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Aug 24, 2011           

                   Professor Rummel's website about democide and genocide

The mild and the long- suffering may suffer forever in this world. As long as the patient will suffer, the cruel will kick."
    -- Rev. Sidney Smith

I have been busy writing several other things to which my opening quote applies, but then something interfered, and I didn't finish these things, so far, at least.

So in their stead a brief note related to a theme part of my site is about, that again relates to my opening quote, namely the mass-murdering and persecuting tendencies of the human animal.

To start with, here is my sort of background and main reason to be interested in such an awful and depressing subject:

As it happens, I know a fair amount about German concentration-camps (in particular), because my father survived nearly 3,75 years in them, and his father died from his maltreatments there - but was briefly before dying dismissed, in order to cow the Dutch population: This is what happens to people who dare to resist the Nazis and the deportation of the Jews.

Man's inhumanity to man is a large theme, and may be in part inherited from the human apish background, since chimps show similar sorts of behavior to chimps from different or competing groups of chimps as men to men apparently not of their own kind.

I wrote about it e.g. in

To approach the topic of my title: In the first file of the last set of files - that is nominally a long review of a book, but factually mostly my own exposition of a number of logical themes relating to ethics and morals, with the summary and my own views presented in Chapter 11 - I quoted professor Rummel to the following effect, having my table and information from printed text, not from the internet:

Some basic factual considerations relating to morals

Before entering upon what may seem like a lot of "falsche logische Spitzfindigkeit" or vain or useless reasoning about morals, let me remind the reader of a few moral facts, that I have taken the trouble to list briefly.

Rummel's statistics:

Mr. Randolph J. Rummel has taken the trouble of finding out how many civilian persons have been murdered in the 20th Century apart from the many soldiers that were killed on battle-fields. He wrote a book about it called Death by Government, in which one can find, among other things, the following table - that lists only civilian deaths and no military deaths in wartime:

Muller's question:

F. Muller is the only one who survived the Krematorium-kommando in Auschwitz. He is a Cech, and wrote a book about his experiences that has been translated as "Auschwitz Inferno". He poses the following question in it:

"How was it possible, I often asked myself, for a young man of average intelligence and normal personality to carry out the unspeakable atrocities demanded of him in the belief that thereby he was doing his patriotic duty, without ever realizing that he was being used as a tool by perverted political dictators?" (p. 301)

Milgram's experiments:

Stanley Milgram was an American psychologist who experimentally investigated the sort of question I just quoted from Mr. Muller. Here is one summary of his work, cited from a standard university course concerning psychology, namely "Introduction to Psychology" by Hilgard & Atkinson:

"A more recent and controversial series of studies on compliance has been reported by Milgram (...). In these studies, the experimenter required each subject to deliver a series of increasingly powerful electric shocks to another subject (the "learner") whenever te latter made an error while engaged in a learning task. The learner (who in fact was a confederate of the experimenter and did not actually receive any shocks) was strapped in a chair in an adjacent room and could be heard protesting as the "shocks" became more intense. As they got stronger, he began to shout and curse; at 300 volts he began to kick the wall; and at the next shock level (marked "extreme intensity shock" on the subject's apparatus panel) the learner no longer answered nor made any noise at all. The last shock in the series was marked 450 volts. As you would expect, subjects began to protest to the experimenter during ths excruciating procedure,pleading with him to call a halt. But the experimenter continued to push by saying tyhings like "please go on" or "the experiment requires that you continue".

In the basis experiment, 65 percent of the subjects continued to obey throughout the experiment, continuing to the end of the shock series (...). No subject stopped prior to administering 300 volts - the point at which the learner began kicking the wall. Milgram concludes that obedience to authority is a strong force in our society, since the majority of his subjects obeyed the experimenter even though they thought they were hurting another person.

Variations on the Milgram experiment show that the obedience rated drops significantly if (1) the subject is brought closer to the learner or put into the same with him when the shocks are administered, (2) the experiment is conducted in a run-down suite of offices not connected to a prestigious university as in the original experiment, and (3) the subject is made to feel more personally responsible for his behavior. The last factor is important." (p. 552 - 3)

"But perhaps the most important lesson of the (...) Milgram studies is not to be found in the results, but in OUR SURPRISE at them. Every year in is social psychology class, one psychologist asks students to predict whether they would continue to administer the shocks in the Milgram situation after the "learner" begins to pound on the wall. About 99 percent of the students say they would not (...). Milgram himself surveyed psychiatrists at a leading medical school; they predicted that most subjects would refuse to go on after reaching 150 volts, that only about 4 percent would go beyond 300 volts, and that fewer than 1 percent would go all the way to 450 volts." (p.554)

Kohlberg's investigations and explanations:

Kohlberg is another psychologist who investigated the actual moral behavior and thinking of human beings. Again, I quote from the "Introduction to Psychology" by Hilgard & Atkinson:

Stages in the development of moral values



Level I. Premoral


1. Punishment and obedience orientation

Obeys rules in order to avoid punishment

2. Naive instrumental hedonism

Conforms to obtain rewards, to have favors returned.

