Some say humanity is making progress, and that civilization is becoming more "civilized", but I wonder. Optimists would point to the global political focus on human rights and the slow, although sporadic, steps forward on racial and gender equality, but these are social morés generally unrelated to humankind's tolerance for evil on a grander scale. "Thou shalt not kill" is a commandment on Moses' tablet for a good reason, and yet our killing of each other in mass quantities continues unabated. Stalin and Hitler's atrocities seem perhaps long ago to younger generations, but then the "killing fields" of Pol Pot, the millions of lost souls in the Middle East, and the ongoing tribal carnage in parts of Africa testify to the "evildoing" of governments or religious factions in defense of Fascism, Communism and yes – Democracy. "God", it seems, wears numerous hats, but almost always in defense of one particular ideology or another. "God Bless America"? Yes hopefully – but why not Cuba or the Congo? Chauvinistic mantras can be bonding but also destructive when used to kill masses of people for specious reasons. America – the self-proclaimed defender of freedom and equal rights – has proved vulnerable to those ideals in Vietnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Having participated in one of those wars, I suppose I should look inward and question my own behavior when I was the age of 22, or even now at 73. I often do. I guess in part, that is why I question humanity's progress. If I was a willing killer then, how can I expect others and their governments to not do the same? I can't, but it's important for all of us to try to understand why humanity evolves slowly, if at all. For me, William Golding in his brilliant "Lord of the Flies" expressed it best. Searching for a murderous "beast" on a deserted island, a previously innocent group of young boys began to kill each other to ensure their own survival. "Maybe there is a beast", said one child, "but then maybe it's only us." Maybe it is us. Maybe we haven't evolved. Hopefully future robots can be programmed with a better understanding of Moses' commandment, so that when they take over, we will have a more civilized society.
"The bond market's current "beast" is not so much a killer but a hibernating bear awakening from an extended secular bullish trend of lower inflation and excessive central bank accommodation."