Hemoclysm  

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"In the eighty-year-long Hemoclysm sparked by Princip's bullets, three individuals—Stalin, Hitler, and Mao—were responsible for most of the violent deaths. [...] Most of the violence of the twentieth century has been caused by illiberal ideology, namely, Nazism and communism."--Political Questions: Political Philosophy from Plato to Pinker (2015) by Larry Arnhart


"Elsewhere, I defined the Hemoclysm as that string of interconnected barbarities which have made the Twentieth Century so fascinating for historians and so miserable for real people. Here, I have listed the sources for determing the body count for the Big Four -- the First and Second World Wars, Communist China and the Soviet Union -- which together account for maybe ¾ of all deaths by atrocity in the 20th Century." --Source List and Detailed Death Tolls for the Twentieth Century Hemoclysm [1], Matthew White


"The message of Pinker’s book is that the Enlightenment produced all of the progress of the modern era and none of its crimes. This is why he tries to explain 20th-century megadeaths by reference to Nietzsche’s supposedly anti-Enlightenment philosophy. Here he has shifted his ground. In The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), Pinker represented the Hemoclysm – a term referring to the early 20th-century spasm of mass killing, which he uses to lump together the two world wars, the Soviet Gulag and the Holocaust – as not much more than a statistical fluke. What explains this change of view? Pinker cites no change in the historical evidence that is available on the subject." --"Unenlightened thinking: Steven Pinker’s embarrassing new book is a feeble sermon for rattled liberals", a review of Enlightenment Now by John Gray[2]


"Had the whole of Europe at that time been of the same mind as Italy, Renaissance humanism might have established freedom of thought everywhere, simply by default of opposition. Europe might have returned to—or, if you like, relapsed into—a liberalism resembling that of pre-Christian antiquity. Whatever may have followed after that, our present disasters would not have occurred." --The Logic of Liberty (1951) by Michael Polanyi


"Discussing the “Hemoclysm” – the tide of 20th-century mass murder in which he includes the Holocaust – Pinker writes: “There was a common denominator of counter-Enlightenment utopianism behind the ideologies of nazism and communism.” You would never know, from reading Pinker, that Nazi “scientific racism” was based in theories whose intellectual pedigree goes back to Enlightenment thinkers such as the prominent Victorian psychologist and eugenicist Francis Galton. Such links between Enlightenment thinking and 20th-century barbarism are, for Pinker, merely aberrations, distortions of a pristine teaching that is innocent of any crime: the atrocities that have been carried out in its name come from misinterpreting the true gospel, or its corruption by alien influences." --"Hidden Angels and Dark Mirrors: Pinker on Peace" in an updated edition of Gray's Anatomy: Selected Writings, John Gray, also published as "Steven Pinker Is Wrong About Violence and War"


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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A hemoclysm is a violent and bloody conflict, a bloodbath; specifically (chiefly with capital initial), the period of the mid-twentieth century encompassing both world wars.

Coined by Matthew White from hemo- + κλυσμός (wash; flood).

Citation

    • 2011, Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Penguin 2012, p. 233:
      ‘The twentieth century was the bloodiest in history’ […] The claim is rarely backed up by numbers from any century other than the 20th, or by a mention of the hemoclysms of centuries past.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hemoclysm" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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