Was The Democratic Peace Killed? Part VI, Death By Obama

September 16, 2009

I have shown the historical progress in foreign policies (both international and American) (see here) and the context—the nature of international relations – of such policies (see here). These have evolved through international conferences, which reset the status quo after the Napoleonic Wars and adjusted power relations to the facts of colonization; the focus on international organizations, such as the League of Nations, and law after World War I; and the rise of the theory and practice of political realism after WWII. These were all attempts to keep the peace and avoid war. When war occurred, new and hopefully better peacekeeping policies were created. Such policies (really new paradigms) often originated from the research and writing of scholars, practitioners, and international lawyers and experts.
Continued here

Was The Democratic Peace Killed—Part IV, Prs. Clinton’s Foreign Policy

September 4, 2009


To characterize Obama’s foreign policy, I must first examine those Clinton and G. W. Bush policies which he has discarded. Obama’s policy is new and revolutionary in philosophy and in details, best seen in comparison and contrast to what has gone before.

The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the demise of the Soviet Union (1991) during President George H. W. Bush’s Administration, made obsolete our half century old grand strategy of Containment (containing communism in its present borders). But what was to replace it? G.H.W. Bush provided no clear answer. Rather than articulating a new grand strategy of foreign policy, he preferred to follow several foreign policy principles. These were the traditional ones of collective security and defense, multilateralism (working with our friends and allies to achieve a common goal), opposing aggression, and protecting global oil sources from monopolization by an aggressive dictator. All these were involved in the 1992 Gulf War—the American led effort to defeat Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait and its oil fields. Another foreign policy principle was that of nonproliferation which, to this day, underlies American pressure on North Korea to open its nuclear facilities to international inspection.
But relevantly here, in the last years of this Bush Administration high officials were making comments clearly showing appreciation of the relationship between democracy, international cooperation, and peace. Promoting democracy was an operating principle. Thus, we saw a variety of American attempts to help democratization in Eastern Europe and especially, in reborn Russia as well as in Latin America. Bush clearly linked aid for Russia to democratic peace. Still, while fundamentally realist in policy, this Bush Administration articulated no overall strategy within which these ideas had more than an ad hoc life. Perhaps it is unfair to demand one, for this, after all, was the Administration that saw and was partially responsible for negotiating the end of the Cold War. Clearly, however, they were moving toward a general policy of democratic peace, and might have articulated one if they had won a second term. But it was left to Bush’s successor, President William Clinton, to finally conceptualize such a policy.

From day one, the Clinton Administration had a firm overall foreign policy goal of democratization—to help other nations become democratic and to help solidify the newly democratic ones. The reason was a belief in the democratic peace. Clinton himself was aware that democracies do not make war on each other. In one of his speeches during the 1992 election campaign he said, “Democratic countries do not go to war with one another. They don’t sponsor terrorism or threaten one another with weapons of mass destruction.” As President he expanded on this, as in his 1994 address to the UN General Assembly, “Democracies, after all, are more likely to be stable, less likely to wage war. They strengthen civil society. They can provide people with the economic and political opportunities to build their futures in their own homes, not to flee their borders.” The foreign policy consequence of this view was made plain in his 1994 State of the Union address: “the best strategy to ensure our security and to build a durable peace is to support the advance of democracy elsewhere.” It was the democratic peace.

This idea was a foreign policy principle shared by virtually all top officials in his administration. In foreign policy speech after speech, the basic understanding that democracies do not make war on each other was reiterated and the cooperative nature of democracies underlined. From this belief flowed a doctrine of democratization, called a guiding concept of (democratic) enlargement.

Moreover, this overall foreign policy goal was being implemented through a variety of organizations, many of which were specifically created during the Cold War to further democracy and some of which have changed their fundamental policies to put democratization front and center. Such have been the Agency for International Development (AID), the US Information Agency, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute of International Affairs, the Center for International Private Enterprise, and the Free Trade Union Institute.

To foster democracy, such agencies and organizations provided economic aid, helped to establish sound constitutions and the rule of law. They worked to improve civil-military relationships and especially the subordination of the military to elected civilian authorities; strengthen and democratize local governments, give decision and rule making and material aid (like computers) to elected legislatures. They furthered an independent and neutral judiciary and politically neutral police; improve the fairness, openness, credibility, and effectiveness of elections; and further civil and political rights and the rights of women and minorities, and much more.

As required by Section 603 of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, in July 1994 Clinton submitted his report elaborating A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement. This not only laid out his new national security strategy but also his foreign policy. In the signed preface the President defines the three goals of this strategy as

• To credibly sustain our security with military forces that are ready to fight.

• To bolster America’s economic revitalization.

• To promote democracy abroad.

He believed

that our goals of enhancing our security, bolstering our economic prosperity, and promoting democracy are mutually supportive. Secure nations are more likely to support free trade and maintain democratic structures. Nations with growing economies and strong trade ties are more likely to feel secure and to work toward freedom. And democratic states are less likely to threaten our interests and more likely to cooperate with the U.S. to meet security threats and promote sustainable development.

So, Clinton’s foreign policy did not give up a basic concern for power and attention to diplomacy. It departed from realism in foreign policy in recognizing the importance of whether a nation’s regime is democratic. The democratic peace, although one of three goals, was a major guide to the Clinton foreign policy.

Was The Democratic Peace Killed?–Part III, Foreign Policies

August 27, 2009


I want to compare the democratic peace foreign policies of Presidents G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to that of President Obama, which is uniquely his. I am not interested in particular policies or actions, but rather in specifying the paradigm underlying these policies, its operating procedures, and its world view.

In the last two centuries, Europe and the United States have gone through three foreign policy paradigms. Each was a measured way to keep the peace and deal with crises and threats to the major Powers that could lead to war. After the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, European Powers met in numerous conferences and congresses, in addition to consulting with each other, to first establish a new status quo, and subsequently to settle their issues (colonialism, freedom of the seas, navigation, new inventions, and the balance of world power). This is the jaw-jaw diplomacy paradigm. Possible antagonists should talk to each other to settle their differences. Thus, they had conferences on sanitary matters, statistics, maritime issues, free navigation of the Scheld, weights and measures, marine signaling, monetary questions, telegraphic signaling, metric system, railroad transportation, the slave trade, and so on.

When World War I bloodied Europe and reached into remote corners of the world, with nine thousand combat dead, it destroyed any intellectual pretentions that the meeting and talking paradigm led to a stable peace. In the global wreckage, even before the war was over, a new paradigm emerged. Irregular diplomatic gatherings were not enough. There must be a permanent international organization involving all nations and meeting regularly to deal with international issues and conflicts, help settle them, and above all, prevent violence — a League of Nations. Also, it seemed, international law must be refined and developed further to establish the universal rules of international relations and the use and morality of power. Major Powers must pursue disarmament through all means. And diplomacy has to be structured and directed through international organizations and in accord with international law. The goal was a lasting peace.

So, after the war the victors, excepting the U.S., formed the League of Nations. They paid much attention to formulating the international law of war and peace, and creating functional international organizations to meet general international needs. Disarmament conferences met and established the proper or proportional arms permitted the major powers. All this was just the right process to achieve permanent peace, or peace in our time. That intellectual illusion – the political idealist paradigm of international organizations, law, and disarmament — was blown apart by the bombs and 15 million combat dead of World War II.
Then a new paradigm emerged, a rigorous and systematic version of what has existed throughout the history of relationships between independent groups, whether tribes, city-states, or nation-states. This was the emphasis on power as the moderator of these relations, and on the balance of power as the critical instrument for diplomacy to work with. To see how old this idea is, read Thucydides’ History of The Peloponnesian War (perhaps published shortly after 411 B.C.). But after World War II the old idea of power and its balancing was refurbished and systematized in a paradigm called political realism. The primary source of this was the writings of Hans Morgenthau on international relations theory.
His book Politics Among Nations in 1948 was a revelation to many and a basic textbook among diplomats and students (it was mine). It was a paradigm change. Morgenthau claimed that objective laws govern international politics. At the heart, a nation’s interests are defined by power. The realistic diplomat must think in terms of power—of other nations alone or in combination, and how such power affects one’s own nation. With that in view, power must be balanced and diplomacy is the way to do so and to keep the peace. This is now the major paradigm of the American foreign policy establishment, but not necessarily Barack Obama’s.
How then does the democratic peace fit in? It is an opposing paradigm, seen as a return to idealism by the realists and in conflict with their view of foreign policy. More on this in Part IV.

Was The Democratic Peace Killed–Part II, International Relations

August 20, 2009


To understand alternative foreign policies and that of the democratic peace requires understanding their context, which is international relations, also known as world politics, transnational relations, global society. What is the essence of this arena of empires, international organizations, states, nations, governments, groups and individuals –this sphere of diplomacy and war, treaties and alliances, aid and trade, migration and tourists?

To understand this greatest human theater, we must recognize first that international relations compose our largest society. As a society (as do all societies), it has two faces. One is of conflict, change, a struggle and dialectic of power. The other is of an equilibrium in international norms and structures which describe, at any one time, this society. Indeed, without a conflict view of international society, the normal state of affairs is stability, of functions maintaining the society and adjusting states to it. Indeed, within this snapshot view, international conflict appears deviant — an aberration. Consensus and equilibrium rather than conflict would be the defining characteristics of this society.

International society also can be seen as changing configurations of power and balancing. International states continuously enter into new power balances, behaving within existing structures of expectations undergirded by previous balances. These structures exist through time and can become increasingly crystallized, and develop a rule-inertia, which is the sociological counterpart of habit. Some structures of expectations (like the UN Charter) formalize law norms, which define the membership in the structure, the rights and obligations of members, and authoritative roles (positions).

International society is then a complex of informal (one should not lie or aggress) and formal expectations (treaties), involving both general social norms and the official law. It has a defined membership (states), law norms delimiting rights (sovereignty) and obligations (as defined in system wide multilateral treaties, like the UN Charter), and authoritative roles (the Secretary-General of the United Nations; the five permanent members of the Security Council).

Therefore, international relations form an exchange society. It is dominated by bargaining power, which involves international trade, treaties, agreements, tourist and student movements, migration, technical aid, capital flows, exchange rates, and so on. All these activities usually manifest some individual, group, or state giving up something they value for something else they want more.

This does not deny the role of coercion in international society, as in Obama’s demand that Israel freeze its expansion of settlements in the disputed West Bank or else (unspecified), or American use of sanctions to punish North Korea for testing potential nuclear missiles and Iran for continuing development of nuclear weapons,

In this international exchange society, states are generally free to pursue their own interests; social behavior is normally cooperative and contractual. Rewards and promises are the basis of the society. Treaties, commercial contracts, and written agreements provide its explicit framework.

This international society is governed by the United Nations, a libertarian government. The secretary General is its executive, and the General Assembly and Security Council, its lower and upper legislative bodies. The International Court of Justice is its judiciary; and the various international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, and World Meteorological Organization, are its administrative structure. Sanctions are applied, as when the Security Council voted an embargo on Iraq due to its support for terrorism and WMDs. The UN may even support a major war as it did to defend South Korea from North Koreans aggression in 1950. Nonetheless, states can ignore UN resolutions. By international law, states are guaranteed the rights of sovereignty, independence, and equality. These rights take precedence over this world government.

International relations is therefore a confederation, the weakest form of federation, in which each constituent-member state retains sovereignty and a monopoly of force is denied the central government. Its functions are janitorial, meeting international crises when called upon by states; resolving international conflicts when requested; providing judicial judgments upon appeal; and above all, through the network of international governmental and non- governmental organizations, providing an administrative structure for international transactions among states, groups, and individuals.

In essence, international relations is an exchange society with a libertarian political system. No government monopolizes force, no empire encompasses all of international relations.

Contrary to the intuition of many, international violence does not distinguish international relations. It is more peaceful than many states. Some states and those areas under their control are governed by terror and repression, where arrests, beatings, torture, and possibly death at the hands of the government are a constant threat. Such was the case under Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao. In the last century, states murdered about 262,000,000 people, while international and domestic wars accounted for about 55,000,000 war-dead.

Many believe international relations to be a state of nature: the relations between states are seen as though states were so many people living in a condition of anarchy, where each preys on the other and life is brutish and short. Each state is presumed to be insecure, all in a state of war, violence is the norm, and individual morality is alien to that of states. Coercive power is therefore supposed the regulator of international relations and diplomacy and war, its two faces. And therefore, a world government that monopolizes force, a global leviathan, is thought necessary to provide security and prevent violence. Many do not recognize that this state of nature is a fiction.

Just consider relations among Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland where there is simply no expectation of or disposition to violence. They are democracies. Problems arise in their relations, conflicts do occur, but none prepares for or entertains the possibility of violence against the other. They benefit, as do other democracies, from the democratic peace.

Indeed, the expectation of and disposition to violence between states is limited to very few bilateral relations, all involving nondemocracies, the most important of which today are the United States versus separately Iran, North Korea, and Russia; North versus South Korea; India versus Pakistan; Greece versus Turkey; Israel versus her neighbors and Iran; and Ethiopia versus Somalia. In a world of over 8,000 pairs of states, this propensity to violence is remarkably limited. In fact, because of the greater extent of transactions between nations and their contractual relations, international relations could better be characterized as a state of peace. This, especially in contrast to what goes on in many states.

Now, clearly, statesmen find the future essentially chaotic and unpredictable. They believe themselves governed by the “chain of circumstance.” But as with violence, this unpredictability covers only certain relations for particular times. Much of international relations comprise clear expectations, high predictability, strong patterns. Conditions and patterns of trade, tourist regulations and flows, communications and transportation, diplomatic rules and principles, alliances and even the behavior that would cause a war, are known. We could hardly travel to another country or interact were it otherwise. Or does anyone doubt that at least a local war is most likely if the U.S. bombs Iran’s growing nuclear capacity?

International relations are no more chaotic than affairs within states. They are not anarchic. They are not normless, ruleless, nor lawless. They are not a state of war and violence is not the norm. States are not universally insecure. Coercion is not the rule. Rather, international relations comprise a global society and world culture with a limited government. Relations are generally harmonious, contractual. Bargaining power dominates. Reciprocity is the rule. Antagonism, conflicts, and violence exist, but generally less in intensity than within many states. Yes, states conflict, but it is astonishing that they do not conflict more often and more violently than they do.

In summary, in essence, international relations is an exchange society based mainly on bargaining power, not coercion or force, with a limited, libertarian world government.

Was The Democratic Peace Killed–Part I, Bibliographies

August 17, 2009


Before the election of Barack Obama, much was written about the democratic peace, pro and con. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush based their foreign policies on it—as one of its pillars for Clinton, and as the core of Bush’s policy. But now, you hear almost nothing of it. In this and in subsequent blogs, I will try to determine what has happened to the democratic peace.

First, what is the democratic peace? There are the narrow and broad versions. The narrow one, being most well known and researched, simply says that democracies have never made war on each other. This is the most scholarly and scientifically researched idea of international relations, and as a result many students of the field now consider it a political law of the international system. Therefore, promoting democracy in the world is a way to peace, which Bush and Secretary Rice said many times.

The broad version includes the narrow and adds that democracies have the least internal violence and almost no domestic democide. Thus, by fostering human security, democracies serve as a way to peace and human betterment. There is also much research on this version, although discussants of the democratic peace usually have the narrow one in mind.

What are my sources for this? I have two bibliographies of democratic peace research and commentary, one for those published <A HREF=”http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/BIBLIO.HTML”>before 2000</A>, and the other, just completed, <A HREF=”http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/DP.BIBLIO.2009.HTM”>2000 and after</A>. My interest is in the latter, since this will help answer the question about the current status of the democratic peace. To those to whom the democratic peace is an extraordinary idea, and in terms of peace, an unbelievable, idealist one, the earlier bibliography will be very useful. It presents the birth, replication, and early attempts to falsify the idea. Moreover, see my <A HREF=”https://democraticpeace.wordpress.com/”>Democratic Peace Blog</A>, which includes many <A HREF=”http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/Z.BLOG.ARCHIVE.HTM”>analyses of the studies listed in this bibliography.</A>

On balance, the bibliographies show that despite the negative critiques, attempts to falsify it, and assertions about negative cases, the democratic peace still provides a well researched and verified solution to war, democide, domestic violence, and human insecurity.

In Part II on the democratic peace, I will treat the idea within a foreign policy framework (such as Obama’s). The death of this solution to war and human security then will be easier to understand.

Progress in Global Democracy

August 8, 2009

Democracy map globr


We now have a clear enough understanding of the Obama foreign policy so that I can critique it from the perspective of the democratic peace. To do so, I must return to the question of global democracy, and the democratic peace. As you should know if you had followed my democratic peace blog (an outline of the content is here), I believe that by theory and its historical tests, democracy is a road to global peace and human security. Democracies have not made war on each other; have minimal domestic violence; commit the least democide by far. Democracies have no famines. All this may shock some of you, but see the proof on my website and the above mentioned democratic peace blog.

However, this theory and its tests have been applied generally to previous centuries and were done a decade ago by many researchers (see the bibliography of this research here.). More recent research has produced arguments calling the democratic peace wrong or a myth. I shall go over all this and report on it here and on the democratic peace blog.

For now, I just want to link you to the best sites on the progress of democracy and globalization. One to check is Freedom House. It tracks and evaluates political changes in all countries, and rates each country as free (liberal democracies), partially free (which include electoral democracies), or not free. Its count for liberal and electoral democracies in 2008 (labeled for 2009, and mapped above) is 119. Of these, 89 are free—liberal democracies. This exceeds the critical number of democracies required to reduce violence and war in the world .

For ten years now there has been among the democracies, a top level World Movement for Democracy that includes democratic, activists, practitioners, academics, policy makers, and funders. It has biennial global assemblies of all these members, the last held in Kyiv, Ukraine. Most important, its major purpose is the promotion of democracy. It has its own website, and also a monthly DemocracyNews.

Finally, the most significant journal in this area is the Journal of Democracy. It says of itself:

The Journal of Democracy is far and away the most important forum for current debates about the nature and spread of liberal democracy around the world. It is an indispensable tool for anybody interested in comparative politics or international relations. A model for how to present serious intellectual content in a clear and accessible way, a standing rebuke to both the slop that often passes for political journalism and the irrelevant gibberish that often passes for social science.

Blog Republication Completed

July 10, 2009

I have now republished all the old blogs that were destroyed. See the introductory explanation ”Why A New “Democratic Peace” Blog?”. The list of all destroyed blogs is in the Universal Archive. Republished ones are in green and linked.

Dated blogs or those irrelevant to current events have not been republished. If you wish to see any of them here, please email me (Rummel at Hawaii.edu) with the title .

I also have another blog ”A Freedomists View” that deals with the international and domestic perils to freedom.

I will add to this Democratic Peace Blog if I have something more to say about a democratic peace foreign policy and the progress of democracy in the world. Stay tuned.

It’s Only Mass Murder, Not Like A Disaster

July 9, 2009

Reuters (link here)—“The global death toll from the Asian tsunami shot above 226,000 Wednesday after Indonesia’s Health Ministry confirmed the deaths of tens of thousands of people previously listed as missing.. . . The Staggering death count . . . .

”Darfur Mortality Update: January 18, 2005” by Eric Reeves— “[E]vidence strongly suggests that total mortality in the Darfur region of western Sudan now exceeds 400,000 human beings since the outbreak of sustained conflict in February 2003. In other words, human destruction is more than twice that of the recent tsunami—and has now surpassed the half-way mark for the most commonly cited total for deaths in Rwanda during the genocide of 1994 (800,000).
“Moreover, as international humanitarian aid continues to stream abundantly toward the various areas devastated by the tsunami, the threat of massive secondary death from health-related causes has begun to diminish. By contrast, in Darfur the current mortality rate from genocide by attrition is approximately 35,000 per month and poised to grow rapidly. . . .
“Simply to juxtapose these two human catastrophes is to raise implicitly a series of deeply troubling questions about the priorities of news coverage, the commitments of the international political community, the responsibilities of humanitarian organizations, and the nature of our response to distant human suffering and destruction.”

Yes, what about Sudan? In 1989, Lt. General Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir and the Arab-led Sudanese People’s Armed Forces overthrew the democratic government in power at that time and imposed strict Muslim law and faith on the whole country. The South had a protected and special constitutional status under the democratic government, but with its overthrow and especially with the effort of the new regime to impose Muslim law throughout the country, the South revolted and a bloody civil war resulted with the thug regime murdering tens of thousands, outright enslvement, widespread rape, and refugees in the hundreds of thousands, with an overall death toll of possibly 2,000,000 people.

Because they live under a fundamentalist Muslim regime, even northern Sudanese far from the civil war or Darfur enjoy no human rights. For example, the government harasses and monitors women for correct dress, forbidding even slacks. Women who dare to defy the law risk arrest, conviction by an Islamic court of immoral dressing, and flogging, as recently happened to nine women students. Women also cannot hold any public office that would give them authority over Muslim men, nor can they marry a non-Muslim.
All must accept the Muslim faith. To further religious rule, the government appoints only Muslims to the judiciary. Police can arrest and imprison any commoner for up to six months without trial, and while detained, suspects can expect officials to torture them as a matter of course. Worst of all, a Muslim dare not convert to another religion, for the punishment for doing so is death.

But, of course, Sudan is a member in good standing of the international community (you know, the “community” we must consult and get approval from), the United Nations, and the UN Human Rights Commission.

Link of Note

” Abu Gharib: Inexplicable Arab Silence” (5/4/04)

By Linda S. Heard

This journalist was asking why there is not more outrage in the Arab world over . . . not what Sudan was doing to its people, not the mass murder, slavery, and deaths . . . but, the way Abu Gharib prisoners were treated by American guards. But then, it was the Arabnews.com that published this piece.

Idealism vs. Realism

July 4, 2009

[First published January 24, 2005] Enough time has gone by since president Bush’s inauguration speech that called for fostering democracy everywhere to appreciate the major media’s reaction, including commentators and foreign policy experts. One of the most frequently used characterizations is that the speech was idealistic: John F. Harris writes in The Washington Post: “The immediate question, presidential scholars and foreign policy experts say, is the same in Washington as it is in other capitals around the world: What to make of such idealistic and uncompromising language from an incumbent president? (link here) As used currently, “idealistic” is what one says about an idea while rolling one’s eyes skyward. It means, in effect, that one has a good heart, good intentions, but is naïve or simplistic about the real world.

A little history. After World War I, there was a concerted effort among the nations to create a lasting peace such that another world war like that would never happen again. The best way of doing this was thought to be through international organizations like the League of Nations that would serve as a forum for negotiation of international differences, act to prevent the escalation of conflict to violence, and even sanction aggression. Democracies also thought that an emphasis on international law, and especially disarmament treaties would also serve the peace. It all failed, profoundly, with the outbreak of the SinoJapanese war in 1937, and Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

After World War II, nations created the United Nations in a way they believed avoided the mistakes of the League of Nations, and emphasized collective security. However, a new school of thought arose among students of international relations and specialists in foreign relations, which still dominates thinking today about national security and peace. And that is, peace is best assured by a balancing of power between actual and potential adversaries, and good diplomacy. This is called realpolitik. Practitioners of this art—called realists—emphasize real assessments of other nation’s capabilities and intentions, and what can be done in practical terms to improve the balance of power, and maintain stable international relations.

One of the fantastic applications of this was during the 1960s when the United States actually held back developing its nuclear capability, such as furthering the accuracy of its ICBMs, to let the Soviets catch up. Then, the idea was, we would have a balance of power (of terror), and better stability in Soviet-American relations. This was realism at work.

Now, the bete noir of the realist is the idealist. The idealist is a nice fellow, but unrealistic about the real world. The idealist has all these marvelous ideas and plans, these solutions to war, these beliefs about the natural good behavior of states, the belief in democracy, but you know, he hasn’t yet been mugged by reality.

Today, the major intellectual conflict is not between libertarians and Bushites, or what I will now call freedomists, on democracy and peace. The libertarians simply don’t count. Both realists and freedomists see them as irrelevant, a cult of isolationists. Nor are the leftists in the ring. They are seen as, you know . . . leftists. They will side with anyone they see as anti-American. The realists see the freedomist’s emphasis on democracy as unrealistic and dangerous, as creating an unstable world in which more war may be the outcome, and our national interests endangered. The freedomist see the realist as adhering to dogma that no longer applies to the new post-Cold War world, and that fostering freedom is the best way to protect the nation in the long run, and promote a peaceful world.

Most of the media people and commentators have been educated into realism—it is the dominant set of ideas in political science and international relations—and to be suspicious of any highflying proposals. They naturally see the call for ending tyranny as idealistic. Thus when you read that Bush is idealistic, understand that this is a complement with the back of the hand.

However, the most thorough research that any idea in international relations has ever received shows that the realistic one is Bush and his forward Strategy of Freedom, and that the realists if they have their way, will not free us for the historical cycle of war and peace. Realism, which has been practiced in Europe since 1648 and the creation of the modern state system and up until all Europe became democratic and unified, was in practice nothing but war by other means until the next round of war.

Realists much come to understand. The real realists are the so-called idealists, and the real idealists are the realists. You know, the realists have their heart in the right place, but . . . (eyes rolling skyward). In other words, get real.

Link of Note

”Debate on the ‘Democratic Peace’—A Review” (3/3/04) By Steven Geoffrey Gieseler

Introduction by AmericanDeplomacy.org: “Democracies do not make war on each other, and the more democratic, the less violent nations are in general.’ This theory of war avoidance is the subject of much peace literature published in recent years. The author provides an overview of the field and addresses the question of its continued validity in light of the war in Iraq.”

Gieseler’s conclusion is that, “There will always be honest and well-meaning scholars, indifferent moral relativists, and self-interested tyrants who will for different reasons dismiss the idea that democracy is inherently just and peaceful. Adherents to the ‘Democratic Peace’ in whatever future incarnation it might take must not give the floor, so to speak, but dictate the terms of the debate.”

So, this blog.

Democide Vs. Other Causes of Death

July 1, 2009

[First published February 1, 2005] A question I often get is how all the murder committed by governments, virtually all by criminal dictatorships (sorry, that was redundant—I need only say dictatorships) compares to other causes of death, such as war and diseases. So, below I present such a comparison chart for the world’s average annual democide rate 1900-1987 to the world’s annual death rate from other causes (this is one of a number of my attempts to visualize the world’s democide toll— link here).

