Tuesday, August 16, 2016

You may think the world is falling apart. Steven Pinker is here to tell you it isn't.

by Julia Belluz on August 16, 2016, Vox

If you think this has felt like the summer of sadness, you are not alone.

Every week, sometimes every day, seems to bring more stomach-turning news. In June, there was the Orlando nightclub shooting, where dozens were killed and injured in the deadliest terror attack in the US since 9/11. Then came July’s blood-soaked Bastille Day in Nice, when a terrorist drove a truck over holiday revelers, killing 84 people, including 10 children. Before the month was over, ISIS militants had assassinated a French priest in his church and executed the patrons and staff at a cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

These are just the more gruesome terror events that grabbed headlines — and only those carried out this summer. I’ve made no mention of what happened in Paris over the last year, or the airport killings in Brussels and Istanbul, or, for that matter, San Bernardino.

And these are just the terrorist attacks. I’ve said nothing of the flaring racial tensions in the US, police shootings of black men, or the multiple reprisal shootings of officers — a cycle that played out again this week in Milwaukee, where protests erupted into burning riots following the police shooting death of 23-year-old black man Sylville Smith.

The political discourse of late hasn’t done much to soothe the anger or quell the hate. If anything, it’s inflamed matters. As Nick Kristof noted in the Times recently, Donald Trump is making America meaner, inciting violence toward immigrants and even his opponent, Hillary Clinton. ("Hang the bitch!" is a common chant at Trump rallies.)

(More here.)

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