Thanks KT and Andrew for the posts here, I love this shit. Kevin really turned me on to the anthropology of war stuff years ago when I read ST4 and then began to consume as much anthro lit as I could.
A lot of this debate comes down to arguing definitions of war. I agree with the definition of my camp, obviously, but I'm curious to see how the OP article defines it, if it does?
Another aspect of this is an original egalitarian access to arms and tracking techniques, compared to the ability to use guns, germs, and steel against sustainable cultures, or to massacre at a distance. I've written 12 page rebuttals to Pinker, but really, we only need see that the world sits on the brink of total ruin, that the violence is intentionally organized and structured, and that even if they haven't detonated the bomb, they're sure as fuck trying to. I don't think anyone can say in good conscience that the US Navy currently bombing the Arctic during war games at this moment is not displaying an act of violence so great that forager skirmishes pale in comparison.
Maybe Pinker was right. Oh yes, let's embrace so eagerly the "less violent" world of civilization: chemical warfare, slave raiding, wars of extermination, nuclear warfare, biological warfare, ethnic cleansing and death camps, expansionistic genocide, prisons, factory farms, vivisection, police states, mass sexual assaults, mass extinctions, sex trafficking, apartheid, border battles, plantation slavery, industrial resource wars, wage slavery, military adventurism, drawdown-and-overshoot-induced famines and collapses, class oppression, extrajudicial government assassinations, racist lynchings, mass domestic violence, the creation of colonies and ghettos and slums and shantytowns, constant threats toward autonomy, and bullshit apologetics. Let's embrace degenerative illness, malnutrition, cancer, car accidents, occupational hazard and death, nuclear meltdowns, oil spills, and the general toxicity upheld by the industrial capitalist State. If not the physical violence, let's welcome the mental violence of high rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, loneliness, apathy, and other psychological afflictions of modernity. After all, it's the best, and the only, way of life, right?