Tears all around

Note that governments murdered more people than all deaths combined due to traffic accidents, war, homicide, and alcohol.

The total murdered by governments over 1900-1987 was 170,000,000; a less systematic update of the toll brings it to 174,000,000 for 1900-1999. [I have had to update this democide to 262,00,000] Shocking, yes? Now, think about how little is said about democide in textbooks and the media. Even more astounding, isn’t it?

For a chapter long dissection of the meaning and definition of democide, see this link.

And so, democide goes on in North Korea, Sudan, the Congo, China, Laos, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, and dozens and dozens of other dictatorships, mainly not some big episode of murder that would make the news, but as the day-by-day operation of government agencies. In other words, murder is a normal daily operation of these thugdoms.

How do we account for this continuing carnage? In these post-Cold War years, it’s the bloody success of immoral noninterventionism and obsolete realpolitiks.. Stability trumps stopping the murderous thugs, you know.

Link of Note

”Congo death toll up to 3.8m” (12/10/204) Guardian Unlimited Special Report

“Six years of conflict in Congo have claimed 3.8 million lives – half of them children – with most victims killed by disease and famine in the still largely cut-off east, the International Rescue Committee said yesterday.

“More than 31,000 civilians die each month as a result of the conflict despite peace deals, the group said, citing mortality surveys prepared with the aid of on-site medical teams. The association has for years produced the most widely used estimate of deaths in the country.”

Much of this is democide. And it goes on. And on. And on.

The EMP Threat

June 28, 2009

[First published June 27, 2005] During the Cold War, I was intensely focused on the Soviet -American nuclear balance and our deterrence strategies versus a possible Soviet first strike capability. I’ve carried over to our time this focus on city attacks, almost completely forgetting about a fear that a Sovieet EMP nuclear attack was a major danger. I should not have, for now in this era of rogue nuclear states, an EMP attack is the most likely and dangerous, since it requires just one weapon and little accuracy.

On exploding, a nuclear weapon produces a blast of x-and gamma-rays that if triggered high above the United States would devastate the whole country’s infrastructure, disabling power grids, computers, microchips, electronic and electrical systems of information, including cell phones, and components of airplanes, and cars. For an important article on this, read Frank J. Gaffney’s “EMP: America’s Achilles’ Heel “. He is President of the Center for Security Policy and former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy. He says:

The emerging threat environment, characterized by a wide spectrum of actors that include near-peers, established nuclear powers, rogue nations, sub-national groups, and terrorist organizations that either now have access to nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles or may have such access over the next 15 years, have combined to raise the risk of EMP attack and adverse consequences on the U.S. to a level that is not acceptable.

Worse yet, the [EMP Threat] Commission observed that “some potential sources of EMP threats are difficult to deter.” This is particularly true of “terrorist groups that have no state identity, have only one or a few weapons, and are motivated to attack the U.S. without regard for their own safety.” The same might be said of rogue states, such as North Korea and Iran. They “may also be developing the capability to pose an EMP threat to the United States, and may also be unpredictable and difficult to deter.” Indeed, professionals associated with the former Soviet nuclear weapons complex are said to have told the Commission that some of their ex-colleagues who worked on advanced nuclear weaponry programs for the USSR are now working in North Korea.

Even more troubling, the Iranian military has reportedly tested its Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile in a manner consistent with an EMP attack scenario. The launches are said to have taken place from aboard a ship—an approach that would enable even short-range missiles to be employed in a strike against “the Great Satan.” Ship-launched ballistic missiles have another advantage: The “return address” of the attacker may not be confidently fixed, especially if the missile is a generic Scud-type weapon available in many arsenals around the world. As just one example, in December 2002, North Korea got away with delivering twelve such missiles to Osama bin Laden’s native Yemen. And Al Qaeda is estimated to have a score or more of sea-going vessels, any of which could readily be fitted with a Scud launcher and could try to steam undetected within range of our shores.

Given how one nuclear weapon exploded high above the United States would be a catastrophe as well as disable our ability to respond to the attack, this puts North Korean and Iranian nuclear developments in a new and more dangerous light.

Link of Note

“Will Bush’s Idealism Lead U.S. To Lose ‘War With Islam’?” (6/7/05) Book Review by Mort Kondracke

Kondracke says:

It certainly is no summer beach read, but you’ll be edified – and lots of people will be angered – by Robert Merry’s new book, “Sands of Empire,” a rich and deep critique of President Bush’s alleged “Crusader State” foreign policy.

I think that Merry, president and publisher of Congressional Quarterly, is far too pessimistic in saying that Bush is leading the country toward “calamity” by pursuing a policy of “humanitarian imperialism.” But Merry not only argues his case forcefully, he also bases it on intellectual history dating to the 17th century.

Colleague says: The book — Robert Merry — Sand of Empire — argues that Bush is going to undermine the US because he is in the tradition of utopian idealists who try to impose values, which as any good conservative can tell you, can’t be done…

Kondracke does the review, and notes the author has a core view centered on two schools of history: Progress vs. Cycles. Bush is a Progress guy, while “reality” is more Cycles (as with Huntington)….

The book seems most flawed in its apparent utter lack of understanding about democracy — that democracy is not an imposition of values, but the very antithesis. In fact, democracy is the only form of government that is explicitly anti-utopian: there is no state imposition of values; rather the state is a mechanism by which people can work out the inherent conflicts about values, peacefully.

Why can’t these otherwise bright people remember basic civics-govt 101 lessons? Maybe because they never really learned them. Maybe because the book is really a front for the more important agenda: hate – defeat Bush. Maybe because even though the author of the book is the publisher of Congressional Quarterly, he can’t see what is in front of him: peaceful resolution of an endless series of conflicts, without utopian value impositions by the state. Maybe because the guy is really not too bright after all….

Visualizing democide
Graphical experiments on visalizing democide

Genocide Versus Democide

June 25, 2009

[February 4, 2005] I want to comment on the UN report denying genocide in Darfur. But, first I want to clarify the difference between genocide and democide. Often in this blog I use the latter term democide for murder by government, as do some of my links. But the more popular term is genocide, as in the aforementioned UN report.

What are the differences and similarities between democide and genocide? As defined, elaborated, and qualified in my Death By Government). Democide is any murder by officials acting under the authority of the central government. That is, they act according to explicit or implicit government policy or with the implicit or explicit approval of the highest officials. Such was the burying alive of Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers, the shooting of hostages by German soldiers, or the starving to death of Ukrainians by communist cadre.

Genocide, however, is a confused and confusing concept. It may or may not include government murder, refer to wholly or partially eliminating some group, or involve psychological damage. If it includes government murder, it may mean all such murder or just some. Boiling all this down, genocide can have three different meanings (on this, see my encyclopedia entry here).

One meaning is that defined by international treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This makes genocide a punishable crime under international law, and defines it as:

any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Note that only the first clause includes outright killing, while the other clauses cover non-killing ways of eliminating a group. I will call this definition the legal meaning of genocide, since it is now part of international law.

Regardless of this definition and doubtlessly influenced by the Holocaust, ordinary usage and that by students of genocide have tended to wholly equate it with the murder and only the murder by government of people because of their nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion. This equating of genocide with the killing of people because of their indelible group membership I will label the common meaning of genocide.

What about government murdering people for other reasons than their indelible group membership? What about government organized death squads eliminating communist sympathizers, simply fulfilling a government death quota (as in the Soviet Union under Stalin), or the murder of those who criticized government policy? None of such murders are genocide according the legal and common meanings. To cover such murders, some students of genocide have stretched its meaning to include all government murder, regardless of group identity. This may be aptly named the generalized meaning of genocide. In this meaning, genocide = democide.

As obvious, the problem with the generalized meaning of genocide is that to fill one void it creates another. For if genocide refers to all government murder, what are we to call the murder of people because of their nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion? It is precisely because of this conceptual problem that the concept of democide is useful.

For understanding and research, the legal view of genocide is too complex and subsumes behavior too different in kind. I argue, therefore, that genocide should ordinarily be understood as the government murder of people because of their indelible group membership (let the international lawyers struggle with the legal meaning), and democide as any murder by government, including this form of genocide.

This understood, governments murdered about 170,000,000 people in the last century, 1900-1987. Around 38,000,000 of that was genocide. For what governments committed what and when, see Tables 16A.1 of my Statistics of Democide (link here).

Link of Note

”20th Century Democide” By R.J. Rummel

A narrative and statistical overview.

Power kills, absolute Power kills absolutely . . . . The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the power of governments, the more it is diffused, checked and balanced, the less it will aggress on others and commit democide. At the extremes of Power, totalitarian communist governments slaughter their people by the tens of millions, while many democracies can barely bring themselves to execute even serial murderers.

Global Peace And Human Security Are Not Hopeless

June 24, 2009

[First published February 17, 2005.] Yes, There is Hope. Great Hope

With all the mass murder by thug dictators in such countries as North Korea, Burma, Sudan, Congo, Iran, and the like, with terrorists murdering people wholesale, and with the apparent inability to stop or prevent most of it, the post-World War II exclamation, “Never Again,” seems hopeless. Such is the feeling I get from reading news items on the latest democide (murder by government) and murder bombing, and some of the email I receive. And, I must admit, I have contributed to this pessimism with my country-by-county, year-by-year estimates of the world’s democide. Clearly, as I’ve pointed out, a slow motion nuclear war has taken place, with my conservative estimate of 262,000,000 murdered by governments in the 20th Century.

And it continues into this century.

But, it is not hopeless. We are not faced, nor are our children faced with such democide in perpetuity. We do have the ability to turn “Never Again” into reality for all.

We should recognize some facts. One is that democracies by far have had the least domestic democide, and now with their extensive liberalization, have virtually none. Therefore, democratization (not just electoral democracies, but liberal democratization in terms of civil liberties and political rights) provides the long run hope for the elimination of democide. Second, that the world is progressively becoming more democratic, with from 22 democracies in 1950 to something like 121 democracies today (about 89 of them liberal democracies), gives substance to this hope. A third is that democracies don’t make war on each other, and the more democratic government, the less its foreign and domestic violence, AND DEMOCIDE. And fourth, the democratic peace and the fostering of democracies worldwide is now the core organizing principle of American foreign policy.

Already, the growth in the number of democracies has decreased the amount of international war and violence (see my, “Democracies Increase and Ipso Facto, World Violence Declines,” “Democracies Up, Violence Down Again, Media Still Blind”). And this will continue. Eventually, at some point in the future, virtually the whole world will be democratic. Then, perhaps, in the presence of the world’s major presidents, and prime ministers, the President of the Global Alliance of Democracies can uncover a statue of Irene, the Greek Goddess of peace, in Geneva, with these words on its base:

“Now, Never Again”

Link of Note

”Ending Slavery” (2/12/05) By Thomas Sowell

To me the most staggering thing about the long history of slavery — which has encompassed the entire world and every race in it — is that nowhere before the 18th century was there any serious question raised about whether slavery was right or wrong. In the late 18th century, that question arose in Western civilization, but nowhere else.

It seems so obvious today that, as Lincoln said, if slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. But no country anywhere believed that three centuries ago.

Many pessimists feel about ending democide as humanists in the 16th and 17th centuries felt about ending slavery. It always has been and always will be. Moreover, while we now see democide as horrible, a black mark on humanity, and what must be stopped, like slavery, this is only a modern view. Historically, democide has been accepted as an inevitable aspect of war, and a necessity of governance.

Sowell’s article is a good reminder of how we once viewed slavery, and how what we once thought was as natural to society as a division of labor, was virtually eliminated in a century.

If Not Stupid, Then What?

June 23, 2009

Below I give the link to the most recent libertarian attack by James Ostrowski on the idea of the democratic peace, and response by Colleague. If submitted by as a student term paper, it would be graded an F by both of us.

This raises the question as to what it is with the libertarian anti-interventionists that they cannot mount an even reasonable critique of the democratic peace. Is it that they are stupid? No, these are often intelligent people who have mastered a profession in their own right. Ostrowski, for example, is an attorney, and has written Political Class Dismissed. He also has an interesting and useful website at HYPERLINK “http://jimostrowski.com&#8221; http://jimostrowski.com. These people have to be taken seriously, and Colleague and I do so.

Then what? At the heart of their problem is that they are unfamiliar with the nuances of international relations, and in particularly, with the research on the democratic peace. In other words, they are largely ignorant of the field and idea on which they write.

Also, there is more to the idea of the democratic peace than just reading books about it. It comes out of the scientific study of international relations and war, so to get the best handle on it, one must have some familiarity also with quantitative methods, particularly statistics (although my approach is generally mathematical). So, for example, using multiple regression, reseachers have found that even holding many possible causes of violence constant, the more democratic a government, the less severe its foreign violence. This statement requires some understanding of the method of multiple regression, the meaning of “holding constant,” and the empirical content of “democracy” and “severe violence.” From one study to the next, these terms are defined by explicit data collections.

I want to be clear on this. I am not saying that the democratic peace is such an esoteric idea that only a specialist can understand and critique it. This is not quantum physics. It is most akin to quantitative economics. I am saying that one must familiarize themselves with the writing in this field to critique it adequately, and there are enough “common sense” reviews and summaries to do this (I will discuss a comprehensive bibliography this week— link here).

Because of the technical nature of this research on the democratic peace (within the field of quantitative international relations), even those trained in international relations, such as in national security studies, or diplomacy sometimes misunderstand the work on the democratic peace. But, there are good critiques, and there are those who have become knowledgeable in the research and disagree with it. Not one, however, is a libertarian.

Link of Note

”The Myth of Democratic Peace: Why Democracy Cannot Deliver Peace in the 21st Century” (2/19/05) By James Ostrowski

From Colleague
Colleague is a PH.D, did his dissertation on the democratic peace, and teaches international relations.

Ostrowski’s essay was intensely frustrating :

He does not seem to understand the INTER-democraticness that is the core of the theory and empirical findings of no war between democracies.

He critiques “democratic pacifism” as distilled from a variety of sources, sketched out as:

democracies rarely if ever go to war against each other; democracies tend to be more peaceful than dictatorships; democracies tend to have less internal violence; and this tendency toward peacefulness is structural, that is, related to the nature of democracy, not an accident or coincidence.

This sounds like it might be “democratic peace,” and includes some of its propositions, but drags in others that really cloud things up, such as “democracies tend to be more peaceful,” and veers off into explanations of WHY the democratic peace is so. Why didn’t he undertake to critique the standard five propositions set forth in the very book by Rummel he attacks (Power Kills [link here]). I’d be much more willing to read his research if he walked me through why each of those five propositions were in error.

Some of his statements are flat-out ignorant. He says that the main threat to world peace is not war between two nation-states, but nuclear arms proliferation. Sounds smart, but consider that no democratic states with nukes feel threatened by other democratic states with nukes. And all states feel threatened by non-democratic states with nukes. Regime type matters. His second level of threat is terrorism. Yup. And what democracy is exporting terrorism? What terrorist group espouses democracy? None. Again, regime type matters. His final level of threat is internal ethnic-religious conflict. It sure is a problem, but what is the most reliable possible solution to such conflict — meaning how can such conflict be kept from breaking out in widespread violence? He cites Afghanistan — well, is sure seems like the arrival of democracy there (albeit in its infancy) has reduced the murderous type of violence practiced by the dictatorial Taliban. Again, he should repeat after me…Regime Type Matters.

His data is nonsensical and irrelevant.

Example 1: listing “Wars of the Democratic Powers” tells me absolutely nothing about whether democracies fight each other. He seems to have completely missed the very idea of regimes types and dyads. Also, where is the comparison list of “Wars of the Nondemocratic Powers”?

Example 2: listing nuclear powers by type of government tells me nothing. It’s like identifying a rapist and a chef as both having a knife in his hand. So what?

Example 3: “Recent Intrastate Conflicts” makes no mention at all of the severity of the internal conflict, nor of changes in government, nor of what years these conflicts occurred. I have no idea what I’m supposed to understand from this list.

Example 4: the chart of homicide rates that has only one “dictatorship” listed against which to compare many democracies. And that dictatorship — with the lowest rate on the list — is tiny little Singapore. What about the 80 some non-democracies in the world? What about the world’s most repressive regimes (Burma, China, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam….)? What the hell am I supposed to get from this chart?

Example 5: counting deaths of one’s own soldiers in war as democide. Conceptually this is like counting beans as steaks. It makes no sense, but even if we were to accept this definition, why only count U.S. war deaths? If what we are after is comparing kinds of governments, then even a modicum of intellectual integrity would call for looking at the own-soldiers deaths of other governments, especially non-democratic ones. Does Ostrowski not do this knowing that it will only show that democracies suffer fewer casualties that non-democracies? Gee, that is one of Rummel’s five propositions, unmentioned by Ostrowski.

Example 6: Ostrowski concludes with a nice little chart rank-ordering regimes by their peacefulness. We discover that “self-government” is the most peaceful, followed by “republics” then democracy. Nowhere in any of his data charts could I find ONE example of a “self-government” or a “republic.” What the hell are these things — in the real world where we try to get data to understand reality? The closest example I can think of to his definition of “self-government” is Somalia, where there is indeed no state with final authority, and each person governs himself…except that people also tend to govern anyone else they can wield power over. With nothing to prevent warlords, this isn’t exactly what I’d want to hold up as a “peaceful” society.

Lacking any data at all to support his assertions, I can only conclude that the essay is groundless, directionless, unrigorously speculative, lacking definitional integrity, etc. This isn’t even high-school level “research.”

I’m torn about these libertarians: I have an intense affinity for them because of their love of freedom…but I despair for them for their almost callous lack of scholarship, their arrogance, and their apparent inability to understand even basic points about international politics. For example, Ostrowski’s point about counting own-soldier deaths as democide. It has a certain appeal, from the perspective of an anti-statist. But the complete lack of comparative perspective (who kills more of their own soldiers by ordering them off to war?) negates even the possibility of scholarship. And ultimately their “project” fails because it is not practical. Not “impractical” in the sense of too hard to do, but impractical in the sense that it has an inaccurate view of humanity. In the long run, their work does not contribute to making anything better, whether that be understanding ourselves, or achieving peace. So, I keep asking myself every time I read their stuff, or visit their Web sites — why do I waste my time? Perhaps I hope they will see the light…. so far though, only murky darkness….

Kill Them All–Iran’s Mass murder of 30,000

June 22, 2009

Part of the problem in communicating the nature of our enemies and their depths of depravity is finding the right words to describe the horrors they inflict on people. The following from an article, “Khomeini fatwa ‘led to killing of 30,000 in Iran’” by the diplomatic correspondent Chrisina Lamb, helps (link here):

Children as young as 13 were hanged from cranes, six at a time, in a barbaric two-month purge of Iran’s prisons on the direct orders of Ayatollah Khomeini, according to a new book by his former deputy.

More than 30,000 political prisoners were executed in the 1988 massacre — a far larger number than previously suspected. Secret documents smuggled out of Iran reveal that, because of the large numbers of necks to be broken, prisoners were loaded onto forklift trucks in groups of six and hanged from cranes in half-hourly intervals.

Gruesome details are contained in, The Memoirs of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, one of the founders of the Islamic regime. He was once considered Khomeini’s anointed successor . . . . The most damning of the letters and documents published in the book is Khomeini’s fatwa decree calling for all Mojahedin (as opponents of the Iranian regime are known) to be killed. . . . the fatwa reads: “It is decreed that those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the Monafeqin (Mojahedin) [regime opponents] are waging war on God and are condemned to execution.”

. . . . According to testimony from prison officials — including Kamal Afkhami Ardekani, who formerly worked at Evin prison — recently given to United Nations human rights rapporteurs: “They would line up prisoners in a 14-by-five-metre hall in the central office building and then ask simply one question, ‘What is your political affiliation?’ Those who said the Mojahedin would be hanged from cranes in position in the car park behind the building.”

He went on to describe how, every half an hour from 7.30am to 5pm, 33 people were lifted on three forklift trucks to six cranes, each of which had five or six ropes. He said: “The process went on and on without interruption.” In two weeks, 8,000 people were hanged. Similar carnage took place across the country.

Link of Note

”A 14 year old boy is sentenced to 85 lashes for breaking his Ramadan fast!” (11/16/04 )

A 14 year old boy died on Thursday, November 11th, after having received 85 lashes; according to the ruling of the Mullah judge of the public circuit court in the town of Sanandadj he was guilty of breaking his fast during the month of Ramadan.

But, we shouldn’t intervene in Iran, even to help the anti-regime, democratic movement. Right? Yes, tell that to the dead souls of the 30,000 (among hundreds of thousands) slaughtered, and the 14-year-old boy. And all their surviving loved ones.

Political Freedom Vs. Economic Freedom and Wealth

June 18, 2009


[First published March 20, 2005] A natural question is about the relationship between democracy (as Freedom House rates freedom) and economic freedom, and this is shown in the chart below.

To create the chart, the ratings for each index were standardized before making the plot.

Obviously, there is a close relationship, as by theory there should be. One cannot dominate a free market with a government dictated economy without destroying freedom in the process. Note that even the so-called “people’s republic of Sweden” is indexed as being economically free in the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal index. So is Denmark, and so-called “socialist” Israel is indexed as mostly economically free.

Then, what about the economic development, or what I prefer to call the wealth of a nation, and welfare of a people. The next chart shows the close relationship between the Freedom House ratings and various measure of wealth and welfare.

In the chart, HDI = the UN human development index (a measure of general welfare); HPI = UN human poverty index; GNP = gross national product; and PPP = purchasing power parity (currencies are normed such that they will buy the same goods from one country to the next).

There you have it. Political and Economic freedom not only go together, but also they are an engine of a people’s wealth and welfare. Add this to the fact the democratically free countries never have had a famine, virtually never murder their own people, have the least internal violence, and never any wars between them, and you have freedom as the closest thing to a general solution to humanity’s ills.

Three cheers for freedom. Okay, you freedomists out there, to work.

Link of Note

”Testing Whether Freedom Predicts Human Security and Violence (2001) By R.J. Rummel, Appendix to Saving Lives, enriching Life: Freedom as a Right and a Moral Good

In this appendix, I did a variety of mathematical and statistical operations to test the hypothesis that freedom predicts to human security and violence. The conclusion:

For all nations 1997 to 1998, the human security of their people, their human and economic development, the violence in their lives, and the political instability of their institutions, is theoretically and empirically dependent on their freedom–their civil rights and political liberties, rule of law, and the accountability of their government. One can well predict a people’s human security by knowing how free they are.

Moreover, just considering the violence, instability, and total deaths a people can suffer, the more freedom they have the less of this they endure. This is to say:

Even if we just improve the human rights of a people, even if we promote some democratization of their political institutions, it will improve their human security, and reduce the violence that inflicts them.

Freedom And Human Security

June 17, 2009

[First published March 22, 2005] Freedom Saves and Enriches Life

I have included the figure shown below [in the charts on the sidebar. Study it. It is one of the most important in the literature. For it shows, empirically, the consequences of freedom: purchasing parity per person goes up, as does overall wealth (development), and poverty goes down. Moreover, deaths from famine go down (none in democracies), democide goes down, as does the number killed in international and civil wars.

In other words, to sum up [the charts], to advance freedom is to advance human security. If this were widely known, there would be far more support for the [an] American foreign policy of promoting freedom and ending tyranny. Okay, you freedomists out there, we have our work cut out for us.


I’ve tried to minimize the size of the tables and figures whenever I’ve presented them. Many visitors likely are working with a modem, and the more and larger the tables and figures in the blogs for a week, the more time it will take a blog to show. Patience among internet users, particularly students, is not a virtue.

Now, I’m working on a 17” Apple flat screen at resolution 1280×1024. However, what appears readable on my screen apparently is not on others, even at the same size (as Brian H informed me). The problem, I think, is that the Apple screen is so clear that what appears legible to me may not be on some CRT’s, even at the same resolution.

In any case, the bottom line is legibility. For that reason I near doubled the size of the figures I displayed in [a former] blog, as you see above, and enlarged the above table over what I normally would have shown.

Now, if you still have a problem reading the notes or numbers, reduce the resolution of your screen (monitor) until you can. Also, some computer systems now have the capability to enlarge a portion of the screen for the visually impaired.

Do let me know if you have any problem with whatever images I present. I am showing them because I think they are very important, and I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t want you to read, digest, and understand them. Cheers! RJR

Link of Note

” A Free Market Economic Development Strategy” The Heritage Foundation

Abstract: economic assistance, whether from countries or through international financial institutions like the World Bank, has failed to help poor nations to develop. Countries that adopt good policies, including economic freedom, experience stronger economic growth than those that seek to thwart the market through regulatory hurdles and policy restrictions. Foreign aid cannot replace good policy. The only proven method for improving the economies of developing nations is not through blanket economic assistance, but through policies that encourage economic freedom and the rule of law. To achieve this goal, the United States must eliminate poorly performing organizations and programs such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and support aid programs like the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), which require countries to demonstrate a commitment to good policies in order to qualify for assistance.

Dare To Call Evil Evil

June 16, 2009

[First published on March 29, 2005] I am told that some of my colleagues and readers wince when I use the term “evil.” How can I say that democide, terrorism, and mass murderers like Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein, and Omar Hassan al-Basher (Sudan) are evil? This is the worst moral accusation one can level at an activity or another human being. Who am I to do so?

To discuss evil in any depth requires either a theological discussion of evil, or a philosophical safari into ethics. I wish to leave theology aside, and as far as ethics is concerned, simply express my view of evil. First, I do not accept some prevailing ethics, such as that ethics is simply a personal emotive expression of something one hates (like ugh!), a situational expression about some gross immorality, or an objective fact that exists outside of us. In my view, ethical statements are prescriptive, state what ought to be deontologically (I’m a Kantian on this), and are universal. That is, they state what everyone would agree to for their moral governance, were they to have to live under them without advanced knowledge as to their socio-economic status, race, religion, sex, etc.

Evil for me is then something all would agree is not only morally reprehensible under these conditions, but also fundamentally reprehensible to what it means to be human and civilized. In this sense, any murder is evil. We lock up people for life or execute them for this reason. But we also have to recognize that there are different levels of reprehensibility, as to whether a person murders one fellow human being, 10, or 10,000 in one pen stroke, as have some political leaders like Stalin.

I would turn the question around and ask, “How can one not call such thugs evil, or the mass murderers of millions evil (Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot)?” Not to do so means that one is without the moral gauge that is crucial to civilization and humanity, or his real politics has corrupted him, as it has the leaders of South Korea.

