Should We Worry About War?

How big a worry is war?

Steven Pinker says (at Edge 2013) we should not worry about resource shortages, climate change, drones, cyberwarfare, or nukes leading to war. They are not major risks of fighting.

I think he is quite right. All have been subject to threat exaggeration. None is likely to lead to significant wars.

But Pinker thinks we should worry about:

  1. Psychopathic leaders (“When a state is taken over by a leader with the classic triad of narcissistic symptoms—grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy—the result can be imperial adventures with enormous human costs.”)
  2. Ideologies of groupism, or moralistic revenge, or utopianism, or violence as a value.

I’d like to think (maybe I’m wrong?) that at present we do not need to worry overly about either of these.  So right now I am not especially worried about the threat of war.



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