One day, a North Korean soldier was given, by a friend, an American-made nail clipper…
Proud of his new possession, he showed it off to his soldier buddies.
Since all foreign materials are banned in the country, punishable by death, the nail clipper certainly raised some eyebrows.
The soldier inspected it closely. Never before had he seen such a fine tool. Sharp edges. Graceful design. It was made in such a way that it’s form fused elegantly with its function. A rare sight in the Hermit Kingdom.
He clipped a few fingernails and then, says Barbara Demick in her book Nothing to Envy, “he realized with a sinking heart: If North Korea couldn’t make such a fine nail clipper, how could it compete with American weapons?”
This single insight changed his life.
One day, a North Korean student sat alone watching the news. The media, reporting on how workers are exploited in capitalist societies, showed a photo of a worker on a picket line.
But, wait. The student noticed something strange about the photo…
The man had a ballpoint pen in his front pocket. And he was wearing a jacket with a zipper. Both things considered luxury items in North Korea.
If this man is repressed, thought the student, then what am I?
This single insight changed his life.
And one more…
One day, Demick writes, “A North Korean maritime official was on a boat on the Yellow Sea in the mid-1990s when the radio accidentally picked up a South Korean broadcast.
“The program was a situation comedy that featured two young women fighting over a parking space at an apartment complex. He couldn’t grasp the concept of a place with so many cars that there was no room to park them. Although he was in his late thirties and fairly high-ranking, he had never known anyone who owned a private car — and certainly not young women.
“He assumed the radio program was a parody, but after a few days of mulling it over, it struck him that yes, there must be that many cars in South Korea.”
Yes, this single insight changed his life.
“He defected a few years later,” says Demick, “as did the soldier who saw the nail clipper and the student who saw the photograph of the striker.”
“North Korea,”Adam Johnson writes in GQ, “is a mythically strange land, an Absurdistan, where almost nothing is known about the people or, more important, their missile-launching leaders.”
For that reason, I was surprised to learn that the “Outstanding Leader,” Kim Jong Un, under the pseudonym “Pak-Un,” attended Switzerland’s International School of Bern.
This is where, it’s said, Kim Jong Un developed a fierce love for Swiss cheese, Johnnie Walker whisky and Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes. (Tens of thousands of pounds are spent each year by the NK government importing those three items alone. Yes, meanwhile the majority of the country starves.)
Hidden behind NK’s outward quirkiness, as you know, is a very dark side…
“The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea,” a FreeKorea.us article reads, “estimates that North Korea holds as many as 120,000 people in its system of concentration and detention camps, and that 400,000 people have died in these camps from torture, starvation, disease, and execution.”
Concentration camps in North Korea
When the UN confronted the country about its vast human rights abuses and use of concentration camps, the NK official’s reply was just as Orwellian as one might expect:
“We do not use the term ‘concentration camps,’” the official countered, “therefore, we don’t have any.”
It’s also estimated that North Korea has allowed between 600,000 and 2,500,000 (quite the margin, I know) of its people starve needlessly.
“… North Korea’s oppression and politically targeted starvation of its people,” the article goes on, “collectively constitute the world’s greatest ongoing atrocity, and almost certainly the most catastrophic anywhere on Earth since the end of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.”
To make a hellish situation worse, the majority of those sent to these camps, because of the NK’s “Three Generation Rule,” are only guilty by association.
(The Three Generation Rule states that if one of your family members does something the regime doesn’t like, by law, officials must take the whole family.)
Moreover, North Korea is an absolute surveillance state, making it nearly impossible to form an underground resistance. Michael Malice, author of Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il, reveals the following in a talk for FEE.org:
Everyone in the country is assigned into a group based on your school, the union, the Communist women, [etc.]. Once a week, everyone in the country… everyone… has to get up and have a criticism session. They have to say, “This is what I did wrong this week. I was late to work, I didn’t pay attention on the phone or something like that. Then, your colleagues have to get up and say, “I saw Carl coming in late to work… [etc.]
So you are constantly under surveillance by everyone else and they are looking for things to say about you. So the idea of people colluding and starting some underground is absolutely impossible. You will be rewarded very handsomely for turning people in and when you’re hungry, that’s a very big incentive to do this.
Yes, it’s easy for us to sit here… with our fancy zippers, nail clippers and ballpoint pens… and shake our heads in amazement.
But, here’s the thing.
State-sanctioned delusions aren’t unique to North Korea.
Every single day in America people robotically nod their heads in agreement to things the State wants us to believe but just aren’t true.