Link of Note

” Toxic Indifference to North Korea” (3/26/05) By Abraham Cooper

Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a member of the North Korean Freedom Coalition.

He says:

Since 2002, defectors among the flood of refugees from North Korea have detailed firsthand accounts of systematic starvation, torture and murder. Enemies of the state are used in experiments to develop new generations of chemical and biological weapons that threaten the world. A microcosm of these horrors is Camp 22, one of 12 concentration camps housing an estimated 200,000 political prisoners facing torture or execution for such “crimes” as being a Christian or a relative of someone suspected of deviation from “official ideology of the state.” Another eyewitness, Kwon Hyuk, formerly chief manager at Camp 22, repeated to me what he asserted to the BBC: “I witnessed a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber. . . . The parents were vomiting and dying, but until the very last moment they tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth

From Colleague:

I re-read this article again, still not believing the incredible tale told.

What do North Korean apologists have to say about this?

Where are the voices of Johan Galtung, Bruce Cummings, Chalmers Johnson, Noam Chomsky. . . ? These people are so willing to accept any story of US evil, no matter what the evidence, and so unwilling to accept anything critical of the remaining communist regimes — despite the inescapably logic that argues that regime with lots of power tend to kill lots of people.

Oh, right. How dumb of me. All these stories of North Korean murder are nothing more than CIA propaganda and deceit. After all, no Beloved Leader would permit anything such as gassing political prisoners….unless there was good cause. Anyway, I’m sure America has gassed more political prisoners than North Korea ever dreamed of gassing.. . .

I wonder, when Korea is re-unified, how many people will emerge to give color to this dismal portrait of power run amok. And how many leftists will be trying to first deny, then disparage, then defend these actions, finally changing their tune to how all this democide was really the work of right-wing North Koreans.

Leftimania Uncovered

June 15, 2009

[First published on March 30, 2005] I’ve often wanted to know the political connections and ideological presumptions of a commentator, noted academic, or the leaders of a protest, as of “antiwar” demonstrations. But, it would take too much time to track down the information and establish its reliability. Now, this has been done for those like me who believe that what you see depends on where you sit. David Horowitz has set up a web site called DISCOVERTHENETWORK.ORG: A Guide to the Political Left (link here) that provides information about the backgrouond, ideology, and connections of groups and individuals.

For example, on Ward Churchill it begins a mulipage profile with this summary:

• Marxist professor of Ethnic Studies at University of Colorado
• Advocates political violence
• Denounces “the slaughter perpetrated by the United States around the world”
• Accuses white Americans of genocide
• Characterizes the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus as a “mistaken landfall” that “unleashed a process of conquest and colonization unparalleled in the history of humanity”
• Lamenting that the terrorism of 9/11 had proved “insufficient to accomplish its purpose” of destroying the United States, Churchill said, “What the hell? It was worth a try.

Note that Marxist means communist. In discussing his case, virtually no major media has mentioned that he is a communist (I know of none). On this blog site, I’m going to hit the Marxism = communism as often as I can. The communists have largely succeeded, even with libertarians and conservatives, in hiding behind Marxism, which they make out to be a philosophy or theory different from communism. It is not. It is a philosophical and historical, socio-political theory alright, and precisely what all communist regimes have forced their slaves to except and exclusively study. Marx is to communism as Christ is to Christianity.

On Teresa Heinz Kerry, the guide says:

• Wife of 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry
• Chaired the Howard Heinz Endowment, a major funder of leftwing groups and causes
• Has personally financed the Tides Foundation, which funds many leftwing organizations

The mainstream media has overlooked the very important story of Teresa Heinz Kerry’s close financial ties to radical Left. Mrs. Kerry has financed the secretive Tides Foundation to the tune of more than $4 million over the years. The Tides Foundation, a “charity” established in 1976 by antiwar leftist activist Drummond Pike, distributes millions of dollars in grants every year to political organizations advocating far-Left causes. The Tides Foundation and its closely allied Tides Center, which was spun off from the Foundation in 1996 but run by Drummond Pike, distributed nearly $66 million in grants in 2002 alone. In all, Tides has distributed more than $300 million for the Left. These funds went to rabid antiwar demonstrators, anti-trade demonstrators, domestic Islamist organizations, pro-terrorists legal groups, environmentalists, abortion partisans, extremist homosexual activists and HYPERLINK “http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=11838″open borders advocates.

Do some browsing on the website, and you will find some amazing and, perhaps, depressing information. As a last example, note this of the Ford Foundation:

Originally funded by the Ford Motor Company stock from the estates of Henry and (son) Edsel Ford in 1936
• Largest private funder of the American left and its radical agendas
• Supports communist front groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild
• Key funder of the Open Borders lobby
• Assets: $10,015,612,595 (2003)
• Grants Awarded: $431,643,480 (2003)

My compliments to Horowitz and all those who helped him. The liberal and communist left can only survive in the United States and influence policy by hiding their activities, memberships, associations, and ideology under a vast blanket. Horowitz has helped to lift a corner of it.

Link of Note

”Navigating the left” (3/24/05) By Robert Stacy McCain

McCain’s intro:

David Horowitz, a radical turned conservative author and activist, has created a Web site, DiscoverTheNetwork.org, which he describes as “a navigation tool for identifying, mapping and defining the left and its elaborate and extensive political network.”

In a telephone interview from his Los Angeles home, Mr. Horowitz discussed the idea for the site . . . .

Selected quotes:

Soon, pro-communist leftists like Angela Davis and Tom Hayden were being referred to as “liberals” by the media, and liberals like Norman Podhoretz and Jeane Kirkpatrick were being referred to as “neoconservatives.” … So, to understand our present situation, I felt you have to try to restore accurate political labels. And that’s partly what my new Web site, DiscoverTheNetwork.org, is about. . . .

Q: You have documented the Marxist backgrounds of several leading anti-war groups and individuals. Why do you think the media have routinely ignored these connections?

A: On one page, you get a list of every major anti-war organization and each listing is a link to a profile of the individual group, and each group is connected to a map icon, which, if you click on it, opens up a diagram that shows all the other groups with radical agendas … that they are connected to.

The fact that the two major peace organizations, International ANSWER and the Coalition for Peace and Justice, are headed by easily identifiable communists, was known to the mainstream media, specifically the New York Times. Because the New York Times is essentially a fellow-traveling institution of the left, it chose not to mention this fact.

Note that McCain refers to “Marxists,” which Horowitz, quite correctly, terms communists.

Impoverishment and Death by Socialism

June 13, 2009

[First published April 8, 2005] Socialist of different flavors — leftists, Marxists (alias communists), fellow travelers, and the economically ignorant — continue to rant about the greed, inequality, and economic slavery of the free market (they prefer to call it capitalism), but yet in the grandest of economic experiments, their socialism has utterly failed in practice. When these socialists are free to fully apply their ideas, they end up impoverishing whole countries.

In social science, one way to test a theory it to select two groups of people such that they are virtually identical on all variables but the theoretical one. Want to test whether nature or nurture make a difference in making spelling errors (I insist it’s nature), then test this on identical twins separated shortly after birth.

But, surely, you say, we can’t do such tests on free market vs. socialist systems. Well, we can’t organize it for this purpose, but we can observe what socialist have done. We have had people of one nation, language, culture, religion, literacy, wealth, and so on, divided into two, such that one had a largely free market economic system and the other a purely socialist one, with the socialist being the more prosperous and industrial region to begin with. The divided countries were North Vietnam vs. South Vietnam, and East Germany vs. West Germany, and still is North vs. South Korea. Some might include mainland China vs. Taiwan, but Taiwan (formerly Formosa) was not part of China, although one might point to the fact that both the mainland and Taiwan are now Chinese in language and customs, and thus show what the Chinese can do when they are free as on Taiwan, or still dominantly socialist as on the mainland.

Okay, the experiment. How did these two halves fare, with their economic-political systems being the only meaningful difference? In each case, the socialist half has failed economically compared to its free market one, which in contrast substantially uplifted its people in health, technology, services, economic growth, and wealth. Let me focus on the two Koreas to provide some statistics on this. In what follows, the first figure will be for socialist North Korea, the second for the South (source: The Wall Street Journal, 3/11/05):

Population: 22.5 mil vs. 49.9 mil.
Gross National Income (GNI): $18.4 bil. Vs. $606.1 bil.
GNI per capita: $818 vs. $12,646
Exports: $.78 bil. Vs. $193.8 bil.
Imports: $1.61 bil. Vs. $178.8 bil.
Power generated: 19.6 bil. kwh vs. 322.4 bil. kwh

But, these statistics show only part of the cost of socialism. N. Korea has again cut food rations from last years near starvation level of 300 grams per person per day. Now it is 250 grams (8.8 ounces) per person, according to the UN World Food Program (WFP). This is far below the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) minimum. Also, keep in mind that Kim’s food distribution system is highly unequal. Food is put aside first for “patriotic rice” and “military rice.” And then it has a graded ration system depending on whether a family is considered supportive of the regime at higher ration end, and unreliable, possible anti-regime at the bottom.

In the last decade, the human cost of this socialism, leaving aside the regime’s mass murders, has been about 3 million starved to death. Further, malnutrition has caused excessive underdevelopment and brain retardation of children, and fostered rickets, scurvy, nyctalopia, hepatitis, and tuberculosis, among other diseases. And the country is one of the few in which population mortality rates have been increasing. The life expectancy has fallen to 66.8 years from 73.2; newborn mortality rate has increased from 14 to 22.5; and the rate for those less than five years of age has increased from 27 to 48 per thousand.

Meanwhile, in South Korea the per capita calorie intake is 3,268, which is 139 percent of the FAO recommended minimum requirement. This calorie intake is made up of about 84 percent vegetable products and 16 percent animal products. A typical South Korean meal consists of steamed or stir-fried vegetables, thin sliced meats, grilled fish, and bean-baste soup. Life expectancy is 75.6 years and rising; infant mortality is 7.18 per 1,000 live births, and falling.

What more need be shown? Socialism not only kills by the conditions it creates, encourages the ruling thugs to murder their own people (how else impose such a anti-humanitarian, prison like system?), it greatly impoverishes them. The free market, however, constantly improves overall wealth and welfare, and if part of a democratic system, protects and saves lives.

These historical social experiments have cost tens of millions of lives. We must now say, “ENOUGH ALREADY!”

Link of Note

”North Korea: Human Rights Concerns,” (nd) Amnesty International USA

The report has good links and a fair overview:

Amnesty International’s long-standing concerns about human rights violations in North Korea include the use of torture and the death penalty, arbitrary detention and imprisonment, inhumane prison conditions and the near-total suppression of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and movement.

Their expressed “concern” is not the way I would put it. More like horrified, disgusted, sickened.
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American Vs. French Revolutions

June 12, 2009

[First published April 10, 2005] I got carried away in writing this, and ended up with five pages single spaced, much too long for a blog. So, for the full essay, and that’s what it is, go here. This blog is a brief version.

There have been two revolutions, the American and French, and they expressed not only to opposing view of government, but they represent the struggle between Freedom and Socialism today.

The Constitution that eventually emerged from the American Revolution saw man as pursuing different, and often selfish, interests. The maximum satisfaction of all these interests requires that no one interest dominates. And what prevents such domination is a balance among opposing interests. This was a conception of Freedom as the outcome of this balancing of interests, each sustained by natural rights.

The Constitution thus embodied three principles. First, all men have certain inalienable Rights standing above and limiting government. Second, all governments carry within themselves the seeds of tyranny, of the absolute State, which can be limited only by a system of checks and balances. And third, since Freedom must reign, and no man working in his own interests can be unjust against himself, the government must be limited to defining and administering the common law. Government is to be an arbiter between interests, to serve a janitorial role of defending and maintaining the commonwealth. All else is the preserve of Freedom.

A conception of Freedom as an outcome of contending interests, each guaranteed inalienable Rights, and the three principles of Rights, checks and balances, and limited government, constituted the American Revolution — a revolution that established and preserved Freedom down to modern times.

The French Revolution of 1789 was also a revolt against the power of a monarch and aristocracy. Its motto was Liberty, Equality, Fraternity; its end was Social Justice; its means were to establish the sovereignty of the people, and to eliminate social and political inequalities.

Unlike the American Revolution, whose philosophical ancestors were the English liberals, the French Revolution was fundamentally fathered by the French radical philosophers, especially Jean Jacques Rousseau, and inherited the faith in reason engendered by The Enlightenment. René Descartes’ trust in geometric like reasoning and Rousseau’s belief in the common will and sovereignty of the people framed the conception guiding the French Revolution. This conception is mechanical. Government is a machine, fueled by coercive power, and driven by reason; and its destination is Social Justice. Government is thus a tool to reach a future goal ‑‑ improving man. Those in charge of the State would therefore use reason to apply government to further and create Social Justice.

This conception is clearly different from that of the American revolutionaries. For the Americans, interests were the guiding force; for the French, reason. For the Americans, Freedom was to be preserved against the State; for the French, the State was used by reason to achieve Social Justice. For the Americans, individual rights were essential to protect interests; for the French, the collective, the sovereignty of the people, the general will stood above rights. Finally, for the Americans, no one interest could be entrusted with the State ‑- all interests had to be limited and balanced by their opposition; for the French, the State was a tool that should have no limit so long as Social Justice was pursued according to the common will.

The first principle is that the benefits to the Community outweigh individual rights. This is what the common will or sovereignty of the people means ‑‑ that individuals are members of a Community which takes precedence over the individual, and that the Community has a will to be gratified, a justice to be sought, which no individual should bar.

The second principle is that the State, and thus government as its agent, can be beneficent instruments of progress, a tool to be used to pursue the common will, the Community’s betterment. Therefore, government should not be checked and balanced. Its powers should not be divided, for then the State is severely restrained. The Application of Reason to further Social Justice is crippled. Unlike the Americans, the French revolutionaries did not fear the State as such, but only the State in the service of the wrong class and bad ends.

And this led to the third principle of the French Revolution ‑- unlimited government. As the State’s implement of Reason working on behalf of the Community, government should not be limited. If necessary to pursue Social Justice, government should centralize, regulate, and control.

So, the American and French Revolutions launched an historic struggle between two conceptions and two sets of principles. One fosters Freedom and peace; the other furthers a statism which mankind has seldom, if ever, before known, a disease that not only blighted half the world, but even with the defeat of its most monstrous version, communism (Marxism), it still infests European politics and the American liberals, and especially, the socialist left.

The opposition between these principles remains the major schism today, the major historic battlefront. We are still heirs to the American Revolution, and the left and socialist are to the French. This is a struggle we can win. It all depends on democratic peoples understanding that the American Revolution is dying from a possibly malignant cancer – the statism of the neo-French revolutionaries at home and abroad – and in one form or another, domestic or foreign, it threatens us. The people’s common sense and their desire for freedom will in the end win out, if they comprehend the war being waged against them. It is the freedomist’s mission to assure this understanding

Link of Note

\”The” http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/french/french.html”>”The French Revolution”

By Rich Geib
Geib says

If the French revolution was the end of monarchy and aristocratic privilege and the emergence of the common man and democratic rights, it was also the beginnings of modern totalitarian government and large-scale executions of “enemies of the People” by impersonal government entities (Robespierre’s “Committee of Public Safety”). This legacy would not reach its fullest bloom until the tragic arrival of the German Nazis and Soviet and Chinese communists of the 20th century.

In fact, Rousseau has been called the precursor of the modern pseudo-democrats such as Stalin . . . Rousseau has been called the precursor of the modern pseudo-democrats such as Stalin and Hitler and the “people’s democracies.” His call for the “sovereign” to force men to be free if necessary in the interests of the “General Will” harks back to the Lycurgus of Sparta instead of to the pluralism of Athens; the legacy of Rousseau is Robespierre and the radical Jacobins of the Terror who followed and worshipped him passionately.

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It’s Worse Than You Think

June 11, 2009

[First published April 21, 2005] Academic freedom? The hallowed conflict of ideas? The sanctity of open debate? Ha! That’s not the American university anymore. Only one side now has the freedom to state its views, and the other sides beware.

What happened to Professor Thomas Klocek of DePaul University in Chicago is a case in point. Quoting from Joseph Farah’s recent article, “When ‘academic freedom’ fails,”

Last Sept. 15, the man who has taught critical thinking, college writing and cultures of the world at the Catholic university’s School for New Learning for the last 15 years, Klocek made the mistake of debating the subject of the Middle East with some extremists partial to Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and Arab nationalists among the Students for Justice in Palestine and the United Muslims Moving Ahead at a student activities fair.

The informal debate got heated, as Klocek was the sole defender of Israel and Middle East Christians in the room. But there were no blows exchanged. There were no verbal threats. And the spirited argument lasted between 15 and 20 minutes, according to everyone involved.

Nine days later, Klocek found himself the victim of an “emergency suspension” and unceremoniously kicked off the campus. No hearing by his peers. No formal complaints lodged against him. The unsubstantiated accusations by zealous students that Klocek made “racist” remarks was all that was needed to crush the claim of academic freedom at DePaul.

He was offered his job back if he agreed to monitored teaching and apologized to the students. He refused.

Now he finds himself with no job. . . .
You see, diversity is welcomed in academia as long as you don’t disagree with what passes for conventional wisdom in the rarefied atmosphere of academia. . . .Klocek was accused by the students of the unpardonable sins of “demeaning their ideas” and “dishonoring their perspective” and pressing erroneous assertions” and that he used his power as a “professor over them” to force them to accept his arguments as true.

What did he say? He questioned the accuracy of literature asserting Rachel Corrie was “murdered by an Israeli bulldozer” and a verbal assertion that “the Palestinians are being treated by Israelis the same way Hitler treated the Jews.”

This is not just one story. One could put together a book of sad tales of students and professors who have been punished by the left for their views or mistaken belief in “academic freedom.”

This is very serious, for the schools are now a major subversive force in our society undermining the idea of freedom. They get their hands on our children and youth and by their propaganda turn them into armies of “anti-war,” anti-globalization, anti-American, brain washed demonstrators and protestors. That is, before they eventually become teachers, businessmen, politicians, and, of course, lawyers and judges, all to further, often unknowingly, leftism.

What to do about it? Sunshine. Documentaries. Investigative journalism by blogs, talk radio, and the new media. Legislative hearings. And let the truth be exposed. The left’s anchor to the schools – tenure — could not survive arousing the silent majority.

Link of Note

”Inside Higher Ed” (3/30/05 )

Three political scientists did a survey of 1,643 faculty members at 183 four-year colleges and asked them how they identified themselves politically. This article describes the results (full report not generally available):

. . . the ideological divide on campuses may be greater than has previously been thought. And the authors of this survey say that their evidence suggests say that conservatives, practicing Christians and women are less likely than others to get faculty jobs at top colleges. . . . humanities faculty members were the most likely (81 percent) to be liberal. The liberal percentage was at its highest in English literature (88 percent), followed by performing arts and psychology (both 84 percent), fine arts (83 percent), political science (81 percent).

Other fields have more balance. The liberal-conservative split is 61-29 in education, 55-39 in economics, 53-47 in nursing, 51-19 in engineering, and 49-39 in business.

As far as reported, the study does not assess the ideological spread among liberals (moderate democrat, liberal democrat, leftist, communist) as opposed to conservatives. In my experience, many self identified liberals are on the far left or are communists (Marxists), and the those who call themselves conservatives are often moderate or liberal Republicans. Its like dividing the world into democracies and nondemocracies without showing that many nondemocracies are totalitarian and bloody thug regimes like North Korea, while many of the democracies are barely electoral democracies, with repressed human rights as now in Russia.

That the contemporary American university is an anti-American, pro-socialist propaganda mill is suggested by the survey above, but the true meaning of this division has to be experienced to fear its dire implications for individual freedom, such as it was for Professor Klocek of DePaul University.

How Many did Stalin Really Murder?

June 10, 2009

[First published April 26, 2005] May Day is coming up, which used to be a day of celebration in the Soviet Union with an impressive show of weapons and infinitely long parade of soldiers. Perhaps, then, it would be appropriate to pay special attention on this day to the human cost of communism in this symbolic home of Marxism, and worldwide. This blog is on Stalin and the Soviet Union. I will post one on the overall cost of communism next week.

By far, the consensus figure for those that Joseph Stalin murdered when he ruled the Soviet Union is 20,000,000. You probably have come across this many times. Just to see how numerous this total is, look up “Stalin” and “20 million” in Google, and you will get 38,800 links. Not all settle just on the 20,000,000. Some links will make this the upper and some the lower limit in a range. Yet, virtually no one who uses this estimate has gone to the source, for if they did and knew something about Soviet history, they would realize that the 20,000,000 is a gross under estimate of what is likely the true human toll.

The figure comes from the book by Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties (Macmillan 1968). In his appendix on casualty figures, he reviews a number of estimates of those that were killed under Stalin, and calculates that the number of executions 1936 to 1938 was probably about 1,000,000; that from 1936 to 1950 about 12,000,000 died in the camps; and 3,500,000 died in the 1930-1936 collectivization. Overall, he concludes:

Thus we get a figure of 20 million dead, which is almost certainly too low and might require an increase of 50 percent or so, as the debit balance of the Stalin regime for twenty-three years.

In all the times I’ve seen Conquest’s 20,000,000 reported, not once do I recall seeing his qualification attached to it.

Considering that Stalin died in 1953, note what Conquest did not include — camp deaths after 1950, and before 1936; executions 1939-53; the vast deportation of the people of captive nations into the camps, and their deaths 1939-1953; the massive deportation within the Soviet Union of minorities 1941-1944; and their deaths; and those the Soviet Red Army and secret police executed throughout Eastern Europe after their conquest during 1944-1945 is omitted. Moreover, omitted is the deadly Ukrainian famine Stalin purposely imposed on the region and that killed 5 million in 1932-1934. So, Conquest’s estimates are spotty and incomplete.

I did a comprehensive overview of available estimates, including those by Conquest, and wrote a book, Lethal Politics, on Soviet democide to provide understanding and context for my figures. I calculate that the Communist regime, 1917-1987, murdered about 62,000,000 people, around 55,000,000 of them citizens (see Table 1.1 for a periodization of the deaths).

As for Stalin, when the holes in Conquest’s estimates are filled in, I calculate that Stalin murdered about 43,000,000 citizens and foreigners, over twice Conquest’s total. Therefore, the usual estimate of 20 million killed in Soviet democide is far off for the Soviet Union per se, and even less than half of the total Stalin alone murdered.

But, these are all statistics and hard to grasp. Compare my total of 62,000,000 for the Soviet Union and 43,000,000 for Stalin to the death from slavery of 37,000,000 during the 16th to the 19th century; or to the death of from 25,000,000 to 75,000,000 in the Black Death (bubonic plague), 1347-1351, that depopulated Europe.

Another way of looking at this is that the annual risk of a person under Soviet control being murdered by the regime was 1 out of 222. But, compare — the annual risk of anyone in the world dying from war was 1 out of 5,556, from smoking a pack of cigarettes a day was 1 out of 278, from any cancer was 1 out of 357, or for an American to die in an auto accident was 1 out of 4,167.

Now, I must ask, with perhaps an unconscious touch of outrage in my voice, why is this death by Marxism, so incredible and significant in its magnitude, unknown or unappreciated compared to the importance given slavery, cancer deaths, auto accident deaths, and so on. Especially, especially I must add again, when unlike cancer, auto accidents, and smoking, those deaths under Marxism in the Soviet Union were intentionally caused? They were murdered.

Anyway, when you see again the figure of 20,000,000 deaths for Stalin or the Soviet Union, double or triple them in your mind.

Link of Note

”How Russia went from a workers’ state to state capitalism–Why did Stalin rise to power?” (9/1/2003)

By Alan MaassSo, how do communists – Marxists — now view Stalin’s mortacracy? By redefinition, a standard communist trick (e.g., “democratic people’s republic”). I quote from the article:

So-called “socialism” in Stalin’s Russia–and other countries, like China and Cuba, that modeled their systems on the USSR–is diametrically opposed to the basic principles we stand for. The rulers of the former USSR under Stalin used the rhetoric of socialism and Marxism to justify a different reality–an exploitative system, run by a minority, using forms of authority not that very different to capitalism in the West.

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Anarchies Do Exist—You Live In One

June 9, 2009

[First published April 28, 2005] There are a variety of anarchists, such as anarcho-communists, anarcho-libertarianists, and plain old anarchists. All oppose government, that is an institution that monopolizes force. What distinguishes them is their view of other institutions of society. For example, anarcho libertarians are for a free market—people should be free, which also means free to do business. Anarcho-communists oppose this, and believe that unfettered capitalism is as oppressive as government.

What is fascinating to me is that all these anarchists seem ignorant of the fact that they all live in an anarchy. And I’m not writing about some little clan, village, or town, but the largest society of all. In think about anarchy, there is a mental bug here that reminds me of what I used to do with my students in the beginning of my introductory class. I would ask them: “Do you think that we will ever be able to create an invisible solid?”

Some answered, “No,” some, a hesitant, “Yes.” Well, I soon pointed out that, “In this room there is an invisible solid.”

After they all looked at me as though I were crazy, I pointed to the classroom window on the other side of which we could see students passing by. “Isn’t that glass invisible? Can’t you see through it to the students walking by on the other side of that solid?”

The conceptual problem is simple and well explored in psychology. People are educated to see certain things and not to see others. Throughout their lives, through formal education, movies, television, books, speeches, parents, and their own chatter people develop a mind set. Even when some things are seen daily, they may not be really seen . And one such mindset is over the impossibility of invisibility, like making ourselves truly invisible as in the movie about the invisible man. And similarly with other solids. Thus, the invisibility of clear and clean glass is missed. No one has pointed it out.

And so it is with anarchy. Anarchy is not the absence of government, but of that type of government that monopolizes force and is able to back up its laws and decrees with coercive and deadly force. Try not paying taxes, or refuse to appear in court for a speeding ticket, or sell drugs on a street corner, and government agents with badges and in uniforms will come for you If you resist and fight them. You will be hauled off to jail at the point of their guns.

