doesn’t say that there’s some natural “evolution” of ideas that cause human societies to inevitably become more peaceful, as some other commenters here have accused.

    Notably Pinker doesn’t ignore the developing world; one of his major points is that the developing world has gotten more peaceful too, since decolonization and the Cold War are slowly receding into the past. He discusses this in the chapter on “The New Peace”, right after talking about “The Long Peace”, which I am cynically tempted to suspect is the last chapter that John Gray actually read.

    Pinker doesn’t endorse the American justice system. In fact, he mentions that the “decivilizing process” at work in some ghettos was pushed onwards by a combination of police bigotry and indifference, and laws that (unsuccessfully) attempt to make up for inconsistent or arbitrary application by simply becoming harsher.

    Finally, the main thrust of the book is often not so much that things are good now, but rather that they were much worse before. Genocide and “ethnic cleansing” are found in all periods of history, and often were more common killed a larger proportion of the population than the genocides of the last few decades. So are wars between neighboring groups. And the homocide rate is drastically reduced by the presence of a functioning state that both can and will prosecute murderers.

    That’s the story that’s lost when you ignore the statistics (the presentation of which is the primary point of the book!) in order to continue a tired ideological contention over how much we should loathe modernity. If one finds statistics not only “unilluminating”, but in fact too difficult or boring to comment on, perhaps one should refrain from reviewing a book that focuses on statistical trends and not just narrative history.

  70. October 17, 2011

    Sean Santos

    Also, I found this comment from JAnderson hilarious:

    “According to R.J. Rummel, a political scientist at U of Hawaii who has studied violence for his entire career and whom Pinker entirely ignores, somewhere around 80 million people were killed in war or by genocide from 1947-1999. From 1900-1947 an estimated 90 million were killed.”

    This is Pinker talking about the genocides of medieval Christendom:

    “Though no one knows exactly how many people were killed in these holy slaughters, we can get a sense from numerical estimates by atrocitologists such as the political scientist R.J. Rummel in his books ‘Death by Government’ and ‘Statistics of Democide’”

    And about the twentieth century, he cites Rummel with respect to this statement:

    “Genocide also shocks the imagination by the sheer number of its victims. Rummel, who was among the first historians to try to count them all, famously estimated that during the 20th century 169 million people were killed by their governments.”

    Figure 6-7 in that chapter then graphs Rummel’s estimates for deaths via genocide over time, peaking around the 1940s and 1950s and declining steadily over time, with genocides after 1965 being a small fraction of the total death count.

  71. October 23, 2011

    TimeZoned

    arif wrote:

    I see that people are commenting that Gray doesn’t address the “empirics”. I guess that depends crucially on whether the empirical data in question is about the developed world or undeveloped. Gray addresses the decrease in the developed world by arguing that developed countries (the international powers) have exported their wars and therefore mortality due to violence elsewhere, namely the less developed world.

    ___

    Except that the data also show that violence in less developed countries is far lower than it was in the world at large centuries ago, including the regions that are now those countries.

    You really do get the impression when reading this review that the author hasn’t read Pinker’s book. I have.

    Violence has decreased dramatically. This review, or maybe it’s just the sensationalist headline, asserts that this claim is “nonsense” and then provides nothing whatsoever to back it up.

  72. October 26, 2011

    Aphaniptera

    There may be yet another facet to Pinker’s argument. After all, Pinker is listed on the Advisory Board of Sam Harris’ Project Reason foundation. One of Pinker’s co-advisors is Richard Dawkins. In his book The God Delusion, Dawkins argued for a discernibly progressive moral zeitgeist. Pinker’s argument that the world is growing progressively less violent serves Dawkins’ polemical interest in arguing against religion by claiming a correlation between increasing secularism and increasing morality.

    It’s possible, of course, that Pinker and Dawkins have discussed these issues, but even if they haven’t, their support of Project Reason demonstrates a mutual investment in arguing for a contemporary Rationalism. The intimation of a progressive moral zeitgeist is one rhetorical tool in the public relations campaign for their pet philosophy.

