Evolution of Political Assassinations

Triggered by the latest assassination that took place in Arizona, and inspired by reviews of facts from the POV of a more democratic and a more conservative bloggers, I want to outline a short history of political assassination. My intention is not to list all the millions of victims that happend over thousands years or so, I’d rather focus on common rules. The most general rule was already outlined on this blog. It is the rule that natural selection works against human individual capabilities. In other words, statistically, the better a politician’s capabilities the higher the risk of being assassinated. Apart from this general rule that holds for the whole human history, there are distinct historical periods that had their specific rules. This blog entry is focused on these rules.

Stone age people probably did not know political assassination. As we can deduce from animal behavior, stone age men surely fought for dominance, to become the tribe’s alpha male, but this probably seldom resulted in killing each other. Animals evolved an inborn aversion to killing its own kind, and the same is reasonably true for prehistoric humans.

Political assassination emerged when humans became political beings, homo politicus. In fauceir terms, political considerations superseded biological behavioral patterns, or in even more abstract terms social fauceirs dominated biological fauceirs. This coincides with the formation of human societies, division of labor, and the backbone of altered behavior religion.

The primordial political structures were based on individuals. These were called Emperor, Cesar, King, or Pharaoh depending on the scene. Individual political leaders were the immediate successors of alpha males in stone age tribes. Economic and religious reasons allowed those political leaders to gain more and more power, and by the same token their job became more and more dangerous. It was within that period that killing a single person helped to changed the whole political direction. We know about regicides, but what we know is probably the tip of the iceberg only. I dare say that almost every political leader suffered an unnatural death even if he grew old. The extraordinary death rate among royals had been outweighed by the death rate of common people that was height, too, because of starvation, infectious disease, and crime.

The picture changed significantly when political parties appeared. By contrast to individual leaders, political parties could not be removed by killing a single person or a large quantity of members. This Germans convincingly demonstrated. First they killed Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the founders of the German Communist Party which did not succeed in stopping the communists. Almost a decade later Hitler tried to mass murder them in concentration camps, but the communists prevailed.

By the advent of political parties, fundamental political changes could not be expected by killing the leader of a political party as a surrogate always exists eager to succeed, but this by far did not stop political assassination. On the contrary, the picture became more complex only. While in royal times, we could have been sure that the successor had been involved in the assassination, this simple rule does not hold true anymore. Nowadays it might be friend and foe.

Now follows a list of reasons for political assassination today:

  1. The murder is engineered by the political enemy
    1. to eliminate an preeminent leader,
      successful only if the prospective successor is easier to handle
    2. to blame others,
      successful only if a scam exists
  2. The murder is engineered by the same political camp
    1. to promote a successor,
      reasonable only if the successor is more capable
    2. to blame the political enemy,
      successful only if the enemy made the mistake to behave suspiciously

Today, uncovering the reason of a political assassination requires a much more subtle analysis.


Creative Commons License

This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.

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2 thoughts on “Evolution of Political Assassinations

  1. …..Foreigners look at the United States and see a violent nation prone to political assassination. ..I used to think political assassination was strictly banana republic politics until I took a closer look at our historical tendency to murder unpopular elected political leaders…Nine American presidents have been targets of assassins Andrew Jackson Abraham James Garfield William McKinley Harry Truman John Kennedy Richard Nixon Gerald Ford twice and Ronald Reagan. ..No other nation with a population of over 50 million has had such a high incidence of political assassinations or attempted assassinations.

    • Reading this comment I came to think about Hitler Germany. There were several plots to assassinate Hitler in a relatively short period. All failed because he had developed an excellent protection system, systematically killing all opponents in concentration camps, millions of them.
      From fauceir perspective assassinations are some kind of withheld feedback that finally, by an eruption of violence, found its way, causing a lot of collateral damage.

      Applying this theory, there are two ways to prevent political assassinations: (1) In a Hitler-like fashion, you can bar opponents from political actions (forbidding political discussions and weapons, even systematically eliminating opponents). (2) You can allow a more effective control over politicians. Although the second is the most desirable, it is frequently circumvent by politicians, so it is a major topic in a politician’s education to learn how to manipulate constituents.

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