Something strange is happening in the left as of late. Following the death of the captured American student Otto Warmbier last week, it has now become convenient for leftists to defend the totalitarian regime of North Korea, thereby sinking the lowest they could possibly sink. Left wing outlets like Huff Post, Salon and Affinity Magazine went out dancing on Warmbier’s corpse, rationalising their behaviour by saying that Warmbier didn’t respect the law of the country he was visiting. For those who don’t know or have forgotten by now, Otto Warmbier visited North Korea and stole a propaganda poster from the hotel he was staying in.
Of course, they aren’t wrong when they say Warmbier disrespected the country’s laws, but isn’t it ironic that the same people who view Donald Trump as a totalitarian dictator who must be resisted at all costs don’t have the same view of Kim Jong-un, an actual totalitarian dictator. More importantly, it seems as if they missed the point. Warmbier was detained by North Korea, and subjected to torture in one of their labour camps, and he was apparently treated with such brutality that he entered a coma and died. What defence can you have for a regime that is culpable of such a thing?
And let’s be clear, North Korea is the worst country in the world, with its people living in abject poverty under one of the last functioning communist states in the world. Thanks to their government’s destructive communist economic policies, the North Korean economy is among the weakest of any nation on earth, to the point that the country can’t even feed its own people, half of whom live in extreme poverty and subsist on corn and kimchi. The average personal income for North Koreans sits between $1000 and $2000 per year, meanwhile in Pyongyang there are people with access to the kind of luxury items we have in the Western world.
North Korea closes itself off from the rest of the world and restricts Internet access for anyone except the ruling elites and some scientists, but that’s not the worst part. As most people know, North Korea has perhaps the most deplorable human rights record in the world. The government quashes any form of self-expression that isn’t favourable to the regime, and prohibits political opposition. Religious freedom doesn’t exist in North Korea, an officially atheist nation where public expression of one’s faith is discouraged.
According to Human Rights Watch, the country discriminates against certain individuals and their families by grouping them into three classes. There’s the “loyal”, which is self-explanatory. Then there’s “wavering”, which I would assume are people with fairly weak loyalty to the state, but they pose no threat to the state’s authority. Then there are the “hostile”, which would be the defectors. It is a known fact that North Korea employs collective punishment for offences against the state, basically meaning that if you disobey the government, your entire family and their descendants are condemned to eternal punishment.
I’ve heard leftists claim that North Korea’s atrocities are no worse than those committed by Nazi Germany, or that America is somehow worse. These people have obviously never heard of some of the horror stories to come out of North Korean prison camps. Many eyewitness accounts tell of such atrocities as guard dogs being trained to kill people because it’s not illegal if a dog kills somebody, and of pregnant women having to undergo forced abortions. In the camps, the guards see the prisoners as less than insects, and have often killed them just for stress relief. I could go on all day about their atrocities, but if you actually read about the camps, that will disprove the idea that anyone did worse than the North Koreans today.
Why is North Korea this way? Because of its totalitarian ideology. It requires that everyone in the country follow every aspect of the ideology, because as soon as anything is questioned, it puts the entire ideology into question, thus potentially undermining the authority of the state. That’s how all totalitarian governments work, so I find it baffling that the left has found it convenient to come to North Korea’s defence. By the way, North Korea is perhaps the only country in which I would support US military intervention, because in North Korea that sort of action would actually improve the situation, though I suppose because things can’t get any worse there.
I find it baffling that the supposedly liberal left is coming around to defend the most awful regime in the whole world. I should’t be surprised though. The left seems to turn a blind eye to the worst governments you can think of, from Saudi Arabia to Zimbabwe, and from China to Qatar (which is effectively a modern slave state). If it’s an actually totalitarian country, the left will never lift a finger, because their only concern is how we in West behave. They’re more than happy to turn a blind eye to an actual dictatorship overseas, especially if the nation in question happens to have far-left ideology at its core, and apparently they are willing to ignore the brutal reality of what North Korea is like as long as Trump talks tough on North Korea. Apparently mutual hatred of America can create strange bedfellows.