Democide

A Q&A session in a virtual classroom in 2090 captured by an advance telepathic sound device:

Teacher: Students as a race we humans have survived despite toxicity and other epidemic challenges that we have faced in last 80 years. Now that we know environment is the biggest killer in 21st century with millions of people displaced, dead or sick, I want to know according to you what was the biggest killer in 20th century.

Student 1: Madam, I know. It was wars. People fought for territories and thus killed each other.

Teacher: No Grad 3. It was not wars that was the maximal killer.

Student 2: Madam, it was diseases. You see modern medicine was not invented at that time, leave alone the bionic body parts and DNA code replacements that we now have. Hence when a person got sick it was usually considered a personal invite from his maker.

Teacher: Grad 7, that’s dark humor yet not factual.

Student 3: Madam, I know the answer. It was Government.

Teacher, Grad 13, you are right it was indeed Governments that were the maximal killers in 20th century. Do you have any statistics to back your assertion.

Grad 13: Yes Mam. I have some stats compiled by Prof R J Rummel of Hawaii university ( that is before Hawaii was submerged in 2063). His research on Democide ( killings by govts including genocides, political killings and mass murders) in 20th century amounted to 262 million people being exterminated by their own governments. In all of pre twentieth century word this was 133 million. So madam in total , govts in history have killed 395 million of their own citizens.

Teacher: That’s good Grad 13. What would you tell Grad 3 about wars and their kills.

Grad 13: Madam, about wars I would say two things. First that there have been 350+ international wars fought between 1800 and 2000. Secondly in 100 years of 20th century, war killings ( both civil and international wars between govts) were in the range of 40 million which is not even one-eight of govt killing their own citizens in the same period.

Teacher: Would you know what kind of govts are the worst predators of their people.

Grad 13: Yes Madam. Totalitarian regimes are the worst. Govts who are not just content on ruling their people but intend to convert them as well, by stifling opposition ( like dictators or communists) are the worst offenders. Authoritarian regimes are the next while democratic govts are comparatively benign for their citizens.

Teacher: So according to you, democratic regimes are the best regimes.

Grad 13: Madam that is not so black and white for they are indeed best regimes for their people however they are responsible for killing other people. Of the 350 international wars that I mentioned above, though two democracies have never ever fought with each other ever, however 155 times democracies have fought with non democracies while 198 times non democracies have fought each other. So you see, the proportion of democracies fighting international wars is quite high though their kills are still no match for wholesale killings by totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.

Teacher: Very good Grad 13. You have defined the political organizations of nation state and their consequences for human history very well. In next class we will talk about the dominant political organizations that emerged in 21st century or the Confederation of Large Cities.

Leave a comment