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Rudolph Rummel

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Rudolph Joseph Rummel (October 21, 1932 – March 2, 2014) was a political scientist and professor at the Indiana University, Yale University, and University of Hawaiʻi. He spent his career studying data on collective violence and war with a view toward helping their resolution or elimination. Contrasting genocide, Rummel coined the term democide for murder by government such as the Stalinist purges and Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution.
Rummel estimated the total number of people killed by all governments during the 20th century at 212 million, and he estimated that 148 million were killed by Communist regimes from 1917 to 1987. R. J. Rommel, The Blue Book of Freedom: Ending Famine, Poverty, Democide, and War, Nashville, Tennessee, Cumberland House Publishing, 2007, p. 99 To give some perspective on these numbers, Rummel pointed out that all domestic and foreign wars during the 20th century killed in combat around 41 million. His figures for Communist regimes have been criticized for his methodology and for being higher than those given by most other scholars. In his last book, Rummel increased his estimate to over 272 million innocent, non-combatant civilians who were murdered by their own governments during the 20th century.R.J. Rummel, The Blue Book of Freedom: Ending Famine, Poverty, Democide, and War, Nashville, Tennessee: Cumberland House Publishing, 2007, p. 11 However, Rummel noted that his 272 million death estimate was his lower, more prudent figure, stating that it "could be over 400,000,000."R.J. Rummel, The Blue Book of Freedom: Ending Famine, Poverty, Democide, and War, Nashville, TN: Cumberland House Publishing, 2007, p. 75 He concluded that democracy is the form of government least likely to kill its citizens and that democracies do not wage war against each other.About R.J. Rummel – Freedom, Democide, War This is known as the democratic peace theory.
Rummel was the author of twenty-four scholarly books, and published his major results in Understanding Conflict and War (1975–81). He spent the next fifteen years refining the underlying theory and testing it empirically on new data, against the empirical results of others, and on case studies. He summed up his research in Power Kills (1997). Other works include Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocides and Mass Murders 1917–1987 (1990), China's Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900 (1991), Democide: Nazi Genocide and Mass Murder (1992), Death by Government (1994) and Statistics of Democide (1997). Extracts, figures, and tables from the books, including his sources and details regarding the calculations, are available online on his website. Rummel also authored Applied Factor Analysis (1970) and Understanding Correlation (1976).
In addition to his extensive research and data analysis, Rummel wrote the Never Again series of alternative-history novels, in which a secret society sends two lovers armed with fabulous wealth and modern weapons back to 1906 with orders to create a peaceful century.

Early life and education

Rummel was born in 1932 in Cleveland, Ohio, to a family of German descent. A child of the Great Depression and World War II, he attended local public schools. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Hawaiʻi in 1959 and 1961, respectively, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University in 1963.

Academic career

Rummel began his teaching career at Indiana University. In 1964 he moved to Yale University, and in 1966 returned to the University of Hawaiʻi. He taught there for the rest of his active career. In 1995 he retired and became Professor Emeritus of Political Science. His research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, and the United States Peace Research Institute. In addition to his books, Rummel wrote more than 100 professional articles.
Rummel was a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.




According to Rummel, democide requires governmental intention, but he was also interested in analyzing the effects of regimes that unintentionally, yet culpably, cause the deaths of their citizens through negligence, incompetence or sheer indifference. An example is a regime in which corruption has become so pervasive and destructive of a people's welfare that it threatens their daily lives and reduces their life expectancy. Rummel termed deaths of citizens under such regimes as mortacide. He argued that democracies have the fewest of such deaths.

Famine, economic growth, and happiness

Rummel included famine in democide if he deemed it the result of a deliberate policy, as he has concluded about the Holodomor. He has said that there have been no famines in democracies, deliberate or not.Democratic Peace Q&A Version 2.0 – Freedom, Democide, War He also argued that democracy is an important factor for economic growth and for raising Standard of livingliving standards. He has noted research showing that average happiness in a nation increases with more democracy.
According to Rummel, the continuing increase in the number of democracies worldwide will lead to an end to wars and democide. He believed that goal might be achieved by the mid-21st century.

