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Despair is not the answer for North Korea

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Journalist Suki Kim spent nearly a year undercover in North Korea teaching English at the country’s only foreign-run school. South Korean-born Kim moved to the U.S. as a young teen and has visited North Korea several times.

She hid her notes in USB sticks and her camera’s SIM card during her teaching stint at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a school run by Christian missionaries and only tolerated by the Kim regime because of its excellent reputation.

Her verdict on North Korea’s prospects to join the civilized world: despair and catastrophe.

In a revealing interview with The Intercept‘s Jon Schwarz, himself no stranger to the Hermit Kingdom, Suki Kim painted a very depressing picture.

Unsurprisingly, then, Kim’s students were shockingly ignorant of the outside world. They didn’t recognize pictures of the Taj Mahal or Egyptian pyramids. One had heard that everyone on earth spoke Korean because it was recognized as the world’s most superior language. Another believed that the Korean dish naengmyeon was seen as the best food on earth. And all Kim’s pupils were soaked in a culture of lying, telling her preposterous falsehoods so often that she writes, “I could not help but think that they – my beloved students – were insane.” Nonetheless, they were still recognizably human and charmingly innocent, and for their part came to adore their teachers.

Kim saw a North Korea several generations departed from any ties to the South, which has prospered as a modern, technologically advanced industrial powerhouse. Everything about North Korea is an insulated, Godless, controlling and brutal cult.

It was paradoxical. They could be very smart, yet could be completely deluded about everything. I don’t see why that would be different in the people who run the country. The ones that foreigners get to meet, like diplomats, are sophisticated and can talk to you on your level. But at the same time they also have this other side where they have really been raised to think differently, their reality is skewed. North Korea is the center of the universe, the rest of the world kind of doesn’t exist. They’ve been living this way for 70 years, in a complete cult.

Parents have no agency or control of children, who belong solely to the State. No phone calls, no travel, no visits allowed at PUST, even for the most elite families. No exceptions. In 70 years of Kim family rule–the Juche cult venerates them as gods–even the language has become coarse and uncivilized. Schwarz described it as “like finding the words f*** and s*** in a presidential speech or on the front page of the New York Times.”

Kim agreed.

Yes, I think the language does reflect the society. Of course, the whole system is built around the risk of an impending war. So that violence has changed the Korean language. Plus these guys are thugs, Kim Jong-un and all the rest of them, that’s their taste and it’s become the taste of the country.

Kim blamed history, and that the United States, along with the allies who won World War II, set an arbitrary line dividing North and South Korea, each side installing its puppet dictator in a Soviet versus West iron curtain played out on the peninsula. She bitterly spoke of U.S. conduct before and during the Korean War, calling the air war against North Korea “barbaric.”

All of that may very well be true, and it may have given the underpinnings of the Kim family’s hatred of America merit. But the Kims have built that hatred into a doctrine of its own, and without access to the outside world, the only world North Koreans know is what they’re told.

Based on those facts, and her observations of young North Korean adults, for whom lying, surveillance, brutality and control are the only way of life they’ve ever experienced, Kim believes that the North is not a reliable partner in any negotiations, and will never give up nuclear weapons.

The only way North Korea can be dealt with is if this regime is not the way it is. No agreements are ever honored because North Korea just doesn’t do that. It’s a land of lies. So why keep making agreements with someone who’s never going to honor those agreements?

But regime change is not an easy option when the leader is seen by his people as a god. You can’t just take control. Kim murdered the most ready replacements in his bloodline, but there are others.

All roads, for Suki Kim, lead to catastrophe. But one thing she said offers an amazing hope.

Every path is a catastrophe. This is why even defectors, when they flee, usually turn into devout fundamentalist Christians. I’d love to offer up solutions but everything leads to a dead end.

I’m not sure here if Kim meant that fundamentalist Christianity is a negative in her mind–a perverted result of years under a cult. But to me, it represents freedom.

Many have written about Juche, and how it was originally designed to be a counterfeit Christianity. Missionaries are familiar with how North Koreans are inculcated, and even recognize Biblical truth because what they’re taught is so similar, albeit with different deities.

The son of Christian parents and the grandson of a Christian pastor, Kim Il-sung was intimately familiar with Christianity and witnessed Christians choose martyrdom over worshipping the Japanese Emperor during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonization of Korea.