The arguments against anarchy are usually that it couldn’t last long, that we would have no security against thugs, and some kind of government would eventually have to come about, most probably a dictatorship, since people would be willing to give up their freedom for security. This is all wrong

We all have lived under an anarchy for centuries, since 1648 to be precise. Then, after the bloody and disastrous Thirty Years War, European monarchies signed the Treaty of Westphalia, which allowed each prince or king to govern their kingdom as they saw fit, especially regarding its religion. This treaty established the modern state system, with sovereignty and independence the governing laws. Gradually, this system of sovereign states spread throughout the world, and now is such a norm of international behavior that the thugs that rule some states, such as North Korea, are protected from interference from the outside so long as they only murder their own citizens.

Thus, there is no government that rules nations and monopolizes force, not even the United Nations. International relations, the system of nation-states, is an anarchy.

Don’t misunderstand. This does not mean that there are no norms or laws that nations obey. But obedience to the norms and rules is voluntary. That international relations, our largest and most extensive society, is an anarchy is well known and written about by students of international relations, and some professional books even have that in their title (e.g., Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society), even the fact that as Hobbes would point out, it is thus a state of war (e.g., Stanley Hoffmann, The State of War).

Moreover, those who favor an anarchy, and I do among nations, would learn much about anarchies by studying international relations. For example, anarchies can be stable—this one is over 550 years old. Although thugdoms do exist, they control only a minority of countries, not the world, while a majority (119) of democracies also exist. Moreover, in spite of the lack of a government, nations collaborate, cooperate, solve joint problems, and establish norms and customs that govern this anarchy, as norms and customs govern any group of people.

What is most important to observe is that there is much less violence in this anarchy than there is within states that have a true government. For example, not even counting the human cost of their civil wars, rebellions, and such violence within states, governments murdered in the last century over four times those killed in combat in international wars and violence. Just one state, the Soviet Union, has been far more violence internally in number of killed than anarchic international relations over the same period.

Link of Note

”Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) Moral and Political Philosophy” The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

It says of Hobbes:

His vision of the world is strikingly original and still relevant to contemporary politics. His main concern is the problem of social and political order: how human beings can live together in peace and avoid the danger and fear of civil conflict. He poses stark alternatives: we should give our obedience to an unaccountable sovereign (a person or group empowered to decide every social and political issue). Otherwise, what awaits us is a ‘state of nature’ that closely resembles civil war – a situation of universal insecurity, where all have reason to fear violent death and where rewarding human cooperation is all but impossible.

Could ever a philosopher by more manifestly wrong, and yet believed so “relevant to contemporary politics.” As I said to my students about invisibility, ‘Look out the window.” As I say to our contemporary Hobbesians, look at international relations, the governance of free peoples in democracies, and what thugs (leviathaners in practice) do to the people they rule.

Never Again Series

Italian Newspaper Interview.

June 7, 2009

[First published May 2, 2005] Following is an interview of R.J. Rummel by the editor in chief of La Provincia di Como, an Italian daily newspaper.

1) Your researches about democides reveal how dangerous is government power. But when does concentrated political power produce democides?

The borderline is between democracies and nondemocracies. Democratic governments almost never murder their own citizens, while the least democratic governments murder them in the hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions.

2)       How did you begin to study mass murders?

The nature, causes, and conditions of war had been the early focus of my research, but I kept coming across references to this or that government murdering thousands of people. Even though a PhD in political science, I had not heard of many of these deaths. This stimulated my curiosity, so when I completed my five volumes on Understanding Conflict and War, I did a pilot study to get an estimate of the extent of government murder, which I began to call democide, in the world. I was shocked at its extent. So, I began a through eight-year data collection project to fully detail all the killing. When completed, I came up with about 170 million people murdered by governments 1900-1987. the specifics are in my HTM”>Death By Government and Statistics of Democide.

3)       From Nazism to former U.S.S.R and China, it seems to exist an internal link between bureaucracy/order and mass murders. Is it correct? How can you explain this relation?

It is a relationship between the power a regime has and the likelihood it will murder its people or those it controls. The more power at the center, the more democide. Simply, power kills.

4)       Your studies are revealing the frailty of the Hobbesian paradigm: state is not the main condition for peace, but the transcendental condition of any political violence. Do you agree?

It is not the state per se, but whether the state is controlled such that it is prevented from murdering people. Democracy is such control, since those in power are responsible to the people, but also democracies are civil societies with many contra-state power organizations and societies, like the church, universities, the media, corporations, small businesses, social groups, etc. These balance and restrain power, as does the periodic requirement that leaders submit their record to the voter, who then can fire them.

When the state is not so restrained, then we get a Hussein, Taliban, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.

5)       In your opinion, why do political scientists have generally neglected the impressive chapter of democides?

First, in their education, they only learned about the Holocaust. Second, by inclination they tend to favor government action (after all, many students select political science because they want to do something about social problems they see, and believe the government is the way to deal with them) and bristle at claims that government can do evil things, like murdering people wholesale. Third, since most are on the left, and most killing is by left-wing governments, if they do know about it, they refuse to teach or write about it for political reasons, or believe that when governments are trying to revolutionize a society to free people from exploitation, poverty, and inequality, it is a just war, and in war people are killed.

6)       How was difficult to estimate the magnitude of government killing?

Very. And this is why in my statistics I give a most improbable low and high, and then what I call a prudent mid-estimate. The low and high provide a most likely range in which the true number should lie.

7)       You said that democratic freedom is a method of non-violence. What do you properly mean?

Just that. When conflicts occur in a democratic society, they are managed democratically through debate, negotiated, compromise, peaceful demonstrations and protests, and ultimately if society wide, through voting, and acceptance of the results. Note that in the U.S. we had two huge socio-political conflicts, one in 1999 over whether President Clinton should be fired, and the other over who really won the 2000 presidential election. Both were resolved peacefully. To my knowledge, not one person was killed or injured in these conflicts, and virtually no violence occurred. Yet, it is hard to imagine conflict that is more serious where the emotions and interests of people were more engaged.

8) Carl Schmitt argued that – once a government has the power – nothing proves that law will be respected and violence will not be used. From these premises, democracy seems not enough to prevent political violence. What is you opinion?

This is dichotomous, either-or thinking. Government is necessary and anyway, an anarchy would naturally turn into some kind of government, if only by the smartest and strongest thugs. But once there is a government, the questions are then which kind most respects and law and creates the least violence. And this is democracy, especially liberal democracy with its respect for human rights. If one lists all the violence in the world over, say, ten or twenty years. the pattern would jump out of the data. Democracies by far would have the least.

9)       You argue that freedom promotes peace. Would you please indicate some evidence of it?

My God, my website is full of the evidence. The most systematic evidence is in my five volumes on Understanding Conflict and War. The evidence regarding democide is in my Statistics of Democide. Just one and the most recent publications of the evidence is in to the Appendix to my Saving Lives . I recommend it to you as an example of how I did the empirical studies. For the historical and qualitative discussion of freedom and violence, go to Chapters 5 to 7 in the book.

10)   Are we still facing, in some part of the world, the very risk of a democide?

Not only facing, it is ongoing in Sudan, Burma, North Korea, and the Congo, just to mention the worse of the democide underway.

You will find on my website the world’s most extensive Q and A regarding my work on democide and war.

Armenian Genocide

June 6, 2009

[first published May 4, 2005] Were the total number of human beings murdered by governments—their democide—widely known, it would be stunning and chilling. And perhaps it would bring pressure on liberal democracies, the only type of government that does not murder its own, to stop the democide now going on in Sudan, North Korea, Burma, and various other thugdoms in Africa.

In the history of this democide in the last century, one that stands out for various reasons is the mass murder of Armenians, Greeks, and other Christians by the Young Turk rulers during 1915 to 1918. It was well planned in the highest councils of government, and well prepared and organized, as was the Holocaust. Then in 1915 the telegrammed order, “Take care of the Armenians,” launched the genocide.

The Young Turk government collapsed with Turkey’s defeat along with its ally Germany in World War I. But, the killing did not end then. Within less than a year of their defeat the post-war Turkish government was taken over by Kemal Attaturk, whose positive reputation in the West hides the fact that he restarted the genocide of the Armenians, and with a greater focus on wiping out the Greek minority also.

The table below provides the totals. The large collection of estimates, sources, and my calculations behind this these numbers is in Chapter 5 of my Statistics of Democide .

Among genocide scholars the entire focus is on the Young Turks, and the United States State Department is often questioned by them about what it knows. After all, the United States had full information about the genocide from it is ambassador, Henry Morgenthau, and other diplomats in Turkey at the time. Ambassaador Morgenthau actually wrote a book published in 1919 that described the genocide. But, for political reasons the State Department refuses to make its archives on the genocide public, or even acknowledge that the genocide took place. Now, Israel—ISRAEL—not only joins the United States in this, but also pressures its genocide scholars and others against public comments on it.

How explain this? By two words that I increasingly find distasteful—real politic. I hope some day we can encase in lead the foreign policy these words describe and drop it in the deepest part of the ocean. The sound we might then hear could be the cheering of all the dead souls whose memory this policy has consigned to oblivion.

Link of Note

”Rattling the Cage: Playing politics with genocide” (4/21/05) By Larry Derfner, The Jerusalem Post

I am including the following article in full, since one has to register with the newspaper to read it.

“And the world stood silent.” This is one of the most indelible Jewish memories of the Holocaust, and one of our most bitter accusations.

On Sunday, in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide the slaughter of at least 1 million Armenian civilians by the Turkish Ottoman regime will be memorialized.

What does the State of Israel and many of its American Jewish lobbyists have to say about it, about this first genocide of the 20th century? If they were merely standing silent, that would be an improvement. Instead, on the subject of the Armenian genocide, Israel and some US Jewish organizations, notably the American Jewish Committee, have for many years acted aggressively as silencers. In Israel, attempts to broadcast documentaries about the genocide on state-run television have been aborted. A program to teach the genocide in public schools was watered down to the point that history teachers refused to teach it.

In the US Congress, resolutions to recognize the genocide and the Ottoman Turks’ responsibility for it have been snuffed out by Turkey and its right-hand man on this issue, the Israel lobby.

Jeshajahu Weinberg, founding director of the US Holocaust Museum, wrote that when Armenians lobbied to show the genocide in the museum, Turkey and Israel counter-lobbied to keep out any trace of it. The museum decided to make three mentions of the genocide, including Hitler’s call to his troops to be merciless to their victims: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

Over 125 Holocaust scholars including Elie Wiesel, Deborah Lipstadt, Daniel Goldhagen, Raul Hilberg and Yehuda Bauer have signed ads in the New York Times demanding acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide and the Ottoman Turks’ culpability for it. Wiesel testified in Congress on behalf of such a resolution. The International Association of Genocide Scholars which, by the way, is studded with Jewish names holds the same view as a matter of course.

In the face of all this, Israel’s position, as articulated by then-foreign minister Shimon Peres before a 2001 visit to Turkey, says the Armenian genocide is “a matter for historians to decide.”

The American Jewish Committee’s position is that of “the US government, the government of Israel, and the Turkish Jewish community: that this is an issue best left to historians, not politicians,” says Barry Jacobs of the AJC’s Washington office.

Off the record, a Foreign Ministry official describes Israel’s approach to the issue as “practical, realpolitik. Whoever sees our position in this region can understand how important our relations with Turkey are.”

And that’s what determines the Israeli and US Jewish establishment stand on the Armenian genocide Israel’s crucial military, economic and political ties with Turkey.

Then, along with the “realpolitik” considerations, there’s the Jewish people’s weighty moral debt to Turkey, a safe harbor for Jews since the Spanish Inquisition over 500 years ago.

Finally, on a petty level, there’s the worry that letting the Armenian genocide out of history’s closet might diminish the “uniqueness” of the Holocaust in people’s minds.

“Frankly, I’m pretty disgusted. I think that my government preferred economic and political relations with Turkey to the truth. I can understand why they did it, but I don’t agree with it.”

That’s Yehuda Bauer talking. He’s Israel’s leading Holocaust historian, an Israel Prize winner, and now academic adviser to Yad Vashem. He began studying the Armenian genocide about 25 years ago as a natural outgrowth of his study of the Holocaust.

For 80 years, says Bauer, Turkey has been “denying the genocide… saying, ‘Yes, there was terrible suffering on both sides, the Turkish versus the Armenian, these things happen in war.’ But that’s nonsense. This was a definite, planned attack on a civilian minority, and whatever Armenian resistance there was came in response to the imminent danger of mass murder.”

To Turkey’s claim, backed by Israel and its Washington lobby, that there’s no conclusive proof of a Turkish Ottoman order for the mass murder of Armenians, Bauer says, “Oh, there’s no doubt about it whatsoever. It’s absolutely clear.” He cites “thousands” of testimonials from US, German and Austrian officials who were in Turkey and what is now Armenia when it happened.

One of the most important of those witnesses was US ambassador to Turkey Henry Morganthau a Jew, incidentally. He wrote that the “persecution of Armenians is assuming unprecedented proportions. Reports from widely scattered districts indicate a systematic attempt to uproot peaceful Armenian populations and… arbitrary efforts, terrible tortures, wholesale expulsions and deportations from one end of the Empire to the other, accompanied by frequent instances of rape, pillage and murder, turning into massacre, to bring destruction and destitution on them.”

Israel and the Israel lobby fully acknowledge that the Armenians suffered a terrible “tragedy.” A Foreign Ministry statement even notes that “the Jewish people have a special sensitivity to the murders and human tragedies that occurred during the years 1915 and 1916.”

They just won’t say who was to blame, or whether Turkey bears historical responsibility. Mention Wiesel and all the rest of the Holocaust and genocide historians, and the Israeli and US Jewish officials come back off the record with the renowned Bernard Lewis. Along with a few other American historians, Lewis says it wasn’t a genocide at all, that World War I was going on and Armenians were fighting with Russia against the Turks, and that you can’t blame Turkey for what happened, not then and certainly not now.

Thus the official Israeli/Jewish line: “It’s a matter for historians to decide.”

Fair enough. Even though Lewis’s side is terribly outnumbered among Western historians, let’s say the burden of proof lies with Wiesel, Bauer, Lipstadt et al, who say the Ottoman Turks ordered the massacre of 1 million-1.5 million Armenians. Let’s say Israeli and US Jewish leaders aren’t competent to judge who’s right and who’s wrong.

And let’s even give their declared neutrality the benefit of the doubt because of Israel’s relations with Turkey, and Turkey’s long history of welcoming Jews in distress.

The point is this: Israel and the US Jewish establishment may say they’re neutral over what happened to the Armenians 90 years ago, but their actions say the opposite. They’ve not only taken sides, they’re on the barricades. They’ve done everything they can to cover up what the great majority of historians, including the entire community of Holocaust scholars, say was a clear-cut case of genocide.

Jews shouldn’t do this for any reason. Ninety years after the Armenian genocide, there is a decent Jewish response to the sickening behavior of the State of Israel, the American Jewish Committee and other US Jewish organizations: Not in our name.

Never Again Series

Democide Galore

June 5, 2009

[First published May 8, 2005 Note for regular visitors: The {right} sidebar now provides a link to an archive in which I have organized together and by topic all my posts on different blogs, and website commentaries]

A few indigestible tidbits before the main course.

The democide deaths in Darfur, Sudan, have now probably exceeded 400,000, and perhaps twice the deaths from the Great Tsunami that was such oh-my-God!-news months ago. Meanwhile, with killing slowness, an underarmed, undermanned African Union force has been sent there to prevent the killing and assure peace, and now will be increased to about 12,000 troops by next year. This is not even the minimum required to stop the killing.

Dictatorial Ethiopia is suffering from another famine. The UN says that without food aid as many as 300,000 children will die. The UN has called for international help, again, as it has to help those starving under other thug regimes. Shouldn’t we also apply the “Never Again” to famine, and call also for the end to these killing. Criminal regimes? As I’ve commented before, democracies never have had a famine.

In Northern Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army has been slaughtering peasants and caused about 2,000,000 people to flee their villages. Worst of all, it “has reportedly abducted more than 20,000 children. Some are forced to fight, some to carry bags, others to have sex with the fighters. By way of initiation, many are obliged to club, stamp or bite to death their friends and relatives, and then to lick their brains, drink their blood and even eat their boiled flesh.” (link here) The International Court of Justice is about to issue an arrest warrant for the head of this rebel army, but local leaders oppose this as prolonging the conflict. Instead, they say, “if the rebels confess their guilt and undergo cleansing rituals, they will be accepted back into their communities.”

And then in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, over 31,000 a month die from civil war, democide, and associated disease and famine, which means that by now the toll has arisen to about 3,900,000 in six years. It is ruled by another thug regime

Then there is VJ day, and the end of World War II, which has occasioned both platitudes for the fighting spirit of Russian troops and the head shaking over their losses in the war. I did a lot of research on Soviet losses during the war. From a variety of official and unofficial sources, I estimated that the Soviets lost 7,000,000 men and women in battle, and 19,625,000 in total when I add the 3,000,000 Soviet POWs murdered, and those killed during the Nazi occupation.

But, which is seldom recognized in the outpouring of comments on the war, Stalin is responsible for the deaths by deportation, in camps, by summary execution, and through such extraordinary wartime measures as forcing prisoners to clear minefields with their feet, of around 10,000,000 citizens. Dead by Stalin and not Hitler! Then their were the mass murders carried out through Eastern Europe and occupied Germany by the Red Army and KGB, foreign deportation dead, and the mass of foreign POWs dying in Soviet camps. These dead would add another 3,000,000 to the total.

So, the Soviet’s (the use of “Russian” for Soviets is not correct, since a large number of different national groups had been forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union, such as Latvians, Estonians, Ukrainians, Armenian, etc.) lost about 13,000,000 to Hitler’s democide. And Stalin’s democide amounted to about 13,000,000 citizens and foreigners.

Overall, Hitler murdered about 21,000,000 people, and Stalin about 43,000,000. No one in recorded history, as far as I could determine, has murdered more during his rule. And yet, . . . try to relax and take two deep breaths to get ready for this . . . in Volgograd, once named Stalingrad, authorities will unveil a statue of . . . Stalin!

But wait, got more. The All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center took a poll, in answer to which half the respondants were positive toward Stalin’s “role in the life of the country” — 20% very positive, 30% some what positive, and ONLY 12% very negative. If anything displays the kind of education and information Russians are getting, this is it.

All this reflects the gradual takeover of Russia by present and former military and security chiefs, the refusal to publicize the tyranny and mass murders of Stalin, the turning a blind eye to the complicity of present and past officials in Stalin’s murders, and the public regret about the fall of the Soviet Union (I think President Putin called it “catastrophic”). As now is well known, Russia is has become an authoritarian state with a democratic veneer. Elections, yes, but the Putin regime now controls the major media and hassles and hamstrings opposition parties.

Oh yes, one more thing. When the Allies set aside May 8, 1945, to celebrate their victory over Germany, Algeria was then a French colony. Understandably, with all the celebration about victory and freedom, the Algerians tried, with the permission of the sous-prefet, to demonstrate for independence. Although a peaceful demonstration, they were fired on by troops and legionnaires, after which the military carried out a street-by-street, house-by-house massacre of any Algerians they could lay hands on and if they could not they would, for example, drop grenades down chimneys. About 45,000 Algerians were massacred (link here), of which are shown two heads below. Thanks to Gary Busch for the email tip and photo below.

Link of Note

”Outside View: Dictators must go” (4/19/05) By Herbutus Hoffman

Hoffman is president and founder of the World Security Network. While recognizing President Bush’s Forward Strategy of Freedom, he says,

Western foreign policy is for the most part reactionary, rather than proactive in “shaping a better world.” Foreign policy is for the most part a mix of lifeless bureaucracy and fear, almost always reactive and never preventative. Foreign policy too often contains a shot of cynicism as its actors secretly flirt with the 43 global dictators regardless of their character, only because they happen to be in power or because they bring the promise of new business.

Democratically legitimized politicians continue to hesitate when they ought to take action against them on behalf of oppressed people in other countries. . . .

It is perfectly clear for all to see: today’s Europe is secure only because there is now more freedom and democracy than there was 20 years ago. . . .

The United States is rich and powerful because it gave its citizens freedom more than 200 years ago. West Germany was rich, East Germany poor. North Korea is extremely poor, South Korea rich. Vietnam is poor, Thailand rich. . . .

Let’s start a new approach with fresh, new thought, combined with optimism for a new progressive foreign policy — with imagination a la Einstein — to promote democratic development and to get rid of the last 43 dictators in the word by 2025, now!

Freedom's Principles
An interactive book-in-the-making blog

It’s Not Hopeless — There Is An Antidote

June 4, 2009

[First published May 16, 2005] Ryan Barnard lest this comment on the Thursday, March 03, 2005 Refract Blog:

So many atrocities, both epic and personal. So much sorrow in the world. Two options: turn a blind eye or work to change things. But all of these atrocities repeat, over and over again in the course of human history, in so many different societies. That suggests that it’s not cultural, that it’s human nature. Perhaps an aberration of human nature, but biologically wired nonetheless. And so how can one hope to ever make a difference?

So much suffering. So little of it need ever happen.

I really want some encouragement… I feel so hopeless. What can anyone do…?

This feeling gets to me, since I believe the evidence is persuasive — there is more than hope, there is an outright solution. And one that is desirable in itself. This is fostering global democratic freedom. I wrote a blog on this some months ago, ” Yes, There is Hope—Great Hope” ( Link here)

Rather than repeat that blog, I will present in figures some of the evidence. All are from my “Statistics of Democide” (link here). The first figure is 17.3 below. Note how the number murdered by governments rises at the high centralized power, high totalitarian end, while it’s lowest (virtually zero) at the low power, democratic end (liberal democracies). This already tells us what to do about democide. Diffuse and democratize power.

Figure 1.3 shows the rise and fall of democide with the rise and fall of totalitarian states. There is the slight rise in foreign democide by democracies during World War II (1941-1945), which is a reflection of illegal (Geneva Conventions) Allied urban bombing of German, and later Japanese cities. The others in the plot are authoritarian states, like Italy, Hungary, and China (Chiang Kai-chek).

Figure 17.2 is the best of the lot. It’s the result of a factor (component) analysis of various measures of politics and democide for over 200 nations. The result shows that political power and totalitarianism are aligned with each other and both almost completely with the total genocide, domestic democide, and democide rate (annual per capita). Democracy, however, is completely opposed. It is as though democide forms a tight cone of behavior, and down the center of that behavior, a causal force acting on it is totalitarianism, while democracy is a driving against it.

The easiest to understand figure and by virtue of that, maybe the most powerful is 17.5 below. This is a plot of domestic democide logged against the range of power, where the size of the point in the plot represents the amount of democide. Domestic democide is plainly a logarithmic function of power. That is, as power increases, domestic democide just does not increase additively, but by magnitudes – by a factor of ten.

There is much more I could present, such as what happens when many other variables are held constant. But for my purpose here, which it to prove the existence of an antidote to democide, these figures should serve.

Link of Note

” Can institutions resolve ethnic conflict?” (February 2000) By William Easterly, World Bank


High quality institutions, such as rule of law, bureaucratic quality, freedom from government expropriation, and freedom from government repudiation of contracts, mitigate the adverse economic consequences of ethnic fractionalization identified by Easterly and Levine 1997 and others. In countries with sufficiently good institutions, ethnic diversity does not lower growth or worsen economic policies. High quality institutions also lessen war casualties on national territory and lessen the probability of genocide for a given amount of ethnic fractionalization.

Translation of World Bankanese: Among countries with ethnic divisions, the liberal democracies among them are least likely to commit genocide.

Freedom's Principles
An interactive book-in-the-making blog

Democracies Up, Violence Down Again, Media Still Blind

June 2, 2009

[First published May 30, 2005] In his May 28, 2005, op-ed piece, “Give Peace a Chance,” in The New York Times (link here), John Tierney points out:

The new edition of “Peace and Conflict,” a biennial global survey being published next week by the University of Maryland, shows that the number and intensity of wars and armed conflicts have fallen once again, continuing a steady 15-year decline that has halved the amount of organized violence around the world.

Tierney is at a loss to explain this and first looks to an economist for an explanation, which is the there is less and less to gain economically from war. And then says:

Of course, wars are also fought for noneconomic reasons, but those, too, seem to be diminishing. The end of the cold war left the superpowers’ proxy armies without patrons, and the spread of democracy made nations less bellicose. (Democracies almost never fight each other.) Mr. Easterbrook calculates that the amount of military spending per capita has declined by a third worldwide since 1985. [Easterbook here]

He has pulled aside the shade and looked out the window, but since this is the only mention of the democratic peace in the whole article, he seems unsure, if not doubting, what he has seen. Again, I will provide some of the compelling evidence in a series of charts.

The following two charts show the rapid increase in democracies and liberal democracies since 1900.

The following chart plots the overall non-freedomness of the international system per year. This is the average rating of nations per year in their degree of freedom (the higher the rating, the less freedom).

The above are based on data from Freedom House (link here)

Now, lets look at the changes in regime type, as plotted by the “Peace and Conflict” study Tierney wrote his op-ed about (link here). See below.

The anocracies are akin to partially free, authoritarian, nations. Note that in these charts around 1990 is the critical year when the number of democracies spurt up and autocracies, those lest democratic, dive down in numbers. Now, lets see what happens to violence since 1946.

All forms of violence are headed down, and the crucial years are between 1985 and 1990, which is just the time when after a continual increase (see the first three charts), the number of democracies jump up. The way to understand this is that in the late 1980s, democracies achieved a critical mass in the international system, a tipping point for violence. Decades ago I predicted this point would be reached eventually, and now it has.

The last two charts taken together well substantiate President Bush’s Forward Strategy of Freedom, that it, foster freedom to foster peace. Do you think this might have something to do with the media largely ignoring the democratic peace in action, as shown here?

Link of Note

(Spring 2004) By John Mueller

He says:

It seems to me, though, that the most reliable restraints on violent behavior—both by individuals and by states—stem from human nature. For the most part, following the Rodney King prescription, we all—or almost all—actually do really want just to get along. There certainly is a quota of jerks out there, but most people most of the time are inclined to avoid conflict— certainly violent conflict. Their key goal is to live in peace and security, and they do this in part by adopting a live-and-let-live philosophy and by sharpening their skills from a very early age for determining whom to trust and befriend.7 By and large, their instincts predispose them not to belligerence or aggressiveness or even to stand and fight, but rather to flee conflict by removing themselves from threatening situations and moving from neighborhoods that are, or seem, dangerous. What is remarkable about most societies is how small in number, indeed how little in evidence, are the police forces required to maintain acceptable order. . . .

