Monday, December 29, 2014

Peace on Earth?

It’s been great having the kids home. They got in on vaccinating heifers one day and have been helping feed cows. The cattle are in several different groups so we load two trucks and divide and conquer each day. 

We made it to two Christmas productions at our lovely old theatre in Idaho Falls and we’ve had fun playing games and digging deep into conversations in the evening. Mark is working on a puzzle of the nativity and is finally getting down to the fun part. I wonder if he needs my help now? We hosted Christmas dinner with a giant 4-H ham, garlic mashed red spuds from the garden, Becky’s famous corn casserole, and six kinds of pie.  

Seth gave me a book called Beef, The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World (more on that later) and a writer’s dictionary of quotes. But one of the best gifts from him was an article he forwarded to my email on the state of violence on our planet entitled The World is Not Falling Apart by Steven Pinker and Andrew Mack. It’s on a site called for anyone interested in reading the entire essay. Pinker and Mack clearly make the case through various well documented graphs and charts that violent acts are far fewer today than in previous times. No matter how many “hell in a hand basket” discussions we hear around the dining table, it’s just not true.

And of course each life is precious and I would never mean to lessen the horror of any one beheading or senseless police officer homicide or school shooting, but here’s the truth:  

Homicide rates, even in countries such as Mexico and South Africa, are sharply down. Crimes against women and children are down. The adoption of benevolent governance continues a steady march across the globe with most nations now operating as democracies. Even Russia and China are notably “less repressive” than in earlier times. Genocide and other civilian killings “point sharply downward” and armed conflicts by major powers are non-existent.  

So why do we convince ourselves it’s so bad? Probably because news is largely made by bad news, and with social media it’s all at our fingertips. And clearly violence sucks people in. 

I even think it seems worse precisely because we have it so good. Any atrocity is hard to stomach when avoiding gluten or taking the stairs instead of the elevator are the challenges of the day. 

Heck, even climate change seems at bay since we got a solid snow covering and frigid temps. Gotta love a white Christmas! 

waiting for company to arrive

they make even loading trucks fun

nope, not a work day

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