Spilling the wine, counting the beans

I was all set to embark on another anti-war rant, but lo and behold, there’s good news: War is on the way out.

Some of the evidence is a little obscure, but taken together it’s entirely convincing. First, a Google search for “war” nets only 352 million hits, and while that sounds like a lot, “peace” picks up a gargantuan 919 million. Can anything be a more accurate reflection of the real world than Google? Moreover, back in the search god’s “war” department, the number one hit is for War the band, which itself had a few number one hit albums in the early ’70s (and, incidentally, is still gigging after 43 years, considerably longer than the duration of the ongoing Afghan war).

As for peace, the top hit (after Wikipedia and a dictionary listing) is for the Peace Corps, which predates even the band War and is also still gigging.

By comparison, the Bing search engine is weighted the other way, with 1.12 billion hits for war and only 685 million for peace, but Bing’s market share is only 15.2% compared with Google’s 66.2 percent, so what do they know? Yahoo’s (14.1 percent) search results are similar to Bing’s.

Bolstering the evidence from the world’s dominant search engine for an ascendency of peace in our time, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – which dates to 1966, if you’re counting – reported that world military spending leveled out in 2011 after 13 years on a steep rise. The increase in real military spending was only 0.3 percent in 2011, and, amazingly, even the US’s military spending dropped a bit.

That didn’t stop the left-wing website Common Dreams from spinning it this way: “The Shame of Nations: A New Record is Set for Spending on War.” Dudes, spin in a good cause is still spin. But, fie! I can’t reason with peaceniks like you.

The news isn’t all good for peace, though. People are still putting up statues of Genghis Khan, at least in Britain. And, likely because of the reduced popularity of smoking, the longstanding life expectancy gap between men and women is closing – again, at least in Britain. “If current trends continue,” according to statistics professor Les Mayhew of Cass Business School, “both sexes could, on average, be living to the age of 87 in 2030.” More old men + more statues of legendary warriors = more wars, right?

Well, come to think of it, the commonplace that a world run by women would be a more peaceful one deserves some analysis. Perhaps a bit later. After I’ve finished spilling the wine. Maybe it’s all about the liquor and not the testosterone, anyway. As the band War put it, “The outlaws had us pinned down at the fort/Cisco came in blastin’, drinkin’ port.”

Fortunately, like military spending, alcohol consumption is waning a bit

At least in Britain.