"How many children have to die?" Piers Morgan emotes the phrase with telegenic anguish. He's such a sincere little fellow and he asks so often that I've been giving the matter considerable thought and I've figured out the magic number:
All of them. Every last one and more besides.
If Piers is serious about wanting a perfectly just and even-handed world, a world where where no man ever raises his hand against his fellows, he needs to realize there's only one way of bringing that state of affairs about: we've all got to be dead. All of us; all the little children, all the great big grotty adults -- TV presenters, too! -- and everyone in between.
Then and only then will Piers' dream be realized.
There's a reason the story of Cain and Abel is one of the oldest parts of the Bible; there's a reason archeologists find signs of violence on ancient human remains; there's a reason our closest cousins, the chimps, steal, fight and go to war: we're a violent species. It's written into our genes.
To be sure, we're more than that. To be sure, much of the story of Progress is the story of violent impulses turned to good ends, sublimated in exploration, in research, in art-- But we can no more stop being violent than a lion can give up hunting and survive eating grass.
And in a violent species, there are always some who are nothing but violent; some for whom the attraction of initiating force cannot be resisted. There are even more who will respond to quell such behavior. The first group generally feels no restraint from law or custom; the second does.
If you attempt to "outlaw" violence or the tools of violence, the only group you hinder is the second one.
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4 weeks ago