The world has been spared another day’s company with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. Even among his evil peers, Mr. Kim’s atrocities stand out. His despotism starved millions of Koreans to death while he developed a reputation as an epicurean. He literally stole Korean and Japanese babies from their parents to train them as spy moles for the communist regime. He sold nuclear weapons technology to state terrorists that are sworn enemies of the US and Israel. He committed various capricious acts of war, including shelling defenseless civilian island homes. As with other evil men, like Mao, Pol Pot, and Ho Chi Minh, people who live free from tyranny are tempted to assume the evil men do is because of bad luck in allowing an evil leader to take control. The ugly reality is that anybody can become a Kim, given the opportunity, and assuming the US is immune is dangerous.
The story of North Korea is another confirmation of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, in which he argued that whenever a people cease defending their basic natural rights, a dictator will step in and impose tyranny. Capitalism is an expression of individual rights, and prosperity is the byproduct of capitalism. The purpose of individual rights is to allow people to live as they wish, and prosperity is only a happy byproduct, however this night photo of North Korea is telling:
Where collectivism is permitted, all economic progress is halted. North Korea suffers under a standard of living the rest of the world exceeded several generations ago. Consider North Korea, East Germany, Cuba, and Eastern Europe. Wherever collectivism exists, people suffer. The only path to prosperity is when individuals jealously defend their natural rights.
The US is anything but immune from collectivism and tyranny. The US has forcefully dislocated Georgian property owners based their race (the Trail of Tears). The US has interred Citizens in both WWI and WWII because they shared an ancestry with the enemy. Even the greatest, most free, strongest force for world good has made terrible mistakes. The US has plenty of would-be despots like Mr. Kim waiting for their chance.
When the government dictates to Americans the quantity and variety of health services they must consume, or it abolishes habeas corpus on US soil, the US opens the door a little more to North Korea. Every time individuals cede even a small personal liberty or responsibility to the collective, the chance of an evil tyranny increases. The only defense is to keep government so small that, even when mismanaged, it is powerless to truly ruin anybody’s life.
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