Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Brit State Violence (Not)

Brit libertarians believe their state has killed lots of them and so should be prohibited from using violence. They're wrong - on a historical basis, Brits are about 5,000 times safer from their state than the citizens of Iran, the role model of the recent murderers of Brit innocents.

I'm reacting to

The one thing the last century has taught us is that while terrorists may be dangerous, much more dangerous is the uncontrolled state, the state that kills some of its citizens in the name of making life safer for the others.


I take as the great lesson of the 20th century that it is the State that is not your friend, it is the State, when allowed to get out of hand, that is the greatest threat to your health, safety, continued liberty and yes, even your life.

But Anglosphere nations aren't "uncontrolled" states, but beacons of freedom and liberty. Treating them with the same suspicion as one might, say, Iran, is nonsensical. The "great lesson" of the 20th Century is that the sacrifices of the Anglosphere states, including the deaths of about 1.2 million Brits, secured the "health, safety & continued liberty" of much of the world.

And Brits are very safe from their own state, as shown by an exhaustive analysis of state violence published by R.J. Rummel at the University of Hawaii. He surveys the 20th Century to 1987 and calculates the % of their own citizens different states have deliberately killed each year.

StateAverage % of citizens killed per year
UK (1900-1987)0.000003
US (1900 -1987)0.000016
France (1900-19870.000315
Iran - Islamic rep (1979-1987)0.015
Iraq - Baath (1963-19870.067
Germany - Nazi (1933-19450.087
China - Red (1949-1987)0.12
USSR (1917-1987)0.422

These numbers exclude executions after due process and accidents. I had to delve into the spreadsheets to get the French numbers.

So on a historical basis, Brits are 100 times safer from their state than French citizens are from theirs, 5,000 times safer than Iranians are from the Mullahs, and 40,000 times safer than Chinese citizens are from their rulers.

Game over.