Thus, international war has declined remarkably since 1945 even while
international anarchy continues, effectively, to flourish: no one, surely, would confuse the United Nations or other international bodies with a Hobbesian

Experience suggests, then, that alarm about international “anarchy” is much
overstressed. Regulation is not normally required, and “anarchy” could become a desirable state.

So, the decrease in violence is due to human nature and learning about violence — it is a natural result of the anarchic international system.

Not only has the democratic peace brought a greater peace to nations, but it has also enabled all kinds of theories explaining this peace to flourish.

Democratic Peace

No To Reifying Groups

June 1, 2009

[First published May 31, 2005] To me the unit of measure is always the individual –only the individual exists in nature and the group is an abstraction, but a necessary abstraction and benign one as long as we keep in front that it is made up of real individuals.

Dave Schuler commented:

That is patently demonstrably false. In every part of the world at every time in the history of the species, human beings have lived together in groups. We are social animals and we have always been social animals. We are not cats. For human beings groups have precisely as much objective existence as the individual.

We are also not ants or bees. The prevalent human mode of life has been the small group (although not exclusively the family group) for most of our history and pre-history. The village.

Ted Kaczynski is not the epitome of human beings—he’s the pitiful exception.

Your litany of countries that divided are all divisions along ethnic lines. Does one join an ethnic group (the act of an individual) or is one born into it?

This disagreement is of no little importance. Politicians and demagogues often treat groups as real, existing things, as though the individual members were secondary to the group. Indeed, much democide is carried out against individuals, not because of their personal qualities or crimes, but because of their group membership, such as bourgeoisie, Jews, landlords, Armenians, infidels, and so on.

However, groups have no real existence, as do individual human beings, although it is common to reify them. Groups, even the family, is a socio-cultural construction, more simply, a concept, that wholly exists in the mind. It cannot be kicked, touched, or seen. Even its supposedly outward manifestations, such as IBM’s headquarters building, a Federal courthouse, Catholic Mass have a group meaning that we project onto them.

Similarly, with racial and ethnic identities, with which clever politicians are often trying to make individuals identify (identity politics — see link below), are socio-cultural in origin, and exist only within certain cultures at certain times. True, there are certain physical characteristics identified with such groups, but this is the way the concept, say of Jew, has become socioculturally defined in our minds, and that can readily change as do cultures. There is always a subset of human beings that share certain characteristic, and generally these shared characteristics do not define a group presently, such as hair or eye color, skinniness, or nose size, or behavior like jogging, card playing, or swimming.

Note however how the reification of the group has led to laws that ignore the individuals involved, such as racial set asides and university admission policies that give special credit to Blacks and Hispanics, regardless of the capabilities and background of individual Black and Hispanics in comparison to the others that are discriminated against. Thus, a privileged Hispanic from a rich family could be given preference over a poor non-Hispanic who has had to work his way through school and overcome a broken family.

True, everywhere people have chosen to live in groups. These are, however, cultural-traditional groups with which individuals identify. But, that makes them no less individual human beings, with their own perceptions, expectations, sense of esteem, and so on. Nor does it make the groups any more real. To the outsider, they are only the clustering of individuals on which we impose certain concepts, such as family, clan, sect, and tribe. Note, however, the time and place conditionality of such groupings. For example, tribal membership is of utmost social significance in many African countries. It doesn’t exist in the United States outside of Indian reservations.

Can you tell me your tribe or clan?

Link of Note

“Identity politics” In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


The laden phrase “identity politics” has come to signify a wide range of political activity and theorizing founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups. Rather than organizing solely around ideology or party affiliation, identity politics typically concerns the liberation of a specific constituency marginalized within its larger context. Members of that constituency assert or reclaim ways of understanding their distinctiveness that challenge dominant oppressive characterizations, with the goal of greater self-determination.

Easterbrook End of War

May 31, 2009

[First published June 1, 2005] In a blog on the relationship between the decline of violence and the increase in the number of democracies, I quoted from John Tierney about the decline in violence, and he referred to Gregg Easterbrook’s article “EXPLAINING 15 YEARS OF DIMINISHING VIOLENCE — The End of War?” in The New Republic Online (link here). Unfortunately, the magazine has joined the growing trend to make full articles available on to subscribers.

Well, Colleague sent me a copy and I am posting it in full here. It’s long, but for those interested in the sharp drop in violence, the possible causes, and the democratic peace as an explanation will be rewarded by reading this in two ways. One is in the variety of explanations, so you are not stuck with my explanation. And then, how finally, when he has to mention the democratic peace, he does so in no more than a paragraph in this long work. Which in the context of the other explanations gives you a different view of what I have been treating as the explanation.

Daily explosions in Iraq, massacres in Sudan, the Koreas staring at each other through artillery barrels, a Hobbesian war of all against all in eastern Congo — combat plagues human society as it has, perhaps, since our distant forebears realized that a tree limb could be used as a club. But here is something you would never guess from watching the news: War has entered a cycle of decline. Combat in Iraq and in a few other places is an exception to a significant global trend that has gone nearly unnoticed — namely that, for about 15 years, there have been steadily fewer armed conflicts worldwide. In fact, it is possible that a person’s chance of dying because of war has, in the last decade or more, become the lowest in human history.

Five years ago, two academics — Monty Marshall, research director at the Center for Global Policy at George Mason University, and Ted Robert Gurr, a professor of government at the University of Maryland — spent months compiling all available data on the frequency and death toll of twentieth-century combat, expecting to find an ever-worsening ledger of blood and destruction. Instead, they found, after the terrible years of World Wars I and II, a global increase in war from the 1960s through the mid-’80s. But this was followed by a steady, nearly uninterrupted decline beginning in 1991. They also found a steady global rise since the mid-’80s in factors that reduce armed conflict — economic prosperity, free elections, stable central governments, better communication, more “peacemaking institutions,” and increased international engagement. Marshall and Gurr, along with Deepa Khosla, published their results as a 2001 report, Peace and Conflict, for the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland [reports avaiable here]. At the time, I remember reading that report and thinking, “Wow, this is one of the hottest things I have ever held in my hands.” I expected that evidence of a decline in war would trigger a sensation. Instead it received almost no notice.

“After the first report came out, we wanted to brief some United Nations officials, but everyone at the United Nations just laughed at us. They could not believe war was declining, because this went against political expectations,” Marshall says. Of course, 2001 was the year of September 11. But, despite the battles in Afghanistan, the Philippines, and elsewhere that were ignited by Islamist terrorism and the West’s response, a second edition of Peace and Conflict, published in 2003, showed the total number of wars and armed conflicts continued to decline. A third edition of the study, published last week, shows that, despite the invasion of Iraq and other outbreaks of fighting, the overall decline of war continues. This even as the global population keeps rising, which might be expected to lead to more war, not less.

In his prescient 1989 book, Retreat from Doomsday, Ohio State University political scientist John Mueller, in addition to predicting that the Soviet Union was about to collapse — the Berlin Wall fell just after the book was published — declared that great-nation war had become “obsolete” and might never occur again. [A related article by Mueller is here.] One reason the Soviet Union was about to collapse, Mueller wrote, was that its leaders had structured Soviet society around the eighteenth-century assumption of endless great-power fighting, but great-power war had become archaic, and no society with war as its organizing principle can endure any longer. So far, this theory has been right on the money. It is worth noting that the first emerging great power of the new century, China, though prone to making threatening statements about Taiwan, spends relatively little on its military.

Last year Mueller published a follow-up book, The Remnants of War, which argues that fighting below the level of great-power conflict — small-state wars, civil wars, ethnic combat, and clashes among private armies — is also waning. Retreat from Doomsday and The Remnants of War are brilliantly original and urgent books. Combat is not an inevitable result of international discord and human malevolence, Mueller believes. War, rather, is “merely an idea” — and a really bad idea, like dueling or slavery. This bad idea “has been grafted onto human existence” and can be excised. Yes, the end of war has been predicted before, prominently by H.G. Wells in 1915, and horrible bloodshed followed. But could the predictions be right this time?

First, the numbers. The University of Maryland studies find the number of wars and armed conflicts worldwide peaked in 1991 at 51, which may represent the most wars happening simultaneously at any point in history. Since 1991, the number has fallen steadily. There were 26 armed conflicts in 2000 and 25 in 2002, even after the Al Qaeda attack on the United States and the U.S. counterattack against Afghanistan. By 2004, Marshall and Gurr’s latest study shows, the number of armed conflicts in the world had declined to 20, even after the invasion of Iraq. All told, there were less than half as many wars in 2004 as there were in 1991.

Marshall and Gurr also have a second ranking, gauging the magnitude of fighting. This section of the report is more subjective. Everyone agrees that the worst moment for human conflict was World War II; but how to rank, say, the current separatist fighting in Indonesia versus, say, the Algerian war of independence is more speculative. Nevertheless, the Peace and Conflict studies name 1991 as the peak post-World War II year for totality of global fighting, giving that year a ranking of 179 on a scale that rates the extent and destructiveness of combat. By 2000, in spite of war in the Balkans and genocide in Rwanda, the number had fallen to 97; by 2002 to 81; and, at the end of 2004, it stood at 65. This suggests the extent and intensity of global combat is now less than half what it was 15 years ago.

How can war be in such decline when evening newscasts are filled with images of carnage? One reason fighting seems to be everywhere is that, with the ubiquity of 24-hour cable news and the Internet, we see many more images of conflict than before. As recently as two decades ago, the rebellion in Eritrea occurred with almost no world notice; the tirelessly globe-trotting Robert Kaplan wrote of meeting with Eritrean rebels who told him they hoped that at least spy satellites were trained on their region so that someone, somewhere, would know of their struggle. Today, fighting in Iraq, Sudan, and other places is elaborately reported on, with a wealth of visual details supplied by minicams and even camera-enabled cell phones. News organizations must prominently report fighting, of course. But the fact that we now see so many visuals of combat and conflict creates the impression that these problems are increasing: Actually, it is the reporting of the problems that is increasing, while the problems themselves are in decline. Television, especially, likes to emphasize war because pictures of fighting, soldiers, and military hardware are inherently more compelling to viewers than images of, say, water-purification projects. Reports of violence and destruction are rarely balanced with reports about the overwhelming majority of the Earth’s population not being harmed.

Mueller calculates that about 200 million people were killed in the twentieth century by warfare, other violent conflicts, and government actions associated with war, such as the Holocaust. About twelve billion people lived during that century, meaning that a person of the twentieth century had a 1 to 2 percent chance of dying as the result of international war, ethnic fighting, or government-run genocide. A 1 to 2 percent chance, Mueller notes, is also an American’s lifetime chance of dying in an automobile accident. The risk varies depending on where you live and who you are, of course; Mueller notes that, during the twentieth century, Armenians, Cambodians, Jews, kulaks, and some others had a far higher chance of death by war or government persecution than the global average. Yet, with war now in decline, for the moment men and women worldwide stand in more danger from cars and highways than from war and combat. World Health Organization statistics back this: In 2000, for example, 300,000 people died in combat or for war-related reasons (such as disease or malnutrition caused by war), while 1.2 million worldwide died in traffic accidents. That 300,000 people perished because of war in 2000 is a terrible toll, but it represents just .005 percent of those alive in that year.

This low global risk of death from war probably differs greatly from most of the world’s past. In prehistory, tribal and small-group violence may have been endemic. Steven LeBlanc, a Harvard University archeologist, asserts in his 2003 book about the human past, Constant Battles, that warfare was a steady feature of primordial society. LeBlanc notes that, when the aboriginal societies of New Guinea were first observed by Europeans in the 1930s, one male in four died by violence; traditional New Guinean society was organized around endless tribal combat. Unremitting warfare characterized much of the history of Europe, the Middle East, and other regions; perhaps one-fifth of the German population died during the Thirty Years War, for instance. Now the world is in a period in which less than one ten-thousandth of its population dies from fighting in a year. The sheer number of people who are being harmed by warfare is without precedent.

Next consider a wonderful fact: Global military spending is also in decline. Stated in current dollars, annual global military spending peaked in 1985, at $1.3 trillion, and has been falling since, to slightly over $1 trillion in 2004, according to the Center for Defense Information, a nonpartisan Washington research organization. Since the global population has risen by one-fifth during this period, military spending might have been expected to rise. Instead, relative to population growth, military spending has declined by a full third. In current dollars, the world spent $260 per capita on arms in 1985 and $167 in 2004.

The striking decline in global military spending has also received no attention from the press, which continues to promote the notion of a world staggering under the weight of instruments of destruction. Only a few nations, most prominently the United States, have increased their defense spending in the last decade. Today, the United States accounts for 44 percent of world military spending; if current trends continue, with many nations reducing defense spending while the United States continues to increase such spending as its military is restructured for new global anti-terrorism and peacekeeping roles, it is not out of the question that, in the future, the United States will spend more on arms and soldiers than the rest of the world combined.

Declining global military spending is exactly what one would expect to find if war itself were in decline. The peak year in global military spending came only shortly before the peak year for wars, 1991. There’s an obvious chicken-or-egg question, whether military spending has fallen because wars are rarer or whether wars are rarer because military spending has fallen. Either way, both trend lines point in the right direction. This is an extremely favorable development, particularly for the world’s poor — the less developing nations squander on arms, the more they can invest in improving daily lives of their citizens.

What is causing war to decline? The most powerful factor must be the end of the cold war, which has both lowered international tensions and withdrawn U.S. and Soviet support from proxy armies in the developing world. Fighting in poor nations is sustained by outside supplies of arms. To be sure, there remain significant stocks of small arms in the developing world — particularly millions of assault rifles. But, with international arms shipments waning and heavy weapons, such as artillery, becoming harder to obtain in many developing nations, factions in developing-world conflicts are more likely to sue for peace. For example, the long, violent conflict in Angola was sustained by a weird mix of Soviet, American, Cuban, and South African arms shipments to a potpourri of factions. When all these nations stopped supplying arms to the Angolan combatants, the leaders of the factions grudgingly came to the conference table.

During the cold war, Marshall notes, it was common for Westerners to say there was peace because no fighting affected the West. Actually, global conflict rose steadily during the cold war, but could be observed only in the developing world. After the cold war ended, many in the West wrung their hands about a supposed outbreak of “disorder” and ethnic hostilities. Actually, both problems went into decline following the cold war, but only then began to be noticed in the West, with confrontation with the Soviet empire no longer an issue.

Another reason for less war is the rise of peacekeeping. The world spends more every year on peacekeeping, and peacekeeping is turning out to be an excellent investment. Many thousands of U.N., nato, American, and other soldiers and peacekeeping units now walk the streets in troubled parts of the world, at a cost of at least $3 billion annually. Peacekeeping has not been without its problems; peacekeepers have been accused of paying very young girls for sex in Bosnia and Africa, and nato bears collective shame for refusing support to the Dutch peacekeeping unit that might have prevented the Srebrenica massacre of 1995. But, overall, peacekeeping is working. Dollar for dollar, it is far more effective at preventing fighting than purchasing complex weapons systems. A recent study from the notoriously gloomy rand Corporation found that most U.N. peacekeeping efforts have been successful.

Peacekeeping is just one way in which the United Nations has made a significant contribution to the decline of war. American commentators love to disparage the organization in that big cereal-box building on the East River, and, of course, the United Nations has manifold faults. Yet we should not lose track of the fact that the global security system envisioned by the U.N. charter appears to be taking effect. Great-power military tensions are at the lowest level in centuries; wealthy nations are increasingly pressured by international diplomacy not to encourage war by client states; and much of the world respects U.N. guidance. Related to this, the rise in “international engagement,” or the involvement of the world community in local disputes, increasingly mitigates against war.

The spread of democracy has made another significant contribution to the decline of war. In 1975, only one-third of the world’s nations held true multiparty elections; today two-thirds do, and the proportion continues to rise. In the last two decades, some 80 countries have joined the democratic column, while hardly any moved in the opposite direction. Increasingly, developing-world leaders observe the simple fact that the free nations are the strongest and richest ones, and this creates a powerful argument for the expansion of freedom. Theorists at least as far back as Immanuel Kant have posited that democratic societies would be much less likely to make war than other kinds of states. So far, this has proved true: Democracy-against-democracy fighting has been extremely rare. Prosperity and democracy tend to be mutually reinforcing. Now prosperity is rising in most of the world, amplifying the trend toward freedom. As ever-more nations become democracies, ever-less war can be expected, which is exactly what is being observed.

For the great-power nations, the arrival of nuclear deterrence is an obvious factor in the decline of war. The atomic bomb debuted in 1945, and the last great-power fighting, between the United States and China, concluded not long after, in 1953. From 1871 to 1914, Europe enjoyed nearly half a century without war; the current 52-year great-power peace is the longest period without great-power war since the modern state system emerged. Of course, it is possible that nuclear deterrence will backfire and lead to a conflagration beyond imagination in its horrors. But, even at the height of the cold war, the United States and the Soviet Union never seriously contemplated a nuclear exchange. If it didn’t happen then, it seems unlikely for the future.

In turn, lack of war among great nations sets an example for the developing world. When the leading nations routinely attacked neighbors or rivals, governments of emerging states dreamed of the day when they, too, could issue orders to armies of conquest. Now that the leading nations rarely use military force — and instead emphasize economic competition — developing countries imitate that model. This makes the global economy more turbulent, but reduces war.

In The Remnants of War, Mueller argues that most fighting in the world today happens because many developing nations lack “capable government” that can contain ethnic conflict or prevent terrorist groups, militias, and criminal gangs from operating. Through around 1500, he reminds us, Europe, too, lacked capable government: Criminal gangs and private armies roamed the countryside. As European governments became competent, and as police and courts grew more respected, legitimate government gradually vanquished thug elements from most of European life. Mueller thinks this same progression of events is beginning in much of the developing world. Government and civil institutions in India, for example, are becoming more professional and less corrupt — one reason why that highly populous nation is not falling apart, as so many predicted it would. Interstate war is in substantial decline; if civil wars, ethnic strife, and private army fighting also go into decline, war may be ungrafted from the human experience.

Is it possible to believe that war is declining, owing to the spread of enlightenment? This seems the riskiest claim. Human nature has let us down many times before. Some have argued that militarism as a philosophy was destroyed in World War II, when the states that were utterly dedicated to martial organization and violent conquest were not only beaten but reduced to rubble by free nations that initially wanted no part of the fight. World War II did represent the triumph of freedom over militarism. But memories are short: It is unrealistic to suppose that no nation will ever be seduced by militarism again.

Yet the last half-century has seen an increase in great nations acting in an enlightened manner toward one another. Prior to this period, the losing sides in wars were usually punished; consider the Versailles Treaty, whose punitive terms helped set in motion the Nazi takeover of Germany. After World War II, the victors did not punish Germany and Japan, which made reasonably smooth returns to prosperity and acceptance by the family of nations. Following the end of the cold war, the losers — the former Soviet Union and China — have seen their national conditions improve, if fitfully; their reentry into the family of nations has gone reasonably well and has been encouraged, if not actively aided, by their former adversaries. Not punishing the vanquished should diminish the odds of future war, since there are no generations who suffer from the victor’s terms, become bitter, and want vengeance.

Antiwar sentiment is only about a century old in Western culture, and Mueller thinks its rise has not been given sufficient due. As recently as the Civil War in the United States and World War I in Europe, it was common to view war as inevitable and to be fatalistic about the power of government to order men to march to their deaths. A spooky number of thinkers even adulated war as a desirable condition. Kant, who loved democracy, nevertheless wrote that war is “sublime” and that “prolonged peace favors the predominance of a mere commercial spirit, and with it a debasing self-interest, cowardice and effeminacy.” Alexis De Tocqueville said that war “enlarges the mind of a people.” Igor Stravinsky called war “necessary for human progress.” In 1895, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. told the graduating class of Harvard that one of the highest expressions of honor was “the faith … which leads a soldier to throw away his life in obedience to a blindly accepted duty.”

Around the turn of the twentieth century, a counter-view arose — that war is usually absurd. One of the bestselling books of late-nineteenth-century Europe, Lay Down Your Arms!, was an antiwar novel. Organized draft resistance in the United Kingdom during World War I was a new force in European politics. England slept during the ’30s in part because public antiwar sentiment was intense. By the time the U.S. government abolished the draft at the end of the Vietnam War, there was strong feeling in the United States that families would no longer tolerate being compelled to give up their children for war. Today, that feeling has spread even to Russia, such a short time ago a totalitarian, militaristic state. As average family size has decreased across the Western world, families have invested more in each child; this should discourage militarism. Family size has started to decrease in the developing world, too, so the same dynamic may take effect in poor nations.

There is even a chance that the ascent of economics to its pinnacle position in modern life reduces war. Nations interconnected by trade may be less willing to fight each other: If China and the United States ever fought, both nations might see their economies collapse. It is true that, in the decades leading up to World War I, some thought rising trade would prevent war. But today’s circumstances are very different from those of the Fin de siècle [turn of the century]. Before World War I, great powers still maintained the grand illusion that there could be war without general devastation; World Wars I and II were started by governments that thought they could come out ahead by fighting. Today, no major government appears to believe that war is the best path to nationalistic or monetary profit; trade seems much more promising.

The late economist Julian Simon proposed that, in a knowledge-based economy, people and their brainpower are more important than physical resources, and thus the lives of a country’s citizens are worth more than any object that might be seized in war. Simon’s was a highly optimistic view — he assumed governments are grounded in reason — and yet there is a chance this vision will be realized. Already, most Western nations have achieved a condition in which citizens’ lives possess greater economic value than any place or thing an army might gain by combat. As knowledge-based economics spreads throughout the world, physical resources may mean steadily less, while life means steadily more. That’s, well, enlightenment.

In his 1993 book, A History of Warfare, the military historian John Keegan recognized the early signs that combat and armed conflict had entered a cycle of decline. War “may well be ceasing to commend itself to human beings as a desirable or productive, let alone rational, means of reconciling their discontents,” Keegan wrote. Now there are 15 years of positive developments supporting the idea. Fifteen years is not all that long. Many things could still go badly wrong; there could be ghastly surprises in store. But, for the moment, the trends have never been more auspicious: Swords really are being beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. The world ought to take notice.

Visualizing democide

Freedom of Speech? Ha!

May 30, 2009

[First published July 6, 2005] Recently a professor returned from China and exclaimed about his freedom there. He lectured in several universities and said about it, “I could say anything I wanted.” This is typical of many Liberals and leftists who visit China and see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil, During the Cultural Revolution when there was blood shed across the land and maybe as many as 10,000,000 died, a member of the Sierra Club came through Hawaii and gave a speech. In it, he lauded what progress China had made and that there was much America could learn from them, especially on controlling population growth. Yes, kill a thousand here and another thousand there and it adds up.

China lovers have dominated discourse on China and since they have played a central role in communications and teaching, the public’s knowledge of the horrors of life under Mao and the massive megamurders of his communist regime, second only to Stalin’s [recent updating of the data has put Mao first], had never really reached public consciousness. Indeed, the general impression has been the communists made life better. No way. People in the later 1950s and 60s were worse off economically then they had been in the 1930s under the corrupt Nationalist regime, even though fascist it still allowed much more liberty than did the communists.

Anyway, here we have another Professor returning to extol his freedom of speech in China, and what do we soon thereafter find out. Bloggers and searchers on China’s internet are limited in what words they can use or search for. Words such as “freedom,” “democracy,” “human rights,” and “Taiwan independence” are forbidden. If one attempts to use them, or any other political speech, they get a popup which says “This message contains a banned expression, please delete this expression.”

Users will be fortunate if that is all that happens. Bloggers have been arrested, and now all Chinese websites and bloggers have had to register with the government (keep in mind that the government is the Communist Party) by the end of June, or be shut down.

The communists have created two planes of existence in China, the one hovering over the other. The bottom plane is the economic one, involving a more open and freer market system. Above it is the forbidden plane of political policy and activity run by the communist and military elite. It will be interesting to observe this duality, for by theory much accepted in political science, the lower plane with its growing middle class will gradually dissolve the upper one, like warm water undermining a glacier, or their will be a revolutionary outbreak that will shatter the upper plane.

What am I predicting? A “right wing” palace coup as took place in 1976 against the Gang of Four (including Mao’s widow Jiang Qing and her close associates) that eventually through Deng Xiaoping created the lower plane of economic activity we see now.

Remember. You read it here.

Link of Note

“MSN China Agrees to Ban ‘Freedom’ “ (6/14/05) By Tim Gray

Gray said:

Chinese bloggers are likely choosing their words a little more carefully this week after another American Internet behemoth gave in to Beijing’s restrictions regarding certain politically sensitive words.
Microsoft . . . agreed abide by censors banning the words “freedom” and “democracy” on its Chinese internet portal, MSN China, as well as other potentially politically charged subjects such as “Taiwan independence”, “human rights” and the “Dalai Lama.”

Microsoft is a business out to make money. And China with its huge mass of people, China has always been able to make Western businessmen forget their shame.
Democratic Peace Clock
Proof that More democratic
freedom = less war/violence

Myths About Terrorism

May 29, 2009

[First published July 8, 2005] There are two myths about terrorism that have gripped commentator’s’ minds and won’t let go. One is that poverty is an engine of terrorism and the other is that Madrassas provide the fuel.

In virtually my whole academic career I’ve had to shoot down the belief that poverty causes one problem after another, whether it is war, internal violence, criminality, or unhappiness. Now, it’s the cause of terrorism. Poverty causes none of this. Until recently, the evidence against this has been anecdotal, a matter of unsystematically looking at the background of terrorists. Now, a systematic empirical analysis has been conducted by Alberto Abadie at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government entitled, “Poverty, Political Freedom, and Roots of Terrorism.”. Its abstract follows:

This article provides an empirical investigation of the determinants of terrorism at the country level. In contrast with the previous literature on this subject, which focuses on transnational terrorism only, I use a new measure of terrorism that encompasses both domestic and transnational terrorism. In line with the results of some recent studies, this article shows that terrorist risk is not significantly higher for poorer countries, once the effects of other country-specific characteristics such as the level of political freedom are taken into account. Political freedom is shown to explain terrorism, but it does so in a non-monotonic way: countries in some intermediate range of political freedom are shown to be more prone to terrorism than countries with high levels of political freedom or countries with highly authoritarian regimes. This result suggests that, as experienced recently in Iraq and previously in Spain and Russia, transitions from an authoritarian regime to a democracy may be accompanied by temporary increases in terrorism. Finally, the results suggest that geographic factors are important to sustain terrorist activities.

