Of the two books I received as Christmas presents, I am well into Martin Amis’s unusual, thrillingly revelatory autobiographical novel Inside Story. The second, Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now, is first on the to-be-read pile at my bedside.

So it seems a bit of a cheat to share lines from page 453 of Pinker’s volume, spotted while idly flipping through it after shedding the wrapping: “We will never have a perfect world,” he writes, “and it would be dangerous to seek one.”..

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