Sunday, March 15, 2009
Who's the Bloodiest Tyrant of Them All?
Speaking of ideology, a friend and I have had a long running discussion on which of the 20th century's ideological god kings was the most homicidal and destructive.
I still hold out for Hitler. Even though the body count of people he killed directly is a little low compared to Stalin and Mao, he started a world war which killed almost 100 million people in the European Theater alone.
My friend makes a persuasive case for Pol Pot of Cambodia to be the Grand Prize Winner. I should point out that he visited Cambodia about 5 years ago and saw such sights as Tuol Sleng Prison and numerous killing fields. They are everywhere. Every town and village has one. And most remain unexcavated. He points out that the actual numbers are low compared to the Big Boys of Genocide (Hitler, Stalin, Mao). However, in terms of proportion of the population of his country destroyed, Pol Pot deserves the prize. He points out that Pol Pot killed a quarter of the population of Cambodia in only 4 years. If Mao, Hitler, or Stalin had done the same thing, their body counts would have been in the hundreds of millions.
So, which of these tyrants -- who ate babies and drank blood for breakfast -- would you award the crown for bloodiest of the last century? Who has the biggest corpse pile in your view? Are there any contenders that I missed? Are they all ideologues, or are some of them just thugs? Are they all thugs? What do you think?
Posted by Counterlight at Sunday, March 15, 2009