Published in 1997, R.J. Rummel wrote a book called Death by Government. He helped popularize the term, “democide,” which refers to the murder of any person or people by government. I think it relates to the following story. I was watching the news last night and it was reported that 58 people drowned after the boat that they were sailing on sank near the coast of Turkey. The boat belonged to a smuggler and most of the passengers were illegal immigrants who were fleeing Assad and war-torn Syria. I think their deaths can be directly related to the actions of governments and I’ll explain why. The obvious reason of how this tragedy can be chalked up to the State is that these people were trying to escape tyrants and wars, both creatures of the State. Without the ability to conscript or tax, raising an army for anything but defense would be very counterproductive and a losing proposition in terms of wealth and lives. Violence is expensive and one can become much more wealthy from trade than by theft. Secondly, without a state claiming a monopoly of force over a given geographical area, there wouldn’t be any political borders. Borders would simply be where one individual’s real estate ends and another individual’s begins. If this were the case, it is very likely that there will be a property owner along the coast who would most willingly accept refugees (perhaps either at a price or through a mutual aid service). There wouldn’t be any “smuggling” and so those travelling wouldn’t have to do so covertly, but could move about as any legitimate traveller, as this is what they would be if not for the State declaring them to be “illegals.” Hence, their travel would be much safer since they could openly use the services of professional transporters with ships or planes designed to carry a large amount of passengers, rather than a fishing boat as in this case. In this way, I would claim that the government of Turkey partially carries the blame in this case, as they took the choice away from those who would willingly exchange with and take in these refugees. The government of Turkey has committed democide by actively disallowing the free exchange between refugees and the residents of Turkey.


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