Rudolph J. RummelRudolph J. Rummel, (1932-2014) American professor

Rudolph J. Rummel Quote

“Nobody can be trusted with unlimited power. The more power a regime has, the more likely people will be killed. This is a major reason for promoting freedom.”

Rudolph J. RummelRudolph J. Rummel
~ Rudolph J. Rummel

Ratings and Comments

Logan, Memphis, TN

This is why socialism and fascism are so very dangerous. The liberal-left always complain that corporations have been given so much power, and that they are running America amuck. While this is mostly true, I am dumbfounded that the same liberal-left will, in the same breathe, condemn big-business-corporations, while promoting big-business-government. When the liberal-left argues that we need more government programs, taxes, help, aid, and support, I am left in complete disbelief at their lack of brain activity. At least with corporations you can choose to deal with them, American citizens have no such choice with their government. I have no choice of whether or not I pay (or rather, “shop” with) my government; they forcefully take from me before I ever have a chance to see what it is they’re taking! What evil corporation ever did that? Why give more power to the only entity that can legally make its own rules and use coercion to accomplish them? The man who will condemn big-business-corporations and support big-business-government is a fool.

Jack, Green, OH

Logan, have you been listening to Rosenthal? You sound like him. You wander off into the wild blue yonder. What do socialism, fascism, liberal-left, big-business-corporations, big-business-government, or any other bogeymen, have to do with the quote? It was about trusting anyone with unlimited power. You didn't even comment on that. To see what unlimited power in the hands of big business can do, look no further than Enron or Halliburton.

Jack, Green, OH

I used to paraphrase Rummel, up until 2003, that democracies never attack other countries. (actually Rummel said other democracies, but I always felt it should include any sovereign country) I can only conclude now we are no longer a democracy, or my theory is wrong. I am saddened either way.

Mike, Norwalk

If anyone watched Glenn Beck last night, it showed the absolute truth of this quote. As Constantine mixed religion with politics to gain absolute power of the people's minds, hearts, and beliefs, freedom was lost and people were killed. The same was true of Hitler and many of the communist leaders in pursuit of their atheist utopias. Much of Islam's world today is becoming a scary dictatorial threat with unlimited power. With a religious fervor, the Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are rapidly gaining unlimited power to be our security saviors - freedom is being lost and people are being killed.

Joe, Rochester, MI

In U.S. cities with high murder rates, you find more gun control (less freedom). Today's liberal-socialist government has created problems for us all, AND for other countries. All unconstitutional. Large corporations are a problem because they have bought the government.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

Thanks Jack! Right on both posts! Ditto Mike.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Jack, I take it from your post about democracies, and your statement questioning the relevance of my response to the quote, that you know very little of the only guarantee the Constitution gives. If you knew anything of Republics, my response makes perfect sense in light of the quote. Republics are based on rule of law; in our case, 'the laws of nature, and of nature's God', or, in other words, 'Natural Law' (you can go ahead and study that yourself, make sure you use authentic resources though, words and phrases change meaning over time). Democracy, Socialism, and Fascism are the antithesis to the 'rule of law'. Our Republic was structured that no government official, elected or otherwise, could assume any powers, those granted by Natural Law or otherwise. This kept men from being entrusted with unlimited power. Be this as it may, some people aren't happy with the government simply protecting them in their inalienable rights; they want the government to provide for them also. Once you start going against the rule of natural law, and begin to use the government as your one-stop-shop, and give it more power than can be given in a Constitutional Republic, the government is no longer a protectorate of the rights people, but a provider and collector of revenue. In this way, once more and more power is given to government, the road to big-business-government is quickly a reality. Our government has not reached the point of public mass genocide within our own borders; however, if left unchecked, American big-business-government, whose sole interest is in collecting and maintaining revenue, will quickly turn against its people like that of so many democracies, and socialist/fascist regimes of old.

E Archer, NYC

Logan makes sense to me.

Me Again
  • Reply
Me Again    11/16/06

I agree with the first 2 sentences of this quote .I don't know where, how or if the 3rd sentence of this quote fits in.

