Still Not 50 Times Better Than Democracy–Part II

March 20, 2009

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[First published September 12, 2005] This is Part II of my response to Gartzke’s defense against my critique, “The CATO Institute Gets It All Wrong,” (here) of his chapter 2 published in the CATO Annual Ranking of Economic Freedom. In reading my response, keep in mind how this Gartzke chapter was trumped in the very first lines of CATO’s news release:

Economic freedom is almost 50 times more effective than democracy in restraining nations from going to war.

I will present the rest of Gartzke’s reply that I didn’t cover yesterday, and will intersperse it with my comments in green.


Dr. Rummel argues that I am doing democratization injustice by using the term “impose.” He suggests no alternative term, but references another blog post titled “Unchaining Human Rights, Not Imposing Democracy.” Certainly, “unchaining” sounds more affirmative, just as “freedom fighter” sounds more affirmative than “terrorist.” By “imposed,” I meant situations like Iraq, where democracy has not evolved endogenously. [RJR: What difference should this make in understanding that Iraqis were freed from a bloody tyranny?] In Iraq, for example, unless democratic peace exists and is general (monadic), there can be no robust effect of democratization because other states in the region (besides Israel and Turkey) are not democracies. Research by Hegre (2004) shows that increasing democracy when few states are democratic tends to increase, not decrease, conflict. Even many advocates of democratic peace doubt that democratization in the Middle East will lead to peace in anything but the very long run. [RJR: This misses what is perhaps most important about a democratic Iraq: people are free; their government will not murder, rape, and arbitrarily imprison them; it will not support terrorism, and aggrandize against its neighbors] This, of course, also requires that we assume that US efforts to democratize Iraq will succeed, a debatable claim in its own right.
Dr. Rummel takes my study to task because I point out that the democratic peace observation has recently been limited to prosperous states [RJR: All my research and most I know of have been done on all democracies, regardless of development and prosperity]. Here again, I am simply reporting the evolving consensus of democratic peace researchers themselves. Mousseau (2000) and Hegre (2000) report that an interaction term between variables for democracy and economic development leads the democracy term to become no longer statistically significant. In a newer study, John Oneal himself collaborates with Mousseau and Hegre in further substantiating this conclusion. As the result makes clear, democratic peace, if it exists, is conditioned by economic development. My view is that it is development itself, along with economic liberalization, that explains the peace. [RJR: Leave all these studies aside and just look at he world today. Among the 117 democracies now existing, which range across all levels of development and prosperity, there is no war between any two of them, no expectation of war, and no arming against another. Moreover, there is no violence between any two. Also, I’ve tested this in a variety of ways, and found that even holding development constant, the relationship between democracy and war is robust. See again the chart on this I showed yesterday (here), where “wealth” in equivalent to economic development. See also my Appendix to Saving Lives (here)]
Dr. Rummel claims that my assertions are falsified in my own data. As evidence, he argues that there are no “wars” between democracies. The specific claims that I make, and the data that I use involve militarized interstate disputes (MIDs), a broader category of conflict behavior. Wars are very rare. There are just 44 state participations in wars beginning in 1970, the earliest date for which the Index of Economic Freedom supplies data. Less than 1% of state years (think “man hours”) involve a war. For this reason, democratic peace researchers and others studying conflict among nations have overwhelmingly preferred in recent years to examine MIDs [RJR: Yet, Gartzke has much to say about democracy or economic freedom and war based on this analysis of a data set in which there are no wars for democracies]

Still, it is not difficult to have a look. I examined the Correlates of War project listing of wars (conflicts involving at least 1000 battle deaths per year per participant). I find no statistical relationship between either the index of economic freedom, or the democracy variable, either separately or together, using these data. [RJR: not clear — is this a monadic or dyadic analysis? In any case, there were no wars between democracies in these data either.] The effect of capitalism is either more subtle, reducing conflicts only over a lower intensity, or the sample of wars is too small, or both. In any case, democracy does not have the effects Dr. Rummel claims in these data, even when it is left by itself in the regression. [RJR: I don’t understand Gartzke’s reasoning, when in the data set he originally used and in this one, there is NO WAR between democracies] As a further check on these findings, I also examined data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). These data report conflicts involving at least 25 fatalities. Thus, they are clearly conflicts involving “violence.” Using SIPRI conflicts as the dependent variable [RJR: I also analyzed a larger data set involving these data for the years 1973-2003 and found NO VIOLENCE causing deaths between democracies (see table here).], I am again unable to find a statistically significant relationship linking democracy and peace [RJR: This is an incredible statement, considering the all the data sets he consults show NO WAR between democracies]. I can, on the other hand, find weak support for the suppression of major violence by the economic freedom variable. [RJR: The methodological error is in turning a point prediction into a linear correlation one. The best way of testing a point prediction is by a contingency count, and this is what in effect I did with the table I referenced above] This variable is just short of the 5% significance threshold in a quick statistical comparison of democracy and capitalism as determinants of peace. [RJR: Gartzke is again applying statistical significance inappropriately to a population, and not to a sample that is assumed in statistical inference– there is, however, a way of applying the test, and that is if one is assessing the probability of getting a specific combination of data, but this is not what Gartzke is doing]

