from the Congress Action newsletter

Deadly Government

by: Kim Weissman
January 9, 2000

We have just lived through a century which, for all its amazing advancements, has also been notable for the extent of its barbarity. Particularly the extent to which powerful centralized governments have oppressed their own people. By one analysis, throughout the long history of mankind in the centuries prior to the Twentieth Century, governments have killed a total of about 133 million people. This figure includes warfare as well as domestic oppression.

But in the Twentieth Century alone, governments have slaughtered between 170 million and 200 million of their own citizens. The Nazis were comparative pikers in this dubious contest, accounting for a mere 10 million of their own citizens and citizens of countries they occupied (this figure is of civilian deaths only, and does not include combat deaths incurred by military forces). The communist dictatorships of China and the Soviet Union accounted for about 100 million civilian deaths of their own citizens, between them, with the Soviet Union leading the way with about two-thirds of that total.

And what was it that all these murderous governments had in common? Two features stand out: (1) they had strong central governments, with power concentrated in a few hands; and (2) their populations were not permitted to own firearms.

And what are two of the major political debates roiling the United States today? (1) How much power is it proper for our central government to exercise, and a constant push among some for even more centralized power; and (2) whether we should allow that central government to attain a monopoly on force, by totally disarming the civilian population. It should also be noted that those people in this country most insistently pushing for ever more power to be lodged in the central government are the same people most insistently demanding a disarmed civilian population, who are the very same people who openly support socialism, who adore many of the policies of communist China, and who in the past admired and defended the Soviet Union.

Simply put, there are many people in this country who want to emulate the two most murderous regimes ever to plague mankind, and, refusing to learn from history, they are trying to institute some of the most dangerous policies of those murderous regimes right here in the United States. They want a strong central government in which power is concentrated in a few hands (preferably the hands of unelected and therefore unaccountable bureaucrats), and they want a defenseless population over which they can exert control without fear of opposition. Those in this country who still value freedom should be outraged at these attempts to oppress this country, the attempts to recreate Moscow or Beijing on the Potomac.

And those republican candidates who understand the nature of our Constitution and the source of our liberty should be outspoken in their condemnation of these pernicious efforts. But to their discredit, they aren't. Rather than speak of the weighty matters of freedom and restoration of the Constitution, about what have they been speaking in their debates? Whether gays should serve openly in the military, micromanaging political speech and debate and the money that goes into campaigns, how much homage to class warfare they should pay when deciding how much of our money we must pay in tribute to Washington, and the display of Confederate battle flags.

The dangers posed by the current drift of our nation would be easily recognizable to the Founders who wrote and ratified our Constitution. That document was specifically designed to defend and preserve the freedom of the people against government tyranny. But in their ignorance, large parts of our population don't know that. And in their arrogance, large parts of our population think they are wiser than those men 200 years ago because, they tell themselves, what happened in Nazi Germany, in the Soviet union, in communist China, could never happen here.

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judicial in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." -- James Madison (Federalist # 47)

"...the advantage of being armed, which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation..." compared favorably with "...the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe [where] governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." -- James Madison (Federalist # 46)

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson


For more information:

"Death by Government" (R. J. Rummel, University of Hawaii) book review:

The above article is the property of Kim Weissman, and is reprinted with his permission.
Contact him prior to reproducing. 


Search TYSK

TYSK eagle

News Depts Articles Library
Lite Stuff Links Credits Home


9 jan 2000