The core ideology of the left is a simple one: the state can and should take action to solve social problems. In its mildest forms, statism is seen in a few government regulations and some minimal entitlement programs. But those things never stay fixed in size. They grow into the administrative behemoths—the “democratic despotisms” of de Tocqueville’s nightmares—that now plague the people of Western Civilization. Amp up the initial impulse of statism a bit, and you find unabashed utopianism: the belief that the state can, with the right amount of tinkering (and force, of course), create paradise on earth. This inevitably fails, and it inevitably requires oppression. The harder they try—the bigger they go—the more spectacular the failure and the more dark and murderous the oppression. We’ve seen the results: the despair, the collapse, the fleeing citizens, and the 100-million-plus body count.
All statism is on this continuum. The mildest statism is separated from the most complete totalitarianisms only by degree—by links in a long, terrible chain. In both cases, the core, generative belief is the same: government should do “good things,” and more of them.
By contrast, the right—properly understood—starts out with the belief that government is a necessary evil. Government is something that we empower through the social contract to help us with a few simple things, but that other than that, it must be restrained and limited. If you start out with that belief and maintain it even in the face of difficult social questions (that is, if you maintain your belief that people can solve most problems without government), then you are not a statist. The rightward extreme of this philosophy is anarchy. (Individualist anarchy, anarcho-capitalism, etc.)
Strip away all the smaller issues, all the identity politics, and that is the core we are left with. Statism vs. Individualism. Public vs. Private. Government power vs. People power.
North Korea is arguably the ultimate evolution in totalitarianism. It is so Stalinist, Stalin might actually be afraid to be there. And this is the end result: two people, genetically the same, separated by an artificial border . . . and several inches in height:
Despite his super strength, the diminutive superman displayed physical traits typical of a generation of young adults who suffered from years of famine and malnutrition as children.
Weighing 123 pounds, Om stands just shy of 5 feet. Even at that height, he towers over North Korean military conscripts today who average just less than 54 inches (only 2 inches taller than height requirements for some rides at Disneyland). It is believed 17 percent to 29 percent of these conscripts are rejected for malnutrition-generated cognitive deficiencies.
The past few decades have witnessed the average height and weight of North Korean school children steadily decrease as those in South Korea have increased. Clearly, a “Pepsi” generation has been evolving south of the DMZ while a “pygmy” generation evolves to the north.
In Asian culture, a “Buddha paunch” symbolizes success. While all three Kim leaders displayed such paunches, it is a symbol unseen amongst the common people. A cash-strapped North Korea focuses on using its limited funds to build nuclear weapons rather than to feed its people, who are then left to fend for themselves. Defectors tell of having to eat grass or sift through cow dung to find and “recycle” kernels of corn. Famines have claimed an estimated 2 million lives.
The well-being of the North Korean population has never concerned the Kim dynasty. Its main problem has always been how best to control it.
This information is corroborated elsewhere. North Koreans are now several inches shorter than South Koreans. What few resources the nations has are in Pyongyang, to create a potemkin village for the the world to see. The rest of the country is starving.
Congratulations to every statist philosopher, writer, politician, and revolutionary. You have wrought a system upon the earth that, in its mildest form, fails and serially violates people’s rights, and in its worst form produces horrors that, but for this vile ideology, humankind might have advanced beyond by now.