Then there is the widespread belief that Madrassas breed terrorists. A recent empirical analysis, “The Madrassa Myth” by Peter Bergen and Swati Pandey found otherwise. Its abstract is below:

Op-Ed article by Peter Bergen and Swati Pandey disputes notion that Muslim religious schools, known as madrassas, are graduating students who become terrorists; says madrassas may breed fundamentalists, but they do not teach technical or linguistic skills necessary to be effective terrorist; says that as matter of national security, United States need not worry about Muslim fundamentalists with whom it disagrees; cites examination of educational backgrounds of 75 terrorists behind some of most significant recent terrorist attacks against Westerners, finding that only 9 of them attended madrassas; says World Bank-financed study raises further doubts about influence of madrassas in Pakistan, country where schools were thought to be most influential and virulently anti-American.

Phillip Carter on his blog Intel Dumpdisputes the above conclusions:

It’s true that the madrassas do not generally produce people like the educated terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. However, the madrassas *do* produce many of the the foot soldiers for Al Qaeda (and its affiliates) who are fighting us now in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who have fought in the Balkans, Chechnya, pre-9/11 Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Link of Note

“Militant Convicted of ‘Propagating Terror'” (6/26/05)


An Algerian militant considered the mastermind of the 2003 kidnapping of 32 European tourists in the Sahara desert was sentenced to life in prison for helping to form a terrorist group, but his whereabouts remained a mystery.

Amari Saifi, a leader of the Al Qaeda-linked Salafist Group for Call and Combat, didn’t appear in court even though he was captured by Chad rebels and later turned over to Algerian police last fall. Saifi, a former Algerian paratrooper known by his nom de guerre, Al Para, was convicted by the criminal court of “constitution of a terrorist group” and of “propagating terror among a population.”

This is an amusing example of how the LA Times refuses to call terrorists terrorists, even when their own report has to so identify a terrorist. I fell out of my seat with laughter when I read the headline.

Just Published in the alternative history Never Again
Series. Click cover for synopsis and free download.

If Democracies Have No Famines, What About India?

May 28, 2009

[First published July 10, 2005] In response to my empirical claim that democracies have never had a famine, I sometimes get questions about India, particularly about the 1943-1945 Bengal famine when India was under British rule.

First, of the 86,000,000 people who died in famines in the 20th century, not one of them lived in a democracy. Nor has any famine occurred in India while it was a democracy. Consider the work of Amartya Sen, for example, the 1998 Nobel Prize winner in economics from India. He became the youngest chairman of the Department of Economics, Jadavpur University, at the age of 23. He has been the President of the Econometric Society (1984), the International Economic Association (1986-89), the Indian Economic Association (1989), and the American Economic Association (1994). He is now Master of Trinity College Cambridge. So, he should know something about India. Sen says as well that no democracy has had a famine, and as far as India is concerned, its last famine was the 1943 Bengal famine ( Development as Freedom , p. 180) when India was a colony of Britain.

Second, as to the devastating Bengal famine, I’ve put some time into studying the scholarly works on it, including those by Indians. The highest estimate of the famine toll I could find is 4,500,000 dead; the lowest at 1,500,000. After going through these works, I settled on a range of 1,500,000 to 4,500,000 dead, most likely about 3,000,000. I did not mark this famine down as British democide. True, they are partly responsible for it, since it was aggravated by the British taking food supplies for their Burma campaign and to stock up for a possible Japanese invasion.

However, the famine was not intended and once it happened the British took steps to deal with it. This is the same argument I used for not counting the Chinese communist famine of 1959-63 as democide. If the Bengal famine is to be defined as British democide, then the Chinese famine must also so be counted, which would add at least 27,000,000 or more to the Chinese communist of about 35,000,000 murdered.

Link of Note

“Facts About Hunger” From CARE

CARE’s facts:

More than 840 million people in the world are malnourished — 799 million of them live in the developing world.

More than 153 million of the world’s malnourished people are children under the age of 5.

Six million children under the age of 5 die every year as a result of hunger.

Malnutrition can severely affect a child’s intellectual development. Malnourished children often have stunted growth and score significantly lower on math and language achievement tests than do well-nourished children.

Lack of dietary diversity and essential minerals and vitamins also contributes to increased child and adult mortality. Vitamin A deficiency impairs the immune system, increasing the annual death toll from measles and other diseases by an estimated 1.3 million-2.5 million children.

While every country in the world has the potential of growing enough food to feed itself, 54 nations currently do not produce enough food to feed their populations, nor can they afford to import the necessary commodities to make up the gap. Most of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Most of the widespread hunger in a world of plenty results from grinding, deeply rooted poverty. In any given year, however, between 5 and 10 percent of the total can be traced to specific events: droughts or floods, armed conflict, political, social and economic disruptions.

True, hunger and malnutrition occur even when famines are not present, but famine is the extreme and most deadly case of hunger and is reflected in these “facts.” Then note what is missing. There is no reference to democracy or dictatorships. Yet, the most glaring cause of extreme hunger and poverty is that thugs rule a country. How does one explain this blindness about hunger and poverty? How about ideological blindness and ignorance?
Visualizing democide
Graphical experiments on visualizing democide

Muslim North Africa

May 25, 2009

[First published July 28, 2005] Not all Muslims are terrorists. Dictators do not rule not all Muslims in these nations. Some live in democracies, although one wouldn’t know it from the commentators who exclaim that the Muslim religion is inconsistent with democracy. Although this often appears a sally against the Bush foreign policy in the Middle East, I think many of them believe it. It is helpful, therefore, to look at the status of Muslim nations in what is considered the hard-core, anti-democratic region, of North Africa, including the Horn of Africa. The map below shows the region to which I’m referring.

Now, lets look at these nations in detail. Below are two statistical tables on them, with their freedom status added. All those labeled free are liberal democracies, and those partly free with an asterisk are electoral democracies. As you can see, there are four liberal democracies out of 25 Muslim nations, and eight democracies when the electoral democracies are counted. This is far below the global proportion 44 percent liberal democracies and of 61 percent democratic.

So, for Africa it is clear that the Muslim religious culture appears as a hindrance to democracy. But, this is misleading. For the implication is that Muslims then oppose democracy, which is not true. I went into this on my Freedomist Blog (link here). Muslims place a higher value on democracy than do some people of the democracies. See the chart below

As I concluded my Freedomist Blog, what most clearly distinguishes democracy from nondemocracies is that in nondemocracies people live in fear. We see this in the Arab and North African Muslim countries. Therefore, if the democratization the Muslims value is to come, it must come from pressure from the outside. In this, the Forward Strategy of Freedom of President Bush is well aligned with our understanding of Muslim nations, and it is working.

Link of Note

“Talk By Radwan Masmoudi: “Islam & Democracy:  Between The Past, The Present & The Future”

Dr. Radwan Masmoudi is the Executive Director of Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. He says:

The old methods of oppression are simply outdated.  More than 50% of the population of Muslim countries is under 30 years old.  They did not witness colonization, and do not care about the independence struggle.  They are highly educated, they speak several languages, and they watch CNN and al-Jazeera.  Many of them even have access to the internet.  They see how other people live, in terms of prosperity and freedom, and they want the same.  They watch other peoples vote and elect their new leaders, while they are stuck with the same rulers for what seems like eternity.  The new generation is fed up with the status quo.  Change is inevitable.  The only question that remains is: What kind of change?

Our answers should be direct and unambiguous: democratize and we will help you in the process and afterwards.
Universal Archive

Hitler Was A Socialist, (And Not A Right Wing Conservative)

May 23, 2009

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[First published August 22, 2005] What is socialism? It is a politico-economic philosophy that believes government must direct all major economic decisions by command, and thus all the means of production for the greater good, however defined. There are three major divisions of socialism, all antagonistic to each other. One is democratic socialism, that places the emphasis on democratic means, but then government is a tool for improving welfare and equality. A second division is Marxist-Leninism, which based on a “scientific theory” of dialectical materialism, sees the necessity of a dictatorship (“of the proletariat”) to create a classless society and universal equality. Then, there is the third division, or state socialism. This is a non-Marxist or anti-Marxist dictatorship that aims at near absolute economic control for the purpose of economic development and national power, all construed to benefit the people.

Mussolini’s fascism was a state socialism that was explicitly anti-Marx and aggressively nationalistic. Hitler’s National Socialism was state socialism at its worse. It not only shared the socialism of fascism, but was explicitly racist. In this it differs from the state socialism of Burma today, and that of some African and Arab dictatorships.

Two prevailing historical myths that the left has propagated successfully is that Hitler was a far right wing conservative and was democratically elected in 1933 (a blow at bourgeois democracy and conservatives). Actually, he was defeated twice in the national elections (he became chancellor in a smoke-filled-room appointment by those German politicians who thought they could control him — see “What? Hitler Was Not Elected?”) and as head of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, he considered himself a socialist, and was one by the evidence of his writings and the his economic policies.

To be clear, National Socialism differs from Marxism in its nationalism, emphasis on folk history and culture, idolization of the leader, and its racism. But the Nazi and Marxist-Leninists shared a faith in government, an absolute ruler, totalitarian control over all significant economic and social matters for the good of the working man, concentration camps, and genocide/democide as an effective government policy (only in his last years did Stalin plan for his own Holocaust of the Jews).

I’ve read Hitler’s Mein Kampf (all online here) and can quote the following from Volume 2:

Chapter VII:

In 1919-20 and also in 1921 I attended some of the bourgeois [capitalist] meetings. Invariably I had the same feeling towards these as towards the compulsory dose of castor oil in my boyhood days. . . . And so it is not surprising that the sane and unspoiled masses shun these ‘bourgeois mass meetings’ as the devil shuns holy water.

Chapter 4:

The folkish philosophy is fundamentally distinguished from the Marxist by reason of the fact that the former recognizes the significance of race and therefore also personal worth and has made these the pillars of its structure. These are the most important factors of its view of life. 

If the National Socialist Movement should fail to understand the fundamental importance of this essential principle, if it should merely varnish the external appearance of the present State and adopt the majority principle, it would really do nothing more than compete with Marxism on its own ground. For that reason it would not have the right to call itself a philosophy of life. If the social programme of the movement consisted in eliminating personality and putting the multitude in its place, then National Socialism would be corrupted with the poison of Marxism, just as our national-bourgeois parties are.

Chapter XII:

The National Socialist Movement, which aims at establishing the National Socialist People’s State, must always bear steadfastly in mind the principle that every future institution under that State must be rooted in the movement itself.

Some other quotes:

Hitler, spoken to Otto Strasser, Berlin, May 21, 1930:

I am a Socialist, and a very different kind of Socialist from your rich friend, Count Reventlow. . . . What you understand by Socialism is nothing more than Marxism.

On this, see Alan Bullock, Hitler: a Study in Tyranny, pp.156-7; and Graham L. Strachan “MANUFACTURED REALITY: THE ‘THIRD WAY’”

Gregor Strasser, National Socialist theologian, said:

We National Socialists are enemies, deadly enemies, of the present capitalist system with its exploitation of the economically weak … and we are resolved under all circumstances to destroy this system.

F.A. Hayek in his Road to Serfdom (p. 168) said:

The connection between socialism and nationalism in Germany was close from the beginning. It is significant that the most important ancestors of National Socialism—Fichte, Rodbertus, and Lassalle—are at the same time acknowledged fathers of socialism. …. From 1914 onward there arose from the ranks of Marxist socialism one teacher after another who led, not the conservatives and reactionaries, but the hard-working laborer and idealist youth into the National Socialist fold. It was only thereafter that the tide of nationalist socialism attained major importance and rapidly grew into the Hitlerian doctrine.

See also his chapter 12: “The Socialist Roots of Naziism.”

Von Mises in his Human Action (p. 171) said:

There are two patterns for the realization of socialism. The first pattern (we may call it the Lenin or Russian pattern) . . . . the second pattern (we may call it the Hindenburg or German Pattern) nominally and seemingly preserves private ownership of the means of production and keeps the appearance of ordinary markets, prices, wages, and interest rates. There are, however, no longer entrepreneurs, but only shop managers … bound to obey unconditionally the orders issued by government.

This is precisely how Hitler governed when he achieved dictatorial power.

In a previous blog, i referred to John J. Ray’s piece (“Hitler Was A Socialist”, and I was asked who he is. He has a Ph.D. in psychology, but taught sociology for many years. His fulsome bio is here. His article on Hitler is excellent and well researched. He has a blog on “dissecting leftism.”

Link of Note

“Myth: Hitler was a leftist By Steve Kanga

(note: A liberal activist, Kanga apparently shot himself to death outside of the office of anti-Clinton billionaire philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaif, February 8, 1999. It was ruled a suicide.)

Kanga says:

Many conservatives accuse Hitler of being a leftist, on the grounds that his party was named “National Socialist.” But socialism requires worker ownership and control of the means of production. In Nazi Germany, private capitalist individuals owned the means of production, and they in turn were frequently controlled by the Nazi party and state. True socialism does not advocate such economic dictatorship — it can only be democratic. Hitler’s other political beliefs place him almost always on the far right. He advocated racism over racial tolerance, eugenics over freedom of reproduction, merit over equality, competition over cooperation, power politics and militarism over pacifism, dictatorship over democracy, capitalism over Marxism, realism over idealism, nationalism over internationalism, exclusiveness over inclusiveness, common sense over theory or science, pragmatism over principle, and even held friendly relations with the Church, even though he was an atheist.

Here you have a taste for how the left maintains its myth, as in conflating democracy and socialism. That is, true socialism “can only be democratic.” Right, like the Democratic People’s Republic of [North] Korea, or the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Universal Archive
Democratic peace Q&A/FAQ

Do Republicans Hate Blacks?

May 21, 2009

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[First published in September 7, 2005] In response to my endorsement of Secretary Rice for president in 08, I received this comment: “It will NEVER happen — the GOP would NEVER support an African American for President (well, maybe Idi Amin). Look at all the blacks in Congress – all Dems.

Dream on . . . .”

At the outset, I should say that I am not a Republican, although I strongly support the Bush’s foreign policy. As I pointed out in one of my blogs, I’m a freedomist (link here). Nonetheless, as a matter of promoting nondiscrimination and racial tolerance, I’m troubled by the mythology about Republicans in general and as a Party being anti-Black. This myth has been fostered and nurtured by liberals for over fifty years, especially by the leftist Black leaders. Lets look at the record. If one favors reparations for slavery, which most Black leaders do, then it is appropriate to recall that it was the Republicans — Lincoln — that ended Black slavery. It was a Republican Congress that passed the 13th Amendment outlaying slavery, and passed the 15th Amendment that established the voting rights of all adult males regardless of race.

Until the 1950s and 60s, it was the Democratic Party and Democrats that with their control of the southern states refused to accord Blacks the voting rights that constitutional was theirs, and supported a system of discrimination that made southern blacks third class citizens.

And it is a myth widely believed, even by some Republicans, that it was the democrats that passed President Johnson’s Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act begins:

To enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the attorney
General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.

In effect, it was the Republicans that got this passed. Yes, the R-P-U-B-L-I-C-A-N-S. Republican Everett Dirksen, used his power as minority leader to midwife the bill through Congress, and had to overcome a 83-day filibuster by Democrats.

On the various versions of the bill, the distribution of votes were thus (D= democrats, R=republicans):

Original House version: D=153-96, 38 percent opposed; R=138-34, 20 percent opposed.

Senate version: D=46-22, 32 percent opposed, R=27-6, 18 percent opposed.

Senate version voted on by the House: D=153-91, 37 percent opposed; R=136-35, 20 percent opposed.

Proportionally more Democrats opposed the Civil rights Act than did Republicans. On the final bill voted on by the House and Senate, 113 Democrats voted against the bill, while 41 Republicans did. Moreover, as one can see from the votes, the bill would not have passed at all were it not for the support of Republicans.

You would never know this from the way this has been covered by the media since.

Then also note this. It was Republican Bush, the senior, who appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, with vigorous resistance from liberal Democrats. It was the House Republicans that elected J.C. Watts, Republican from Oklahoma, to be Chairman of the House Republican Conference. It was President George Bush that appointed General Colin L. Powell as the Secretary of State and Condoleezza Rice as National Security Advisor, and with Powell’s resignation, Rice to replace him. He also appointed Roderick R. Paige as the Secretary of Education; Alphonso Jackson as the Deputy Secretary to Housing and Urban Development; Claude Alien as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services; Leo S. Mackay, Jr, as the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Larry D. Thompson as the Deputy Attorney General; and Stephen A. Perry as Adminstrator of General Services Adminstration; Roderick R. Paige as the Secretary of Education; Alphonso Jackson as the Deputy Secretary to Housing and Urban Development; Claude Alien as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services; Leo S. Mackay, Jr, as the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Larry D. Thompson as the Deputy Attorney General; and Stephen A. Perry as Adminstrator of General Services Adminstration; and Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (which many consider one of the most important courts in the nation — her confirmation had been blocked by Democrats). Not even Clinton, who Black leaders called their first “Black President, appointed so many Blacks to high position.

The comment hat started all this also said “Look at all the blacks in Congress – all Dems.” Yes, and almost 90 percent of Blacks vote for democrats. Two things explain this. One is that Blacks have bought the liberal line about only Democrats supporting their rights. Second, the Black leadership and organizations are almost all on the left, as are blacks in general. Often poor, not well educated, and susceptible to leftist slogans about the rich, the White Republican establishment, the anti-black rapacity of White businesses, many Blacks have come to see themselves as victims, the Democrats as their protectors, and vote that way. That virtually all Black Representatives are Democrats does not reflect on Republicans, but on the power of mythology, liberalism, and its propaganda.

Link of Day

” How Americans Voted [in 04]: A Political Portrait” By Marjorie Connelly

She points out:

A majority of Protestants, particularly white and Hispanic Protestants, supported Mr. Bush. Black voters, regardless of religion, continue to support the Democratic candidate overwhelmingly, giving almost 9 in 10 of their votes to Mr. Kerry. Jewish voters also remained firmly in the Democratic column, though Mr. Bush expanded his share to 25 percent this year from 19 percent in 2000.

Links I Must Share

” Sniping and griping” By Mark Steyn: ”  Anyone watching TV in recent days will have seen plenty of “reprimitivized man,” not in Liberia or Somalia but in Louisiana. Cops smashing the Wal-Mart DVD cabinet so they can get their share of the booty along with the rest of the looters, gangs firing on a children’s hospital and on rescue helicopters, hurricane victims raped in the New Orleans Convention Center. [RJR: Yes, we now hear that Bush is responsible — I’m waiting for the Islamicist follow up — It is Bush and the Jews]

“The Suicide Solution” By Christopher Dickey: “To stop the spread of the suicide disease, in other words, we have to stop the spread of the occupation disease. [RJR: He means we should stop occupying Muslim countries, and misses entirely the importance of the war on terror and the democratization solution]

“Iran’s strategy in Iraq” By Arnaud de Borchgrave: ” “If Iran wanted, it could make Iraq hell for the United States.” So said Iraq’s deputy Foreign Minister Hamid Al Bayati last February. Well, Iran not only wants to, it already has.” [Read this to realize that war with Iran probably cannot be avoided, unless the internal democratic movement is successful]

“Feingold Flirts With Anti-War Platform” By issuing an early call for a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, Sen. Russ Feingold could emerge as the Democrats’ anti-war candidate of 2008, in the tradition of Eugene McCarthy and Howard Dean” [RJR: Not a candle’s chance in a hurricane of his being nominated over Hillary]

Universal Archive
Democratic peace Q&A/FAQ

How Freedom Is Won

May 21, 2009

[First published September 11. 2005] Freedom House has published a study on “How Freedom is Won (link here). The study covers all transitions to democracy that have occurred in the last 33 years, 67 of them, and shows that:

Far more often than is generally understood, the change agent is broad-based, nonviolent civic resistance—which employs tactics such as boycotts, mass protests, blockades, strikes, and civil disobedience to de-legitimate authoritarian rulers and erode their sources of support, including the loyalty of their armed defenders.

It goes on to say:

The central conclusion of this study is that how a transition from authoritarianism occurs and the types of forces that are engaged in pressing the transition have significant impact on the success or failure of democratic reform.

The study lists each transition, the factors involved, and provides a narrative on the transition. It concludes that the top down attempts at democratization is less successful than bottom up, nonviolent coalitions. Thus, the best way of aiding democratization from the outside is to:

aid the creation of “civic life,” broad based coalitions,
“transfer knowledge on strategies and tactics of nonviolent civic resistance,”
“provide enhanced resources for independent media and communications,” and
“expand space for nonviolent action through targeted sanctions.”

This is to say:

work to constrain insurrectionist and state violence and to expand the political space for nonviolent civic action. This means that in the cases of civil wars, governments and international organizations should seek solutions that lead to an end to hostilities and to internationally supervised or monitored elections. Democracies also should engage in preventive diplomacy to avert violence and support policies that prevent or limit the spread of violence in its earliest stages.

Because of Freedom House’s intensive and extensive analysis of freedom, nonfreedom, and their transitions for all the world’s countries, as shown in its annual Freedom In the World annual report (the 2005 Report is here), this study on how freedom is won is especially credible.

Does the study have anything to say that is relevant to Iraq and Afghanistan? Yes. I have pulled out the two relevant passages below:

. . . in the cases of civil wars, governments and international organizations should seek solutions that lead to an end to hostilities and to internationally supervised or monitored elections.

Efforts to restore personal security in extremely violent environments in countries that have suffered from war or civil war, therefore, can contribute in the long term to the emergence of civic coalitions for democratic change.

I believe that the American Coalition Iraq and Afghanistan is doing precisely this, while fighting the insurrectionists and terrorists. It is helping and aiding he process of creating a civic society with Iraqis and Afghans having the freedom to form political parties, businesses, educational institution, and other organizations that satisfy diverse interests (this is the invisible part of the war you don’t read much about in the opposition media). And the Coalition has brought in the UN and other international organizations to monitor and supervise democratic elections. The upshot of this Freedom House study is that if the insurrection and terrorism is defeated, the long run success of democracy in these countries looks promising.

A chart
of the democratic peace

Measuring Victory In The War On Terror

May 20, 2009

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[First published September 12, 2005] During World War II, one could measure the progress of the war by the territories taken from the enemy, and the change in the front lines. So far, we have no such measure of our war on terror. I will now offer one.

Assumption 1: free countries — liberal democracies — do not sponsor terrorism or support it against other free countries.
Assumption 2: if the whole world were liberal democratic, terrorism would be defeated in that:

2a. They would not have a support base
2b. The remaining isolated gangs of terrorists would be treated as criminals.
2c.Democracies would combine forces to defeat those that remain, e.g., in the Philippines

Therefore, the progress of global liberal democratization measures the progress of the war on terrorism.

Okay, then how to measure the progress of liberal democratization? Freedom House has been rating nations on their freedom since 1972, giving a 1 to 7 rating their civil liberties, and then to their political rights. Adding these two ratings together, a 2 to 4 joint rating is what they define as a free country and what I will define as a liberal democracy. The worst rating on each is a 7, so a joint rating of 14 for a country is what they define as an unfree country and what I call totalitarian. See their ratings over the years here.

To get my democratization score, I will do this:

Take the average of the civil liberties and political rights rating for each country for each year. For a liberal democracy, this will average to 1 or 2, and to 6 or 7 for the worst unfree countries.

Then I will average all these averages across all countries for a year. If all countries are liberal democracies in a year, the average of the averages will be no greater than 2; if all counties were unfree for a year, the average of the averages would be greater than 6.

A problem is that I want to measure increasing democratization, but increasing democratization is so far measured by decreasing average ratings. So, to get the measurement moving in the proper direction, I will subtract each average of the averages from 7, the maximum possible. I will call the result the modified ratings. Then the modified 0 to 1 rating will mean all countries are unfree for a year, while 5 to 6 will mean all are liberal democratic.

With this understanding, I plotted the modified ratings in the figure below. I have set it up so that it is easy to see the progress in democratization, and thus by my assumptions, the current progress in the war on terror. I have fitted various trend estimates to the plot, such as a log, or polynomial fit, but all agree with what you can see. The trend line is up, and if it continues this way the world will be democratic in 3 or 4 decades, or liberally democratic in about two or three decades after that (to fit an equation just to determine the exact number of years to democracy or liberal democracy would be misplaced precision, given the uncertainties involved).

From now on, I will try to do this table year-by-year as a measure of the progress of the war on terror [not done, but will do in a new blog when I complete republishing these old blogs several months from now], not to mention the fulfillment of the democratic peace in the ending of war, democide, famine, and mass impoverishment.

Link of Day

“Of Minds and Metrics,” By Michael Barone (8/29/05)

Barone says:

Metrics are hard to come by in the war on terrorism. We can know the number of improvised explosive devices that go off in Iraq and the number of suicide bombers there, but we can only guess at whether these numbers represent the last throes of a terrorist movement or its continuing growth. We can count the number of days the Iraqi parliament has moved the deadline for drafting a constitution–seven, as this is written–but cannot be sure what the effect of a finally drafted constitution will be. We can note that some 220,000 Iraqis took part in deliberations over the constitution and that the Iraqi electricity supply now exceeds that of prewar levels.

Written with the excellence I’ve come to expect from Barone

Links I Must Share

“Reassessing the war on terror” By Harlan Ullman:

: Several weeks ago, the Pentagon led an attempt to rename President Bush’s global war on terror as the global struggle against violent extremism. Many commentators took this effort as a sign of a policy reassessment within the administration. But the name change was stillborn by the president himself, who in a subsequent speech pointedly referred to the global war on terror more than a dozen times.

A shallow analysis that lives up to my expectations.

” StrategyPage Looks At War on Terror Metrics”:

. . . discusses US strategy in the war on terror and then addresses the difficulty of measuring success in this intricate war.”

This is Austin Bay’s blog, and this article is informative and worth reading.

” Scoring the war on terrorism”:Presents five measures of success and concludes:

There is no easy long-term strategy that guarantees success. Instead, the United States and its allies must accept the inevitability of a large, global movement bent on murder as a form of political expression. With skill and energy; we can beat it back. Outright defeat will be far harder. That may depend ultimately on the proverbial draining of the political swamp. But by any measure it is a very large swamp.

RJR: another important article to make time for.