So, to summarize, Dr. Rummel’s critique that I should look at wars seems unfounded, though it did not hurt to check. The claim that democracy generally causes peace is again unsupported. [RJR: Again, in all the data he uses, there is either no wars, or no violence, although in a much longer set of data over almost two centuries, as I indicated in Part I, there are three minor cases of violence between democracies. In other words, the democratic peace holds, regardless of what Gartzke says]
Dr. Rummel claims I am using the wrong data and that my study “confounds nonviolence with violence.” I am not sure what this means. Every Correlates of War Project MID involves threats or acts of a militarized nature, almost all of which involve violence (the threshold for inclusion in the dataset is high, resulting in relatively few threats and more “uses of force”) [RJR: The data he is using involves both violence and nonviolence as a test of a point prediction that democracies do not commit violence against each other, or have less violence than other regimes. This is the dependent variable. It includes nonviolence, and thus as a test, confuses violence with nonviolence in whatever relationship is found may involve to some unknown degree nonviolence. This means that it is impossible to say then what is found about the relationship between democracy and violence]. Again, I rely on the same data as democratic peace researchers, the most widely used and referenced data, in fact, in the quantitative study of international relations. For Dr. Rummel to claim that the MIDs data are not an appropriate framework for testing the democratic peace is to reject most studies of democratic peace out of hand, something I, and most other researchers, are unwilling to accept [RJR: If they do regression analysis on data that combines violence and nonviolence, then I do reject it as inappropriate to the democratic peace hypothesis. I’m unimpressed with how many do this. ] Still, it would be nice to establish that my findings do not depend on a particular kind of data source. MIDs, COW wars, and the SIPRI data code conflict behavior of a given intensity level or higher. The Interstate Crisis Behavior dataset, on the other hand, examines crises. This can be useful because some conflicts, even relatively violent ones, do not involve direct leadership decisions. Suppose some sergeant decides to lob mortar shells at the enemy, perhaps because he is tired, irritated, or afraid. This would be a MID, and possibly a SIPRI conflict, depending on casualties, but it would not be an ICB crisis if the actions of the sergeant were not initiated by national leaders. The ICB data have also been used in studies that support the democratic peace (Hewitt and Wilkenfeld 1996), and potentially better reflect some of the arguments made about why democracies should be more peaceful. If democracies are more peaceful in any context, it should be in situations where decision making is explicit, conscious, deliberate, and not the result of accidents on the front lines. Results using the ICB dataset, however, are largely the same as those I report for MIDs in my chapter in the 2005 edition of Economic Freedom of the World. [RJR: Hardly the same. This is what Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Michael Brecher, and Sheila Moser, who created the data set, say in their book, Crises in the Twentieth Century:

The more authoritarian a regime the greater was the probability of violent crisis triggers [provoking crisis by the use of violence ] (democratic–37%, civil authoritarian–49%, military–56%)…. As expected, there was a higher frequency of violence responses by military regimes (50%) than by democratic (30%) and civil authoritarian regimes (33%). Non-violent military responses were most often employed by democratic regimes (32%), compared to 20% for the other two types . . . . in short, the effect of type of regime on an actor’s responsive behavior was evident for violent response–the more authoritarian a regime the more likely its response to a crisis would be violent.

The data on crisis management technique reveal an even sharper escalation of violence–(democratic (37%), civil authoritarian (49%) and military regime (63%), with a considerable higher tendency toward full-scale war as well (18% and 21% for civil authoritarian and democratic, 39% for military regimes). Conversely, democratic regimes which were most likely to perceive non-violent acts as triggers to their crises tended to choose pacific [crisis management techniques], with negotiation the most frequent among them: it was highest among democratic regimes (32%), and dropped to 11% for military regimes.

Dr. Rummel argues that colinearity between economic freedom, other variables, and democracy interfere with the effect of democracy on militarized disputes. As Dr. Rummel almost certainly knows, but did not explain to the reader, multicollinearity is not a severe problem in multivariate analysis until correlations are quite high, on the order of 0.9 (he argues they are 0.7. I find that the two key variables correlate at 0.4135) [RJR: This is wrong. The effect of multicollinearity is linear. The higher the correlation between two independent variables, the more this effects the regression coefficients.]. Similarly, the idea that democracy creates capitalism is, I think, questionable. [RJR: Not creates, but promotes] Few, if any, of the archetypal laissez faire economies of nineteenth century Europe would be considered democratic by contemporary standards, though they became democratic in time. Similarly, in South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and elsewhere in recent decades, capitalism and development gave rise to pressures to democratize, not the other way around. [RJR: I do not say that democracy is a necessary condition for capitalism. Authoritarian systems can be capitalist as well.] Rather than treat democracy as a gift of the gods or something that landed from outer space, it seems more reasonable to recognize that democracies formed out of the same soup as did contemporary capitalism and economic development. In any event, the claim that capitalism and democracy are correlated does not obviously lead to the conclusion that democracy should be given preference (or deference) as the key contributor to liberal peace. If the two processes are related, then why treat one as if it is important and the other as if it does not exist? [RJR: The simple reason is that democratic countries, regardless of their internal socialism and level of development are most peaceful and don’t make wars on each other, whereas authoritarian countries that are capitalist, regardless of level of development, are on the average much more violent and do make wars on each other].

Yet, again to be safe, I remove all of the variables from the regression model, except democracy. Democracy is not remotely statistically significant, even with no competitors (P value 0.448). Maybe economic freedom gets “help” from the other variables? I ran the regression model with just democracy and the freedom index, and find that economic freedom is statistically significant (P value 0.001), while democracy is insignificant. [RJR: Irrelevant, since in his data there are no wars between democracies, and as I say, in almost two centuries, only 3 minor cases of violence] The claim about sampling is debatable, and is debated, in the literature [RJR: No, it is not debatable in the case of statistical inference. Read your statistics books]. Whether we observe all possible states of the world, or just the ones that came to pass in this iteration of history hinges on issues outside the realm of the knowable. Democratic peace researchers have consistently used the statistical significance of democracy as evidence of the validity of their claims. How else can I challenge the conventional wisdom? [RJR: Use the three rules of research: (1)You look at your data and get as familiar with its details as with your own body, (2) you fit the method of analysis to the nature of the data, which is to say (3) you study the assumptions, problems, and interpretation of the method before applying it. The appropriate method in your case is contingency analysis].

