Rudolph J. RummelRudolph J. Rummel, (1932-2014) Professor of political science, University of Hawaii

Rudolph J. Rummel Quote

“The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the power of governments, the more power is diffused, checked and balanced, the less it will aggress on others and commit democide. ... In total, during the first eighty-eight years of this century, almost 170 million men, women, and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners. The dead could conceivably be nearly 360 million people. It is as though our species has been devastated by a modern Black Plague. And indeed it has, but a plague of Power, not of germs.”

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

Death by Government (Transaction Press 1994). Dr. Rummel coined the term democide to refer to the many and regular genocides and mass murders committed by governments.

Ratings and Comments

Mann, Kalamazoo

... even if verbose. The vitally important part of this quote is found in its first sentence. The rest is mostly superfluous - at least until the expressed idea of humanity being possessed by an entirely lethal Plague of Power - itself a manifestation of wholly toxic self-importance, personal and collective.

jim k, Austin, Tx

And all the niceties listed above were, and are being done by governments.

Heathen Steven, Miami

jim k, Austin, Tx writes: "And all the niceties listed above were, and are being done by governments." At the behest of the corporate elite. Marine Corps General Smedley D. Butler (War is A Racket) - "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents". Nothing has changed since General Butlers passing 70years ago, in fact, each passing year has seen the ever expanding influence of the Transnational corporate/Financial/Military complex with the US military, as GWBush put it, projecting our corporate trade policies globally.

Heathen Steven, Miami

Enlistment Poster: Join the army, travel to exotic distant lands, meet exciting and unusual people . . . and kill them

Mike, Norwalk

Good comments by all above. The only oops was General Butler's misuse of capitalism.

E Archer, NYC

This is something I wish the so-called conservatives would admit. Just because we are sending our young patriots to a war does not mean that war is just. The fact that America no longer declares war yet bombs and kills hundreds of thousands of people proves the point of this quote. "Fighting for one's country" is too general a term -- it assumes that the 'country' is always correct and uncorrupted. The quest for power continues, and soldiers die for the benefit of those with the power.


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