  73. October 31, 2011

    Victor Grauer

    Pinker appears to have been captured by the fashionable postmodern trend known as revisionism, where deconstruction is confused with demystification and all our romantic notions regarding so-called noble savages must be exposed as so much hokum. Only revisionism is just as much a myth as the idealized notions it seeks to debunk.

    Foremost among Pinkers sins against scientific method is his tendency to make assumptions based on simplistic interpretations of the data. This is most glaringly apparent when he indiscriminately groups all hunter-gatherers together as equally representative of our paleolithic ancestors, ignoring significant differences with a strong bearing on his hypothesis.

    In Chapter Six of my book, Sounding the Depths, I challenge the revisionist view in general and Pinker in particular and I would urge anyone either impressed or outraged by his arguments to read what I have to say: http://soundingthedepths.blogspot.com/2011/02/chapter-six-interlude-utopia-then-and.html

  74. November 1, 2011

    JLT

    John “Dances-Around-the-Data” Gray just wasted part of my morning. While Pinker’s explanations for the phenomena he adduces may not stand up, it still requires serious attention, not just anecdotal refutation.

    I live in a city of about 500,000. The average yearly number of murders is 6. (In 2007, there were none.) If the death rate from violence in a hunter-gatherer society like the Hiwi applied, I believe the number of murders would work out to 2,500 per year. Such a discrepancy is worth more than a reflexive dismissal.

  75. November 6, 2011

    nepacific

    This piece is very unsatisfactory. It criticizes Pinker on many grounds, but not for his facts, just for his explanations and for incompatibilities with his previous writing. Everything the reviewer says may be true without affecting Pinker’s major thesis that in the world today, violent death is statistically far less likely than it was in previous times. Not no violence, just less violence. Really, ideological warfare is of little value at this point. Let’s get the facts straight first.

  76. November 15, 2011

    jon leach

    Coming to this very late but some observations…

    1. The Shallows (cf Nicholas Carr). It is really hard work these days to read a book like this i.e. 700 pages of data and analysis. It is much easier to skim stuff on the web. I happenend to be off ill for a week and (bored of watching rolling news on Greece) managed to read most of this book slowly and carefully, and that’s really rare for me. The culture of the comments page – and the internet – is that one is “allowed” to join a debate no matter how much or little prep work one has done. And so it goes.

    2. The Cause. Possibly for very good reasons (some of which may be biological and/or tribal) some commenters start with what’s right and from there refute the data. Some ideas/beliefs seem to be so (emotionally) important to people that the very possibility of them being less then perfect causes a sort of mental shut down. Very occasionally i have tried to talk to women of a certain generation on the topic of whether feminism has either “gone too far” or “caused problems for men”….Does not compute. Does anger.

    3. Category Error. Pinker seems to have found data that shows that on the whole “violence has decreased”. He seems to believe that this is a good thing (the scoundrel!). He is careful NOT to say that the world is now “good” or that the remaining amounts of violence are “good”. He is also careful to say that this “goodness” will have to be protected and nurtured or else things might become less good. Perhaps he upsets people because he is prepare to discuss the category of violence and find some good there. If you strongly believe that violence is such a bad thing that there can never be any goodness to be found in its contemplation, then this will fry your brains. About 15 years ago I once talked to a left leaning audience about trying to make advertising MORE ethical. Half the audience could not understand how one could make advertising – which is intrinsically, irredeemably bad – more ethical. Did not compute. Did anger.

    4. The Prebuttal. I have noticed that when peple write these books they are aware of the rebuttals they will receive. Indeed Pinker anticipates this with doing a weak joke about his “predictions” on how much violence there will be in the future. If you want to see how a really funny comedian does prebuttal read the transcript of Stewart Lee’s prebuttal of his post- Jerry Springer the Opera skit. Perhaps scientists/writers need to work on their prebuttal.

    5. Sloganeering. One of the things we do in in PR and advertising is to try to make people think less about their choices by using manipulative words and phrases. The skill is to come up with one that won’t be rumbled or (as it is a regulated industry) won’t be illegal. If i was to offer up “Delusions of Peace” as a slogan then i would be laughed at – its very easy to rumble and in its lack of honest decription of what it attempt to describe, it would be illegal. Do journalists (or sub-editors) have lower standards than advertising types?

