Hugh Hewitt is very very angry at the LA Times’ disgustingly cheerful article about North Korea, and Will Collier follows up with some biting commentary of his own. The article is a sympathetic interview with an alleged North Korean "businessman" who’s on the verge of tears because his "benevolent father leader" and his fine and peaceful country are misunderstood and demonized by the United States. Hugh and Vodkapundit have already done a great job of ripping the article to shreds, but the conclusion of the story bears repeating, if only because it’s so hard to believe the first time:
The most important point the North Korean said he wanted to convey in
the conversation was that his nation was a place just like any other.
"There is love. There is hate. There is fighting. There is charity…. People marry. They divorce. They make children," he said.
If this article had a soundtrack, you’d be hearing Louis Armstrong singing "It’s A Wonderful World."
"People are just trying to live a normal life."
Well, in the last ten years at least two million fewer people are living any kind of life, because benevolent father-figure Kim Jong Il systematically starved them to death while building nuclear missiles. But, hey, let’s hear Kim’s side of the story before we jump to any conclusions. Maybe he had a good reason.
There’s something in the human psyche that prefers not to think about how bad places like North Korea really are. When you’re sitting in a comfy chair in the United States it’s easy to convince yourself that all those awful things people claim about North Korea/China/Sudan/Cuba are just exaggerations and lies. Can it really be that much worse than here?
It gets even better if you’re already suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. Because, after all, George Bushitler stole the election (twice!) and his corporate fascist thugs want to throw gays and liberals and brown people into concentration camps, starve the elderly, and turn the country into a radical Christian theocracy. Hell, America is probably even worse! Right? Right?
A few weeks ago I read a post on Slashdot where many posters rationalized that living in China really isn’t all that bad. Oh, sure, you may just disappear one day or end up in prison for the rest of your life, but only if you do something outrageous like criticize the government or pray in public or read a forbidden web site. Just go along to get along, they said, and don’t rock the boat. This was from an online community who’s members typically fly into towering rage when anyone threatens their inalienable right to download TV shows or hack their iPods. Yes, China today is a bit less horrible than N. Korea, but it’s not for lack of trying.
This is all the same sort of naive dithering and deliberate moral blindness that let the real Nazis gas Jews and other undesirables, let Stalin starve and murder even more people than Hitler did, and most recently convinced otherwise intelligent people that Afghanistan under the Taliban and Iraq under Saddam were happy countries no better or worse than the United States. The LA Times should be ashamed.