Lies and Explanations About North Korea

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BBC World News reported recently on North Korea's devastating food
shortage problem. Some 6 million human beings are at the brink of
starvation there!

this report viewers were told that the World Food Programme, a United
Nations agency, stated that "the food shortages are due to
a decline of donations." Now there is a distortion if one has
ever run across one. It is a distortion by the World Food Programme
and by BBC World News. With such official United Nations–sanctioned
declarations and media reports it is very doubtful that the actual
causes of the food shortages in North Korea – or anywhere else
for that matter – will be seriously investigated and remedied.

fact, of course, North Korea's food shortages have absolutely nothing
to do with the lack of donations. If there are shortages of food
anywhere in the world, they have to do with the lack of food production.
Donations of food may be relevant in cases of emergency shortfalls
that are caused by, say, extreme draught or other natural disasters.
To blame lack of donations is akin to blaming the death of a man
who is murdered by another on the people who were not there, busy
living their own precious lives, to save him from the murderer!

Korean is not suffering from any natural disaster. It is suffering,
instead, from colossal political-economic disaster. And by the UN
World Food Programme's failure to identify this as the truth of
the matter, this agency, as well as the UN itself, is perpetuating
a gross myth that the kind of regime that we find in North Korea
is innocent of any wrong doing and, furthermore, that it is people
in other countries who are responsible for the starvation of the
North Korean population.

can it be that major international agencies and news services are
so eager to hide the full responsibility of the political system
of North Korea for its murderous policies? How is it that even after
the collapse of the Soviet Union's catastrophic experiment with
centrally planned socialism, the horrible famine brought about by
the same system in the People's Republic of China, modern officialdom
is still hell bent on trying to make respectable the Leftist ideology
responsible for it all?

we see here the not too subtle workings of academic multiculturalism,
the doctrine that proclaims that no matter what kind of system of
government or political economy guides a country's public policies,
criticism of that system, even if it brings forth the death of millions,
must be suppressed because, well, no one can know what system is
right and all are equally valid. This is the kind of story we get
from some of today's most prominent social philosophers, for example,
the radical pragmatist Richard Rorty. Rorty declared a while back,
in a piece for The New Republic in July 1, 1991, that no
one can tell whether any system is right or wrong. As he put it,
"Non-metaphysicians [such as Rorty and other right thinking
sorts] cannot say that democratic institutions reflect a moral reality
and that tyrannical regimes do not reflect one, that tyrannies get
something wrong that democratic societies get right."

no? Well, I bet that political economic systems and public policies
that contribute to the starvation of 6 million North Koreans can
confidently be said to "get something wrong." But unless
officialdom wakes up to this fact and begins to spread the news
everywhere that North Korea's centrally planned socialist-communist
system is responsible for the starvation there, not the lack of
donations, this fact will remain obscured by disinformation.

multiculturalism isn't the full explanation for this terrible negligence
about the viciousness of the North Korean system. Indeed, arguably,
multiculturalism is itself a pretense, a way to disguise a deadly
bias among many intellectuals. After all, these same people who
think there is nothing objectively better about capitalism as opposed
to socialism do not make this claim when it comes to racism, sexism
or Nazism. They did not argue, when South Africa still had a system
of apartheid, that this institution was just as good as one that
left blacks free.

the problem is that the bulk of the officials running the World
Food Programme and the UN itself are faithful central planners,
statists, and North Korea is, in fact, merely a dream gone awry
for them, a dream that, nonetheless, must not be disparaged.

10, 2004

Machan [send
him mail
] holds
the Freedom Communications Professorship of Free Enterprise and
Business Ethics at the Argyros School of Business & Economics, Chapman
University, CA. A Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford
University, he is author of 20+ books, most recently, Putting
Humans First: Why We Are Nature’s Favorite

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