Is the State Responsible for Declines in Violence?

A couple of days ago Dr. Delacroix raised this question. I finally got around to critiquing it here. An excerpt:

We should be looking at what institutions have enabled the nation-state to establish itself, survive, and eventually thrive (at least in western Europe and Japan; the US is a republic, not a nation-state) in the world today.

Do read the rest, and (God forbid!) add your own two cents as well.

2 thoughts on “Is the State Responsible for Declines in Violence?

  1. I am glad that Brandon picked up that important ball. (It’s important to libertarians and to others with libertarian leanings like me who are not libertarians.) However, Brandon begins by mis-reproducing the issue I propose. The question I asked is not about the nation-state (NATION-STATE) but about the state, period. The nation-state is pretty much a seventeenth century invention, a historical 4,000 to 3,000 years ago were not national states. The question as re-formulated by Brandon is much more difficult than my original question. I wish to avoid it for the moment.

    Trying again: Pinker’s contention, supported by as good data as are available, is that as soon as the first states were established, the probability of an average person dying a violent death dropped radically. Those first states were themselves murderous, inflicting violent punishment and some practicing masshuman sacrifice. Pinker’s contention is that in spite of this, violence decreased a lot.

    If some of you , readers, think this discussion is too technical, don’t be shy about asking for explanations and definitions. I guarantee that if you ask, you will be doing many others a favor..

Please keep it civil

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