The Corner

Nasty, Brutish, and Short

There is a persistent myth, widely believed by the general public, though repeatedly debunked by anthropologists, that life in primitive hunter-gatherer communities is an idyll of peace and harmony.  In fact, primitive societies have sensational rates of homicide.  Geoff Blaine crunched the numbers in his history of the Australian Aborigines, and concluded that not even in exceptionally violent brief episodes like WW2 did any 20th-century nation have violent-death rates even close those in the Aboriginal outback.

Here comes another debunking

If you are worried about being attacked or killed by a violent criminal, just be glad you are not living in Neolithic Britain. From 4000 to 3200 BC, Britons had a 1 in 14 chance of being bashed on the head, and a 1 in 50 chance of dying from their injuries….

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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