Political views

Rummel started out as a socialist, but he later became an anti-communist, a libertarian and an advocate of economic liberalism,"R..J. Rummel—A Multi-faceted Scholar". writing about the "miracle of liberty and peace." "Rudolph Rummel Talks About the Miracle of Liberty and Peace". Apart from being an outspoken critic of communism and Communist regimes, Rummel criticized right-wing dictatorships and the democides that occurred under colonialism, also in the hundreds of millions.Cook on Stannard, p. 12. Rummel's quote and estimate from his website, about midway down the page, after footnote 82. "Even if these figures are remotely true, then this still make this subjugation of the Americas one of the bloodier, centuries long, democides in world history." Rummel was a strong supporter of spreading liberal democracy, although he did not support invading another country solely to replace a dictatorship. Democratic Peace Q&A Version 2.0 – In the Fostering Democracy section, Rummel writes, "I am opposed to invading a country to democratize it." – Freedom, Democide, War. Rummel argued that the more libertarian a state is, the less its foreign violence would be.
Rummel was critical of past American foreign policy such as the Philippine War, involvement in the 1900 Battle of Peking, and the strategic bombing of civilians during World War II,STATISTICS OF DEMOCIDE Chapter 13 Death By American Bombing And Other Democide * By R.J. Rummel and he also believed that the United States under Woodrow Wilson was a domestic tyranny. However, Rummel strongly supported the War on Terror and the Iraq War initiated by the George W. Bush administration, arguing that "the media was biased against freeing Iraqi from tyranny." "Censor Media". Rummel also argued for an intergovernmental organization of all democracies outside of the United Nations to deal with issues about which the United Nations cannot or will not act, but particularly to further the promotion of peace, human security, human rights, and democracy through what he termed "an Alliance of Democracies which can do much better." Eliminating Democide and War Through An Alliance of Democracies* By R.J. Rummel. Rummel thought that Ted Kennedy's opposition to the Vietnam War led to the state killings in Cambodia and Vietnam during the 1970s. Following the death of Kennedy, Rummel condemned the media reaction as too benign and stated "the post-war blood of millions is on Kennedy's hands." "Kennedy Love Dysfunction".
Rummel was critical of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, alleging that they were seeking to establish an authoritarian, one-party state."Death of American Democracy". "Authoritarianism on Way". He believed that global warming was "a scam for power" and opposed Obama's carbon-trading scheme. "Global Warming is Scam for Power". Rummel thought that Obama killed off a democratic peace that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had been pursuing. "Was Democratic Peace Killed? Part VI". Rummel argued that there was a leftist bias in some parts of the academic world that selectively focused on problems in nations with high political and economic freedom and ignored much worse problems in other nations. Related to this, he also criticized the tenure system.


Democratic peace theory

The democratic peace theory is now one of the great controversies in political science and one of the main challenges to realism in international relations. More than a hundred different researchers have published multiple articles in this field, according to an incomplete bibliography. Some critics argue that there have been exceptions to the democratic peace. Rummel discussed some claimed exceptions in his FAQDemocratic Peace Q&A and he has referred to books by other scholars such as Never at War. Criticism of the democratic peace theory include data, definition, historical periods, limited consequences, methodology, microfoundations, and statistical significance criticism, that peace comes before democracy and that several studies fail to confirm democracies are less likely to wage war than autocracies if wars against non-democracies are included. Jeffrey Pugh summarized those who dispute the theory often do so on grounds that it conflates correlation with causation and that the academic definitions of democracy and war can be manipulated so as to manufacture an artificial trend. Rummel's first work on democratic peace received little attention. His results were incorporated in a "gigantic philosophical scheme" of 33 propositions in a 5-volume work. It was reviewed in 1992 as having "immoderate pretensions", and demonstrated Rummel's "unrelenting" economic liberalism and "extreme" views on defense policy. Nils Petter thought these elements may have distracted readers from Rummel's more conventionally acceptable propositions. Quotations are from Nils Petter Gleditsch's Democracy and Peace (1995), a paper that warmly defends the existence of democratic peace, and asserts that it, and the difficulty distant states have in waging war against each other, fully account for the phenomena.
Rummel's version of the democratic peace theory has some distinctive features disputed by some other researchers who support the existence and explanatory power of the democratic peace. Rummel's early research found that democracies are less warlike, even against non-democracies. Other researchers hold only that democracies are far less warlike with one another. Rummel held that democracies properly defined never go to war with each other and that this is an "absolute or (point) claim." Other researchers such as Stuart A. Bremer found that it is a chance, or stochastic, matter. In this sense, Rummel was deterministic. A review by James Lee Ray cited several other studies finding that the increase in the risk of war in democratizing countries happens only if many or most of the surrounding nations are undemocratic. If wars between young democracies are included in the analysis, several studies and reviews still find enough evidence supporting the stronger claim that all democracies, whether young or established, go into war with one another less frequently while some do not.
Rummel did not always apply his definition of democracy to governments under discussion, nor did he always clarify when he did not. The opening paragraphs of an appendix from his book Power Kills adopt Michael Doyle's lists of liberal democracies for 1776–1800 and 1800–1850. Doyle used a much looser definition, namely the secret ballot that was first adopted by Tasmania in 1856, while Belgium had barely 10% adult male suffrage before 1894.

