Ivan Perkins guest-blogging on his book, “Vanishing Coup: The Pattern of World History Since 1310″

June 14, 2014
VanishingCoup

I’m delighted to say that Ivan Perkins, an adjunct colleague of mine at UCLA School of Law, will be guest-blogging this week about his new book, “Vanishing Coup: The Pattern of World History Since 1310″:

How did the Republic of Venice go 486 years without a single coup d’état or coup attempt? Is it the same force that has generated stability in Britain since 1746, in the United States since 1776, and in a growing number of nations around the world?

This thoughtful and engaging book offers the first extended analysis of coups, which have played a central role in world history and politics. Ivan Perkins draws on his extensive research on the history and inner workings of coups to explain how a small but growing number of nations have escaped chronic violence and built states with perpetually peaceful transfers of power. Readers will explore the rising coup-free zone, from the baroque system behind 486 years of stability in Venice to today’s heavy-handed but efficient regime in Singapore. Along the way, the author recounts some of history’s most gripping political intrigues: the spontaneous street uprising against King Tarquinius Superbus in Rome, the machinations of Bengali officials that launched the British Empire, and the fears that compelled General Pinochet to join a coup and become dictator of Chile.

Perkins examines in detail the first three coup-free states. He argues against the standard theory of stability, which holds that professional military officers are so thoroughly trained in ethics and civilian control that leading a coup would be unthinkable. Instead, he proposes a new and simpler interpretation: stability is founded not on ethics but on law. An impartial rule of law weakens personal loyalty relationships, especially within the political-military establishment, and inhibits grand criminal conspiracies. The book concludes with a new explanation for the “democratic peace” and shows why coup-free states form enduring alliances.

I much look forward to Ivan’s visit!

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.
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