At several points, Dr. Rummel notes that “there are NO (zero) wars between democracies over almost two-centuries.” This sounds persuasive, but note that the claim treats as a conclusion that which is presumably the subject of this debate. [RJR: Huh? It is a statement of fact. There were no wars between democracies.] Is it democracy that makes peace or something closely associated with democracy? Dr. Rummel emphasizes that capitalism is correlated with democracy, but refuses to treat seriously the possibility that it is capitalism that causes peace. [RJR: I explained this above: capitalist nondemocracies do make war on each other, while capitalist democracies do not.] The “two-centuries” claim is also misleading. Democratization is a recent phenomenon in world affairs. How many two-centuries old democracies are there? Indeed, we can also say that over the same period, no advanced free market economies have gone to war with each other, either. [RJR: Okay, look at the 117 democracies today, or the 50 or so several decades ago. The same thing holds].

Dr. Rummel asks “How could CATO let such a poor study into their prime report?” Clearly, this is a rhetorical question, but let me answer it as honestly as I can. The study conforms as closely as possible to the state of the art in democratic peace research. Rather than being “incompetent,” I adopted the same variables and evaluation standards, and a similar research design to those of the most widely cited research program on the democratic peace. That this happened to be the approach of Oneal and Russett and not Rummel is unfortunately a consequence of the greater popularity of the former among researchers and the wider public. Dr. Rummel does not like the choices I made in my analysis, but he does not like the choices made by other democratic peace researchers either. Differences between Dr. Rummel’s views and those of the larger democratic peace research community were not made clear in his comments, a possible source of confusion.

At the same time, I do not claim that my findings are definitive. They are a cautionary tale that gives some backing to those who are concerned that enthusiasm for the democratic peace has exceeded good judgment. [RJR: that this is a cautionary tale is inconsistent with the flat statements made in the study] No doubt this is not the end of the debate, though I hope Dr. Rummel and other interlocutors will cease from impugning my professional reputation every time I offer evidence that differs from their conclusions. Science is a perpetual learning process, in which we gradually whittle away at uncertainty. The fervor with which researchers on the subject hold to their respective visions of democratic peace should itself lead intelligent observers to caution. [RJR: Gartzke does not even try to justify his and CATO’s claim that “economic freedom is almost 50 times more effective than democracy in restraining nations from going to war.” To make this claim based on data that show no wars between democracies, and to criticize the American attempt to help democratize Iraq based on this, is where the incompetence comes in.]

Let me add in closing that, while the study Dr. Rummel critiques does not directly contradict the dyadic version of the democratic peace, my other research does. I have replicated the major dyadic studies of Oneal and Russett and others, using several indicators of capitalism, including but not limited to, the Index of Economic Freedom. I find that democracy does not sustain a dyadic effect on conflict either (there is not even a special peace among democracies), when appropriate measures of global market integration and economic development are introduced. I have shared these findings with democratic peace researchers (John Oneal, Bruce Russett, Erik Weede, Patrick James, James Lee Ray, to name a few), and expect that they will soon be available in print. Of course, I will also provide copies to Dr. Rummel, if he wishes.

In sum, Gartzke does not provide any persuasive evidence against the democratic peace, and in fact his data, as well as my own analyses of the other data to which he refers, confirms the democratic peace. Moreover, my contingency analyses of the relationship between democracy, development, and violence show the dominance of democratic freedom. Finally, the claim that stimulated my critique of Gartzke’s study — that economic freedom is almost 50 times more effective than democracy in restraining nations from going to war — remains ridiculous, and also undefended by Gartzke.

Link of Day

“Clear and Clean: The Fixed Effects of the Liberal Peace,” By John Oneal and Bruce Russett (Spring, 2001) In International Organization

They conclude:

Caution is essential: the world has ample experience of public policy made on the basis of untested, badly tested, or untestable theories. But there is abundant corroboration from many different researchers using a wide variety of empirical techniques—including statistical analyses that allow for fixed effects and other methods of examining cross-temporal effects—that democracy and interdependence substantially reduce the danger of violent interstate conflict. There are good scientific grounds for confidence in these results. The bloody nature of our subject compels us to
practical guidance when the theory—and the evidence—are so strong.

Links I Must Share

“Democratic Peace or Economic peace? Who cares!?” Lennart Regebrro blog. He says:

The CATO institute claims that a free economy and free trade is more important than democracy. RJ Rummel writes that
HYPERLINK “”it is not. But does it matter? I’m not so sure. Democracies tend to have a free economy and countries with non-free economy tends to be authoritarian. Therefore, in reality, there is no choice. We need democracy *and* free economy.

Yes, it matters, because free economies are not exclusive to democracies. Authoritarian states with free economies do make war on each other and murder their citizens.

“Jakarta tackles bird flu outbreak”

“You Can’t Handle the Truth”

A shadowy media firm steps in to help orchestrate a sophisticated campaign of mass deception. Rather than alert the public to [a simulated] smallpox threat . . . .

This is why you can’t depend on public services to alert you to a global epidemic of bird flu. It’s up to us blogsters.

“North Korea linked to counterfeiting”

“North Korea hedges on nuclear deal”

North Korea said today that it would not dismantle its nuclear-weapons program until the United States first provides an atomic energy reactor, casting doubt on its commitment to a breakthrough agreement reached at international arms talks.

Typical and predictable.

A chart
of the democratic peace

Still Not 50 Times Better Than Democracy–Part I

March 19, 2009

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[First published September 19, 2005] Gartzke has responded to my critique, “The CATO Institute Gets It All Wrong,” (here) of his chapter 2 published in the CATO Annual Ranking of Economic Freedom. In reading my response, keep in mind how this Gartzke chapter was trumped in the very first lines of CATO’s news release:

Economic freedom is almost 50 times more effective than democracy in restraining nations from going to war.

