Putting it into perspective

11/9/09 Addendum: I read earlier that the average adult male body contains 6 quarts of blood. Round that down to five quarts to account for women and children and recall that there are four quarts in a gallon, and you\’ve got approximately 327,500,000 gallons of blood spilled by democidal mortacracies in the twentieth century. By comparison, wikipedia reports that the capacity of the Exxon Valdez was roughly 53 million gallons. The Valdez spilled some 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound in the one of the biggest environmental disasters on record. Thus, a crude estimate suggests that the blood spilled by democide in the 20th century would fill over six tankers with the capacity of the Exxon Valdez.

Art Carden.

14 thoughts on “Putting it into perspective”

  1. I think – it’s about two days UK oil consumption – it rather minimizes the loss actually rather than putting it into perspective.

  2. Matthew,

    Let’s try this then. Rounding very vaguely, if you can slaughter the entire population of the UK in a day, the Communists accounted for only two day’s worth of slaughter.

    Pretty trivial really.

  3. Given that he’s taking approximately double any sensible estimate (60m murdered in the USSR? Half the 1920 population? Hmm…) by taking the most rabidly anti-regime-in-question sources irrespective of credibility [*], I’m fairly sure he’s indeed planning to talk it up rather than down.

    [*] I’d love to introduce the people who compiled his estimates of death-by-USSR and death-by-Western-Colonialism to each other…

    Tim adds: I took him to mean all of the murdering bastards: Hitler et al as well.

  4. Aye, but if you click through his sources he’s ascribing 80m to Mao, 60m to the USSR, 50m to Western Colonialism and 20m to the Nazis. Which is, erm, not quite in line with accepted historical practice.

  5. “50m to Western Colonialism” seems steep, unless you count the American populations that died of the Old World diseases that the Spaniards and so on brought unknowingly with them, which seems to me to be a different category from, say, deliberately wiping out Red Indians, or working African slaves to death. Are the estimates meant to refer to Govt action that was intended to lead to death? Anyway, why focus on Western Colonialism as if it were the only Colonialism in history? I can see that it must be next to impossible to estimate how many died from warfare etc in Prehistoric Africa, for example, but how about 33M for the Mongols and 30 M for China 221BC – 19C? Are there equivalent estimates for India and SE Asia, for the Arab and Turkish conquests, and for the Muslim slave trades from Africa and Europe? There’s plenty of gore to go round.

  6. @6, remember this is all meant to be in the 20th century. Don’t think there were too many slaves worked to death in European empires or in the US after 1900 (Belgian Congo pre-1908 excepted).

  7. Cleanthes,

    I’m afraid I think that attempt also minimises the loss and suffering – it’s a problem with all this top down stuff really

  8. Oddly, Imperial Japan only scores 6m. I’m not sure whether it’s deliberate or accidental, but the source seems to significantly downplay the Axis countries’ murderousness, while overplaying the commies’.

  9. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    I think the likely reason is the crimes of Imperial Japan are less easily quantified. Japan had a dedicated biowar unit, but nobody can tell if the deaths due to infectious diseases in China were due to biowar attacks or the general lack of hygiene in Chinese cities of the time.

    The figure due to western colonialism seems suspiciously large; has anyone any evidence on that point?

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