David L. Rosenthal

Me Again: To answer your implied question, if only the citizens of any given country are to fight for their own freedom, it is possible and likely that many more will come to suffer tyranny. One third of the population of the world is under totalitarian rule at this time. For example, if the people of Cuba were never helped by outside forces, they might remain enslaved for another 50 years. If the French were not liberated by the Allies in 1945, they would be speaking German and goose-stepping. If the people of Darfur are not aided, they will starve to death. If the French and Cubans had not contributed as heavily as they did to the cause of the American Revolution, America could still be British (which might actually be an improvement). If America does not promote freedom, by assisting oppressed peoples around the world, eventually America could be isolated as one of few "free nations" while the rest of the world is enslaved under totalitarianism. In each place so enslaved, men would be forced to fight under the flag of their master, against the free nations, and would do so. After all, what would they owe to Americans, who turned their back on others in their time of need? If we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.

Ken, Allyn, WA

I wouldn't even trust myself with unlimited power, because I know I would end up wanting to kill someone.

Jack, Green, OH

I'm glad you understand Logan's maundering dissertation, Archer. I even copied it to Wordpad so I could take it apart and analyse each sentence, but I had to quit. There were so many of his "daffynitions" (odd definitions of his alone), like, "Republics are based on rule of law; in our case, 'the laws of nature, and of nature's God'.", or " Democracy, Socialism, and Fascism are the antithesis to the 'rule of law'.", or "Our Republic was structured that no government official, elected or otherwise, could assume any powers" and on and on like that... After about a dozen of those "pearls of wisdom" I had to give up and let you sort them out, Archer. I can't be bothered anymore.. although a few came close to being true

Logan, Memphis, TN

Thank you, Jack, for your entertaining, yet brazenly ignorant, responses to my posts. You, like so many Americans bringing 'democracy to knowledge', are completely oblivious to the differences between Republics and Democracies, Socialism and Fascism, and the Rule of Law vs. the Rule of Majorities. It's apparent you have not read Machiavelli, Blackstone, Locke, or any predecessor of the founding fathers, to actually know what such phrases as "the laws of nature, and of nature's God", "Natural law", or anything of the like, really mean-- or what sort of tyranny these men were struggling to leave when they spoke these phrases. It's sad that so many, like yourself, live in their own wikiality ("truth according to consensus" rather than fact-- thanks Colbert), and cut themselves short from the lessons that can be learned from the reality of history. (

Jack, Green, OH

Logan: I think I understand democracy hasn't exested since Sparta experimented with it in ancient Greece. Town meetings come close, but it never existed on a national level. Republics come closer to reality by electing representatives to manage the business of governing. Neither one has anything to do with socialism, which is a type of economy, not govwenment. They are not mutually exclusive. Rule of law has nothing to do with any of them. And what do "rule of law" vs "rule of majorities" have to do with any of them? If it's one or the other, you already said we are based on rule of law: then we are not based on majority rule. Huh? I beg to differ. That's why I told Archer to sort out all that gibberish. It isn't worth my time.

Mike, Norwalk

In these discussions democracy, and republicanism as established by the founders has only been alluded to, not described in depth. Jacks view of democracy stops at everyone voting and Logan's begins there. The problem with democracy is when the majority's decision is treated as law. The founders understood natural law and set up a representative republic to pass rules that would best define the natural law or the God of Nature's rule, such would be the rule of law. Thus the Representative Republic as established by the founders was based on the rule of law, each individual being sovereign, while democracy's core was understood to be either anarchy or tyranny. Socialism (collectivism / communism, etc.) is more than just an economic system (it is a belief system consistent with the requirements of a democracy) and is the antitheses of an individual sovereign's representative republic.

Jack, Green, OH

The problem with this blog is that some people get bogged down in semantics and and ideology, miss the meaning of the original quote. This quote by Rudolph Rummel was simply "Nobody can be trusted with unlimited power...". Now look at all the other crap that was brought up having nothing to do with that argument. They are so intent on expressing ideology without knowledge, and beliefs without reason. If everyone were to take time to think, and have a real reason for what he says - not some ideological platitude, there would be opportunity for real knowledge. In other words, stop preaching.

Mike, Norwalk

good point Jack

Warrdoc, Elk Grove,CA.

Mike, I don't think Jack got that!

E Archer, NYC

Jack, I don't think I can 'sort it out' any better than Logan and Mike have already done. Logan's 'daffynitions' are quite accurate -- more study on the subject will bring light to these phrases. Start with the definitions of 'natural law' and the 'rule of law' and go from there. IN fact, read The Law, by Frederic Bastiat which, in my opinion, is the finest work on Law there is!


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