  77. November 23, 2011

    Travis H.

    I’m almost finished with Pinker’s book, and it’s been a gripping read (most of his books are). I don’t agree with every explanation Pinker gives for the various declines of violence, but he unequivocally demonstrates that such declines have been occuring. Many writers below have already commented on how pathetic Gray’s review is (Thanks Michael Rover, now I don’t have to write as much).

    Since many of you have already caught the pseudo-scholarsip in this review, I’d just like to make a general point to all of those who are critical of Pinker — Gray included, If he’s reading this, that is.

    It’s a good idea to read a book, and get a grip on it’s contents, before criticizing it. Paragraphs 7 through 11 of Gray’s review constitute a blizzard incomplete thoughts, unsophisticated musings on neoDarwinism, and attributions to Pinker that Pinker didn’t argue (Tell me, Gray, where exactly does Pinker argues that science and humanism are identical features of human existence?) The fact that this thing was published stands as a testament to how dishonest and intellectually hackneyed our discourse has become (there is, to be sure, an even more pathetic recent review of Pinker’s book, published in the Guardian (I warn you, this reviewer even admits that he didn’t read the book – link below).

    Victor Grauer, no offense, but it is painfully obvious that you know nothing about the book in question (or Pinker for that matter) if you really think that Pinker “has been captured by the fashionable postmodern trend known as revisionism”. Really? This make-believe is so off point that it defies a rational retort.

    Erik, I’m happy that you “saw a brief interview with Pinker”, but it might be a good idea to get at least a rudimentary understanding of what he’s saying before you start leveling criticisms. At no point in The Better Angels (or any other of Pinker’s books I’ve read) does he “assume that evolution works in a positive direction”. Nothing has been debunked accept you malarkey. Thx

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/08/steven-pinker-better-angels-of-our-nature

  78. December 9, 2011

    Anton

    What is the point in repeating Darwin and other names? Author just did’t get the point of Pinker’s book. It’s not about predicting out future, it’s about understanding our past.

  79. December 16, 2011

    Anthony

    I know it’s been said, but it bears repeating. You can argue the explanations for the decline of violence all you like, but the elephant in the room is the evidence for the actual decline of violence. Gray’s silence on the fact that violence has been steadily declining for not decades, not centuries, but for thousands of years is deafening. Pinker’s stepped it up from the level of armchair philosophy to serious statistical analysis. It’s as though Gray has been caught so off-guard and ill prepared by this that he simply can’t engage at this level. Not one refutation of this core point, not one rebuttal. Simply much earnest disagreement around interpretation of these facts.

  80. December 26, 2011

    Jon Harrison

    Violence has been declining for thousands of years, Anthony? Any way one tries to manipulate the statistics, it’s hard to believe that the over 100 million people killed by Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao represent a decline in violence. A civil war is ongoing in the Congo, and the best estimate is that 6-7 million people have been killed. Such mass killing has occurred again and again in the past 100 years.

    It’s true that there has been no direct armed conflict between great powers since the Korean armistice in 1953. But there was an even more profound “long peace” between 1815 and 1914. This was interrupted by only two great power conflicts (the Crimean and Franco-Prussian wars), neither of which lasted as long or was as bloody as Korea. The lack of war between great powers since 1953 is a function of the terrible power of nuclear weapons, and not any improvement in the morality of states or peoples.

    On the other hand, violent crime in the United States has indeed declined since the 1980s. But, whether Mr. Gray likes to admit it or not, this is the result of our locking up violent criminals rather than attempting to “rehabilitate” them (a futile exercise is the overwhelming number of cases).

    Gray is, however, correct in his core criticism of Pinker. The arguments Pinker presents are slanted and lack true historical perspective. This is perhaps no surprise, given that Pinker is a psychologist and not an historian. The wish is the father of the theory, as is so often true when academics try to make sense of the real world. Pinker ends up looking foolish — correct in some details, but pretty much at sea when he tries to shape a major theory of human behavior.

