Death by Government: The Missing Chapter by Thomas DiLorenzo
…….After familiarizing myself with this stomach-turning literature (you cannot really understand the essence of socialism without it), it struck me that there is a glaring omission. According to this scholarship, “democide” occurs because of a desire on the part of a ruling regime to eliminate its opposition; to eliminate all challenges to its “absolutist ideology”; to exterminate a social group whose very existence is incompatible with the regime’s goals or ideology; and often occurs disguised by a war or a rebellion that provides a convenient excuse.
The glaring omission is the 300,000 Americans who were killed by the Lincoln regime from 1861—1865. According to some conservative estimates, some 50,000 Southern civilians were also killed. The southern secessionists certainly were a significant opposition to the ruling regime; they absolutely denied the validity of the regime’s absolutist ideology — nationalism and a “mystical” union (as Lincoln called it) that must be held together at all cost; they were certainly dissenting to the Lincoln regime’s goals and its nationalistic ideology; and Lincoln did refer to the original, peaceful acts of secession as a “rebellion.” Indeed, the “official” U.S. government title for the War to Prevent Southern Independence is “The War of the Rebellion.”
More than half of the 300,000 or so southerners (one out of four adult men) who died, perished from disease. Nevertheless, it was the war, which forced those men to live in conditions where they would be subjected to being exposed to epidemics, that was the root cause of their death.
On the day he was inaugurated Lincoln pledged his everlasting support for a constitutional amendment that had just passed the House and Senate (the “Corwin Amendment“) that would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with Southern slavery.
It was his “mystic” union that he launched an invasion of the southern states over, eventually killing hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens. And Lincoln always considered southerners to be fellow citizens in light of the fact that he never conceded that secession was legal. The southern states never really left the union, in Lincoln’s opinion; therefore, he admittedly waged the bloodiest war in history up to that point against his own people.
Some 300,000 southern men were killed by the Lincoln regime at a time when the population of the entire country was about 30 million, one-tenth of what it is today. Standardizing for today’s population, the equivalent number would be 3 million. If this number were included in the above table, it would make the Republican Party regime of the 1860s appear to be even worse democidal murderers than the twentieth-century communist regimes of Pol Pot’s Cambodia, the Vietnamese communists, North Korea, and the communist dictators in all of Eastern Europe during the Cold War.
Confronting this ugly reality also calls into question the basis of all of R.J. Rummel‘s work in this area, which is his claim that democracies do not tend to wage war on each other. The War to Prevent Southern Independence is a major contradiction of this claim, and it is simply brushed aside by Rummel.
Rummel is not the first to make this claim, however. World War I was supposed to be “the war to end all wars” by dethroning the European monarchs and replacing them with democracies. It didn’t work out quite that way.
Ludwig von Mises offered a more realistic interpretation of the causes of “total war” (including the mass slaughter of civilian dissenters) in the chapter of his magnum opus, Human Action, entitled “The Economics of War.” “[T]otal war is an offshoot of aggressive nationalism,” he wrote (p. 819, Scholars Edition). “While laissez faire eliminates the causes of international conflict, government interference with business and socialism create conflicts for which no peaceful solution can be found.”……………..