My response will be in two parts. Here I will respond to Gartzke’s claim about the literature on whether democracy as less warlike as other types of government. This is an important question, for I have asserted as a proposition of the democratic peace, that democracies have the least foreign violence. I will present Gartzke’s reply on this interspersed with my comments in green. Gartzke says:

Dr. Rummel claims that I am wrong to write that [IR] researchers have found that democracies are less likely to fight each other, while being no less ready to use force generally. [RJR: First “less likely” is a weak way of putting this — in the main, the research literature finds that democracies either don’t make war on each other, rarely do, or virtually never do. Second, my statement that Gartzke was wrong refers not to the literature, but to his acceptance of it] This is what other researchers have found. In fact, it is what most proponents of the democratic peace claim to show. Dr. Rummel knows that the majority of studies by democratic peace proponents do not support the assertion that democracies are generally less warlike (Rousseau, et al. 1996). Indeed, he has advocated the strong claim that democracies are generally pacific, in opposition to other proponents of the democratic peace. This difference of views within the democratic peace research community is not made clear in Dr. Rummel’s comments and may confuse his readers. [RJR: I reference my study on this, and hoped that Gartzke would have read it first before replying. In regard to democracies being “less ready to use force,” this literature in general is wrong in finding this is not true and I am unimpressed by how many studies on this one can quote. To see the consistent error in the literature, see the excerpts from my study below. ]

The comment that Dr. Rummel objects to thus simply summarizes the dominant view among democratic peace researchers. As Huth and Allee put it “patterns of military conflict between democracies and non-democracies are not very different from patterns of military conflict among non-democracies” (page 1, 2002). [RJR: This is wrong, as I will show below.] Bruce Russett, the dean of quantitative democratic peace researchers acknowledges that there is little systematic evidence in support of the claim that democracies are generally less warlike (page 11, 1993). Together, Russett and his research partner John Oneal, state that, “Our analyses clearly reveal the separate peace among democratic states” (page 288, 1997). [RJR: This is old stuff. In a personal communication, Russett now agrees with me]

There are many other examples. HYPERLINK “”I quote the wikipedia encyclopedia:

Democratic peace theorists make two possible connections between democracy and war:
Babst, Singer, Rummel and Doyle claimed that democracies, properly defined, have never made war on each other; such DPTs face the difficulty that Ted Gurr classes both Spain and the United States as democracies in 1898, the year of the Spanish-American War. [RJR: Gurr’s classification is based on political attributes being given equal weight, and does not take account of the great importance that should be given to the independent power the King of Spain had in foreign and military policy. This is similar to that of the Germany’s Kaiser in WWI. Neither Spain in 1989 nor Germany in 1914 was democratic in making war and peace. ] Most more recent studies assert that two democracies are less likely to make war on each other than other pairs of states. [RJR: I see where Gartzke got the weak “less likely” from, but he shouldn’t accept this as consistent with the literature. ]

Now, what is going on in the literature on democracies being least likely to fight a war? The following excerpts are from my, “Democracies Are Less Warlike Than Other Regimes” (European Journal of International Relations 1, December 1995: 457-479):

While a consensus has grown that democracies don’t make war on each other, a second consensus has developed in parallel that democracies are neither more nor less likely to make war or commit violence than other types of regimes. . . . In spite of this consensus, it does not well reflect the evidence. As I try to show here, a careful reading of the studies underlying this consensus and of my own 1983 HYPERLINK “””Libertarianism and International Violence” (here) that is assumed to be the only exception (actually there are many more, [which I cite in the study] show that democracies are in fact the most pacific of regimes. Moreover, an analysis of the methodology of the core research studies that underlie this consensus further supports this conclusion. . . .

To begin with my [what the literature claims to be] “exceptional findings”, in HYPERLINK “”Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace (here) offered the HYPERLINK “″Freedom Proposition that “[T]he more libertarian a state, the less it tends to be involved in violence:”

A . . . question has to do with the kind of violence limited by libertarian [democratic] systems. Libertarian systems are the natural enemies of authoritarian and totalitarian states. By their example and the products of freedom they are naturally subversive of authoritarian or totalitarian systems; and these freedoms seem to make libertarian states defenseless against unilateral changes in the status quo. Thus, libertarian states are often involved in reactive and defensive violence against the initiatives of nonlibertarian states. Therefore in general, I do not expect that there will be a correlation. . . between libertarianism and the frequency [note: the frequency] of involvement in war or violence. Nor should there be for the conflict behavior variables. The predicted correlations for these variables are therefore random . . . .

However, once a libertarian state is involved, domestic forces will usually begin to coalesce against increased violence and for a settlement of some sort. The growth in anti-Vietnam war [and the war in Iraq] sentiment and its impact on the American leadership’s war policies and decisions are a paradigm case of [this proposition]. It follows that the intensity of violence variable (which measures the scope, occurrence, and degree of violence) and the conflict scale (which has intense violence at the extreme) should be negatively correlated with libertarianism [democracy] . . . .

There are two things to note about this quote. One is that it emphasizes the severity of violence as the crucial variable; and, second, it throws out the frequency of war involvements or other violence as a relevant variable, predicting that the correlation between democracy and the frequency of foreign violence should be random. Ironically, this zero or near zero correlation that I predicted is in fact what allegedly has been found by the subsequent studies underlying the consensus that democracies are no less or more violent than other types of regimes, to which my positive findings on severity are supposed to be an exception. Indeed, I also had found through HYPERLINK “”factor analyses and HYPERLINK “”correlational studies that there was little correlation between a dimension of foreign conflict and violence and a dimension of democratic versus authoritarian and totalitarian regimes [citations in source]. . . .

