R. J. Rummel
R. J. Rummel
R. J. Rummel

BY SAM SLOM – I just learned from Jay Lembeck that a mutual friend, Professor Rudy Rummel died earlier this year. Rudy was internationally known and respected for his war and peace modeling. He was also my business partner with Convention Speakers of Hawaii, and my number one tennis foe when I could still locate a backhand. He was undefeated.

In case you didn’t know all about him, Jay sent this:

Rudolph Joseph Rummel (October 21, 1932 – March 2, 2014[1]) was professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii. He spent his career assembling data on collective violence and war with a view toward helping their resolution or elimination. Rummel coined the term democide for murder by government (compare genocide), and his research claims that six times as many people died of democide during the 20th century than in all that century’s wars combined.[2] He concluded that democracy is the form of government least likely to kill its citizens and that democracies do not wage war against each other[3] (see Democratic peace theory).

Rummel was the author of 24 scholarly books, and published his major results in Understanding Conflict and War (1975–81). He then spent the next fifteen years refining the underlying theory and testing it empirically on new data, against the empirical results of others, and on case studies.

Power Kills (1997) sums up Rummel’s research. Other works include Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocides and Mass Murders 1917–1987 (1990); China’s Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900 (1991); Democide: Nazi Genocide and Mass Murder (1992); Death by Government (1994); and Statistics of Democide (1997).

Extracts, figures, and tables from the books, including his sources and details regarding the calculations, are available online on his website.

Rummel also authored Understanding Factor Analysis (1970) and Understanding Correlation (1976). He was the author of the Never again series of alternative-history novels, in which a secret society sends two lovers armed with fabulous wealth and modern weapons back to 1906 with orders to create an alternative, peaceful century. These works are available online.

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