Rationality’s feeble grip

This is the scariest thing I’ve seen all year: the mass hysteria in North Korea following on the death of yer man (whose name I can never remember). The big question is: is it really possible to induce this kind of mass hypnosis in millions of people? The answer: apparently, yes.

As Andrew McLaughlin (from whom I picked up the link) puts it:

It’s depressing to be reminded that it’s possible, with energetic and relentless propaganda, surveillance, and oppression, to delude vast numbers of human beings into genuine feelings of attachment to, and dependence on, a brutal sociopath responsible for the degradation and humiliation of millions, and the starvation and murder of millions more.

Watching the effects of a lifetime of propaganda and information control is a powerful spur to renew our commitment to freedom of speech and conscience, as well as to the protection of individual dignity. It’s an opportune moment for the Internet activist community to make a sustained push to subvert state control of networks and information flows in North Korea.

And, while we’re on the subject, have a look at this satellite image of North and South Korea by night — taken in September 2003 when the Great Leader was in his prime.