North Korea

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Christopher Hitchens on North Korea: "A Nation of Racist Dwarfs." It's a good article, but with a headline like that I'd want to link to it even if it were awful.

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  1. Good article, but that last paragraph is a little hysterical, no?

  2. Nice Sharpling & Wurster reference, Jesse.

    1. …Scharpling

  3. It’s a great read just for the fact that it sounds so insanely hyperbolic while still being entirely true.

    1. Perfectly put.

    2. Hitchens is a good writer whatever else you may think about him. I always check out links with his name attached.

  4. I love the part where he attributes a mundane observation to an obscure work by Marx. If you’re ever doing a Hitchens parody, don’t forget that.

    “As Lenin observed in Materialism and Empiro-Criticism, everyone has a right to an opinion.”

    Good article, yes.

  5. The dwarves have never really cared for the elves, but who really does?

    1. Don’t think of them as dwarves, but as proto-morlocks.

  6. My wife is from Korea and she and her friends all think that the NoKo’s aren’t really Korean anymore.

    One of the things that they bring up is the fact that malnutrition has caused a lot of problems. They also think that the constant brainwashing has ruined them mentally.

    P. J. O’Rourke called the Koreans the Irish of the East and I have to agree with him. They are hard drinking, hard fighting and hard headed.

    1. I was in SoKo in the 90’s. There was a widespread feeling that the korean people were “one nation” and would be reunited someday. As more defectors crossed over, SoKo knows they’re headed for trouble when a poorly educated, poorly adjusted north eventually collapses. But where else will the Nork’s go? Israel?

      1. Look, this is not only Reason, it’s a Jesse Walker article. Don’t ask that question unless you have a spare bedroom available…

        1. …and plan on buying them groceries.

    2. P. J. O’Rourke called the Koreans the Irish of the East

      Except that Koreans savor spicy kim-chi while the Irish worship the bland potato. I guess if you’re drunk enough the difference doesn’t matter.

      On a related note: Is it possible to make liquor out of kim-chi? I’m having a craving for kim-chi schnapps.

  7. That was a good article? I’m more confused about the place now that before. “Myers makes a persuasive case that we should instead regard the Kim Jong-il system as a phenomenon of the very extreme and pathological right.” That’s just stupid and lazy thinking. Of course when you take either to the extreme you end up in the same place.

    1. Well, to your lefty Marxist, evil thuggishness is by definition a right-wing thing.

  8. So let the Darkspawn take care of the problem for us.

    1. Sod off, topsider!

  9. It does raise the question: If the population of North Korea believes all this racist nonsense and also thinks food aid is mere tribute to their leader, why are we feeding them? Sure it’s the humanitarian thing to do, but it seems counter productive.

    1. It actually is a sort of tribute. We don’t cut off the food and oil, they don’t wipe Seoul off the map with artillery.

    2. It IS counterproductive. We shouldn’t give the North Koreans a fucking thing. Some leaders simply can’t be negotiated with, because they can and will break any treaties.

  10. Myers makes a persuasive case that we should instead regard the Kim Jong-il system as a phenomenon of the very extreme and pathological right. It is based on totalitarian “military first” mobilization, is maintained by slave labor, and instills an ideology of the most unapologetic racism and xenophobia.

    Leftists trying to say the evil far end of their ideology is “really” not left at all, but right.

    This would be excusable if explained in the context of a Nolan Chart showing right- and left-statism converging on a single point, but used in this context it is at best denial and at worst blatant lying.

    1. It’s just basic math. If the extreme right and extreme left of the political spectrum end up in the same place, then clearly the axis is aligned with the wrong variable and the labels are meaningless.

      if f(x,z)=g(x,z) for all x, then f(x,z)=g(x,z)=H(z).

      1. Let HumanCondition = hc(x).

        then lim hc(x) = misery as x —> statism

        and lim hc(x) = party! as x —> individualism

        1. +1

    2. Well, he missed the standard claim that ‘it wasn’t *real* communism; that still hasn’t been given a fair chance’.

  11. After reading the article, I have to point out that Mr. Hitchens may not be all that well travelled. Japanese, chinese, and south Korean’s have similar racially superior attitudes that he described.

    They grew up without a title VII, or political correctness, or (in most cases) ethnic diversity at all. Kim Il sung conflated this ethnocentrism with Juche, but it’s not like he invented it.

  12. Sundance winner ‘The Red Chapel’ lays bare North Korean inhumanity:

    Drawing the line between information and propaganda can be difficult. In the case of Mads Br?gger’s documentary The Red Chapel, it’s nearly impossible. The Danish filmmaker and two friends posed as a pro-socialist comedy troupe called The Red Chapel to gain entrance into North Korea. Under the guise of cultural exchange, Br?gger filmed his two-week stay in the country, and the result is a rare glimpse into a closed society that is part satire and part political screed. The film is thoroughly fascinating, and just won the World Cinema grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend.

    Because his footage was sent to censors every night, Br?gger reserved his commentary for subtitles and voiceover in the film, which gives the humor of “Red Chapel” a level of Sacha Baron Cohen’s style satire. But unlike a project like “Borat,” Br?gger’s film has an overt political message. He explained in an interview:

    “People don’t know that [North Korea] is Nazi Germany times ten. It’s pure evil.”…

  13. Six inches shorter in two generations!? That’s some serious screwing with evolution. At this rate, another generation or two, and there won’t be any NoKos, regardless of food ‘tributes’.

    1. I doubt they’ve evolved to be shorter. I suspect that if they actually ate a nutritious diet, they’d be much taller.

  14. Christopher’s less famous (but equally talented) brother, Peter, also wrote a great article about North Korea.

  15. I really don’t understand why there isn’t more moral condemnation for North Korea’s regime.

    And I *don’t* think it has something to do with lefty sympathy for that regime.

    I suspect it has more to do with Western eurocentrism. North Korea is one of those obscure Asian counties full of people who don’t look like us. And we never even colonized them, so it can’t be about the legacy of imperialism either.

    It doesn’t fit into anyone’s guilt trippy narrative, so it doesn’t get liberals, and the people aren’t “kindred” so it doesn’t get conservatives.

  16. Hitchens, as usual, is full of hot air. The reason for the peculiar situation in North Korea is the marriage of materialism and fideism. The lack of any alternative organization structures except for the state has suppressed the people’s ability to find modes of existence that are not utterly dependent on the State. Moreover, the State has encouraged the public to engage in a form of hero worship and deification of the Kims, that reinforces the public’s utter dependence on the State. Physically they depend on the state for support and fear the power of the State to smite them. Spiritually, they depend on the state because they do not have any alternative institutions upon which to organize their social lives. Psychologically, they depend on the state because their leader has taken on the trappings of a god and the government bureaucrats his angels.

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