Ralph Benko

We citizens sense that we are being lied to by those in authority. We can’t quite put our finger on it. We are right, though. Let me guide your finger to the spot.

The biggest lie that Big Government, Big Business, and Big Media telling us is that we are still at Big War.

Big War is the ultimate predicate for Big Government. The shocking truth: Big, if imperfect, Peace has broken out. This slightly lonely columnist previously has made this point. It bears repeating, especially this week, the centenary of the start of the Hundred Year War.

What is the evidence for the dawning of Peace? The number of battlefield deaths, according to the experts in such matters, has dropped from 60-70 per 100,000 in the last century to one per 300,000. That’s a stunning decline ... following a trend in effect for centuries.

As this columnist elsewhere has noted Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Joshua Goldstein’sWinning the War on War, and the Human Security Report Project — previously summarized by this columnist in Forbes.com — light the way:

“…the number of war battlefield deaths has dropped by a factor of 1,000, falling from 500 per 100,000 in prehistoric times, to 60-70 in the 19th and 20th century (notwithstanding epic wars) to… less than one such death per 300,000 now in the 21st. Genocide deaths have dropped by well over a factor of 1000 from 1942 to 2008.

The scale of this is difficult to grasp. Stalin reportedly said that “If only one man dies… that is a tragedy. If millions die, that is only statistics.” The perpetuation of the notion we are at Big War is the key justification for Big Government.

Remember Orwell's 1984? Oceania is at endless war with Eurasia or Eastasia, "to keep its people permanently mobilised, scrutinised and on rations."


Ralph Benko

Ralph Benko, author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to use the Web to transform the world. He serves as an advisor to and editor of the Lehrman Institute's thegoldstandardnow.org and senior advisor to the American Principles Project.
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