[the proposition I will test using war intensity as the variable, and not frequency is:]

The More Democratic a Regime, the Less its Foreign Violence
To test this and show that my results are not due to the peculiarities of my own data set, I first used the most commonly employed data on war in this area–those of Small and Singer (1982)–in spite of their problems, to be subsequently described. They define war as any military action in which there are 1,000 or more battle dead and provide figures on battle dead for each participant in a war. It is these battle-dead data that I employed to operationalize foreign violence, since, as should be clear from the above, it is severity and not frequency of war that the theory predicts (the more democratic a regime and the more deadly a potential war, the more domestic and psychological restraint a leader will have to go to war). . . . [see Table 1 below]

The Table also presents the comparison of means for battle dead as a percentage of the regime’s population. This is a theoretically less important measure than that of battle dead itself. For democratic people and interest groups, as well as the governing elite, that a war may cost thousands of dead, or is in fact causing hundreds of deaths per week, is the more salient factor–not that a certain percentage of the population is being killed. Indeed–whether in the US pre-Pearl Harbor debate about coming actively to the aid of Great Britain (whose defeat appeared imminent), or in the great domestic debate about ending the Korean or Vietnam wars, or in the debate over launching military action against Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait–no one, not at least according to my resources, phrased the concern about casualties in terms of the number of US citizens as a percentage of the population that would be or were being killed. Nonetheless, this is a favorite indicator among researchers and is included in HYPERLINK “”Table 1 for that reason.

HYPERLINK “”Figure 1 plots the means listed in the Table.

[for another test] on 73 additional regimes that did not commit democide, that reflected major regional and cultural patterns, and that involved large differences in type of regime from previous or succeeding ones, using the foreign violence dead of these non-demociders, and I again relied on the Singer and Small data, supplemented by my own data for the years 1900-87, see Table 2 (here). See also wealth, which is highly correlated with economic freedom factored out in Table 3 (here. To see power as capability factored out, go to Table 4 (here]

[How could other researchers miss this? It is because they counted frequency of wars as their dependent variable.] Counting wars or military actions equates conflicts that are vastly different. For example, according to Small and Singer the Philippines lost 90 killed in the Korean War (1982: 92), and this is counted as a war for the Philippines because there were more than 1,000 troops involved. But in the Small and Singer tables [cited in source], the Soviet Union lost 7,500,000 battle dead in World War II, and this also is counted as one war. Thus, in comparing 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 Propositions on democracy and violence have been tested by others.

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 implication of the use of a simple count of wars.

[Now with this understanding, if one looks in detail at] the three most-cited studies — those of Small and Singer, Chan, and Weede — at the core of the consensus in the field that the Proposition is false, Small and Singer’s results tend to support the HYPERLINK “file:///Users/rudyrummel/INTERNET.WEB/WEB%20SITE%20FILES/DP95.HTM#FP”Proposition, and if one could accept their measurement of violence Chan and Weede would also support the Proposition. Small and Singer used an appropriate measure of severity (battle dead) and their results are relevant to the Proposition. But the Chan and Weede studies are inappropriate, since they measure violence by the number of years at war, by the frequency of wars, or by the existence of war, none of which measures the severity of violence central to the Proposition.

There are five other studies following on these that do analyses bearing on the HYPERLINK “file:///Users/rudyrummel/INTERNET.WEB/WEB%20SITE%20FILES/DP95.HTM#FP”Proposition, but they all use the Small and Singer (1982) war or the Gochman and Maoz (1984) militarized dispute data and cross-tabulate or correlate violence or war frequencies with some measure of democracy. If their use of frequencies was relevant to the Proposition, one study would be positive (Morgan and Schwebach, 1992), two would tend to be ambiguous (Domke, 1988; Maoz and Abdolali, 1989), and two studies would be negative (Cole, 1990; Morgan and Campbell, 1991), neither one strongly so. . . .

Overall, then, we find that when the Freedom/Foreign Violence HYPERLINK “file:///Users/rudyrummel/INTERNET.WEB/WEB%20SITE%20FILES/DP95.HTM#FP”Proposition is properly tested in terms of the severity of violence, all correlations or cross-tabulations of democracy and violence are in the proper direction. That is, democracy is less warlike (severity) than other regimes. This is contrary to the prevailing wisdom among students of war, but upon careful inspection the results underlying their consensus have not only been shown to equate for a nation wars involving a few dozen killed with wars killing millions, but also, were frequencies relevant, to support the Proposition, not negate it.

I say again, Gartzke was right in saying the literature mostly opposed the proposition, but wrong in accepting what these studies claimed, and what was claimed about them.

Link of Day

“Most scientific papers are probably wrong” By Kurt Kleiner (30 August 2005)

Kleiner says:

Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true.

Yes, this is what I have generally found in the scientific studies of the democratic peace, as shown in my response to Gartzke above.

Links I Must Share

“Do blacks believe levee was blown?”

Washington Post columnist ‘stunned’ by ‘reasonable’ people suggesting plot.

This shows the power of racist demagoguery, especially among Black liberal leaders.

“Church wants to apologize for Iraq war”

Bishops of the Church of England are calling for Christian leaders in Britain to publicly apologize for the war in Iraq and its aftermath.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

“Chavez: U.S. Plans to Invade Venezuela

Hugo Chavez says he has documentary evidence that U.S. plans to invade Venezuela.

Just as Allende did, accuse the U.S. of planning to attack as a way of finessing opposition at home and unifying his people around him. Typical communist trick.

Democratic Peace

Subjective Perception and the Democratic Peace

March 18, 2009

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[First published September 1, 2005] Our perception, what we see, is influenced by the context, our background, and our beliefs, particularly our “ism.” There is a reality out there to be sure, but what it manifest to us is what we partly create. In this sense, each of us is nature’s conductor, enlarging here, endowing meaning there, ignoring this, inflating out of all proportion that, and so on. Politics, because there is so much at stake, including life and death, is particularly prone to this seeing-what-we-want-to-see or -believe.

