Dedicated to those who are not yet living in freedom, who suffer repression, regime-made famine, torture, gulags, and fear for their lives and those of their loved ones; and thanks to the internet, have reached this home page.
Professor Rummel passed away on March 2, 2014. His “Powerkills” website will be maintained by the University of Hawaii Political Science Department. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
Democide, and War
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Power kills; absolute power kills absolutely.
—-This Web Site
It is true that democratic freedom is an engine of national and individual wealth and prosperity. Hardly known, however, is that freedom also saves millions of lives from famine, disease, war, collective violence, and democide (genocide and mass murder). That is, the more freedom, the greater the human security and the less the violence. Conversely, the more power governments have, the more human insecurity and violence. In short: to our realization that power impoverishes we must also add that power kills.
Through theoretical analysis, historical case studies, empirical data, and quantitative analyses, this web site shows that:
- Freedom is a basic human right recognized by the United Nations and international treaties, and is the heart of social justice.
- Freedom is an engine of economic and human development, and scientific and technological advancement.
- Freedom ameliorates the problem of mass poverty.
- Free people do not suffer from and never have had famines, and by theory, should not. Freedom is therefore a solution to hunger and famine.
- Free people have the least internal violence, turmoil, and political instability.
- Free people have virtually no government genocide and mass murder, and for good theoretical reasons. Freedom is therefore a solution to genocide and mass murder; the only practical means of making sure that “Never again”
- Free people do not make war on each other, and the greater the freedom within two nations, the less violence between them.
- Freedom is a method of nonviolence–the most peaceful nations are those whose people are free.
The purpose of this web site, then, is to make as widely available as possible the theories, work, results, and data that empirically and historically, quantitatively and qualitatively, support these conclusions about freedom. This is to invite their use, replication, and critical evaluation, and thereby to advance our knowledge of and confidence in freedom–in liberal democracy. It is to foster freedom.
Pray tell, my brother,
Why do dictators kill
and make war?
Is it for glory; for things,
for beliefs, for hatred,
Yes, but more,
because they can.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Among all the democide estimates appearing on this website, some have been revised upward. I have changed that for Mao’s famine, 1958-1962, from zero to 38,000,000. And thus I have had to change the overall democide for the PRC (1928-1987) from 38,702,000 to 76,702,000. Details here.
I have changed my estimate for colonial democide from 870,000 to an additional 50,000,000. Details here.
Thus, the new world total: old total 1900-1999 = 174,000,000. New World total = 174,000,000 + 38,000,000 (new for China) + 50,000,000 (new for Colonies) = 262,000,000.
Just to give perspective on this incredible murder by government, if all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5′, then they would circle the earth ten times. Also, this democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century. Finally, given popular estimates of the dead in a major nuclear war, this total democide is as though such a war did occur, but with its dead spread over a century.