Recognizing the power of Christianity, Kim wanted it to be directed at himself. So he took Christianity, removed God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, set up himself, his wife and son as the new trinity, and called it Juche. At its core, Juche is a counterfeit Christianity that is deathly afraid of the True Gospel, and rightfully so.

There is no truth the North Korean regime is more afraid of than Biblical truth. Even possession of a Bible is grounds for banishment to a work camp or execution. Yet Christian missionary organizations infiltrate thousands of Bibles into the North every year. They use balloons, electronic devices and other methods to smuggle the Bible from South Korea and China.

Pastors have been targeted for assassination (and have in fact been assassinated), who run house churches, hospitality homes, and shelters for defecting North Koreans along the long border with China. Defectors don’t flee, then become fundamentalist Christians–they meet Christ, then they flee. But some stay and share the Gospel, on pain of death.

This is the power of Christianity to transform nations. South Korea is openly Christian, given to prayer and Bible study. South Koreans have been praying nonstop for their brothers and sisters in the North for decades.

Ultimately, all the military weapons in the world will accomplish nothing but kill more North Koreans, most of whom are more than willing to die for their country and their gods. The answer to this unsolvable problem must come from outside human understanding. The war is spiritual in nature and can only be won in a spiritual context.

Don’t think that God cannot reach North Korea. He is reaching China, Cuba, and the Middle East, sending dreams and visions where missionaries cannot go. God can and will reach North Korea.

Whatever happens in our global security and military context, we have to believe and have faith that God is sovereign and it is His will to save North Koreans. We must not compromise, but we must have compassion. The only real solution in North Korea is to increase efforts, by a thousand-fold, to pump the Gospel into that land of despair.

We should not despair, but trust in Him who can save.

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Culture and Religion

Acts 17:11 – ‘searched the scriptures daily’

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Acts 17:11 searched the scriptures daily

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. – Acts 17:11 (KJV)

We’ve talked before about doing daily Bible study, then we made sure to expand on what we were promoting by reminding people that Christianity itself should not be a task. Now, we’ll go to the source (as we should have done from the beginning) and point to scriptural backing that we are not only supposed to read the Bible, but to search it and use at as the ultimate reference.

This verse is often quoted out of contest. It points to the Bereans as true students of the Word. There are even ministries today who herald to the Bereans and continue in the works that were alluded to in this chapter. The reality is this: the Bereans were Jews who studied fervently and as a result they were easily converted to belief in Yeshua as the Messiah.

If there’s any one takeaway from this (other than the call to continuously study and find truth in the Bible by applying the teachings of the Bible itself), it’s that those who are the most steadfast in their studies, whether it’s of the Bible or of this world, are the ones who are easiest to bring to the truth. Christianity and all religions have gained an unfortunate label of being only for the “weak of mind” or gullible people. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not necessarily about intelligence. It’s about discernment. Those who see the world through the lens of common sense and an unbiased intellect are the most likely to come to the faith. They simply need a little Biblical worldview prompting.

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Guns and Crime

Tom Fitton on Lou Dobbs discusses the ‘Clinton cover-up operation’

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Tom Fitton on Lou Dobbs discusses the Clinton cover-up operation

Government watchdog Judicial Watch uncovered FBI notes from the first “sham” investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email debacle from 2016. Included in the FBI notes were references made by Clinton’s IT team itself referring to their activities as the “Clinton cover-up operation.”

Let that sink in.

Now that Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential campaign has been wrapped up and the Mueller report has been released to the public, Judicial Watch is working overtime to uncover what they can about the real scandal from that election. What candidate Clinton and her team did was almost certainly illegal and we’re learning more about it every day. Is it possible a new investigation could commence? Tom Fitton believes it will and told Lou Dobbs as much today.

Watch this interview. If there’s any doubt that Hillary Clinton belongs in jail, you should check with Tom Fitton and Lou Dobbs before finalizing your opinion. Justice has not been served following the 2016 election and it’s not the President who should be worried.

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Conservatism

Demonetized: Steven Crowder has been tried and convicted by YouTube of being a conservative

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Demonetized Steven Crowder has been tried and convicted by YouTube of being a conservative

Conservatives fell for a trap. It’s been over a decade in the making and few of us saw it coming until it was too late. To be fair, this trap was actually so well executed and seemingly coordinated that it’s actually impressive how well it worked. Now, the walls that have been around us the whole time are finally starting to close in.

