Saturday, March 17, 2012
North Korea’s “National Script”: Yet Another Fair Warning
In a recent interview with Book Page, novelist Adam Johnson offered observations of North Korea that capture the consequences of collectivist ideals taken seriously. Johnson travelled to the dictatorship while writing his latest book and was struck by the stark conformity and fear he found there:
There are four shoe styles for men in North Korea; there’s one shade of lipstick for women; it’s so surreal to see the sameness of everyone. I would walk through these crowds of people and they wouldn’t dare to look at me. It was a risk. So it was really clear that not a single spontaneous thing could happen there. . . .
I am a person who loves narrative, who teaches narrative theory. In our stories in the West we believe every character is the center of his or her own story. We believe every human is unique and valuable, has yearnings and desires.
But in North Korea there is a national script, conveyed through propaganda. There is one notion about who the people are and what the national goals are, and you as a citizen are conscripted to be a part of this national narrative… You have to relinquish your own personal desires.
Everyday life in North Korea, as Johnson describes it, is the result of collectivist ideals, which hold that man must sacrifice to the group—whether society, the state, or the nation. Under North Korean collectivism, men are forced to live in accordance with a “national script,” and thus have no hope of ever pursuing their desires, cultivating their abilities, or standing apart from others. They don’t live as men; they “live” as “men” reduced to enslaved sheep—if they remain alive at all.
“Life” in North Korea is a vivid example of what happens to a nation and its people when they embrace collectivism and put it into practice. This is yet another reminder of the urgent need to repudiate collectivism and reestablish America’s founding ideals—the inalienable rights of each individual to his life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
If you enjoyed this post, consider subscribing to The Objective Standard and making objective journalism a regular part of your life.
- U.N. Pays Tribute to Communist Butcher
- Ending the North Korean Regime: Two Goods for the Price of One
- American Tax Dollars Going to North Korea
- Around the World: “The Communist War against the Philippines and Why It Rages On”
Image: Creative Commons by Gilad.rom
- Next Post: African Slavery Highlights Evil of Involuntary Servitude
- Previous Post: The Problem at Goldman Sachs Isn’t Greed but Irrationality
Join Our Mailing List
If you enjoy TOS Blog please make a donation to keep us blogging
- Announcements (164)
- Events (36)
- Ayn Rand and Objectivism (82)
- Business and Economics (75)
- Culture (61)
- Education and Pedagogy (23)
- Environmentalism (52)
- Foreign Policy and War (155)
- History (58)
- Individual Rights and Law (578)
- Abortion and Reproduction (20)
- Antitrust (15)
- Banking and Monetary Policy (7)
- Criminal Justice (5)
- Education Policy (49)
- Free Speech (31)
- Gay Issues (5)
- Guns and Self Defense (10)
- Health Care (88)
- Immigration (4)
- Libertarianism (7)
- Property Rights (15)
- Regulations (43)
- Taxation (29)
- The Left (6)
- Unions (5)
- Welfare and Subsidies (17)
- Philosophy (95)
- Ethics (32)
- Politicians and Candidates (72)
- Productivity (15)
- Psychology (5)
- Reason at Large (11)
- Religion (119)
- Romance (2)
- Science and Technology (113)
- Uncategorized (1)
Ideas presented in posts on TOS Blog are those of the authors of the posts and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Objective Standard. TOS Blog is powered by WordPress.