The Corner

Re: The Face of Evil

That report Kathryn posted on the appalling awfulness of the North Korean regime demonstrates once

again a thing that has occurred to me often when talking with liberals and

lefties about communism. Why were so many decent, well-read people in

Western countries such suckers for the old USSR, for Mao’s China, for

Castro’s Cuba, etc.? A great deal of it is just wishful thinking combined

with failure of imagination. They can’t imagine these horrors, except

in terms of things they know more immediately. Thus, they will grudgingly

concede that the Gulag was awful: “…but look at conditions in our own

prisons!” U.S. prison conditions leave much to be desired, but cannot

reasonably be compared to the mass arrests of tens of millions of perfectly

innocent non-criminal people, and their subsequent killing by starvation,

forced labor, and beating. Yet you hear this sort of thing all the time.

The truly depressing thing in that report you posted is that this kind of

blank failure of imagination occurs even among South Koreans–people just a

few miles away from the horrors, of the same nationality as the victims, and

speaking the same language. One sometimes gets the impression that most

human beings just sleep-walk through life. How difficult it is to get the

truth across!

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