The trap was to believe that even hyper-leftists in the tech industry would be fair when it came to the use of their platforms. By “fair,” I mean they would accept that there are views that differ from their preferred progressive standpoints and those views are worthy of being expressed on their platforms. For a time, this was true. But as the giants such as Google in search, Facebook and Twitter in social media, and YouTube for video grew to the point that they’re essentially unchallenged and virtually invincible, they’ve now changed their tune. The worst crime anyone who uses their services can commit is to be conservative.

Steven Crowder is learning it again and again with the most recent incident happening today.

Many of us make our living by creating and sharing content online. Unfortunately, the platforms that we work on, including YouTube, have revealed in recent years that there is a proper way of thinking in their eyes, and if you dare to offer a perspective that challenges this proper way of thinking, you’re a horrible human being who doesn’t deserve to live, let alone earn a penny from them.

Like I said, this was a brilliant trap, properly executed over the years to draw us in and then shut us down once we became dependent and their competition was suppressed. That’s where we are today.

The easy answer to all of this is to abandon the platforms that are unfriendly to conservatives and work only with those who truly appreciate free speech, cordial discourse, and the enterprising nature of Americans. That’s the easy answer, but it’s not an easy solution. You see, the sites that pay the best happen to be Google and their video spawn YouTube. To get the necessary eyeballs on this content, we often rely again on Google as well as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other progressive giants.

Where do we go from here?

Two options

For people like Crowder (and us), the easy days of “just make great content to make good money” are behind us. We can no longer just produce what we like and expect it to be respected by the traffic-drivers or revenue-drivers that literally hate us. We have to be careful. We are forced to bow before the politically correct leftist gods, also known as the “manual review” snowflakes who hold our fate in their hands.

But that won’t work. We won’t bow. Just as I can’t imagine Crowder toning down his “Change My Mind” series in any way, I know we would never start posting politically correct content that will appease the keyboard caretakers who reign over us. So that leaves us with two options.

Option 1: Fight for our right to be right

This is what most of us do today. We produce content and then fight tooth-and-nail to get it the traffic it needs. Once it gets the traffic, we then have to fight to keep it monetized. It’s a daily grind, but it’s effective to some extent. Nevertheless, it’s not only a waste of time but it’s a benefit to the people who are trying to suppress us in the first place. YouTube makes money off Crowder’s content whether they pay him for it or not. That’s the nature of YouTube. If he sucks people onto the platform to laugh as he “owns libs,” there’s a good chance those people he sucked in will then watch other videos with ads.

Just because they demonetize his content doesn’t mean they’re not making money off it.

So if option 1 sucks, then what’s the alternative?

Option 2: Pick up our balls and take them to a new playground

This is the option that invariably gets offered by scholarly Twitter users any time something like this happens. But it’s not that easy. I’ve tried multiple ad networks, affiliates, crowdfunding, and even outright begging and it doesn’t yield a fraction of what Google ads deliver. And frankly, that’s not enough either, but it’s more.

For Crowder, whose content thrives on YouTube, it’s not easy for him to become a Vimeo star and expect to reach the same people or get nearly enough money from it. Or any video platform for that matter. I’m not sure what BlazeTV or DailyWire pay, but outside of their paid services, much of there content goes on… YouTube.

But it’s more than just monetization. I’m sure Crowder and others like him are also like us in that our goal is to spread a proper message on the various topics that affect Americans on a daily basis. That means we want our content to be seen by a wide range of people, including progressives. Sometimes, especially progressives.

Working on a third option

I’ve been reaching out to conservatives about Proper Narrative, LLC. I hope this can help encourage conservative content producers to do what they’re doing by rewarding them beyond their standard revenue sources. It’s still early stage at this point, but one never knows when the right call will come in.

Final Thoughts

Until one of the two (or three) options becomes clearly the best choice, conservatives have to do what we can to support each other. To the digital media world, we’re the enemy. Nobody said being conservative in 2019 would be easy.

Petition Capitol Hill for Term Limits

Sign the petition. We demand Congress immediately put together legislation that spells out term limits for themselves. Americans need to know who is willing to suppress their own power for the sake of the nation. This can only happen by bringing legislation to the floor.

Will you help revive the American Conservative Movement?

 


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