Is The U.S. The Most Violent Of All?

[First published February 3, 2006] I’ve had the most respected academics in peace research tell me flatly that the United States is the most violent nation in the world. And after I’ve given lectures and speeches on the democratic peace, some questioners have said or implied the same thing. This myth has been widely believed among peace researchers and is a matter of religious faith on the left.

In response, I would point out the bloody wars in Africa and Asia not involving the U.S., including the Iraq-Iran war which cost about a million lives. Then, I would note the worst domestic democides, including that of Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and so on, and compare the top annual domestic democide rates (the percent of the population murdered per year of the regime) to that for the U.S. (I always had a special page in my notes with the figures):

U.S. = .000016
USSR = .42
Communist China = .12 (if 1959-1962 famine treated as nondemocidal)
Hitler’s Germany = .09
Pol Pot’s Cambodia 8.16

And, I would add, here are the average overall domestic democide rates (average percent of the population murdered) for types of regimes.

Democracies = .043, of which the U.S. = .001
Authoritarian regimes = 1.1
Totalitarian regimes = 3.9, of which communist = 5.2

Particularly note how small the annual rate is for the U.S. even compared to the average for democracies.

But, the leftist mind assumes that there has to be something bloody wrong with the U.S. (in addition to its raging imperialism, blood sucking capitalism, and ardent support for right wing dictators), and so they fall back on the civil murder rate. They say, “No one is secure in America, since Americans murder each other at a rate greater than any other nation, and that’s why it is the most violent nation in the world.”

Well, this can be easily checked on the Internet, such as through The International Crime Victim Survey and here. From the latter source, I reproduce its rank ordered list of murder’s per nation per capita.

Note that the U.S. is not only 24th, but that its murder rate is tiny compared to the top four nations. It is 6.9% of Colombia’s, 8.6% of South Africa’s, 13.2% of Jamaica’s, and 21.2 % of Venezuela’s.

The next time a so called “anti-war” activist, self-righteous “peace researcher,” or blathering leftist declares that the U.S. is the most violent nation in the world, kindly tell them that their ignorance is only exceeded by their ideological blindness.

8 Responses to Is The U.S. The Most Violent Of All?

  1. Agayuki says:

    One cannot ignore the amount of deaths caused by United States during the Vietnam War, Nuclear bombing of Japan in WW2, Iraq war, etc. Even the killing of Tibetians in China is said to be a result of United States actions and who is responsible for arming the KMT during the war against Chinese Communists and resulting in such amount of deaths?

    United States is a terrorist country who sponsored deaths around the world through its foreign policy, hiding in the veil of “promoting freedom” and committed war crimes that are far beyond the imaginations of human mind.

  2. Hollywood says:

    USA is the most savage nation ever in the world from genocide against native americans to murdering of boy heroes of mexico who defended their country to the last breath against savage americans the last one rapped himself in the mexico flag and jumped off the roof of his school just so we wont surrender to the americans the false history of america which is pushed by hollywood in films like ww2 movies and vietnam try to make light of american mass murder usa is the only animal ever to use the nuclear bomb after the saw the carnage it made and the loss of innocent lives the made the secound one stronger usa also used the chemical weapon agent orange in vietnam out of desparation of defeat the caused mass murder birth defects destroyed nature and even caused health problems for their own troops when saddam used chemical weapons usa supported and supplied them to him 1 million iraqi’s died because of lies and a illegal war which UN voted against usa is only a superpower on hollywood films with special effects and actors reading from a script the so called strongest country in the world lost many wars to small vulnerable countries that their only weapon against the americans were their hearts and bravery defeats in korea,vietnam,somalia,iraq,afghanistan proves americas failed policies that bankrupeted itself with the most violent schools were rape and murder happen everyday and molestaion in churches and a 66% divorce rate usa is in a moral decline 3% of the population of the capital of usa DC have hiv or aids thats in par with africans countries uganda and kenya. The nation which has the most prison inmates is so called “land of the free”

  3. Marcus says:

    Chomsky 101: Uncle Sam did it.