Democratic Peace Clock
More on the progress of
democracy via a clock

Can We predict War and Is It Inevitable?

May 18, 2009

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[First published September 22, 2005] This blog is inspired by Navin’s blog, “Can We Predict Wars? (here), described as “based on the premise that “we learn from history that we learn nothing from history. Logically, it must then be possible to predict war based on historical events.”

I quite agree that it is to history we must look for the ability to predict war and peace. But the recourse to history must go beyond the subjective reading of historians; it must also add to this knowledge a systematic treatment of cases and events, much as any scientist treats his empirical observations. That is, we have to well define what we mean by war and any variables we believe predict or account for war in a way that people who disagree with us can duplicate our data; our data should contain all or a well selected sample of wars and be made available to other researchers; and we should use systematic and replicable techniques of some sort to assess the relationships among the data.

If we do this, which quantitative researchers on war and peace have done, we are able to predict when and where wars will not occur, and explain why. We can also establish the probability of war occurring. In light of the common view of war today, these two statements are amazing. Consider the first statement that we can say with high confidence where wars will not occur. For example, I predict with a feeling of absolute certainty that there will be no war between France and Germany, France and Spain, and Germany and Poland in the next five years. Now, from history, with all the wars that these two peoples have fought, this is quite a prediction. Yes, you will say, but no one now expects such a war, which begs the question as to why.

Okay, how about there will be no war between Greece and Turkey (which some do expect), or Colombia and Ecuador, Paraguay and Bolivia, or Botswana and Namibia. But, there might be a war between Israel and Syria, Iraq and Syria, Ethiopia and Eritrea, or Tanzania and Uganda.

How do we know this? Because we know empirically from history and verified theory that democracies don’t make war on each other, and therefore we can predict that between any two democracies there will be no future war. However, war can well occur between two if one or both are not democracies. Moreover, the probability of war is far higher if both are nondemocracies.

In this case, can we predict when war will occur? It is most likely when there is a shift in the balance of interests, capabilities, and wills between two nondemocracies such that the balance no longer supports their status quo. There is a ton of nuances and things to be defined in this apparently simple statement. I’ve done this in my draft book, Principles of Freedom on my interactive book blog (here). See Part III, and specifically the conflict helix.

Thus, I argue the we define a sphere of peace in which we can predict with near certainty that war will never occur, and one in which we can also predict that war has its greatest likelihood — one the sphere of democracies, the other of nondemocracies. In the latter sphere war will occur when the status quo — structure of expectations — between nondemocracies collapses.

Is war inevitable? No! We can expand the sphere of democracies to encompass the globe and thereby make war history. There is no reason to suspect that the relationships among democracies will be any different than they are today if all countries are democratic. Democracies will remain intrinsically democracies, and thus the essential nature of democracies –political rights for all citizens, the democratic culture, multiple civic groups, a spontaneous society, and bonds and cross pressure — that ensure peace will remain.

Link of Day

“A Neural Net for Predicting War and Peace” By A. OLBRICH, & A. HERGOVICH

Abstract: Background: Social Identity Theory (Turner, 1986), Theory of Integrative Complexity (Tetlock, 1985) and the Theory of Groupthink (Janis & Mann, 1977) provide powerful tools for predicting international conflicts and wars. The aim of this study is to develop an application of artificial intelligence for predicting war and peace.

I’ve seen so much of this kind of psychological reductionism over the years when all one has to do is look at the type of government a country has –but, this is too simple. Yet, what personalities become rulers or leaders depends on the political system, and its culture, and history, and what they can do with the power they have also depends on these variables.

Links I Must Share

“China’s model for a censored Internet”:

Some worry China’s controls could be copied elsewhere.

“Iran ‘will trade nuclear secrets’:

Iran is ready to trade nuclear secrets with other Islamic states for peaceful purposes, the country’s leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said.

“EU drops hardline stance on Iran”:

The EU’s “big three” are said to have backed down from a demand that the UN nuclear watchdog should immediately report Iran to the Security Council.

“Rita: Watch This Blog”:

Defense Tech pal HYPERLINK “http://alexandertheaverage.blogspot.com/”Kris Alexander works for Texas’ homeland security department. Which makes his HYPERLINK “http://alexandertheaverage.blogspot.com/2005/09/h-48-its-big-one.html”blog (here) essential reading, now that a HYPERLINK “http://home.accuweather.com/index.asp?partner=accuweather”category 5 killer hurricane is about to put the whomp on the Lone Stars.


A Moment for A good Laugh

May 16, 2009

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[First published September 27, 2005] One can’t be serous all the time. I love a good laugh and the following are hard to beat. They came from annual “Dark and Stormy Night” competition — actual analogies and metaphors by way of Scripta Word Services (here). Found in high school essays:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances likeunderpants in a dryer without ClingFree.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guywho went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of thoseboxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at highschools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of thoseboxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he wasroom-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes justbefore it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because ofhis wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerlysurcharge-free ATM.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowlingball wouldn’t.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filledwith vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie,surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardycomes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you frythem in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across thegrassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having leftCleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 pm. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences thatresembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who hadalso never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the EastRiver.

18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, onlyone that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, thisplan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eatingfor a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either,but areal duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine orsomething.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender legbehind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.24. It was an American tradition,like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as ifshe were a garbage truck backing up.

26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in anypH cleanser.

27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

Link of Day

Can you bear this?

Take a look and be sure to move your cursor around. Fun for you and your kid.

Links I Must Share


“Hamas Will Stop Attacks From Gaza Says Note Attached To Missile”

“Seoul : Yes We Have No Nukes!”

“Conservatives And Liberals Thrilled At Sheehan’s Arrest”

Capitol Steps

Method, Method, Its All In The Method

May 15, 2009

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[First published September 29, 2005] I don’t see the need to respond to every criticism of my research unless doing so cast more light on the democratic peace, or the incredible democide of the last century, being carried over into our new one by the ruling thugs in Burma, Sudan, and North Korea. For this reason, I will pay some attention to Dr. John Grohol’s item on my research and attendant criticism (here).

I will quote his points and respond to each below:

Rummel’s conclusions have been criticized the lack of definite correlation. He neglects current conflicts between Israel and Palestine as well as India and Pakistan, all of which are democratic nations–although Rummel’s defenders would retort that Palestine was never a real democracy until 2005, and that Pakistan is ruled by a strongman who wields a great deal of undemocratic power.

Moreover, were Israel truly at war with Palestine, Palestine would be destroyed due to the enormous disparity of power, and if Pakistan and India were truly at war with each other then tens of millions would die. Rummel’s real point is that democracies rarely go to war with each other, and liberal democracies (defined by free speech, free press, and universal franchise) never do. Neither Pakistan nor Palestine, at this time, qualifies as a liberal democracy.

RJR: He raises the criticism and then rebuts it himself

Rummel’s conclusions have also been criticized for not considering the number of deaths due to anarchy and the lack of government, through mechanisms such as civil conflict, the breakdown of society, and foreign invasion.

RJR: I do, and my estimates for each country include that for war dead and internal nondemocidal violence. Moreover, the most anarchical system is international relations, wars of which I have tallied and included in my analysis.

Some have found the data that he uses to be questionable.

RJR: This is unhelpful. Details please.

Other people point out that his methods of calculation of the death toll are highly controversial. He compares the statistical data before and after a certain date and derives an estimate about the number of killings that occurred between.

RJR: This is called interpolation, and what interpolation is wrong is not detailed.

However, he fails to establish evidence of actual killing.

RJR. No indication of what estimates of mine were wrong. I use all kinds of documents to establish democide, such as refugee reports, memoirs, biographies, historical analyses, actual exhumed body counts, records kept by the murderers themselves, and so on.

Moreover, his results are based on an absolute trust in statistical data and statistics are prone to errors. However, he himself uses the wider sense of “killed by”, including all kinds of “reason-result” relationships between acts of government and actual deaths. Moreover, in calculating the number of victims, he doesn’t feel he needs evidence of a death; the result of statistical calculation is, for Rummel, effective proof that death occurred.

RJR: Wrong. This deserves a full response: I don’t believe any of my estimates of democide tell the true death toll. Nor do I believe anyone will ever know the precise number of people murdered in any democide, including the Holocaust (estimates in this best of all studied genocides and with the best archival and other records still differ by over 40%). Then what is the purpose of estimating democide? Two reasons dominate: moral assessment, and related scientifically based policy. Democide is a crime against humanity, one of the worst crimes the rulers or leaders of a government can commit. But there are levels of democide, and I see a moral difference between rulers that murder at different orders of magnitude (powers of ten). That is, I find the evil of a Stalin who most probably murdered over 20,000,000 people (and this seems to encompass 99.9 percent of all estimates) greater than rulers who murdered 1,000, 10,000, 100,000, or even 1,000,000. More specifically, my moral gauge clicks in at orders of magnitude. (There are other moral gauges, of course, such as the proportion of a population murdered; how people were murdered, such as randomly or by ethnicity or race; whether the intent was genocide or revenge, etc.) The moral question for me is then whether an estimate captures the order of magnitude. While I don’t think we can ever get a true estimate, I do think we can bracket the range of estimates within which the true value must be found, either absolutely or probabilistically.

As to the second criteria for accepting an estimate, my concern is to forecast the most likely order of magnitude of democide based on the characteristics of a society, nation, culture, ruler, leadership, people, geography, and so on. This is a scientific problem and engages methodological and technical questions inappropriate here. What is appropriate to the question of errors in democide estimates is at what level of error we get meaningful enough results to define the causation involved in democide, when no actual estimate is true. And since the estimates are usually close enough in magnitudes to enable us to rank nations, and divide them into groups of more or less, then we have enough precision to carry out scientific tests as to what causes democide.

For an example of alleged manipulation: Rummel estimates the death toll in the HYPERLINK “http://psychcentral.com/psypsych/Rheinwiesenlager”Rheinwiesenlager ( see here) as between 4,500 and 56,000. Official US figures were just over 3,000 and a German commission found 4,532. The high figure of 56,000 also merited the notation “probably much lower” in Rummel’s extracts.

RJR: Misleading. This is about the German POWs that died in American camps after the war due to mistreatment and lack of care. The different estimates I used are record here (lines 228-237). As you can see, the estimates generally are close to the ones given above, and I end up with a range of 3,000 to 56,000, with a most probable estimate of 6,000. Grohol does not understand that the low and high are meant to be the most unlikely low and high, and thus to bracket the probable true count (I did point this out). It is to determine these lows and highs that I include what some others might consider absurd estimates. And in this case, my low and high does bracket the figures he gives.

Another flaw in Rummel’s statistical calculations is that he doesn’t use error margins.

RJR: Of what meaning are error margins when dealing with the universe of data, and not a sample? For example, if one takes a poll of 1,000 people about their opinion on the Iraq war, the result may be 48 percent favorable within a margin (standard deviation) of 2.4 percentage points. But, if the poll is taken of all American adults, this is the universe and there is no error margin or standard error. I am dealing with all estimates available in English for ALL NATIONS over a period of a century, and available in the libraries I worked in, including the Library of Congress. In no way can these estimates be considered a sample, not even a sample of all estimates (say those in the Russian, Chinese, and Korean archives), since then the estimates I used are not random, or selected in some statistical sense.

Link of Day

“5 yrs of intifada: 1,061 Israelis killed”


“Palestinians’ celebrate five years of terror war”

Yes, celebrating the murder en mass of unarmed civilian women and children, mothers and fathers, and sometimes whole families, walking the street, eating in restaurants, dancing in a club, or marketing. Some who survived paralyzed, with lose of their limbs, blinded, or suffering life long internal injuries might envy the dead. And genocide scholars, mainly American and European Jews who tend to side with the Palestinians, refuse to recognize the genocide it was. A case of genocide denial by the very people who are outraged at those who deny the Holocaust. But, there is no denial by the Palestinians, there is celebration.

Links I Must Share

“An Islamic guide on how to beat your wife”
And leave no marks.

” Top U.S. Military Intel Officer: Zarqawi ‘Hijacked’ Insurgency”

“The Mother of All Connections” By Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn. In. The Weekly Standard :

From the July 18, 2005 issue: A special report on the new evidence of collaboration between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaeda.

Excellent article. Read and inform yourself.

“Somaliland in first vote for MPs”
Another new democracy. Cheers.

Democide data estimation method

A Nobel Peace Prize “Finalist”?

May 14, 2009

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[First published October 4, 2005] If you will forgive me, sometimes I have to get personal because of the importance of a question to the credibility of my research and data. I have for years claimed I was a “Nobel Peace Prize finalist”. This has been questioned by both friend and foe, which have asserted that (1) there is no such category, and (2) the Nobel Committee does not release such information, and (3) it doesn’t leak. Several years ago, someone unhappy with my research results checked with the Committee, was told the above, and then spread the word that I lied and, therefore, my assertions about my data and results could not be trusted.

So, to those who emailed me about this slander, I pointed out that I was only passing on what the local media told me in setting up an interview on this. Assuming it would settle the matter, I emailed them this pre-interview news item from the Honolulu Advertiser (3/1/96): 

Rudolph Rummel’s lifelong study of war, violence and mass killing has led him on a quest for peace. So it is only fitting that . . . he is among 117 finalists for the prize, which will be announced in October.

Recently, a colleague who I highly respect, is a friend who supports my research, and who is knowledgeable about the workings of the Nobel Committee tried to persuade me to drop the claim to being a finalist as not too important, and anyway, to people like him in the know, it looked “foolish.”

He simply is unaware of the esteem many without his inside view of the Nobel nomination give to it or even better, to being “finalist.” Of the prizes and awards I’ve won, and all the books and professional articles I’ve published, this is the number 1 credibility booster for my research claims.

In any case, I passed on to him the above news item. He then communicated with the Director of the Nobel Institute (who is ex officio secretary of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee) and I received this reponse:

He confirmed my impression that there is no short list of 117 nominees. Not in 1996 or in any other year. There is a list of people nominated for the Prize, as you indeed were. There is a short list of at most 30-40 people. The credentials of these candidates are examined by a group of confidential reviewers for the Nobel Institute.
In his time as Director, and he has been in that position since well before 1996, Geir Lundestad has never experienced a leak of either the long list of all nominees or the short list of those reviewed.

Okay, so I went on LexisNexis and did a search for the February 1996 wire from which the local media said they got their information. The incredible Internet came through again. I found the wire and it is below in full, so that no one feels I left anything out:

Associated Press
February 29, 1996; Thursday 09:21 Eastern Time
SECTION: International news


Taiwan’s president, Lee Teng-hui, has been nominated for the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for his pro-democracy drive, one of 117 names on the final list tallied by Nobel officials this week.

Lee, Taiwan’s president since 1988, was nominated by a former Swedish deputy prime minister, Per Ahlmark. Ahlmark also submitted the names of Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng and Rudolph J. Rummel, professor emeritus at Hawaii University, who has collected evidence on repressive political regimes.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which never releases lists of candidates, on Thursday refused to confirm the names of nominees for this year’s prize.

However, those making the nominations often announce them. Other known nominees this year include U.S. President Clinton and his emissary Richard Holbrooke for their peace efforts in Bosnia.

”I can only say that we now have a final count on nominations. There are 117 this year, including 28 organizations,” said Geir Lundestad, the committee’s non-voting secretary. The number in past years has been between 120 and 130.

The five-member awards committee arrived at the final number Wednesday when it began sifting through this year’s nominations mailed by the Jan. 31 deadline.

Taiwan is planning its first democratic presidential election on March 23. However, the drive toward democracy has heightened tensions with mainland China. Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province and threatens to attack the island if it declares independence.

”Almost the entire transition by Taiwan to a democracy has occurred during Lee Teng-hui’s presidency,” said Ahlmark in his nomination letter, released in Sweden.

”For the first time in several thousand years of Chinese civilization, part of the Chinese nation is today run through elections and an equal voice under political freedom,” Ahlmark wrote.

Taiwanese are worried about China’s reported plans to hold a military exercise by 150,000 troops on the mainland coast facing Taiwan. Some regard the exercise as an attempt to dissuade Taiwanese voters from supporting Lee.

Other known nominees include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who has acted as a mediator in crises in North Korea, Haiti and Bosnia; Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear technician jailed for revealing secrets of Israel’s atomic weapons program; Russian Human rights activist human Sergei Kovalyov; East Timor’s Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo; Bishop Samuel Ruiz of Mexico, and Maha Ghosananda, a Buddhist Monk, for his efforts to bring peace to Cambodia.

Groups nominated include Russia’s anti-war group Soldiers’ Mothers, The Salvation Army and Doctors without Borders.

The peace prize, worth 7.4 million Swedish kroner (about dlrs 1 million) this year, will be announced on a Friday in mid-October, Lundestad said.

The award is always presented in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, a Swede who invented dynamite and endowed the prize in his 1895 will.

The other Nobel Prizes in literature, economics, physics, chemistry and physiology or medicine are awarded on the same day in Stockholm, Sweden.

There you have it. Regardless of what he says, Geir Lundestad was a source of inside information — a leak. Moreover, the wire refers to a “final list” of nominations, and “arrived at the final number Wednesday when it began sifting through this year’s nominations.” Clearly, the Committee winnowed down all the nominations that came in to a “final list,” which is consistent with saying this was a list of finalists. Therefore, the local media got it right. I was a finalist on a list of 117 nominations.

[But since most colleagues will accept Geir Lundestad’s claim that there was no leak of the finalists list, and to claim I was a finalist is controversial, I just note that I have been frequently nominated by the the Nobel Peace Prize by former Swedish deputy prime minister, Per Ahlmark (see here]

Counting the Democratic Peace Away

May 14, 2009

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[First published October 9, 2005] I often come across the assumption that science is so explicit, empirical, precise, and clear that it is a proven alternative to assumption laden philosophy, traditional scholarship and what passes for social analysis. Wrong.

Social scientific research is laden with assumptions. For example, one assumption in the scientific studies of which I’m aware that concerns me is the following. So many applications of correlational methods, as of the correlation coefficient itself or regression analysis, assume that the relationship between an x and y is necessary and sufficient (necessity: y does not occur without x; sufficiency: if x then y; necessary and sufficient: y occurs if and only if x). But what if x is sufficient only; or necessary only? Then the correlation could be weak, even though there is a very strong causal relationship. For example, that both nations be democratic is a sufficient condition that they will be at peace with each other. However, they may be at peace for other reasons, such as distance (e.g., Ecuador and Kenya), shared interests of the moment (e.g., Syria and Iran), or fear of a third party (e.g., China and Taiwan). For peace between countries, that they be democratic is only a sufficient, but not necessary condition. This theoretical relationship is shown in the figure below, each dot representing a hypothetical war or act of violence.

If the figures reflect the true relationship, which I’m sure it does, then it is incorrect to test this relationship between democracy and peace by correlational methods, since they would obscure it. But this is what is most often done, followed by the exclamation: “See, the relationship is weak. There is no significant democratic peace.”

A more appropriate way to test this is by cross-classification tables, such as Tables 1 and 2 in the upper left of the democratic peace chart below (click to enlarge)

A more specific problem of concern is the general use of a simple count of wars to test/assess relationships. The problem is especially evident in testing whether democracies are less warlike than other types of regimes. But a count of wars is very misleading, since a regime coded as having a war can have virtually no one killed in the war as long as, using the common criteria that it had over 1,000 troops involved, or that many were killed overall in the “war” (thus, a nation suffering 800 killed in a violent confrontation in which the overall toll is 950 would not be counted as having fought a war).

For example, in the Boxer Rebellion (1900), which is classified as a war since there were over 3,000 battle dead, Great Britain lost 34 killed, the United States 21, and France 24. Yet, this would be classified as a war for each of these nations. Then consider the Falklands War of 1982 between Great Britain and Argentina. Figures vary on the number killed, but somewhat less than 1,000 seems a good number, with about 650 to 700 of those being Argentineans. But by virtue of the criteria mentioned, since it did not rise to the 1,000 battle dead threshold, in spite of her high number killed compared to Great Britain, the USA and France in the Boxer rebellion, this would not be counted as a war for Argentina or Britain.

The problem with this simplistic count of wars for a regime can be seen in another way. Counting wars or military actions equates conflicts that are vastly different. For example, the Philippines lost 90 killed in the Korean War, and this is counted as one war for the Philippines because she had more than 1,000 troops involved. But the Soviet Union lost 7,500,000 battle dead in World War II, and this also is counted as one war. Thus, in comparing, say, the democraticness of regimes and their use of force, if we measure force by a frequency count of wars, then Great Britain in the Boxer Rebellion, the Philippines in the Korean War, and the USSR in World War II are treated as equally using force, since each gets a count of one for war, even although Great Britain lost only 34 in combat, the Philippines 90, and the Soviet Union over 7,000,000. Yet, such frequency counts of wars or the use of force have been the main way the relationship between democracy and violence, among other relationships, have been tested.

Consider also that whatever we theorize to be the underlying conditions inhibiting or preventing democracies and near democracies from violence, to my knowledge no one argues that democracies are equally inhibited from using force in a conflict in which the expectation is of losing a dozen or so soldiers versus engaging in a total war in which the loss of millions may be suffered. But this is the theoretical assumption in the use of a simple count of wars.

Sometimes I think that the mechanics of analysis (getting and preparing data for analysis, setting up the computer application, applying it to the data, and then reporting the results), and the pressure to do what others have done in their research, overwhelms common sense.

Keep this in mind when you will read here and there on the internet that democracies are as warlike as other regimes.

Links of Day

“Mark Steyn: Islamist way or no way” By Mark Steyn (10/4/05)


. . . . the Islamists don’t even bother going through the traditional rhetorical feints. They say what they mean and they mean what they say. “We are here as on a darkling plain …” wrote Matthew Arnold in the famous concluding lines to Dover Beach, “where ignorant armies clash by night”.
But we choose in large part to stay in ignorance. Blow up the London Underground during a G8 summit and the world’s leaders twitter about how tragic and ironic it is that this should have happened just as they’re taking steps to deal with the issues, as though the terrorists are upset about poverty in Africa and global warming.
. . . . The word peace, for example, implies to a Muslim the extension of the Dar al-Islam — or House of Islam — to the entire world. This is completely different from the Enlightenment concept of eternal peace that dominates Western thought. Only when the entire world is a Dar al-Islam will it be a Dar a-Salam, or House of Peace.”
That’s why they blew up Bali in 2002, and last weekend, and why they’ll keep blowing it up. It’s not about Bush or Blair or Iraq or Palestine. It’s about a world where everything other than Islamism lies in ruins.

” Zarqawi justifies killing of civilians”:

Iraq’s al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Zarqawi said militants were justified under Islam in killing civilians as long as they are infidels, according to a new audiotape attributed to him yesterday. “Islam does not differentiate between civilians and military, but rather distinguishes between Muslims and infidels,” said the man on the tape posted on the Internet, who sounded like Zarqawi.

RJR: If I may spell this out (assuming that you and your family is nonMuslim), it’s like getting an email or phone call from a gang leader saying, “I’m going to murder you, your mate, and your children.” What protects us is that we are hidden in a crowd of hundreds of millions of Americans.

Links I Must Share

“NATO widens role in Afghanistan”

NATO will increase its force in Afghanistan to as many as 15,000 soldiers and will take on counterinsurgency operations as its expands its mission into southern Afghanistan over coming months . . . .

RJR: This is quite a breakthrough in this war on terror. NATO, an all democratic 26 member military alliance of mainly East and West European democracies (plus Turkey, Iceland, Canada, and the U.S.) has broken out of its Europe only shell with its increasing involvement in African peacekeeping, and now this enlargement of its contribution to the Afghan democracy. Can one hope that NATO will soon be the military arm of a global Alliance of Democracies?

“Who Cares About Midterm Elections?”

RJR: This is sardonically put, I’m sure. The point is that too many are caught up in the 2008 battle, while ignoring the 2006 one for Congress that is of utmost importance. Imagine that the Democrats take over the House and Senate. What will they do then about Iraq and the War on Terror? Hmmmm.

“Terrorism Strikes the Heartland”:

. . . .it’s not every day that there’s a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and supposedly there hasn’t been one since 9/11. But that’s exactly what happened outside a packed football stadium at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday night (10/1).

RJR: That authorities would suppress and distort information on this terrorist attempt to murder thousands should be a wake up call regarding what they will do if bird flu hits some area in the U.S. I’m not trying to malign health authorities, but their primary concern will be to avoid a panic that would make quarantine and the isolation of the pandemic difficult. What is society-wise may not be for the alert individual, if they can avoid the pandemic altogether.
STAY ALERT. Consult pandemic 2005 every day (here).

Freedom's Website

Arguments Against the Democratic Peace

May 13, 2009

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[First published October 10, 2005] I have on occasion linked to or critiqued articles arguing against the democratic peace (DP). They fall into four groups.

First, are those who argue from historical examples that allegedly disprove DP. Favorites are the Civil War, WWII against “democratically elected” Hitler, democratic Finland being allied with Germany in World War II, the various French-British crises, , and certain democratic American Indian tribes on which the U.S. made war. Also, there is the finger pointing at all the wars that the U.S. and U.K. fought. No amount of historical analysis that disproves these as exceptions persuades members of this group, who generally argue that DP supporters are defining them away.

Lets say that all the exceptions are true exceptions. There were 371 pairs of countries involved in wars against each other 1816-2005 About 22 exceptions have been put forward, which if excepted would mean that democracies fought that many wars out of 371, or 6 percent. Therefore, taking every claimed exception as true we can still say that democracies tend to be most peacefully disposed to each other. That is, if democracy were universalized, war in the world would still be sharply reduced.

The second group is those who, misunderstand what DP is, and thus use examples that are at different levels of analysis or conceptual design. For example, they argue: “Look at all the wars that Britain and the United States have fought. Indeed, Britain has fought more wars that any other nation.” Yes, but this says nothing about what nations Britain fought against after it became a democracy with the Reform Act of 1884 (which extended the franchise to agricultural laborers). Although both the U.S. and Britain have fought many wars, none were against democracies.

A variant of this is to argue that the U.S. and Britain were the aggressors in many wars. True, the U.S. started the Spanish-American and Mexican-American wars, and now the Afghan and Iraq Wars. But the DP does not say that democracies will never launch wars. Only that it will not do so against other democracies.