  81. December 29, 2011

    Daedalus

    “Yet these are highly disparate thinkers, and it is far from clear that any coherent philosophy could have “coalesced” from their often incompatible ideas. The difficulty would be magnified if Pinker included Marx, Bakunin and Lenin, who undeniably belong within the extended family of intellectual movements that comprised the Enlightenment, but are left off the list.”

    This is either a deliberate misinterpretation or a reflection of clear ignorance on part of the reviewer.

    I can’t decide if this article is worse or the New Yorker review.

  82. January 8, 2012

    David Wonfor

    John Gray: an intellectual newt nibbling at the toes of a giant.

  83. January 14, 2012

    leo zhao

    saying that “war has stopped since WW2″ is like saying “I quit smoking. 3 minutes ago.”

  84. January 19, 2012

    Philip Gray

    I haven’t yet read Pinker’s book, so I cannot comment on whether the criticism in this article is relevant and warranted, but I would like to leave some constructive criticism myself.
    Calling an opponent a “Darwinist” takes away most chances that the criticism will be taken seriously by anyone in the audience who is scientifically literate.

  85. April 13, 2012

    thejollypilgrim

    I can only agree with the majority of the comments – this is an extraordinarily poor review. Mr Gray fails to engage Pinker’s arguments and goes on long rambling tangents of questionable relevancy.

    It would have been fascinating to read a serious, focussed critique of Professor Pinker’s important book. Mr Gray is apparently incapable of constructing one. Prospect needs to think harder about its reviewers.

    Peter Baker

  86. April 25, 2012

    raijin

    Pinker clearly states in the book that experiments have shown that humans are *not* the rational, self-interested actors portrayed by Homo Econimus or in behavioral finance. That you failed to accurately describe his view of human rationality and his extensive use of this non-rationality in his explanations of his data leads me to believe you did not read the book carefully or at all.

  87. April 26, 2012

    Sarah G

    ‘The Long Peace is another such delusion, and just as ephemeral’

    Well blow me down! How astute an observation. And by astute, I mean criminally misinformed. Pinker acknowledges the emphermerality of The Long Peace himself. He DOESN’T pretend we’re at the beginning of some sort of utopian time stretch. What he does say is that violence occurs in peaks, and will occur again, but the reduction in these peaks across the centuries is something worth noting.

    And isn’t it? I think this is a highly important observation.

  88. June 4, 2012

    Roderick T. Long

    “the most influential liberal humanist (who died in 1873) never mentioned Darwin in his seminal works”

    Mill discusses Darwin several times in the System of Logic.

  89. June 4, 2012

    Roderick T. Long

    The omission of any mention of Spencer is surprising, since Spencer was a) very similar overall to Mill [I mean of course the actual Spencer, not the caricature in the textbooks], b) a proponent of a diminishing-violence thesis very similar to Pinker’s, and c) deeply immersed in evolutionary theorising.

  90. September 21, 2012

    Stephen Eadon

    The reaction in general to at least three of Pinker’s books (this one, The Blank Slate, and How the Mind Works) is simply confusing. They are extremely well researched, reasonable and clearly written. Yet apparently intelligent people either get confused or decide to violate every principle of intellectual honesty when ‘reviewing’ them. For a noted puplic intellectual like Gray to respond to an analytical and sober book in such a cheap and hysterical way is appalling. There are issues with which you can debate Pinker but Gray misses them.

  91. April 22, 2013

    Jason Wingate

    Look up the Indus Valley Civilisation sometime. Apparently a very high standard of living with not one war or army discovered in 1,000 years. All well before the Christian era… we’ll have trouble topping that.

  92. May 8, 2013

    Lloyd Reinhardt

    Even if the proportion of people killed on earth is much lower than it used to be,the reason need not be less violence. Surely a large part of it is that so many violent conflicts are
    attended with effective medical support: so much wounding fails to kill. When helmets were adopted by the British in WW I, the number of head wounds skyrocketed; many soldiers lived who would otherwise died.

  93. May 10, 2013

    Graham Kay

    Probably nobody is reading this thread any more, but anyway…

    I think what Gray is attacking is Pinker’s seeming assumption that, as a scientist, he is a kind of academic apex predator, easily qualified to turn his hand to any discipline lower down the food chain: history, political philosophy, etc.

