Blog Republication Completed

July 10, 2009

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

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

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

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


Idealism vs. Realism

July 4, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Link of Note

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

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

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

So, this blog.


Genocide Versus Democide

June 25, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Link of Note

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

A narrative and statistical overview.

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


Global Peace And Human Security Are Not Hopeless

June 24, 2009

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

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

And it continues into this century.

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

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

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

“Now, Never Again”


Link of Note

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

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

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

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

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


If Not Stupid, Then What?

June 23, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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


Link of Note

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

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

Ostrowski’s essay was intensely frustrating :

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

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

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

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

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

His data is nonsensical and irrelevant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Anarchies Do Exist—You Live In One

June 9, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Link of Note

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

It says of Hobbes:

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

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


Never Again Series


Italian Newspaper Interview.

June 7, 2009

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

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

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

2)       How did you begin to study mass murders?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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