I've not yet purchased his new book yet, though I'm sure I'll grab a copy sometime, but already all the interviews with him and reviews I've read are fairly infuriating.
His new book The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes looks mammoth, much bigger than any of his previous books, about 800 pages. Previous stuff of his like Stuff of Thought and Language Instinct are decent readings in psycholinguistics, while his treading into moral philosophy inThe Blank Slate is nauseating.
So far the interviews (see list below) with him reek of whiggish history - 'things are getting better' and violence is on the decline. Of course it depends on how you define violence. So far in most interviews he seems to think violence simply means physical violence, and discounts instituitional violence and the implied threat of physical coercion that exists in all states. Nor does he seem to think poverty and cuts to every aspect of social existence are of importance in discussions of violence.
Some bloggers have already called bullshit on some of his specific claims, though I know little about the history either way - but it's interesting to see historians chellnging him.
His constant misuse of 'anarchy' to describe every situation from drug cartels to Somalia grates every single time he uses it.
He has previously made claims in The Blank Slate that he was an anarchist, who loved Bakunin, in the late 60s as a student radical until he witnessed some civil unrest during a police strike in Montreal.
He must have a been a really shit anarchist and not taken-in any Bakunin if he thinks drug-cartels and Somalian despots have anything to do with anarchism.
I have no doubt the book will be infuriating, but I'll probably still give it a go next year. Anyone else any thoughts?