Anthony Daniels, in the course of reviewing the work of someone more sensible (more about that book here), in the Telegraph, ends up devoting rather more space to nailing useful idiot Professor Bruce Cumings of Chicago University.
What is the antiidiotarian blogosphere for, if not for bouncing paragraphs like this around, and generally rubbing salt into well deserved wounds?
Like every useful idiot before him, Professor Cumings is much impressed by free child-care and kindergartens, much more so than by gulags and famines. There is no Potemkin village so transparently a fraud that he would not be taken in by it. Such matters as collective family responsibility, whereby entire families are severely punished for the political dissent of one of its members, do not impinge on his imagination – a faculty with which he is not much blessed.
While Cumings admits that the personality cult of Kim Il-Sung (who, though dead for 10 years, is still President For Eternity) is absurd, he attributes its extravagance entirely to the Confucian strain in Korean life, thus displaying a complete and startling ignorance of Communist iconography. Is he not aware that almost every Communist dictator was, according to the paintings of him, followed by an eager amanuensis capturing for posterity his on-the-spot guidance to farmers about how best to harvest potatoes, and to car mechanics about how best to change the spark plugs? The pictures of multi-racial crowds stretching their arms in the direction of the Great Leader as the only hope of Mankind are not unique to North Korea.
It is true that North Korea is the ne plus ultra of this vile and inglorious tradition, and that Confucianism might have been an added ingredient, but to overlook the part that Communism itself played, as Professor Cumings does, and blame mainly the Americans, is preposterous.
I feel a little sorry for Professor Cumings. He has spent his life studying the language, culture and history of a nation that not so long ago was disregarded and ignored, if not despised. Despite his erudition, however, he will, in the long run, be regarded as a buffoon. His works on North Korea will be seen in the same light as those of the Webbs on the Soviet Union. They knew everything about the Soviet Union except the truth.
Personally I feel a hell of a lot sorrier for the hapless people of North Korea, as Daniels does too, I do not doubt. I hope and trust that the US government is working busily for the demise of the vile regime which now imprisons them, and that their day of deliverance may not be too long delayed.