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.
Freedom's Website Never Again Series


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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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!


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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

Abstract:

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.


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Kim Jung Il’s Kakistocracy

June 3, 2009

[first published May 17, 2005] Kakistocracy is government by the worst, most unprincipled citizens of a state. It’s from the Greek kakistos, worst, superlative of kakos, bad.

Some frequent visitors may have noticed that I seem to be obsessed by Kim and his North Korea. Yes, and if you’re not, you should be also. It is the deadliest, most repressive, worst ruled of all countries, and since Kim Jung Il is the absolute dictator of the totalitarian state, he is the one to focus on, as we do on Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

I received from Colleague the three links below, to which I responded:

Read them and I say, as I wrote in my blogs, assassinate Kim as we would have a SWAT Team sniper do to a bank robber holed up with his hostages.

I can’t believe we live in the same world and at the same time with Kim, and he is allowed to continue his evil.

Colleague responded:

As I teach my international relations students, this is a legacy of Westphalia, which was a “good thing” in that it protected princes from the interventions of others — and since no one was reliably democratic, it brought some sense of order — if not justice — to the world. And I remind them that International Law privileges sovereignty, as most cases involve one country violating the sovereignty of another — of course the reasons are not important (as in the case of Nicaragua taking the US to the World Court for mining its harbors, even though there was war stuff coming into the harbors). But then I introduce the idea that democracy is emerging as a universal right and even a basic human entitlement — thereby warranting violation of sovereignty to protect humans — just like your analogy of the SWAT team and the bank robbery. The neat thing is that most of the students see no problems with this idea of humanitarian intervention for democracy. Is there hope????

The next step is to start holding accountable those who claim moral authority in international matters (especially the UN, but certainly the Euro-moralists and the church). I’m not sure HOW you hold them accountable, but a first step is plain and simple condemnation for not having done their jobs (misfeasance — improper execution of laws), and more stringent condemnation (with calls for firings and changes) for having not done their job because they were protecting their personal interests, and outright wrongdoing (malfeasance)… Unleash the lawyers!

So far, what are the solutions offered: Cozy up to Kim, provide food and material aid, meet with his henchmen one-to-one, then maybe he’ll compromise on his development of nukes. Yes, but tell me, how does this help the poor North Koreans suffering this enslavement, and that is what it is, pure and simple slavery under the worst of masters.


Links of Note

“The Hidden Gulag” (5/15/05) By Young Howard

Howard says:

Grandsons are condemned to life-long terms as slave laborers alongside their grandfathers, both equally helpless in the brutal surroundings. Prisoners are arbitrarily murdered by security guards. Women suffer from forced abortions at the hands of unlicensed doctors. Newborn babies are beaten to death. And sons and daughters are publicly executed in front of their mothers.

“Horrific conditions and suffering make it the last worst place on Earth” (5/15/05) By Jack Rendler

Rendler says:

There are 23 million people living in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), and all of them – men, women and children – suffer every day under the heel of the most repressive regime on Earth. Their plight has been abandoned and ignored by most of the world for nearly 50 years. But there is now new hope and opportunity to restore their freedom and dignity. . . . First, we must accept the fact that there will be no reform in North Korea until the new leadership in China makes it happen. . . . Second, it is not productive or humane to contribute to the starvation of the North Korean people. . . . Third, we must not be distracted from our human rights objectives while Pyongyang threatens to develop nuclear weapons. . . . Fourth, we must find ways to bring outside information into North Korea. . . . Fifth, educators, students and health-care workers should be actively seeking exchange opportunities with their North Korean fellows. . . . Finally, each of us can simply communicate to our elected congressional representatives that we cannot in good conscience tolerate the suffering of so many North Korean men, women and children . . . .

“World must act” (5/15/05) The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial

The editorial says:

When Europe’s Jews were being murdered by the millions during World War II, the world paid too little attention until it was too late. When 2 million Cambodians were dying in their country’s auto-genocide in the mid to late 1970s, hardly anyone deigned to notice. When 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutus were being slaughtered in Rwanda in 1994, the world knew but did nothing.

A repeat of this shameful neglect must not be permitted as North Korea’s slave state brutally suppresses all dissenters, real and imagined, and millions remain at risk of starvation.

So, what can the world do?

First, the cause of human rights in North Korea should be put prominently on the international agenda. . . . Second, a more aggressive effort must be mounted to assist North Korea’s people. . . . Third, pressure must be brought on Kim Jong-Il’s government to improve its ghastly record of abusing, indeed denying, all basic human rights of its citizenry. . . . Above all, don’t let it be said that the world knew of North Korea’s horrors, and did nothing.

Strange, isn’t it? Kim’s beastly enslavement and murder of his people, and their abject pain and suffering is recognized, but no one suggests the equivalent of secretly sending in a SWAT Team sniper.



War/peace docudramas
War/democide Docudramas


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
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