Sure, Americans would have a hard time believing that the President learned to walk at the age of three weeks, started talking at eight weeks, and has never defecated in his life.
But it seems they’re not always so immune to other falsehoods…
We’re a global force for good!
THIS one! THIS is the RIGHT war to fight…
If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear…
The nanny state is for your own good!
And the scariest one of all…
Don’t worry. We know exactly what we’re doing.
Simon Black joins us today to rap about the delusional and the delusions which betray them.
He’s going to discuss Kim Jong Un’s knack for courageous innovation, idiotic fantasies in NK and abroad, and the BIGGEST lie of them all…
The myth of ‘consequence-free debt.’
This single insight, you should know, could change your life.
After Curing AIDS, North Korea Courageously Invents ‘Consequence-Free Debt’
By Simon Black
If you believe the official propaganda, no other nation in the history of the world has advanced the cause of humanity more than North Korea.
According to the North Korean Ministry of Truth, their great nation has cured cancer, ebola, AIDS, SARS, MERS, and much more.
Now they’re saving the world again, this time having invented an extra-strength adult beverage that won’t leave you feeling like a train wreck in the morning.
It’s hangover-free alcohol. Perhaps next they’ll invent Calorie-free chocolate.
Clearly this is an idiotic fantasy.
Alcohol has chemical properties which have a severe physiological impact on the human body when consumed in excess.
If you drink too much alcohol, there are consequences. Both short-term and long-term. Simple.
Yet the North Korean government is deceiving an entire nation of devout followers that they have invented a cure-all panacea.
Drink as much as you want and don’t worry about the consequences!
Now, we can poke fun at North Koreans’ gullibility.
But frankly I don’t find the idea of ‘hangover-free alcohol’ any dumber or less deceptive than the idea of ‘consequence-free debt’. Or the idea that you can print your way to prosperity.
North Koreans may be delusional enough to believe their government. But so are most Westerners.
People in the ‘advanced’ world believe crazy fantasies all the time.
We’re told that the national debt doesn’t matter, nor does it make the nation poorer, because “we owe it to ourselves.” (Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, 9 February 2015)
It’s as if the federal government being unable to pay the debts it owes to Social Security recipients, or to bank depositors in the US, is somehow less ‘bad’ than stiffing China.
We’re told “the State of our Union is strong” (Barack Obama, last week).
Yet trust in government is near an all-time low, wealth inequality is extreme, the Middle Class is no longer the clear majority in America, and the national debt is at an all-time high of nearly $19 trillion.
We’re told that “Medicare and Social Security are not in crisis” (Barack Obama, 13 July 2015).
Yet the annual report from the Treasury Secretary of the United States tells us that one of the programs’ major trust funds is completely out of cash, and the rest are running out.
We’re told that running huge budget deficits don’t matter because “the government can print more money.” (Paul Krugman, 31 January 2013)
… because apparently there are absolutely zero consequences when the Federal Reserve conjures money out of thin air.
Except that there are consequences. Every dollar the Fed prints weakens its balance sheet and pushes it into insolvency.
In fact, the Fed’s own weekly financial report shows that its level of capital is a pitifully small 0.8% of its total assets. In other words, the Fed has almost zero margin of safety.
And on a mark to market basis, the Fed is already insolvent.
Yet the Federal Reserve claimed in a November 2014 white paper that its own insolvency “would not create serious problems,” as if decades of wild partying with their printing presses would be consequence free.
Western newspapers are certainly having a chuckle today at North Korea with headlines making fun of the hangover-free alcohol hoax.
But just imagine the fun they’d have if Kim Jong-un announced to the world that he had invented ‘consequence-free debt’ or a perpetual money printing machine.
Western media would have a field day with such propaganda, arrogant and clueless that this is already our own reality.
Hangover-free alcohol is pretty silly.
But in the West, we believe the biggest lies of all… that you don’t actually have to do anything, that your nation can simply print and borrow its way to prosperity until the end of time.
All lies eventually collapse, and reality settles in.
Given the panic in global financial markets just in the first few weeks of 2016, that reality may be quickly approaching.
Founder, Sovereign Man
[Quick note: If you currently have money in the markets, you can’t afford not to break one Wall Street rule that the herd mindlessly follows off a cliff. Today, one multi-millionaire investor is telling investors how to crush this delusion, once and for all, right between their toes. The establishment isn’t happy he’s doing it… and it’s mostly, he says, because he’s right: Click here to learn more.]
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today
P.S. Have something to say? Say it! Chris@lfb.org.