Do North Koreans actually believe this crap? ("the great Kim Jong Il looked over me")

I don’t know… I could stare at their weirdly robotic traffic cops all day.

The Youtube ad invites me to “Find an Asian wife.”

As glaeken pointed out, Kim-worship is probably less absurd than most religions. Say what you will about him, nobody disputes that Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il were real people. There’s no similar consensus about God or Allah or Xenu.

Can this belief be shown as substantially different than the ancient Egyptians believing that the Pharaoh was a living deity? Modern people, ancient people, they’re all just people in the end… if you prevent a group from exposure to outside perspectives for long enough, they’ll believe absolutely anything you tell them (or, at the very least, say that they believe absolutely anything, which is indistinguishable from actual belief to foreign observers).

Well, nobody’s going to look at that little pudgy bastard in charge today and see a deity, I don’t care how many boiled toadstools they’ve eaten.

The amazing thing is how well fed the NK athletes are. They certainly have a life style that most NK citizens don’t have.

“I want to say thank you to my country for sponsoring my quest to find a public, televised venue in which to ask for political asylum.” Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue. (And would get his remaining family disappeared, too.)

Moved from General Questions to IMHO.


In North Korea they have very strict social hierarchies based on an individuals (and their families) level of fealty to the Kim regime.

So anyone who goes to the olympics is probably someone who has been deeply vetted for his/her obedience to the regime (although this seems based more on stupid things like family history or minor transgressions than anything, at least what I see of it). So there is that.

But do they actually believe it? I don’t know. I have heard that when they get to China and they have access to legit media, a lot start to wake up about how the system is worse than bullshit since it is the opposite of reality a good deal of the time. That is what I have heard from refugee stories. But admitting you’ve been duped by evil sociopaths is hard to admit, so I can see how denial would come up (Stalin had the same issue, people didn’t want to admit they were wrong).

That’s an interesting poster; it is an early one, definitely pre-cultural revolution and probably pre-dates the Great Leap Forward, so it is from a time when China was recovering from the chaotic war years and before Mao’s disasterous policies resulted in millions of deaths.
Yep, 1954.

You bet. After all, there’s no way that a more contemporary regime would want to spotlight a three-kid family.

This is the key point. It explains everything.

North Korea has traffic!

Huh. I was marvelling at how much that poster resembles a 1950’s-style advertising poster from this side of the Big Pond. The clock, the dress, the furniture: it’s got “enjoy the products of your beautiful General Electric kitchen” all over it. The number of children didn’t even register…

I’m reminded of the scene in Animal Farm where the hens credit Napoleon for laying so many eggs, but I thought that wouldn’t happen in reality even in a totalitarian state.

One thing I wondered after watching that was how much of that was genuine and how much of it was, “well, the guy before me started crying and screaming, so if I don’t want to look bad I better scream about how I’m going to kill Americans. That should keep me safe.”

If enough of them do it, and there is no other reaction, doesn’t that become reality?

I am going to come down on the side of “most of them probably don’t believe it but are just going along with it for safety/conformity reasons.”

In the book, Red China Blues, Jan Wong describes her time as a young Chinese-Canadian Marxist studying abroad in 1970’s China. She was shocked at the blind adherence of her fellow students and handlers to policies that to her seemed ridiculous. Whenever she tried to question anything, she was harshly told to conform or else.

Yet many years later after China had opened up more, she asked these people if they still felt the same about Maoist policies. To her great surprise, practically all of the supposed hard-line Maoists who had been in charge of her indoctrination admitted that they never believed any of it. It had all been just a big lie that everyone told to each other.

By the way, I lived there two years and did not experience anything like this. Most folks I talked to said he was a great hero up until he went power crazy. Then, they seem to think he was a total disappointment.

Of course he believes it, as do most of the North Korean people. This is all they are told to believe from the moment they are born. It is all they hear on the radio and television. It is their entire lives. They are the most indoctrinated or brainwashed people on the planet.

I mean, look at all the people who believe in Christianity… or any world-religion, who only receive a small amount of indoctrination in comparison.

They believe it, sure, and they also know the consequence of not stating those beliefs out loud for the entire world to hear at every chance they get.

Did you spend most of your time in larger cities like Shanghai and Beijing ?

My experience is that the few hundred million that live along the east coast of China tend to be more educated and open minded than the billion or so that live in the mid and the west.