Editor, Times-Union:
The following is the second half of my letter on the right of self-defense that was printed in the Nov. 14 edition of the Times-Union. In that letter I gave a definition of self defense and political science professor R.J. Rummel definition of democide. I will pick up where I left off in the first half, which was getting ready to discuss the differences between democide and regular acts of criminal mass killings by individuals and gangs.
The first difference is the sheer scale of mass killing that can only be accomplished by the institution of government in general and authoritarian or totalitarian regimes in particular because of the vastly needed material and human resources that only it can gather and command for such an undertaking. The second difference is the legal and “moral authority” provided by the institution and role of government and other major institutions in society along with popular support from a significant portion of the general population. That makes such mass killing a life or death “necessity” for a country as a whole, or a genuine expression of the will of the people, historical forces or divine providence. The third difference is the neutrality of, desire for self-preservation, the blind obedience to obey and follow, or the willingness to look the other way by those who are not in support of the ruling regime’s objectives of a low scale war against enemies of the state or the new order, which is usually a targeted group of “undesirable” people or its entire population of citizens.
The fourth difference which professor Rummel mentions throughout his books is the more a country moves away from what can be classified as a democratic constitutional republic to an authoritarian dictatorship (Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy or Communist China) the scale and frequency of mass killing will increase. Such regimes usually remove and de-legitimatize any form of resistance (ballot box, courts, legislatures, civil disobedience or by force) before implementing their goals.
Reading List For Further Information: Books On Democide
1. Death by Government. (1994)
2. Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder since 1917. (1990).
3. Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900. (1997).
4. China’s Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900. (1991).
5. Democide: Nazi Genocide and Mass Murder. (1992).
6. Power Kills: Democracy as a Method of Nonviolence. (1997).
7. The Conflict Helix: Principles and Practices of Interpersonal, Social and International Conflict and Cooperation (1991).
8. Understanding Conflict and War: Volumes 1-5 (1975 to 1981).
9. The Blue Book of Freedom: Ending Famine, Poverty, Democide and War (2007).
Future letters in this series will focus on the pro and con sources of information for the Second Amendment, books on the history of non-violent resistance in India and the civil rights movement in America, along with information on non-lethal resistance.
Alexander Houze