To kill with fists is more humane than to kill by starvation.
To kill with stones is more humane than to kill with fists.
To kill with swords is more humane than to kill with stones.
To kill with arrows is more humane than to kill with swords.
To kill with guns is more humane than to kill with arrows.
The most basic tools of warfare have tended to get more humane through the ages. To be shot is far better than to be cut to death with a sword, starved out, or bludgeoned with a rock. But at the same time, certain tools such as chemical weapons and radiation are far more horrible than their prehistoric counterparts. But at least today one does not have to be ripped apart in agony with a monstrous knife to die on the battlefield. Not only warfare, but society too has gotten far less violent and far more humane over time. Steven Pinker wrote a book called The Better Angels of our Nature precisely about this. Today we do not have to worry about a neighboring tribe coming over with stones to murder us all to death because we have food, nor do we have to worry about the Canadian Empire invading us, raping and pillaging its way through America. The more brutal aspects of our nature have not been abolished in regards to our affairs with society at large, but replaced with less direct forms of exploitation of foreign lands. Imperialism today has taken the place of the raping, pillaging and conquering of the middle ages. According to Pinker though, we are living in the most peaceful era of human history. We are also, though, more connected to other societies and people’s lives than in any other epoch. A terrorist attack in China would make us react on the other side of the planet!