The whole idea of communism is dead in North Korea, and its most recent "Constitution," "ratified" last April, has dropped all mention of the word. Myers makes a persuasive case that we should instead regard the Kim Jong-il system as a phenomenon of the very extreme and pathological right. It is based on totalitarian "military first" mobilization, is maintained by slave labor, and instills an ideology of the most unapologetic racism and xenophobia.This causes Hitchens to rethink the importance of what he saw at the time as a minor incident during his own North Korean travels:
One evening, as we tried to dine on some gristly bits of duck, [his minder] mentioned yet another reason why the day should not long be postponed when the whole peninsula was united under the beaming rule of the Dear Leader. The people of South Korea, he pointed out, were becoming mongrelized. They wedded foreigners—even black American soldiers, or so he'd heard to his evident disgust—and were losing their purity and distinction.North Korea questions every optimistic thought we have about humanity. It really is possible to brainwash a whole nation into believing that they are a privileged people, when really they are slaves. Complete ignorance, leavened with racism, hatred of every outsider, gung-ho militarism, and worship of the Dear Leader, can make people compliant under conditions of mass famine.