The third group argue from balance of power or power superiority theories, a la Hans Morgenthau, and assert that DP is Wilsonian idealism, i.e., unrealistic, and wishful thinking. This is the most common argument appearing in the elite journals and by foreign policy commentators. In effect, it is arguing DP away in a nice way — by labeling it as head-in-the-clouds idealism in contrast to the feet-on-the ground realist. Yet, it is the other way around. It is DP that is grounded in historical data, and its claims have been well tested by scientific methods. Those promoting their “realism” cannot say this. And in those cases where power and its balancing have been tested against DP, the results were in favor of DP, not the other way around. Most often, however, the comparison is a matter of speculative realism versus empirically well tested DP. But either this is something that realists are unaware of, or will deny by lifting arguments from the two groups mentioned previously.

Finally, there is the group of those who question the methodology, with one of the favorites being “correlation does not mean causation,” as though all of us using quantitative methods on DP never took Statistics 101. I find these people usually don’t know what they are talking about (although sometimes wrapped in the usual quantitative jargon), or like the above quote, assume we’re all naïve or empty headed. In some cases, however, they apply apparently sophisticated statistics to data on war and democracy, among other variables, and conclude: “Hey, see, how insignificant democracy is compared to other variables.” When, however, these studies are looked at carefully, one usually finds that the methods have been misunderstood, misapplied, or the data were inappropriate to the method used (for an example of this, see “The CATO Institute Gets It All Wrong” here). Such is the kinds of war counting, empirical studies, I referred to in my blog, “Counting the Democratic Peace Away” (here).

In 1981, to the conclusion of my five volumes on Understanding Conflict and War (here), I wrote: 

In total, some violence is inevitable; extreme violence and war are not. To eliminate war, to restrain violence, to nurture universal peace and justice, is to foster freedom.

That conclusion has not only held up well, it also now declarative American foreign policy.

Link of Day

” Democracy, Spontaneous Order and Peace” By Augustus diZerega

Abstract: The democratic peace hypothesis which states that democracies rarely or never go to war against one another and that democracies do not commit democide raises issues penetrating to the core of modern liberalism, classical and otherwise. If democracies are unique from other forms of government, as claims for their peacefulness towards citizens and one another suggest, then possibly the classical liberal and libertarian critique of democratic government needs re-examination. By separating liberal democracy from undemocratic states, the democratic peace hypothesis separates the classical liberal and libertarian critique of the state from a straight forward application to liberal democracy. The work of F. A. Hayek and Michael Polanyi holds the key to understanding the democratic peace, and thereby leads to rethinking the classical liberal and libertarian critique of politics. To jump ahead, democracies are spontaneous orders in Hayek’s sense of the term. Consequently democracies are not states in the usual sense, and often do not act like them.

RJR: diZerega is one of the few to recognize that Hayek’s spontaneous society provides an explanation of DP. Nonetheless, Hayekian libertarians, excepting diZeerega, will continue to treat DP as the muttering of diseased minds.

Links I Must Share

Marshall vs. Miers

Unqualified, no judicial experience, just a political crony. Miers? No, John Marshall, whose name generally is preceded by the adjective great, some describing him as the greatest figure in the history of American law. . . . But let’s ask ourselves realistically whether a fracas precipitated by an in-your-face nomination of a conservative with strong and well known commitments to hot-button issues would not simply have led to yet another ignominious defeat by the legions of Darth Vader.  At no time in recent memory has the Republican Senate leadership evidenced any notable parliamentary, tactical, or PR skills.  The Democrats have out-maneuvered them at every turn.

Maybe President Bush simply looked at the facts in the cold light of day and concluded that the nation’s interests would be better served by appointing someone who is both confirmable and committed to sound general principles.  Maybe he concluded that reliance on Senators like Arlen Specter and Bill Frist was as likely to be successful as buying a lottery ticket.

RJR: Too many conservatives are blind to this. For too long, they have wanted a fight with the Demos, and now they are upset by not getting it. Well, getting another strict constructionist on the Supreme Court is more important, and anyway, they would have lost the fight.

“Media Ignore Freedom’s Victories”

It’s troubling that so many refuse to recognize, let alone support, the struggle for freedom in Iraq. The groups behind the September 24 anti-war march on Washington, D.C. really do not care if an American withdrawal ushers in a terrorist victory. One of the co-sponsoring groups, International ANSWER, is actually led by members of the Workers World Party, a communist group that has backed Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Kim Jong-Il. But don’t look for the media to mention that fact.

RJR: They never do. The communist are free to organize as they will without mention of their involvement. True now, true during the anti-nuclear demonstrations, true during Vietnam. Can’t seem a McCarthy, you know.


. . . . the Army has been bankrolling “HYPERLINK “http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/micro_stories.pl?ACCT=149999&TICK=RTN&STORY=/www/story/09-26-2005/0004131807&EDATE=Sep+26,+2005″Excalibur,&#8221; a Raytheon effort to build a 155mm artillery shell that’s guided by GPS. Think of it as the howitzer’s answer to smart bombs.

RJR: Combine this with a drone providing the GPS coordinates of a tall man dressed all in white, and . . . .

Synopsis, three chapters, and free download

Academic Tenure- Protecting Incompetence, Malingering, and Extremism

May 12, 2009

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[First published October 12, 2005] I have taught for most of my life in a university and had tenure. But I oppose its system of tenure. It has become a system that protects incompetent faculty, and a shield behind which many faculty take their salary, teach their courses from yellowed notes, do little real research, and spend much of their time socializing, pursuing personal interests, a hobby, or promoting their politics. It is an unbelievable life compared to that of the working stiff or the businessman. Faculty may teach six to twenty hours a week, depending on whether they are at a research university (one that has a Ph.D. program in most disciplines), or not. Aside from his teaching hours, the tenured professor is free to come and go. For those at a research university, teaching only six to nine hours, he may be expected to also counsel students, chair Ph.D. dissertations, and participate in department and university committees. But, through various ruses, he may avoid much of this. And indeed, if their incompetence and stupidly is known — and there are seldom secrets about this — he may be relieved of these academic obligations. Thus the dumber and less competent, the more free time to idle away at maybe $50,000-60,000 a year (if there is a faculty union, raises are across the board).

Those who suffer from this system are the students and fresh PhDs, from whom positions are held by the aged and feeble. With tenure, a guaranteed salary, and associated perks, these hanger-ons will not retire even when their lecture notes disintegrate from age and use.

There is something more here. The tenure system has enabled a coalition of leftist-socialist-Marxists (communist) professors to establish a politburo-like rule over an academic department. They control who is hired; who does not get tenure; the criteria for accepting graduate students into the department, and awarding them teaching assistantships, and grants; and the content of the curriculum. Because of tenure, this control is virtually impossible to change except by the death or, exceptionally, retirement of its members. And this is a wide-ranging coalition across departments and universities. They give good reviews to each other’s books; as peer reviewers, they recommend the publication of each others articles; as panel chairmen, they select who will be on a professional panel and who the discussants will be; and as grant application readers, they determine who will get funds for research; and perhaps most important, they decide what dissertations will be accepted. In other words, these tenured leftists move whole disciplines, such that they become marked by a dominant leftist ideology. Such is sociology, political science, and the humanities today.

The left shields their tenure by claiming it guarantees academic freedom. Don’t believe it. Even the tenured who disagree with the dominant left, or step on one of their icons (e.g., American “imperialism,” “greedy” capitalism, the Palestinian “just cause”), can be fired, or the conditions of their academic life made so miserable that they will leave. For the left, academic freedom is for the leftist professor, not the libertarian, conservative, or heaven forbid, Bush supporter. What applies to faculty is multiplied for students. To get a good grade and, most important recommendation (the coin of the academic realm), mirror the prof. on exams (if he claims white is black, then so it is), ask softball questions, or shut up.

What to do about this system? Legislators in some states are trying to pass an academic bill of rights (see link below) By itself, it will do no good as long as there is tenure to protect incompetence, malingering, and extremism. Other than getting rid of tenure (I favor five-year renewable contracts), the best way to deal with this is sunshine — transparency of what goes on with tenured academics. If outraged non-leftist faculty and students speak out with their personal stories, if what is going on within the university with tenure is disclosed, then this pollution will eventually be known by boards of overseers and regents, and those who support and fund universities and their projects. And students and their parents may start avoiding certain schools.

And finally, the poor worker, dedicated professional, and hard working businessman may see how their taxes or the tuition they pay for their children is being used. Especially, they will eventually see how while they work hard for what they earn, there is a malingering, money-sucking class like an ancient aristocracy, living within their university-castle, and surrounded by a tenure-moat

Links of Note

“The Tenure Debate — Near and Afar” ()

“Academic Bill of Rights”

Links I Must Share

“Why God Never Received Tenure at any University “

“Taking on the pro-Islamacists at Columbia U.”

Harvard Law prof Alan Dershowiz has a long track record of leftist political views and defense of human rights. After 9/11 he began to speak out openly on the need to confront militant Islamacism and terror tactics. So it’s not surprising that yesterday he took on Columbia Univ. and its faculty.

“Herd Behavior At Institutions Of Higher Leftism”

Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University writes on the effects of left wing groupthink at universities, and the effect it has on career advancement and curriculum.

RJR: I’ve seen it all.

Students Fight Back: Introducing NoIndoctrination.org

The recent firestorm of controversy over the Campus Watch website may be only the beginning. Now a new website called NoIndoctrination.org has the potential to draw wide public attention to the abuse of fairness and trust regularly practiced in today’s politically correct college classrooms.

RJR: This is the way democracy is supposed to work.

Freedomist Network

More on the Democratic Peace and Sharp Decline in Violence

May 11, 2009

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[First published October 17, 2005] A study has just been published by the Human Security Center, War and Peace In The 21St Century (pdf here). I recommend reading it for the comprehensiveness of its data and analysis.

The reports conclusions are:

Over the past dozen years, the global security climate has changed in dramatic, positive, but largely unheralded ways. Civil wars, genocides and international crises have all declined sharply. International wars, now only a small minority of all conflicts, have been in steady decline for a much longer period, as have military coups and the average number of people killed per conflict per year. The wars that dominated the headlines of the 1990s were real—and brutal—enough. But the global media have largely ignored the 100-odd conflicts that have quietly ended since 1988. During this period, more wars stopped than started. The extent of the change in global security following the end of the Cold War has been remarkable:

°The number of armed conflicts around the world has declined by more than 40% since the early 1990s. [See the igure below from the report]

°Between 1991 (the high point for the post–World War II period) and 2004, 28 armed struggles for self-determination started or restarted, while 43 were contained or ended. There were just 25 armed secessionist conflicts under way in 2004, the lowest number since 1976.

°Notwithstanding the horrors of Rwanda, Srebrenica and elsewhere, the number of genocides and politicides plummeted by 80% between the 1988 high point and 2001.

°International crises, often harbingers of war, declined by more than 70% between 1981 and 2001.

°The dollar value of major international arms transfers fell by 33% between 1990 and 2003 (Figure 1.10). Global military expenditure and troop numbers declined sharply in the 1990s as well.

°The number of refugees dropped by some 45% between 1992 and 2003, as more and more wars came to an end.

°Five out of six regions in the developing world saw a net decrease in core human rights abuses between 1994 and 2003.

The positive changes noted above date from the end of the Cold War. Other changes can be traced back to the 1950s:

°The average number of battle-deaths per conflict per year—the best measure of the deadliness of warfare— has been falling dramatically but unevenly since the 1950s. In 1950, for example, the average armed conflict killed 38,000 people; in 2002 the figure was 600, a 98% decline.

°The period since the end of World War II is the longest interval of uninterrupted peace between the major powers in hundreds of years.

°The number of actual and attempted military coups has been declining for more than 40 years. In 1963 there were 25 coups and attempted coups around the world, the highest number in the post–World War II period. In 2004 there were only 10 coup attempts—a 60% decline. All of them failed.

How do they explain this great decrease in warfare and its severity?

A dramatic increase in the number of democracies. In 1946, there were 20 democracies in the world; in 2005, there were 88.10 Many scholars argue that this trend has reduced the likelihood of international war because democratic states almost never fight each other.

An increase in economic interdependence . Greater global economic interdependence has increased the costs of cross-border aggression while reducing its benefits.

A decline in the economic utility of war . The most effective path to prosperity in modern economies is through increasing productivity and international trade, not through seizing land and raw materials. In addition, the existence of an open global trading regime means it is nearly always cheaper to buy resources from overseas than to use force to acquire them.

Growth in international institutions . The greatly increased involvement by governments in international institutions can help reduce the incidence of conflict. Such institutions play an important direct role in building global norms that encourage the peaceful settlement of disputes. They can also benefit security indirectly by helping promote democratisation and interdependence.

There you have it. The first empirical anslysis to note the sharp decrease in violence other than my own, and to attribute it to the democractic peace. My only disagreement is that I would consider the democracies achieving a critical mass to be the major cause, and the others to be minor. The other causes existed before the decrease in violence, and it is only that growth in democracies that is the factor that significantly changed — that along with the end of the Cold War, which be it recalled, was predicted at the time to lead to a leap in violence, since the Soviet Union (having disappeared) and U.S. were no longer concerned to cap any violence that might draw them into a major war with each other.

Link of Day

“Final Report of the Commission on Human Security” A UN Report different from the above

The report proposes a new security framework that centers directly and specifically on people. Human security focuses on shielding people from critical and pervasive threats and empowering them to take charge of their lives. It demands creating genuine opportunities for people to live in safety and dignity and earn their livelihood.

RJR: Note this policy conclusion: “Clarifying the need for a global human identity while respecting the freedom of individuals to have diverse identities and affiliations.”

Links I Must Share

“Book Learning:

A controversial new work says French school textbooks are just plain anti-American.

RJR: Is there any doubt?

“Rice: No presidential ambitions”

RJR: This is politicospeech for, “I’ll run if people show enough interest.”


The cultural left has a new tool for enforcing political conformity in schools of education. It is called dispositions theory, and it was set forth five years ago by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education: Future teachers should be judged by their “knowledge, skills, and dispositions.”

RJR: By dispositions, or what in my academic experience was called “political sensitivety,” which was used to evaluate faculty and graduate student applicants, means bowing before the left’s holy icons. Five degrees is no good. It has to be a full forty-five degrees.

“United Nations uselessness”

The chief of mission for Sudan in Washington, Ambassador Khidir Haroun Ahmed, assures the world in a Sept. 28 Op-Ed in The Washington Times that since “Every reliable report coming our of Darfur indicates that the situation has stabilized and the mortality rate has returned to pre-war levels,” at last there is “the beginning of a new era in Sudan.” Despite this exercise in public relations, the facts on the ground in Darfur are savagely different.

RJR: This is the UN, you know. It could not be otherwise.

War/peace docudramas
On WWI, Stalin, Holocaust,
China, Cambodia, and others

Its Democide, Not Politicide

May 8, 2009

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[First published October 25, 2005] Some of you may have come across the term politicide. Barbara Harff (here) and I independently developed the concept. I used it to refer to the murder by government of people because of their politics, political activities, or their threat to the government. Politicide is not genocide, which is the attempt to eliminate in whole or in part people because of their race, nationality, ethnicity, or religion.

Harff, unfortunately, and those who have followed on her research have used the term to define any government murder other than genocide. This is a simple misunderstanding of the extent and variety of government murder. True, when a government kills “rightists,” “counterrevolutionaries,” or officials of the former defeated government, as Mao did in China, it was politicide. When Pol Pot tortured and murdered Khmer Rouge for supposedly plotting against him, it was politicide. When Lenin had Czar Nicolas II and his whole family assassinated in 1918, it was politicide. But then much, if not most, government murder is not politicide or genocide, but democide.

Now, democide is any murder by government, which is the intentional killing of unarmed people for whatever purpose. It is comparable to the concept of murder in domestic law. It includes genocide, politicide, massacres, atrocities, assassination, extermination, ethnic cleansing (if killing is involved), suicide bombing, and indiscriminate shelling, bombing, and strafing.

The problem with equating politicide with democide is the killing that is thereby omitted. For example, everyone knows about the so-called Rape of Nanking by the Japanese Army when it captured the city on December 13th, 1937. Its soldiers were given freedom to rape, loot, and kill for nearly two months. I calculate that about 200,000 civilians and POWs thus were massacred. But while some killing was politicide, most was not. The label cannot be applied, say, to women being raped and then murdered, or husbands and fathers shot while trying to prevent their wives or daughters from being raped. Nor, can it apply it to the binding of POWs together, pouring gasoline on them, and burning them alive, or using them for bayonet practice.

Similarly with the widespread rape and murder of helpless women and children as the Red Army pursued the defeated Germans across Eastern Europe and into Germany in 1945. None of this should be characterized as politicide, but as democide.

You may be surprised at the extent to which empirical research and solid research conclusions depend on the proper conceptualization of the subject. While the discussion of politics can tolerate confusion over such terms as liberal (as vs. 19th century liberal), scientific research begins with establishing and defining terms. And in research on the democratic peace, it is especially important to distinguish politicide from democide — that is, murder for political purposes from wanton murder.

Link of Note

“‘Us’ or ‘Them’?” By Thomas Sowell


Compromise and tolerance are not the hallmarks of true believers. What they believe in goes to the heart of what they are. As far as true believers are concerned, you are either one of Us or one of Them.
. . . [M]any issues that look on the surface like they are just about which alternative would best serve the general public are really about being one of Us or one of Them — and this woman was not about to become one of Them.

Many crusades of the political left have been misunderstood by people who do not understand that these crusades are about establishing the identity and the superiority of the crusaders.

RJR: Exactly. And now I have the characterization of the 50-times-more-effective Gartzke (here) for which I was looking. He is a true believer.

Links I Must Share

“79% of Iraqi voters back constitution “

RJR: Much better than the American Constitution would have done if put to a referendum, and like the two Sunni provinces that voted in large numbers against it, so would have Maryland for sure, and perhaps Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts (only nine states needed for ratification).

“Rice Outlines Iraq Victory Strategy On Capitol Hill “:

. . . .The key to victory over the insurgency in Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Senate Committee on Foreign Relations members, is to “clear areas from insurgent control, hold them securely, and build durable, national Iraqi institutions.” American servicemen and women are fighting in Iraq “at a pivotal time in world history,” Rice said. Efforts to defeat the insurgents “must succeed,” she said, if the Iraqis are to be successful in establishing an inclusive, democratic government unique in the Middle East. “Let’s work together on how we will win,” Rice said, calling for increased collaboration between U.S., coalition, and Iraqi security forces, as well as help from the U.S. Congress.

“Leahy says president needs to find plan to bring troops home”:

The president must develop a plan to bring the troops home from Iraq, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy said Tuesday. “The American people need to know that the president has a plan that will bring our troops home,” said Leahy in a speech delivered in the Senate.

“This war has been a costly disaster for our country,” he said. “Far from making us safer from terrorists, in fact it has turned Iraq into a haven and recruiting ground for terrorists and deflected our attention and resources away from the fight against terrorism,” he said. “If anything, it has emboldened our enemies, as it has become increasingly apparent that the most powerful army in the world cannot stop a determined insurgency.”

RJR: Relevant follow-on to Rice’s hope above. This was said after the above announcement of the Iraqi constitution’s victory. He, and his liberal-left colleagues, are playing the Vietnam song all over again. We won every battle in Vietnam, the South was democratizing, but with the Democrats controlling Congress and the budget, they forced us to leave Vietnam to the communists and many Vietnamese to their deaths. Good thing the Republicans now control Congress, and we should make sure they continue to do so after the 2006 election.

” With a Whimper” Victor Davis Hanson:

How the violence in Iraq will end. . . . So when this is all over — and it will be more quickly than we imagine — there will be a viable constitutional government in Iraq. But the achievement will be considered either a natural organic process, or adopted as a success by former critics only at its safe, penultimate stage.
Most of us tragically will forget many of the American soldiers who courageously fought, died, and gave the Middle East its freedom and us our security. Purple fingers, not overloaded American helicopters taking off from the embassy roof, is the future of Iraq.
Yes, the terrorists’ assault against the Iraqi democracy will end — as all failed insurrections do — not with a bang but with a whimper.

RJR: As history has mercifully forgotten all the no-sayers about the democratization of South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Germany, and an American victory in the Cold War, so it will do so when Iraq is fully democratized and a stable contributor to peace and human security in the Middle East.

“Syria’s dissidents unite to issue call for change “
RJR: Democratic change in Syria is inevitable, but given the small ethnic gang that rules with their guns, I fear that such change will come only through massive internal violence, and life-saving intervention.

Book 3 of the Never Again Series
free in pdf

Are Democracies Least Corrupt?

May 8, 2009

[First published October 27, 2005] One of the extraordinary characteristics of dictatorships, especially absolutists ones, is their government corruption. This comes out in biographies of those who, for example, have lived in North Korea or in South Vietnam when it was defeated and occupied by the North. And under authoritarian regimes, this corruption seems only marginally less, as under the Chinese Nationalists before their defeat by Mao. My impression, consistent with that of others, has been the democracy is among the least corrupt types of government.

Now, this has been tested. Transparency International has provided for 2005 a perception of corruption index for 146 nations (here). Kenneth Sikorski added to this index the freedom house ranking of nations on their civil liberties and civil rights (from here), which measures their freedom, and found that the index included 67 free, 45 partly free, and 34 unfree nations (excluding North Korea). He then averaged these three political groups on their perceived corruption, as shown below (total scores for all nations in the group/number of nations in the group — personal communication):

Free (2901/67) = 43.3
Partly Free (4076/45) = 96.6
Not Free (3470/34 = 102.05

So, partly free and not free nations are perceived to be over twice as corrupt as democracies. This is another plus for democracies, of course. They don’t war on each other, have the least domestic violence, virtually never kill their own people, experience no famines, and also are least corrupt.

This gets almost embarrassing after awhile in relating this to people who ignorant of research on the democratic peace, as I did in a talk today. It seems that one is obsessed with a one-factor theory of humanity’s major problems. This runs counter to general intuition, and to common sense in the social sciences, which is that the socio-political world is complex with multiple causes and conditions interacting to produce events. No one factor is sufficient, so it is felt. Well, there is one major factor, and that is democratic freedom. The evidence, such as the above, is always available to doubters, if only they will look at it. All I can say is what Galileo Galilei said when his astronomical observations were doubted and he was persecuted for them. “Look through the telescope,” he responded.

Death By Marxism

May 7, 2009

[First published November 10, 2005. Among all the democide estimates appearing here, some have been revised upward. I have changed that for Mao’s famine, 1958-1962, from zero to 38,000,000. And thus I have had to change the overall democide for the PRC (1928-1987) from 38,702,000 to 76,702,000.

I have changed my estimate for colonial democide from 870,000 to an additional 50,000,000.

Thus, the new world total: old total 1900-1999 = 174,000,000. New World total = 174,000,000 + 38,000,000 (new for China) + 50,000,000 (new for Colonies) = 262,000,000.

Just to give perspective on this incredible murder by government, if all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5′, then they would circle the earth ten times. Also, this democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century. Finally, given popular estimates of the dead in a major nuclear war, this total democide is as though such a war did occur, but with its dead spread over a century.]

What is the greatest source of democide?

First, I should note that by democide I mean to define the killing by governments as the concept of murder defines individual killing in domestic society. And it is focusing on this democide, rather than the genocide that is one of its components, which uncovers the true dimensions of mass murder in the world.

Since democide is a government activity or policy, we must consider what type of governments are the worse murderers. Is there a political factor that discriminates between mortacracies–governments characterized by murder–and those who may kill incidentally or situationally? Yes, totalitarianism. Almost without exception, totalitarian governments are or have been mortacracies.

There is much confusion about what totalitarian means in the literature. I define a totalitarian state as one with a system of government that is unlimited constitutionally or by countervailing powers in society (such as by a church, rural gentry, labor unions, or regional powers); is not held responsible to the public by periodic elections via secret ballot, and competitive elections; and employs its unlimited power to control all aspects of society, including the family, religion, education, business, private property, and social relationships. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was thus totalitarian, as was Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Hitler’s Germany, and U Ne Win’s Burma. Presently, North Korea is a prime example.

Totalitarianism is also an ideology for which a totalitarian government is the agency for realizing its ends. Thus, totalitarianism characterizes such ideologies as state socialism (as in Burma), Marxism-Leninism as in the former Soviet Union, and Italian fascism. Then, of course, there is Nazism, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei–National Socialist German Workers’ Party — although racist and nationalist doctrines dominated, economically, all become subverted to the Party, as under communism; as Hitler said: “We are socialists.” Other versions of totalitarianism dot the modern world, such as the socialist Baathist Party that ruled Iraq under Hussein and still rules Syria.

Not all totalitarianism is socialist. Theological totalitarianism, for example, characterized the Taliban, does so for revolutionary Moslem Iran since the overthrow of the Shaw in 1978-79 and Saudi Arabia. Here totalitarianism is married to Moslem fundamentalism.

In short, totalitarianism is the ideology of absolute power.

The worst of the totalitarian governments, however, by far have been the socialist. Socialist self-righteousness, desire to radically reconstruct the fundamental institution of society (throwing out the institutional evolution and cultural learning of generations), the belief that those who disagree are evil, and that one must “break eggs to make an omelet,” have led to monumental democide, as for example by the Soviet Union (about 61 million murdered), Mao’s China (about 35 million), and so on for all the communist regimes, as well as the nationalist socialists like Germany (21 million), state socialist like Burma, Baathists like Syria and Hussein’s Iraq, socialist Libya, and so on. See the figure below.

The details of communist democide are below:

By my count (here) for 1900-1987, totalitarian regimes murdered about 138 million (communist regimes about 110 million out of 169 million overall for all governments. Electoral or procedural democracies murdered 2 million (149 thousand domestic, mainly due to the Spanish Civil War); liberal democracies murdered none of their citizens.

Some, mainly on the left, argue that my figures for communist systems are way too high, while being too low for democracies, especially like the United States. Okay, cut in half all my estimates for communist systems, and double those for democracies. That leaves the communist murdering 55 million versus 4 million for the democracies (almost all wartime democide against enemy civilians). We can even go further and do this again, and the conclusion remains the same–nondemocratic socialism is one of the great threats to human life. In other words, as far as democide is concerned, the major danger, by far, is from the nondemocratic far left.

Be clear, regimes on the right, such as the absolute monarchies and non-socialist fascists like Chiang’s Nationalist government of China (10 million murdered) and Japan’s WWII military government (6 million), also committed major democide, but overall much less than the Marxists. Truly, we can say of communism, it is death by Marxism.