There are many metaphors for this general perceptual process, one of the best I’ve recently come across is here. It illustrates vividly how what color we think we are seeing is determined by context — by the adjacent colors.

If our perception is so subjective, how do we ever really see socio-political reality? In the long run through the slow evolution of Truths that stand the test of time and challenge; in the short run through clear scientific tests (like those by Adam Przeworski and colleagues on the durability of democracies that I discussed in the last two blogs) and their presentation such that others can duplicate them. This is the story of the democratic peace. It began in 1795 with Immanuel Kant’s philosophical argument, and entered politics as an assumption of 19th Century classical liberalism — freedom promotes peace. But, this particular perception of reality competed with monarchism and the growing anti-freedom belief in socialism of that era; and in the last century, fascism, communism, and militarism — all different perceptions of the same reality of politics, economy, and peace.

Then came the first scientific tests of the democratic peace by Dean Babst in 1964, to be followed by those of Melvin Small and J. David Singer in 1976 (mistakenly negative), and my War, Power, Peace in 1979 (complete book on my website here.). Then, came my explicit retests published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution (1983), the central journal of conflict studies, and the tests by Michael Doyle appearing in the American Political Science Review (1986), the organ of the American Political Science Association. This all stimulated and provoked a flood of replications and extensions as doubters tried to show how wrong we were, and ended up convinced (see my democratic peace bibliography).

True, perception is subjective and so is any statement of fact. Until, that is, it reflects a long history of challenge and response, or it can be subjected to scientific tests, as has been the idea of a democratic peace. By tests, I mean that all clearly defined cases (or a random sample) of democracies, violence, and wars should be collected (the data available to all for their own confirming tests) and employed to test the democratic peace hypothesis, with statistical tests to determine how likely the results occurred by chance. The emphasis here is on the plural, “tests.” For no one scientific test or empirical study is sufficient (as the major media is yet to learn). It has to be subjected to replication, which is best if conducted by those with different perceptions. Then, if across data sets, testers, years covered, and definitions the results generally agree, then we have perceived a Truth of the political world.

Such is the democratic peace.

Link of Note

CHAPTER 7.”Perception and Reality” By R.J. Rummel. In The Dynamic Psychological field (1975)


. . . there is an active, psychological engagement in perception, a confrontation of external reality with a psychological reality, a clash of two worlds whose battle lines comprise our perception. Therefore, while useful as an initial provisional sketch, the simple view of perception as a unidirectional process running from external object to stimuli to receptors to perceptibles to percept to concept will have to be modified in favor of a dialectical field theory of perception.

God, what incredible prose.
Universal Archive
Democratic peace Q&A/FAQ

Tenure, like Power, Corrupts

March 17, 2009

[First published February 28, 2005] In my 3/17/09 blog “On Ward Churchill and Academic Leftmania,” I described the state of American universities, particularly the social sciences, humanities, and special studies or programs (woman’s studies, ethnic studies, etc.). In effect, they constitute anti-American, socialist, and leftist propaganda factories. I will refer to them all as leftsville.

The academic leftists have one and really only one argument for legislatures, regents, and other outsiders to leave them alone to spew their propaganda, and that is academic freedom. That is, the leftists argue, academics should be free to say unpopular things, to teach what they believe, and to research the unconventional. It is a powerful argument, and we all are for it in these terms. Thus, we have tenure, whose prime purpose is to protect this freedom by making it almost impossible to fire a professor for his beliefs.

But in application, this academic freedom has been destroyed from within. Simply, conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, devoted Christians, or the otherwise politically incorrect will not be hired; or by mischance if they are, they will not get tenure; or if they change their views after they get tenure, they will be not too gently encouraged to find other employment. Thus, we have academic departments with democrats/liberals/communists (called Marxists) outnumbering Republicans/libertarians/conservatives 30 or 40 to 1.

What this means is that students get only views on history, current events, and contentious issues, for within a narrow band of liberal-left-communist beliefs. They are not being educated, but propagandized. And what academic freedom has come to mean in practice is to protect leftsville from attempts to create a true diversity of beliefs, teaching, and research.

What to do?

First, is to inform. Universities depend on public funds, gifts and contributions, and tuition. The more legislators, the wealthy, and parents come to understand that they are paying for the country’s future leaders to be taught how good is the socialist-equalitarian model, including communism for some (you see, what happened in communist countries, with all the democide and other horrors, was “state capitalism,” not true Marxism), and how bad is the United States.

Second is to investigate. There should be outside (inside is almost hopeless) research into this Leftsville—what is being taught and how, the treatment of nonleftist students, favoritism toward leftist ones, and what happens to non-liberal and leftist faculty. Of course, leftsville will go to war against this and the drums of academic freedom will beat mercilessly on everyone’s ears. Stuff them with cotton, and investigate. I think the results will shock the public.

And third, discard tenure. It is the dirty bath water and not the baby. Tenure is precisely the reason leftsville has expanded to envelope the whole university. There are other reasons besides creating a diversity of beliefs to get rid of this protection of leftsville, and that is tenure also protects the deadwood and stupid among them. There is little opportunity for the young, mentally vigorous, and promising scholars to move into this world now made up so many old professors with their yellowing lecture notes, and two or three articles in some left wing magazine or journal.

In the place of tenure, I suggest a five-year contract, renewable every five years. The renewal should be based on a department’s recommendations, evaluation of peers at other universities, and student evaluations. And, I suggest that the university committee making the final decision has administration, faculty, student, and outside members (suggested by the regents or governing board).

This may seem impossible, given tenure’s grip on higher education and the mass of the naïve and innocents outside the universities that are taken in by the academic freedom battle flag. But, all universities have one vulnerability that can win this battle. Money. Hit their funding sources. Weigh in on federal and local tax money. Inform the wealthy of what their endowments are really supporting. Organize boycotts among parents against sending their children to the worse leftsvilles. Encourage business and federal agencies to hire graduating seniors from other universities, and so on. There are so many ways in a democracy like ours to persuade universities that perhaps it is time to rethink tenure, that all it really takes is information, communication, and will.

