Obituaries of Kim Jong Il are being published across the nation's newspapers, and the hermit country's dictator is blamed for North Koreans' mass sufferings.
Kim Jong Il was certainly an evil monster, but what the media overlooks is that he was merely an effect of North Korea's failed system, not the cause of it.
The root cause of the backwards, oppressive state is its economic system--communism--not the personality of the brute that is in charge of the state. Dictators can't exist without centralized control, and centralized control is exactly what communism provides. Yet no mainstream commentary is focusing on that fact, including the Star's.
Stalinist dictator Kim Jong Il's death at age 69 or maybe 70 -- the official mythology varies -- offers the people of North Korea some small, faint hope that their lives may get better.
Il was not the communist dictator of North Korea, he was the Stalinist dictator. See the distinction? Mainstream commentary overlooks communism's role in North Korea's poverty, as if to say North Korea isn't an example of communism's failure, it's an example of Stalinism's failure. This distinction is popular so that the Left's agenda of a more socialist economic system is untied from real-world examples of socialism and communism. Let's not forget that National Socialism in Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics killed tens of millions of people in the 20th century. Other euphemistic systems for socialist states like the People's Republic of China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea killed millions of more. If oppression pervades a country, chances are the word socialism or one of its euphemisms is nearby. Hugo Chavez is a member of the United Socialist Party, and Kim Jong Il was a member of the Workers' Party of North Korea.
The demonstrably failed economic system present in each of those repressive regimes is resurgent and becoming dominant in the United States, aided by our unwillingness to realize that history teaches us brutal dictators are at the end of socialism's path.
Not only do brutal dictatorships require a big, centralized government to exert control, such a government inevitably leads to dictatorships. The nature of government is to grow, and the nature of power is to centralize. If we also throw in that power corrupts, then those three dynamics eventually result in a huge government under the control of a few corrupt men. Naturally, in many places where socialism has taken hold, that's been the result, whether it's taken the form of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Hugo Chavez, Robespierre, Pol Pot, or Kim Jong Il--all members of the economic left.
In fact, dictatorship from the economic right, which is comprised of laissez faire capitalists and small-government libertarianism--is impossible, since we eschew big government, the prerequisite of oppression.