Death by Government
by R. J. Rummel

Democide is government mass murder. It does not include enemy soldiers killed in war, but it does include enemy civilians killed in war.

This book includes data from all cases of democide in the 20th century up to 1987. (The book only covers cases where 1,000,000 or more people were killed by a regime.) The purpose of the book is to test the hypothesis that democracies are less democidal than other forms of government. In previous books, Rummel showed that democracies kill fewer people in wars and revolutions than other kinds of governments do. (Most wars are between non-democracies.) This book shows democracies commit less democide too.

When democracies commit democide, it is usually done without public knowledge, it usually involved killing civilians of an enemy government during war, and it is usually during a war-time administration, which is less democratic the a peace-time administration.

"The less freedom people have, the greater the violence; the more freedom, the less violence. I offer this as the Power Principle: power kills, and absolute power kills absolutely." (page xvi and page 1)
The 15 megamurderers have murdered more than 151,000,000 people in their own countries. This is almost four times the 38,500,000 killed in the 20th century's international and civil wars. The most absolute powers account for 84% (128,000,000) of the murders: USSR, Red China, the Chinese warlords 1917--1949, the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, and Nazi Germany. (page 3)

The soviet slave-labor system killed about 40,000,000 people in 70 years: more than twice as many as were killed in the 400 years of the African slave trade. (page 9)

Putting the cost of was and democide together, governments have killed over 203 million people in the 20th century. (page 13)

169,198,000 democide + 34,021,000 battle dead = 203,219,000 people killed by government in the 20th century

Year Read: 1996


Back to Libertarian Essays by Roy Halliday
Back to Nonfiction Book Notes
Back to Fiction Book Notes
Back to Book Notes by Author

This page was last updated on September 26, 2011.
This site is maintained by Roy Halliday. If you have any comments or suggestions, please send them to royhalliday@mindspring.com.