Link of Note

”Lifetime Tenure in Academia and Government “ (2/18/05) By Gary Aldrich

“. . . in a recent meeting with several hundred students at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, I made the allegation that too many tenured professors proudly declare themselves “Communists” while pushing hard-left agendas on students. They’ve made it clear that conservative and Christian views are unwelcome in their classrooms.

“I said that students were being blackmailed into silence by professors who hold grade point averages over their heads as punishment for expressing conflicting ideologies.

“I also stated that our students are being brainwashed, while parents are being forced to pay large sums of money for the privilege of watching professors play with their children’s young minds.

“Two professors who had infiltrated the meeting rose in protest. Red-faced, they declared me to be a liar and demanded that I prove my ‘outrageous” allegations.’ A young lady in the front row of the packed auditorium bravely raised her hand.

“First timidly, then with increasing firmness, she spoke of several of her Lehigh professors who had expressed hatred for American values and fondness for the likes of Fidel Castro. Following her lead, other students rose to give similar testimony. The angry and now ‘outed’ professors quickly made their exit.”

On Ward Churchill and Academic Leftmania

March 16, 2009

[First published February 25, 2005] I have read Ward Churchill’s “’Some People Push Back’ On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” (link given below). It’s a propaganda piece, and could have been written by Bin Laden with hardly a change in wording.

Churchill has become a popular figure on campus and is often invited to give speeches and talks, and indeed, has even been invited by faculty to speak at the University of Hawaii, from which I retired years ago. In light of this, I want to say a few words about the leftist university climate in which an ignorant fraud, and expressed enemy of the United States like Churchill, can thrive. I’ll focus this on two hallowed academic principles. But first, a word about the leftism of the university.

The university is institutionally diverse, with schools and departments of law, medicine, business, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, and so forth. Generally, the faculty in business, engineering, natural sciences, mathematics, agriculture, and related, are least on the left, although as I understand the latest polls or surveys, Democrats still dominate in them. However, it is the humanities, social sciences, and law, and such programs as ethnic studies, woman studies, peace studies, and such, that are most dominated by the left. So, when a survey claims that 85 percent of the faculty vote Democrat, and that covers all the way from engineering and the hard sciences to the humanities, then the figure for the humanities and social sciences alone has to be much higher. Indeed, judging from my experience, a conservative or Republican in these fields is extremely rare, say, one out of thirty, or forty faculty. There are more communists (they call themselves Marxists), than either libertarians or conservatives together, and It appears to me that those on the left outnumber the average liberal and moderate Democrat.

Now, as to the two hallowed principles. One is diversity. There is none in political orientation. The left has captured the university and fight to maintain their control. They refuse to hire or give tenure to those perceived conservative or nonsupportive of their ideology. It is done cleverly, you see, by pointing to problems in a candidate’s research or lectures. For example, if a candidates supported Bush’s foreign policy, they would find his research inadequate, insensitive to Iraq deaths, hawkish, nationalistic, and so forth.

This also extends to sending out invitations to speakers. Almost always, these speakers are liberal or left; hardly ever conservative or libertarian, unless certain conservative student groups fight like hell to bring one. And even then, hostile leftist students may so threaten disruption, that the university administration may use this as an excuse to cancel the engagement they didn’t want anyway.

The second hallowed principle, which you hear often in defense of Churchill, is academic freedom. After almost forty years of being in a university as a student and teaching, I have seen the campus go from the existence of a wide range of extensive academic freedom to a narrow band in the social sciences and humanities. I’m retired now, but if I were teaching, I know many things I believe related to my field that I could not say on campus or while teaching. What we have now is a leftist enforced control of speech such that every academic has academic freedom as long as they stick close to the liberal-leftist line.

To put this bluntly, academic freedom is now a charade, a leftiwocky, most often expressed by liberal and leftist faculty and ideological innocents to protect these faculty from outside criticism.

How do they enforce this? If a faculty member does not have tenure, he had better hue the liberal and leftist line if he wants it. If he has tenure, then at least through their control of the department chairmanship and major committees, they can make a conservative or libertarian professor suffer a thousand cuts: worst parking spaces, worst offices, no assistants, no promotions (if possible), no salary increases (if not automatic) or merit increases, heaviest teaching load, assigned largest and most elementary courses, many committee assignments (but never a chairmanship), no travel allowance, no research support, a campaign among leftist students to get others to avoid their classes, and plain old social isolation. It has to be an unusually dedicated faculty member to stick this out. And this is just at the department level. What a dean can do is far worse, such as using leftist student complaints to set up a Star Chamber investigation.

To be clear, I am not saying that liberal of leftist academics are more incompetent, more biased, less intelligent, less productive, or poorer teachers than conservatives or libertarians. I am not saying they all are bad people or academics in some sense. A lot of the good work in my area on international relations, foreign policy, and the democratic peace has come from these academics. I will say this, however. In general, they are less open minded, less tolerant of opposing ideas, less willing to engage them, and more self-righteous.

Something has to be done about the lack of diversity and freedom of speech on campus and, I’m afraid, we simply can’t wait until the passage of several generations of faculty moves universities more towards the center. What should this be? Well, that will take another blog or so.

Link of Note

”’Some People Push Back’ On the Justice of Roosting Chickens” (nd By Ward Churchill)

 On the morning of September 11, 2001, a few more chickens – along with some half-million dead Iraqi children – came home to roost in a very big way at the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. Well, actually, a few of them seem to have nestled in at the Pentagon as well. . . . it may not have been (only) the ghosts of Iraqi children who made their appearance that day. It could as easily have been some or all of their butchered Palestinian cousins.
Or maybe it was some or all of the at least 3.2 million Indochinese who perished as a result of America’s sustained and genocidal assault on Southeast Asia (1959-1975), not to mention the millions more who’ve died because of the sanctions imposed thereafter.

