Except for the fact that the North Korean regime doesn’t kowtow to U.S. officials, my hunch is that American statists really don’t really object in principle to the North Korean way of life. After all, the North Koreans have simply taken liberal and conservative principles to their logical conclusion.
In North Korea, people believe that the job of the state is to take care of people. Isn’t that what American liberals and conservatives also believe? Isn’t that what Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare, unemployment compensation, welfare, education grants, food stamps, corporate subsidies, minimum-wage laws, public housing, bank bailouts, foreign aid, and all the other welfare-state programs are about?
Prior to the enactment of the federal income tax, Americans were free to keep everything they earned and to decide what to do with it. People weren’t forced to help the poor. Charity was voluntary. If someone decided to hoard all his money and refuse to donate one penny to his aging, ill parents or to the poor, there was nothing the government could do about it.
With the income tax, the government effectively nationalized income. The government’s job became using the force of the IRS to take a certain percentage of people’s income — a percentage that the government had the power to set — and then using the loot to take care of selected people with welfare-state largess.
What the North Koreans did was simply apply that principle completely and across the board. They not only nationalized people’s income, they nationalized everything, including all the private businesses. No more greed, profits, middle men, and speculators. The government became the sole employer, which guaranteed everyone a job and ensured that everyone would be taken care of. Isn’t complete security the dream of every American statist?
Consider the concept of civil liberties in criminal proceedings in North Korea. There are none. No due process of law, no habeas corpus, no Miranda warnings, no restrictions on searches and seizures, no jury trials, no criminal defense attorneys, and so forth. The state has full power to arrest and quickly torture and punish criminal malefactors. No legal or constitutional technicalities to worry about. Just swift punishment for the bad guys.
Isn’t that the system that American statists have embraced for criminal acts of terrorism?
Of course, American statists would respond that they’ve only adopted the North Korean principles in terrorism cases, but that misses the point, which is that the North Koreans have, again, simply taken the statist principle to its logical conclusion. They’ve eliminated civil liberties protections for all the bad guys — murderers, rapists, thieves, burglars, drug dealers, and the like — not just the terrorists.
Let’s consider the drug war. The North Korean regime makes drug possession and distribution illegal. So do American statists. Again, the idea is that it’s the role of government to take care of the people, and that includes the power to severely punish people for doing bad things to themselves. The North Korean mindset and the American statist mindset is that people belong to society, much as bees belong to a hive, and cannot be permitted to interfere with the proper functioning of society through self-destructive behavior.
Consider borders. The North Korean regime tightly seals its borders, preventing people from freely coming and going. Why, that’s a dream-come-true for any red-blooded American statist. Just imagine — totally sealed, military controlled borders. No more risk of terrorists, illegal aliens, or infectious diseases. And no risk that citizens will go abroad and bring back any of those things.
How has North Korea succeeded in molding the minds of its citizens to believe in and support and defend total statism? It uses the same device that American statists rely upon: public (i.e., government) schooling. From the first grade on up, people are inculcated with the idea of what makes a good, little citizen — the one who faithfully and loyally views his government in much the same way that a child views his parents — as caring, concerned people who periodically make mistakes but whose role as parents must never be challenged at a fundamental level.
When libertarians object to the welfare-warfare way of life that American statists have foisted onto our land, the statists oftentimes respond, “If you don’t like it here in America, why don’t you leave?” My answer: “Because we’d rather stay and fight to restore freedom, free markets, and a limited-government republic to our land.” The better question is: Why don’t American statists move to North Korea, given that it perfectly embodies their statist philosophy?
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.