The Corner

Politics & Policy

Enemies and Anthems

Kim Jong-un attends a military parade in Pyongyang on February 9, 2018. (KCNA via Reuters)

At his rally last night, President Trump referred to the press as “the enemy of the people.” He has done that frequently. “Enemy of the people” has a long, horrific pedigree, of course. You will find it in the French Terror. You find it again in the Soviet Terror. Thousands of people were executed as “enemies of the people.”

And who are “the people”? Members of your party? Anyone else? In today’s France, Marine Le Pen’s slogan is “Au nom du peuple,” “In the name of the people.” Which people?

It comes naturally to American conservatives to bash the press, or the “mainstream media,” which have been antagonistic to us over the years. But a free press is vital to democracy. It also distinguishes us from dictatorships.

Last year, Trump sat with Vladimir Putin, who pointed at reporters and said, “Are these the ones who insulted you?” The two leaders then had a good chuckle over that. Of course, reporters in Russia don’t insult Putin and stay safe for long.

Later in the year, Trump sat with Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. When reporters tried to ask Duterte about human-rights abuses, Duterte called them “spies.” This got a laugh out of Trump.

You could forgive Filipino journalists if they didn’t laugh. Duterte is a killer of them. He made the notorious statement, “Just because you’re a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch.”

On to another news story from yesterday, which tells of a remarkable event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. It was a Tea for Trump, staged by Virginia Women for Trump, in honor of the president’s birthday. There was a fashion show, which included a woman modeling an Asian-style dress. The music that accompanied her was the North Korean national anthem, in honor of Trump’s new relationship with Kim Jong-un.

This is the sort of thing the Right would go nuts about, if Democrats committed the same act. And we would be well justified. How many years have I spent lampooning and decrying Che Guevara T-shirts, and other Commie chic?

North Korea is a brutal Communist regime, a gulag state. It is probably the worst, most torturous, most murderous state on earth. Some of its propaganda is musical propaganda, disgusting. I wrote a piece about this last year (here).

In a sense, conservatives have been asked to forget many things in recent years: the value of free markets, the need to reform entitlements, the importance of character in office . . . Must we shed our anti-Communism too? Heaven forbid.


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