100 Years’ Non-War

Remember this when you read Pinker’s claptrap in Better Angels of Our Nature:

“The nineteenth century produced a phenomenon unheard of in the annals of Western civilization, namely, a hundred years’ peace—1815-1914. Apart from the Crimean War—a more or less colonial event— England, France, Prussia, Austria, Italy, and Russia were engaged in war among each other for altogether only eighteen months. A computation of comparable figures for the two preceding centuries gives an average of sixty to seventy years of major wars in each.”

That’s Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation, one of the books I am reading right now. We’re in an age of relative peace. Will that last? I have my doubts. We’ve been in those periods before, and then the “unthinkable” was always re-thought.

I wish Pinker were right. I really do. But signs point to…nope.