Free people are immune to famine

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"Never Again " By R L Rummel By the very nature of freedom, a free people are immune to one of humanity’s worst disasters, a famine.

In total, communist (Marxist-Leninist) regimes murdered nearly 110 million people from 1917 to 1987. For perspective on this incredible toll, note that all domestic and foreign wars during the twentieth century killed in combat around 35 million. Communists, when in control of a nation, have murdered over three times the number that have been killed in combat in all wars, including the world wars.

And what did this greatest of human social experiments, communism, achieve for its poor citizens at this most bloody cost in lives? Nothing. It left in its wake an economic, environmental, social, and cultural disaster. And that around 35 million people escaped communist countries as refugees was an unequaled vote against communist utopian pretensions.

There is a supremely important lesson for human life and welfare to be learned from this horrendous sacrifice to one ideology: No one can be trusted with unlimited power. The more power a government has to impose the beliefs of an ideological or religious elite or decree the whims of a dictator, the more likely human lives and welfare will be sacrificed. The Unifying Cause of Democide: Power What connects all these cases of democide is this: as a government’s power is more unrestrained, as its power reaches into all corners of culture and society, the more likely it is to kill its own citizens. As a governing elite has the power to do whatever it wants, whether to satisfy its most personal wishes, or to pursue what it believes is right and true, it may do so whatever the cost in lives. Here, power is the necessary condition for mass murder. Once an elite has full authority, other causes and conditions can operate to bring about the immediate genocide, terrorism, massacres, or whatever killing the members of an elite feel is warranted.

All this provides a solid, life oriented argument for freedom: Freedom preserves and secures life. That which preserves and protects human life is a moral good. And, as I have shown, freedom is already a moral good for promoting human welfare and minimizing internal political violence. I now will add to this list the moral good of saving human lives. It is based on two facts: democracies throughout history have never, or virtually never, made war on each other. And the odds of this fact being a matter of chance are millions to one. The solution, therefore, is to spread democracy throughout the world.

Free people create a wealthy and prosperous society. When people are free to go about their own business, they put their ingenuity and creativity in the service of all. They search for ways to satisfy the needs, desires, and wants of others. The true utopia lies not in some state-sponsored tyranny, but the free market in goods, ideas, and services, whose operating principle is that success depends on satisfying others.

People rarely do things for others because they are completely selfless—we set apart and admire those rare Mother Theresas who are. Rather, almost all act out of self-interest, and it is therefore better to create a society in which self-interest leads to mutual betterment, rather than one in which a small coterie of fanatics exert their own selfinterest at the expense of the lives and welfare of others.

No democratically free people have suffered from mass famine. “Give a starving person a fish to eat and you feed him only for one day; teach him how to fish, and he feeds himself forever.” Yet teaching is no good alone, if people are not free to apply their new knowledge—yes, teach them how to fish, but also promote the freedom they need to do so. Surprisingly, the incredible economic productivity and wealth produced by a free people and their freedom from famines are not the only moral goods of freedom, nor, perhaps, even the most important moral goods. When people are free, they comprise a spontaneous society the characteristics of which strongly inhibit society-wide political violence.

Freedom greatly reduces the possibility of revolutions, civil war, rebellions, guerrilla warfare, coups, violent riots, and the like. Most of the violence within nations occurs where thugs rule with absolute power. There is a continuum here: The more power the rulers have, and the less free their people, the more internal violence these people will suffer. Keep in mind that throughout the world, people are essentially the same. It is not that the people of any culture, civilization, or nation are by nature any more bloodthirsty, barbaric, power-hungry, or violent than those of another. What makes for peace within a nation is not national character, but social conditions that reduce tension and hostility between people, lessen the stakes of conflict, cross-pressure interests, and promote negotiation, tolerance, and compromise. Such are the conditions created by democratic freedom. The more a people are free, the greater such conditions inhibit internal violence. Surely that which protects people against internal violence, that which so saves human lives, is a moral good. And this is freedom.

What is true about freedom and internal violence is also so for this mass democide: The more freedom a people have, the less likely their rulers are to murder them. The more power the thugs have, the more likely they are to murder their people. Could there be a greater moral good than to end or minimize such mass murder? This is what freedom does and for this it is, emphatically, a moral good. There is still more to say about freedom’s value. While we now know that the world’s ruling thugs generally kill several times more of their subjects than do wars, it is war on which moralists and pacifists generally focus their hatred, and devote their resources to ending or moderating. This singular concentration is understandable, given the horror and human costs, and the vital political significance of war. Yet it should be clear by now that war is a symptom of freedom’s denial, and that freedom is the cure.

Three points bear repeating. First: Democratically free people do not make war on each other. The diverse groups, cross-national bonds, social links, and shared values of democratic peoples sew them together; and shared liberal values dispose them toward peaceful negotiation and compromise with each other. It is as though the people of democratic nations were one society. This truth that democracies do not make war on each other provides a solution for eliminating war from the world: globalize democratic freedom.

Therefore the second point: The less free the people within any two nations are, the bloodier and more destructive the wars between them; the greater their freedom, the less likely such wars become.

And third: The more freedom the people of a nation have, the less bloody and destructive their wars. In short: Increasing freedom in the world decreases the death toll of its wars. Surely, whatever reduces and then finally ends the scourge of war in our history, without causing a greater evil, must be a moral good. And this is freedom.

What is clear is that the less free the people of a nation are, the more we should beware of the intentions of their rulers. In other words, it is not the democracies of the world that we need to defend against. Were these dedicated people to spend even half this effort on promoting freedom and human rights for the people of the most powerful dictatorships that have or may soon have such weapons—for instance, China, North Korea, and Iran—they would be striking at the root cause for the risk of nuclear attack.

The power of freedom to end war, minimize violence within nations, and eradicate genocide and mass murder almost seems magical. Enhancing, spreading, and promoting human rights and democracy are the way to enhance, spread, and promote nonviolence. In conclusion, then, we have wondrous human freedom as a moral force for the good. Freedom produces social justice, creates wealth and prosperity, minimizes violence, saves human lives, and is a solution to war. In two words, it creates human security. Moreover, and most important: People should not be free only because it is good for them. They should be free because it is their right as human beings. Now, to summarize this whole book, why freedom? Because it is every person’s right. And it is a moral good—it promotes wealth and prosperity, social justice, and nonviolence, and preserves human life.