Rummel Seminar on _Saving Lives_ Intro

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Wed Jan 02 2002 - 17:04:03 MST

Re: [HAYEK-L:] Rummel Seminar IntroI thought some of you might be
interested in this book and online seminar. If you wish to participate
in the seminar, see The
Seminar started today and will continue until 2002/01/16.


Daniel Ust

From: Rudy Rummel rummel@HAWAII.EDU
Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 12:02 PM
Subject: Re: [HAYEK-L:] Rummel Seminar Intro

My thanks to Greg Ransom for setting up this seminar, and for the very
idea of these seminars itself. What a great informative and stimulating
way to intellectually and professional interact, especially across our
academic and conceptual iron walls.

Before getting into the _Saving Lives_ book I have asked you to read (at, a preliminary note. The
genesis of this book is in my Army years spent in Japan during the
Korean War. From what I came to know of Japanese, I couldn't understand
why we would make war on each other. So when I subsequently found out in
college that I could study war as part of political science, I focused
on understanding its nature and causes. This was the major focus of my
undergraduate and graduate years, then of my academic research. Of
course, to understand war I had also to study violence and conflict
generally, and broaden my study across the social sciences and
humanities. In the process my political views moved from that of a
democratic socialist to those of a libertarian (except in foreign
policy) as I read widely in philosophy and economics.

My final theoretical and empirical findings on war and violence, well
confirmed by replications or unsuccessful attempts in the literature to
prove them wrong, were that there was an inverse causal relationship of
democratic freedom to political and government violence. Moreover, these
findings also showed that government murdered more people than died in
combat in all domestic and foreign wars, perhaps on the order of more
than 4 to 1. I thought these findings on war, violence, and government
murder of such importance for what they implied about ending such horror
that I had to try to get the results into the political and media
mainstream. Therefore, I set up my web site to provide references,
theory, data, and evidence; and I wrote a nontechnical book called the
_Miracle that is Freedom_ (no religious meaning intended). _Saving
Lives_ is the successor to this book.

Through my _Power Kills_ I also tried to communicate to professionals,
especially teachers, the power of freedom to end or reduce war and
violence generally, and I provided the
figures/tables/footnotes/references/sources that would make
professionals feel more comfortable about my claims. The summary and
some important chapters of Power Kills are on my web site at:

The connection of all this to Hayek is through his idea of a spontaneous
society (or in my theoretical terms, a social field) and concepts of
organization (antifield) and democracy, not to mention his general
emphasis on freedom. I believe that we can conceptually, theoretically,
and empirically move from his idea of a spontaneous society produced by
individual freedom and his concepts to the following assertions
presented in _Saving Lives_:

1. Democracies (spontaneous societies) have never made war on each
other. Researchers have well-established this in international
relations, which labels this finding the "democratic peace." This means
that we likely now have a solution to war, and the spontaneous society
is at the heart of it.

2. The more democratic nations are, the less likely they will make war
on or direct violence at each other.

3. The more democratic nations are, the less severe their domestic
collective violence.

4. The more democratic nations are, the less their domestic democide
(genocide and government mass murder). Liberal democracies have
virtually no domestic democide (as noted, the greatest killer of modern
times, over four times more than international and domestic war
together), and therefore, such freedom is also appears a solution to the
problem of murder by government. This is another result of the
spontaneous society.

5. Therefore, democracy is a method of nonviolence.

6. The more democratic nations are, the less likely they will have
famines, and the less deadly they will be. Democracies have never had a
famine and such freedom thus appears a solution to this problem as well.
This result is entailed by the usual libertarian arguments for a free
market, and to which we should add the sensitivity of democratic
politicians to potential disaster and the relative efficiency of a free
press in conveying relevant information.

7. Democracy inherently promotes economic development (wealth). There
may well be a causal loop, where the more freedom, the more economic
development, and the more economic development, the more freedom.

In sum, the closer we are to Hayek's spontaneous society actualized as
liberal democracy, the greater the human security. Were all nations to
become spontaneous societies with a democratic government recognizing
political rights and civil liberties, we may well predict that the
resulting invisible hand would eliminate war, democide, and famine and
maximize human wealth and health.

Hayek wrote little on peace or violence. There are some tidbits in his
_Law, Legislation and Liberty_, however, that are consistent with the
above claims:

Vol. 1, p. 72. "... only the observance of common rules makes the
peaceful existence of individuals in society possible."

Vol. 2, p. 91. "... the principle of the equal treatment of all menSis
probably the only chance for peace."

Vol. 2, p. 109. "The discovery that by substituting abstract rules of
conduct for obligatory concrete ends made it possible to extend the
order of peace beyond the small groups pursuing the same endsS.The
decisive step which made such peaceful collaboration possible in the
absence of concrete common purposes was the adoption of barter or

Vol. 2, p. 165, n 12. "That 'general obligation to help and sustain one
another' which Max GluckmanS describes as characteristic of the tribal
society and especially the kinship groupS is incompatible with [the
Great Society] and its abandonment is part of the price we pay for the
achievement of a more extensive order of peace."

Vol. 3, p. xiii. "I profoundly believe in the basic principles of
democracy as the only effective method which we have yet discovered of
making peaceful change possible."

Vol. 3, p. 135. "It is the crucial contention of this book that what in
a society of free men can alone justify coercion is a predominant
opinion on the principles which ought to govern and restrain individual
conduct. It is obvious that a peaceful and prosperous society can exist
only if some such rules are general obeyed and, when necessary,

If what I wrote in _Saving Lives_ is all true, which I claim on
empirical and theoretical grounds, then is not freedom miraculous in its
power? And does this not all argue that the preeminent foreign, defense,
and domestic policy of democracies should be to foster freedom?

A Happy and Successful New Year to the fine members of this list.

Rudy Rummel
Professor Emeritus

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