Wednesday, January 04, 2006

20th Century Deathcount

Power gradually extirpates for
the mind every humane and gentle virtue.
----Edmund Burke. A Vindication of Natural Society
The latest issue of National Geographic has a solid write-up on mass murder (genocide) in the last century. This graphic tells the story better than about anything.

Chew on it and think about a couple of things. (1) When you ask a Leftist about "Government mass murder" or "murderous dictators" who is most likely to come out of their mouth? Hitler, Pinochet, and somehow the US would most likely be in the top 5. The real hip will say "Guatemala." What you won't hear, beside the Hitler ref, is the ground truth (i.e. they couldn't find China's ocean of blood if it was poured down their baggy pants).

Following the references in the NG article, I found a treasure of treasures (not the political blindness of the Yale site) about gov'munt death that reminds me why the Right was right about the Cold War; R.J. Rummel's (he's a blogger) work (all online) DEATH BY GOVERNMENT. You need to read the whole thing. You will find the facts about how Bush's goal to bring democracy to totalitarian governments is the right strategic thing to do. You will get all the stats you need. See where the real Top 10 come from. Find out the who and why. Get a perspective on the ethnic make up of the skull count. And feel better about being a member of a community of flawed democracies.

There is one shocker (at least for me) out of this. Look at this list of the most lethal regimes. Did you note #4? Yep, post-WWII Poland. Look at the research.
Within a few years of the war's end ... 15,000,000 .. German civilians would be thrown out of Poland, the Baltic States, Memel, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and the Eastern areas of Germany (this is as though the Netherlands, Afghanistan, or Greece were totally emptied of all humans by force). .. 500,000 to 3,700,000 Germans, probably near 1,900,000, would die or be killed in this process (in addition to those that died during the wartime evacuation and flight) ... Poland is of special interest because of the large number of Germans its regime killed. But these are not the only ethnics that it murdered. .. adds to this the Polish post-war killing of Jews (lines 8 to 12) and Ukrainians (lines 15 to 17). .. these numbers are very conservative and do not take into account the murder of war-time collaborators; nor the execution of captured guerrillas then fighting the pro-Soviet Polish regime, and guerrilla sympathizers. But I can find no estimates of such a toll in the sources. .. the total democide for these years .. places Poland among the megamurderers.
Gulp. I dug around the research, and unless the University of Hawaii is hosting fraud; there are some interesting things in this data that I don't think the NYT will cover anytime soon. I won't wait for the BBC documentary either.

BTW, USNA professor Barbara Harff has a good Q&A video here, via Clark University's Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

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