Comment by Colleague Two
Colleague Two is a professor of international law.

The problem with Churchill is not merely that he’s a left-wing screwball, but that his whole life has been one big lie. He got a job as a professor pretending to be a “Native American” and that’s been proven false. He portrayed himself as a Vietnam war hero and turns out he was a Public Affairs specialist who changed reels on a movie projector.

Why Terrorist Nukes the Greatest Threat Ever

March 13, 2009

[First published February 10, 2005] Why, it is asked, should we be so afraid of terrorists having nuclear weapons when during most of the Cold War the Soviets had enough nuclear weapons to utterly destroy every major American city, and then some? Surely, the terrorist could not develop such a vast number of nukes. Yes, may be one or two, maybe in the long run even three of four, and certainly they will be a threat, but nothing like the Soviets were, it seems. And since we handled the Soviets, we should be able to deal with terrorist’s nukes. Right?

Wrong. What protected us from a Soviet first strike with their nuclear weapons was the American defense policy of deterrence. That is, if the Soviet’s attacked us, we would massively retaliate with our own nuclear weapons. In the early years of the Cold War, this meant attacking Soviet cities and major military targets. In the waning years of the Cold War, this policy was redefined to mean targets of value to the Soviet rulers, which were not only the most important military targets, but also the Communist Party, the rulers themselves, and their means of control over the nation.

Now, if the terrorists get nukes, how do we deter them? They operate in diffuse gangs, often with the secret help of sympathetic nations or groups within nations (such as a Muslim sub-community). And they are willing to die for their cause, which is often simply killing Americans. If the terrorists are able to hide a small nuclear bomb in a container unloaded in New York, and set it off, the result would be a city destroyed and perhaps half-a million murdered. Now, whom do we retaliate against?

Of course, we will try to track the source of the nuclear bomb, and perhaps find that it was constructed with the secret help of rogue scientists from Russia and Pakistan, with ingredients and parts from N. Korea, France, and China, much of it commercial. You can be sure that if such a bomb is exploded in the U.S., there will not be a clear relationship between the terrorists and any nations, as there was between El Quida and the Taliban of Afghanistan.

In other words, an anti-terrorist-use-of-nukes policy of deterrence will not work. For this reason alone, their getting nukes are more dangerous than when the Soviets had them.

This understood, then what is to be done? What we are doing now. Imprison or kill the terrorists, destroy their infrastructure, warn states that are supporting them about the consequences and apply pressure and sanctions, and prevent supporting states such as Iran from getting nukes themselves. And work at the underlying cause by working to democratize possibly supportive tyrannies. Democracies will never be a danger to us, or support terrorism. Above all, treat global terrorism as the war it is. There is too much at stake not to.

Oh, yes, let “nukes” stand for all weapons of mass destruction, and not a word of the above need be changed.

Link of Note

”N. Korea Announces It Has Nuclear Weapon” (2/10/05) By Sang-Hun Choe

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea on Thursday announced for the first time that it has nuclear arms and rejected moves to restart disarmament talks anytime soon, saying it needs the weapons as protection against an increasingly hostile United States.

N. Korea was helping Libya develop nuclear weapons, and is reportedly helping Iran. How long before Kim Il-jong decides the way to hit at its greatest enemy, the United States, is by helping the terrorists go nuclear. As for N. Korea itself, too much is made of its lack of reliable and long-range nuclear tipped missiles. Come now, there are many ways to deliver nuclear weapons without a missile (beside which the source of a missile is easy to track). How about exploding one hidden in a freighter off the port of New York?

The “Peace” of Nuclear Nonproliferation

March 12, 2009

[First published August 2, 2005] Several days ago I came across such an egregious blindness to the democratic peace that I dragged the offending article to my desktop for its display on my blog. So I thought. But I can’t find it there or on the net.

So, from memory, a columnist obviously concerned about nuclear proliferation asked a presumed authority about the ahistorical peace in Europe since the end of World War II (ignoring the violence resulting from the breakup of Yugoslavia) and whether it was related to nonproliferation. The answer was yes, this was one of the reasons.

No, this peace couldn’t be because all Europe is democratic. Excuse me, but doesn’t France and Britain have nukes. And anyway, these weapons and the deterrent strategy of the United States surely were responsible for keeping the peace with the Soviet Union. The United States refused to declare no first use of its nukes so that they could be used defensively in case of a massive Soviet Invasion of Europe.

Here we have a strong case for the actual existence of nuclear weapons possibly saving us all from a nuclear War.

And since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the universalization of democracy in Europe, has nonproliferation in Europe beyond Britain and France kept the peace? No, and if one is going to be ridiculous, one could also argue that it is Britain’s and France’s arsenal that has kept the peace since then.

Truth to tell, I have to throw up my hands in frustration. How can the role of democracy be missed? It goes beyond something in the water. It must be an ideological unwillingness to accept this truth, much like the left’s unwillingness to accept the power of the free market.

Link of Note

“Al-Qaida nukes already in U.S.” (7/11/05) From WorldNet

It says:

According to captured al-Qaida leaders and documents, the plan is called the “American Hiroshima” and involves the multiple detonation of nuclear weapons already smuggled into the U.S. over the Mexican border with the help of the MS-13 street gang and other organized crime groups.

Al-Qaida has obtained at least 40 nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union – including suitcase nukes, nuclear mines, artillery shells and even some missile warheads. In addition, documents captured in Afghanistan show al-Qaida had plans to assemble its own nuclear weapons with fissile material it purchased on the black market.

Democratic Peace