Level II. Morality of conventional role-conformity


3. "Good-boy" morality of maintaining good relations, approval of others.

Conforms to avoid disapproval, maintaining good relations, dislike by others.

4. Authority maintaining morality.

Conforms to avoid censure by legitimate authorities, with resultant guilt

Level III. Morality of self-accepted moral principles


5. Morality of contract, of individual rights, and of democratically accepted law.

Conforms to maintain the respect of the impartial spectator judging in terms of community welfare.

6. Morality of individual principles and conscience.

Conforms to avoid self-condemnation.

"Kohlberg's studies indicate that the moral judgments of children who are seven and younger are predominantly at Level I - actions are evaluated in terms of whether they avoid punishment or lad to rewards. By age 13, a majority of the moral dilemmas are resolved at Level II - actions are evaluated in terms of maintaining a good image in the eyes of other people. This is the level of conventional morality. In the first stage at this level (Stage 3) one seeks approval by being "nice"; this orientation expands in the next stage (Stage 4) to include "doing one's duty", showing respect for authority, and conforming to the social order in which one is raised.

According to Kohlberg, many individuals never progress beyond Level II. He sees the stages of moral development as closely tied to Piaget's stages of cognitive development, and only if a person has achieved the later stages of formal operational thought is he capable of the kind of abstract thinking necessary for postconventional morality at Level III. The highest stage of moral development (Level III, stage 6) requires formulating abstract ethical principles and conforming to them to avoid self-condemnation. Kohlberg reports that less than 10 percent of his subjects over age 16 show (...) kind of "clear-principled" Stage 6 thinking (...)"

"Kohlberg describes the child as a "moral philosopher" who develops moral standards of his own; these standards do not necessarily come from parents or peers but emerge from the cognitive interaction of the child with his social environment. Movement from one stage to the next involves an internal cognitive reorganization rater than a simple acquisition of the moral concepts prevalent in his culture."

"Kohlberg claims that moral thought and moral action are closely related. For proof he cites a study in which college students were given an opportunity to cheat on a test. Only 11 percent of those who reached Level III on the moral dilemmas test cheated. In contrast, 42 percent of the students at the lower levels of moral judgement ceated (...)".

I believe that the reader who has arrived at this point either has concluded that he doesn't care for morals or that there are quite important human questions related to morals, about which it would be good to have some rational answers. In the last case, the reader is invited to proceed; in the first case, to reconsider, if only because he or she may be counted as 1 in a list some future Mr. Rummel may compile about the 21st Century.

This quotation-with-quotations from On "The Logic of Moral Discourse"  leads me to the trigger and subject of the present Nederlog:

Emeritus professor political science Rudolph J. Rummel has - it turns out - a large site with a lot of interesting if to a great extent painful information, here:

It has as its mottos

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
----Lord Acton

Power kills; absolute power kills absolutely.
----This Web Site

and indeed its name on the web as a site is "powerkills".

Professor Rummel gathered the evidence, and also presents quite a number of interesting theoretical writings that attempt to explain that evidence, and is still updating it, which leads me to the next quotation from his site, that corrects the table that I quoted above, that I found in print somewhere between 1990 and 1995, said to come from his book "Death by government".

It's considerably worse than the table I quoted suggests. Here are professor Rummel's new estimates:

IMPORTANT NOTE: Among all the democide estimates appearing on this website, some have been revised upward. I have changed that for Mao's famine, 1958-1962, from zero to 38,000,000. And thus I have had to change the overall democide for the PRC (1928-1987) from 38,702,000 to 76,702,000. Details here.

I have changed my estimate for colonial democide from 870,000 to an additional 50,000,000. Details here.

Thus, the new world total: old total 1900-1999 = 174,000,000. New World total = 174,000,000 + 38,000,000 (new for China) + 50,000,000 (new for Colonies) = 262,000,000.

Just to give perspective on this incredible murder by government, if all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5', then they would circle the earth ten times. Also, this democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century. Finally, given popular estimates of the dead in a major nuclear war, this total democide is as though such a war did occur, but with its dead spread over a century.

Finally, to end this note, here is a link to pages by professor Rummel in which he tries to give some graphical representation as to what these large numbers mean:

The last shows that during the 20th century as many as almost the total population of the United States in 1999, 270,000,000 persons, namely 262,000,000 persons by professor Rummel's reckoning, were done to dead by their governments.

P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.   Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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