Although you’d never know it by the media and political parties, we’ve made much progress as a human race.
Before all sides growl, I concede we’ve got a long ways to go.
Just a few areas of concern:
- There is still systematic racism and bigotry to eliminate.
- Genocide still occurs and must be eliminated.
- Inequality is a major threat.
- Climate change is real.
The list is obviously much longer, but that’s not the focus of this post. If all we focus on is what’s wrong and where there has not been enough progress, we’ll never be able to appreciate the progress we have made.
So, let’s take a minute to rejoice that our nation and the world has made significant progress.
- My wife and my interracial marriage was legal in 1989, and has been generally accepted by people.
- Minorities have made great progress in virtually every area.
- The deaths and fatalities of World War II far exceeded all deaths and fatalities in all the wars since.
Again, this report is not to ignore the staggering injustices and heartbreaking bloodbaths that still occur. But, let’s stop fighting over the little things every once in a while long enough to collectively celebrate that we humans have made significant progress in many ways. If we can rejoice in our progress, perhaps we can overcome our differences and shortcomings.
The good old days? No so fast!
One lesson is the “good old days” were never as good as we make them out to be. Another is that Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler were responsible for perhaps more deaths than anybody else in history. Anyway you shake it, the past was much more violent than the world we live. Had they possessed all the weapons that we do, we likely would not be here today.
War fatalities since World War II
By watching the news and listening to the lunatics, one would think the world is more violent and unjust than ever. As bad as things might seem, or even is in some ways, the world is better in most every single way when it comes to war and crime. As bad as both still are, they are in substantial historical decline.
Most the world has grown far more peaceful since World War II. The major powers have avoided war with each other, as the 44 most powerful countries of the world have not engaged in war with each other since World War II. This level of relative peace has not been seen since the Roman Empire.
The number of fatalities overall have continued to decline.
- Wars from colonialism have disappeared, although many would argue neo-colonialism is alive and well.
- Knock on wood, but the rich countries have avoided war with each other.
- Interstate wars also have dramatically declined between the poorer nations.
So, where do all these images of war on our televisions screens come from?
- Civil Wars.
- Civil Wars with foreign intervention.
Most the fatalities from war in recent years are from civil wars, mostly caused by stress from poverty, climate change, and tribal differences. When one of the rich countries do go to war, it is with a smaller country. Poor countries are always the target of non-civil wars, be it from richer nations or from each other.
CHART CREDIT: STEVEN PINKER/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Am no way am I condoning any violence, war, or injustice that still exists in the world, but anybody who views the above chart understands that we are making progress despite what the pot stirrers imply. The media and the lunatics can scream and yell all they want about how the world is worse than ever, but the evidence in this video is one piece of evidence to the contrary.
We humans might yet blow ourselves up, let loose some military virus, or destroy ourselves through climate change. All I’m saying is we’ve made a lot more progress than most people admit. Despite the world being almost three times as populated, all the warmongers since World War II have not collected near the fatalities that Stalin and Hitler accounted for with their four bloody hands.
Most of us do not live in constant fear of war anymore. Although we’re still going through growing pains, there are no official second-class citizens in the aspiring democracies of the world. More races mix up, are friends, lovers, spouses, family than ever before.
So, how do we continue the trend away from war and fatalities?
- Eliminate poverty. It is probably the number one reason for war.
- Overpopulation is a problem we must confront. It causes poverty, crime, violence, and war.
- Inequality places great stress on our nation and the planet. If things continue, one percent of the world’s population will soon control ninety percent of the world’s wealth. Not only should that statistic and trend frighten the hell out of everybody else, but it also concerns billionaires such as Warren Buffet.
- Get people of different tribes and religions together in neutral environment where those who wish to can discuss their differences. The rest of the world has largely resolved such differences, at least enough to avoid civil war, so hopefully they can to.
- We should support free speech for every human being on earth, but every group should police our own radicals and lunatics who mean others harm.
If we can address the above issues and the others that cause crime, violence, and war, humans can perhaps all but eliminate war over the next fifty years. Before you say impossible, who in the World War generation would have believed we would make the progress we have? We’re not anywhere close, but we’re closer to eliminating war than any of our ancestors. If we address the issues that cause war, we’ll keep creeping closer towards the concept of world peace.
PROGRESS by Jerry Beller
Note: Thanks to Neil Halloran for producing this video, and for allowing me to include it in my article. I look forward to more of his documentaries.
For the interactive version, ticket payments, and more: fallen.io
An animated data-driven documentary about war and peace, The Fallen of World War II looks at the human cost of the second World War and sizes up the numbers to other wars in history, including trends in recent conflicts.