    Chomsky 201: Uncle Same made them do it.

    Chomsky 301: “Washington is the terror and political murder capitol of the world.”

    Everything is connected to everything else, which is connected to Washington DC, therefore Uncle Sam is the source of all evil in the world.

    We’ve heard it all before. It’s an article of religious faith among the Hate America First crowd.

    “United States is a terrorist country who sponsored deaths around the world through its foreign policy, hiding in the veil of “promoting freedom” and committed war crimes that are far beyond the imaginations of human mind”

    What evidence would you require to believe that this proposition is false?

  4. blackbi#^& says:

    Hollywood-don’t start about how oppressed and tormented mexico and central americans are by the US…you are talking about places that find it acceptable for older boys (20’s/30’s) to rape nine-yr old girls, its nothing for hispanics to harass LITTLE GIRLS,such people always involved in gangs,drug-trafficking,blaming “gringos” for personal failure and immoral lives.

  5. Lotus says:

    Woow, what a biased post. Communist China? Communist? And why would anyone count the famine as murder? Can’t you think? And USA is very violent. It’s just hard for some narrow-minded people to accept. Don’t look at the rates. Of course they sound small if you have a large population. Now compare cities with other world cities. What do you get? Whatever the rates are, I still don’t find USA as a safe place when people keep shooting each other. Look at Japan or Norway. Well that’s a safe country.

    Btw do you have free health care or is this too communist? It’s embarrassing to see Americans preventing themselves a universal human right to affordable health care because of the commie-paranoia, while the rest of the world already has it and is nicely healthy.

  6. cody says:

    Are ya’ll serious!!!??? Have we made our mistakes? Yes of course like every nation. None of you are very smart if you think the U.S. is the most violent nation. First, if you live here you are lucky to get to be apart of such a great nation of wonderful people! Second, if you live somewhere else your envy is clearly wrote all over this blog!!! It is sad that nothing is said here about how much the United States does for all of these nations crying that they are deprived. No other nation will stand in for you like the U.S. I pity some of your weak minds!
    Proud American ” for a reason”

  7. History10 says:


    Of course famine is considered murder if the government of the country ordered it, even by implementing factous policies.

    Oh, and by the way, Britain’s Department of Health reported in 2006 that at any given time, nearly 900,000 Britons are waiting for admission to National Health Service hospitals, and shortages force the cancellation of more than 50,000 operations each year. In Sweden, the wait for heart surgery can be as long as 25 weeks, and the average wait for hip replacement surgery is more than a year. Many of these individuals suffer chronic pain, and judging by the numbers, some will probably die awaiting treatment. In a 2005 ruling of the Canadian Supreme Court, Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin wrote that “access to a waiting list is not access to healthcare.”

    More than 400 Canadians in the full throes of a heart attack or other cardiac emergency have been sent to the United States because no hospital can provide the lifesaving care they require here.

    At least 188 neurosurgery patients and 421 emergency cardiac patients have been sent to the United States from Ontario since the 2003-2004 fiscal year to Feb. 21 this year. Add to that 25 women with high-risk pregnancies sent south of the border in 2007.

    And in England:

    Life-saving cancer scans delayed in NHS funding crisis

    Vital scans for patients who may have cancer are being postponed by up to six weeks as the NHS grapples with a major funding crisis. GPs have also been ordered not send elderly people for osteoporosis scans, to refer children with tonsillitis to specialists – or even allow men to have vasectomies. In addition, wards are threatened with closure and thousands of key staff have been told to work shorter hours or take unpaid ‘career breaks’.

    Charities and patient groups said the delays could have disastrous consequences if early signs for potentially fatal conditions go undetected. The drastic cutbacks illustrate a funding nightmare threatening to overwhelm the NHS within months, as trusts battle to save millions of pounds in the wake of the credit crunch.