    This is an alarming tendency of a lot of popular science and Gray is right to expose it.

  94. September 14, 2013

    Dawson

    The global north has nukes

    otherwise USSR fights US and UK in cratered Europe and China within a few years of WW2 win. USSR being able to move tanks on rails from factories while US must cross ocean, probably “wins” after gigantic bloody prologue WW3. would’ve sucked in the north

    but the global north has nukes

  95. October 27, 2013

    Scott

    No one forces someone to commit crimes or be violent. Where I grew up in Appalachia, there were/are many poor people but it’s not a violent culture.

    Life is about values and making choices. If you value civic duty, you pitch in and help. if you value clean streets, you don’t litter. if you value restraint you don’t fight or hurt people. if you value private property and fairness, you don’t vandalize or steal.

    No one can force you to do anything that goes against your values.

  96. January 2, 2014

    Brian

    As someone that is very new to Steven Pinker, and is about to read the book, I find this discourse incredibly interesting. As someone who has spent a lot of time with supply chains, I find that most people really do not realize how much we all rely on the trains moving on time, as measured by the number of days things like food and fuel are in transit, compared to even a decade ago. How we deal with disruptions is highly variable, as we see when comparing say Hurricane Katrina to Typhoon Haiyan. I suppose the ultimate acid test is going to come when Ethiopia completes its massive dam. How will the various parties come to agreement on who gets their fair share of potable water?

    Judging by recent events in Iran, it appears that that Obama Administration has made Steven Pinker’s book its bible. It appears that they believe that if Iran is elevated to a greater role in Mideast affairs, versus being marginalized, that whether or not Iran develops nuclear capabilities in the near future, they will have a greater incentive to keep the peace.

    Critics say that Iran’s ongoing support of Syria and Palestine, along with daily bombings and a refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel’s sovereignty, are strong signals that this faith is misplaced. I’d be fascinated by any input more learned readers might have on this.

  97. March 1, 2014

    Kai Teorn

    When you see an apparent internal contradiction in someone’s views, the first thing you do is recheck if you really properly understand these views, or if the contradiction is in fact between your own misinterpretations. Instead, when Gray spots an apparent (for him) contradiction between Pinker’s “Clean Slate” and “Better Angels,” he’s all too happy to jump upon it – and blithely generalizes it to all humanists who are also Darwinists.

    There’s no contradiction, of course. The human does have a lot of evolution-shaped mental baggage at birth, but this by itself says nothing about the prospects of making human world more or less violent. This baggage is neither universally bad nor universally good. It has evolved to adapt us to a certain class of societies that our ancestors formed, but this class is very broad and variative, as anthropology clearly demonstrates. Moreover, there are many tools in this baggage that can be and are used to change our societies from within, such as our capability for rational thought and for creating art. Gray’s claim that “if Darwin’s theory is even approximately right, there can be no rational basis for expecting any revolution in human behaviour” makes about as much sense as a claim that Darwin’s theory precludes any kind of change at all – that is, zero. Gray’s fantasies that in some remote parts of universe Darwin may be wrong just show Gray’s profound misunderstanding of what Darwinian evolution is and isn’t.

Leave a comment

  1. Steven Pinker on violence — Marginal Revolution10-11-11
  2. Delusions of peace | Undo Under Construction12-02-12
  3. From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘Might Makes Right’ | Chris Navin12-13-12
  4. Media violence and the effects. (uni assignment) - Page 401-05-13
  5. Mr Hyde Unchained: Quentin Tarantino and Violence | Distilled Magazine01-31-13
  6. Pinker on Human Nature | Philosophy and Film: Spring 201302-25-13
  7. Delusions of Peace | The Fix03-28-13
  8. Weekly Roundup 148: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web | SimoleonSense04-24-13
  9. Steven Pinker – The Better Angels of Our Nature | The Platopus09-29-13
  10. "Steven Pinker and the Ambivalence of Modernity": A Critique of Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined -01-10-14
  11. The Silence of Animals – John Gray | The Platopus01-26-14


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John Gray

John Gray
John Gray is the author of Black Mass (Allen Lane) 


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