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….


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

June 22, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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


Link of Note

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

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

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


Political Freedom Vs. Economic Freedom and Wealth

June 18, 2009

….

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Link of Note

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

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

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

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

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


Freedom And Human Security

June 17, 2009

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

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

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

NOTE ON THE TABLES AND FIGURES:

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

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

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

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

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


Link of Note

” A Free Market Economic Development Strategy” The Heritage Foundation

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


Dare To Call Evil Evil

June 16, 2009

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

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

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

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


Link of Note

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

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

He says:

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

From Colleague:

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

What do North Korean apologists have to say about this?

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

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

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


Leftimania Uncovered

June 15, 2009

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

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

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

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

On Teresa Heinz Kerry, the guide says:

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

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

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

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

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


Link of Note

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

McCain’s intro:

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

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

Selected quotes:

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

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

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

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

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


Impoverishment and Death by Socialism

June 13, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Link of Note

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

The report has good links and a fair overview:

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

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