Steven Pinker on the Triumph of Peace and the Decline of Violence


You are less likely to die a violent death today than at any other time in human history. In fact, violence has been declining for centuries. That is the arresting claim made by Harvard University cognitive neuroscientist Steven Pinker in his new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. The title, taken from Abraham Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, refers to the way in which the modern world encourages people to suppress their inner demons and let their better angels fly. From our February issue, Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey talks with Pinker about about ideology, empathy, and why you are much less likely to get knifed in the face these days.