Pinker is part of the desperation of a dying empire and, more comprehensively, an entire way of life. I'm certainly not saying that modernity doesn't have its benefits, but like any huge socioeconomic/political system, it also has its down side. The same can be said, for example, of the Middle Ages. But modernity carries its own propaganda, designed to mask its down side and to also mask the up side of premodernity (some of the stuff I discuss in the Reenchantment bk, for example). Now that the dark side of modernity is becoming obvious, now that modernity is starting to fray at the edges and not look so hot, defenders like Pinker come to the fore to rescue it--with poor scholarship.
It all reminds me of that fleet of thick bks of the 90s and after, about the Founding Fathers--trying to show how great America really is. If it *were* really great, there wd be no need to try to prove it.