    Last night the Royal College of Physicians warned ministers and NHS managers against ‘slash and burn’ cuts. In a strongly-worded pre-budget briefing to MPs, they said: ‘Following a decade of growth, the NHS is being asked to deliver considerable efficiencies. ‘There is a risk that without careful management, a supportive rather than confrontational culture and a high degree of medical engagement, any effort to reduce productivity could easily subside into a process where services and posts are indiscriminately slashed and burnt. ‘Over-hasty decisions now to cut back on the medical workforce, biomedical research, and audit programmes could have implications for generations.’

    Ministers say the NHS needs to save 20billion pounds over the next five years. Although both Labour and the Tories have pledged not to cut NHS funding, rising demand and an ageing population means the money will not go as far as in the past, necessitating cuts.

    Dozens of hospitals are already considering closures of A&E departments and maternity wards, while others are asking staff to consider voluntary redundancy and early retirement. The respected King’s Fund think tank says it may be necessary to freeze NHS pay until 2014.

    One NHS trust under pressure is North East Essex primary care trust, which last month asked its GPs not to refer patients for MRI scans – used to diagnose possible tumours and kidney disease – and other tests until April 1.

    Sarah Woolnough of Cancer Research UK said delays in MRI scans could run the risk of early signs of cancer being missed. She said: ‘Speedy access to diagnostic tests and quick referral can help to diagnose cancer as early as possible which can ultimately lead to better treatment for patients and improved survival.’

    Matt Bushell, director of commissioning at the trust, said: ‘As part of the procedures to ensure budgets are balanced at the end of the current financial year, we have, just for the month of March, asked GPs to defer referrals for a very small number of non-urgent, therapeutic services: heel scans, vasectomies, ENT and nonurgent MRI scans. ‘We have maintained priority for urgent MRI scans. These arrangements will remain in place only until April 1 2010.’

    Other examples of cuts across the NHS include:

    * GPs in Hertfordshire being told to get ‘approval’ before referring patients for hysterectomies, tooth extraction and removal of skin ‘lumps and bumps’;

    * Planned closures of A&E wards at Whittington Hospital in North London, Queen Mary’s in Sidcup, Chase Farm in Enfield and others;

    * Almost 4,000 workers at Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport, and 2,000 at Scunthorpe general hospital, being asked to consider early retirement, voluntary job cuts or shorter hours.

    Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley said: ‘This will be very worrying for patients. The NHS has had increased funding this year, so just where has the money gone?’

    Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘It’s infuriating that despite billions of pounds being poured into the NHS, patients are having treatment delayed thanks to a failure to plan properly.’

    Does this sound “nicely healthy”? Please wake up, and read a book or scholarly journal…..PLEASE!

  8. ted says:

    I would think the more democratic a superpower is the less violent it is because of balance check mechanisms of democracy. What we should fear is a superpower without democracy, a superpower dictatorship or authoritarian state.

    Remember Notradamus, the seer who predicted the rise of Hitler to power, 11 September terrorist attack…and many more disaters that proved to be correct? Among his very gloom and doom predictions is the return of King of Mongols to rule the world. Most people would understand that reference of the Mongols is to China. Read your history books to see how the Mongols invaded Europe. We have plenty evidence that modern authoritarian China, when they rise to military power after gaining economic power, won’t respect the rule of law when they deal with international matters, for examples, China’s claims of sovereignty over South China Sea ignoring UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or China’s dealings after they access WTO…

    Thomas Hobbes has predicted in a world where rule of law is not recognized, everyman is one’s enemy, and that’s the state of nature with men living in “war of all against all”. Remember that China has one person in every six people in the world, enough to rule us all if that person is backed with Chinese sovereign power.

    I think Nostradamus is right again, unfortunately for us. We should all be prepared for an even more violent world when China rises to power.

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