Awards and nominations

In 1999, Rummel was awarded the Susan Strange Award of the International Studies Association.AWARD RECIPIENTS This award recognizes a person "whose singular intellect, assertiveness, and insight most challenge conventional wisdom and intellectual and organizational complacency in the international studies community." Susan Strange Award
In 2003, Rummel was given The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Conflict Processes Organized Section of the American Political Science Association for "scholarly contributions that have fundamentally improved the study of conflict processes."
Rummel used to publicly claim that he was a finalist for the Nobel Prize for Peace, based on an Associated Press report reprinted in his local paper about an alleged Nobel short list of 117 names. He has retracted the claim, although it still appeared in one of his books."Praise for books by Nobel Peace Prize finalist R. J. Rummel".

Never Again Series

Rummel wrote the Never Again Series of alternative-history novels. According to the series' website, Never Again is "a what-if, alternative history... in which two lovers are sent back in time to 1906 with modern weapons and 38 billion 1906 dollars" in order to prevent the rise of totalitarianism and the outbreak of world war. Rummel wrote:

Published works

  • Most books and articles by Rummel are available for free download at Rummel's website, including those not listed here.
  • Books

    • Dimensions of Nations, Sage Publications, 1972
    • Wilkenfeld, J., ed. Conflict Behavior & Linkage Politics (contributor), David McKay, 1973
    • Peace Endangered: Reality Of Détente, Sage Publications, 1976
    • Understanding Conflict and War, John Wiley & Sons, 1976
    • Conflict in Perspective (Understanding Conflict and War), Sage Publications, 1977
    • Field Theory Evolving, Sage Publications, 1977
    • Der gefährdete Frieden. Die militärische Überlegenheit der UdSSR ("Endangered Peace. The Military Superiority of the USSR"), München, 1977
    • with Rhee, Omen & Sybinsky. National Attitudes and Behaviors, Sage Publications, 1979
    • In the Minds of Men. Principles Toward Understanding and Waging Peace, Sogang University Press, 1984
    • Applied Factor Analysis, Northwestern University Press, 1988
    • Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder since 1917, Transaction Publishers, 1990
    • China's Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900, Transaction Publishers, 1991
    • The Conflict Helix: Principles & Practices of Interpersonal, Social & International Conflict & Cooperation, Transaction Publishers, 1991
    • Democide: Nazi Genocide and Mass Murder, Transaction Publishers, 1992
    • Death by Government, Transaction Publishers, 1997
    • Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900, Lit Verlag, 1999
    • Power Kills: Democracy as a Method of Nonviolence, Transaction Publishers, 2002
    • Never Again (series)
    1. War and Democide, Llumina Press, 2004
    2. Nuclear Holocaust, Llumina Press, 2004
    3. Reset, Llumina Press, 2004
    4. Red Terror, Llumina Press, 2004
    5. Genocide, Llumina Press, 2005
    6. Never Again?, Llumina Press, 2005
    Never Again: Ending War, Democide, & Famine Through Democratic Freedom, Nonfiction supplement, Llumina Press, 2005

  • The Blue Book of Freedom: Ending Famine, Poverty, Democide, and War, Cumberland House Publishing, 2007
  • Scholarly articles

    Rummel had approximately 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including:
    • International Journal on World Peace, October–December 1986 (Vol. III, No. 4), contributor
    • Journal of International Relations, Vol. 3 No 1, Spring, 1978, contributor
    • REASON magazine; July 1977; Volume 9, Number 3. "The Problem of Defense", contributor

    See also

  • Stéphane Courtois

  • External links

    • Collection of essays on Rummel, edited by Nils Petter Gleditsch (2017)
    • topic and theme index to Rummel's blog posts
    • Why This "A freedomists View" Blog?, Rummel's blog (2008–2013)
    • Why A New "Democratic Peace" Blog?, Rummel's blog (2008–2013)
    • Freedom's Peace archive, Rummel's blog (2004–2008)
    • Communist Body Count, chart of Rummel's estimates
    • Nazi Body Count, chart of Rummel's estimates

    Category:1932 births
    Category:2014 deaths
    Category:American anti-communists
    Category:American libertarians
    Category:American male non-fiction writers
    Category:American political scientists
    Category:American political writers
    Category:Indiana University faculty
    Category:Northwestern University alumni
    Category:University of Hawaii alumni
    Category:University of Hawaii faculty
    Category:Yale University faculty

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