Although it would seem that the world is rife with conflict and tragedy, statistically speaking, we’re currently living in a golden age of human peace and cooperation. As individual economies grew into one another, our nations grew to depend on the prosperity of our neighbors in order to maintain our own prosperity.
China, for instance, may be a global competitor and even a sometimes aggressive opponent in the South China Sea, but our economic dependence on one another forces us to play nice. Even Donald Trump, who campaigned on a platform that included a good deal of animosity toward China’s trade practices, was forced to acknowledge China’s “One China” rule recently. Not out of fear of military reprisal, mind you, but because the exchange of money flowing between the two countries is too great to dismiss over differences in our respective leadership.
That same peace that pervades international dealings nowadays exists in a local sense, too. Violent crime has been on a steady decline in the United States for decades now, and violence all around the world has dropped dramatically when compared to the vast majority of human history. For a species that once held warfare in nearly as high a regard as hunting and gathering, we’ve become downright tame. It’s not uncommon for many Americans, for instance, to go their entire lives without ever experiencing any real danger of violent death.
So if things are so much better now than they ever have been, why are so many of us carrying guns?