Reading the title of this article would cause any rational person to believe that this is some satire piece aimed at the world’s most famous dictator, Kim Jung Un. But, oddly enough, there are times when reality steps outside the bounds of logic, and we end up with legitimate headlines like the one above.
What did he do?
The truth is, at times, stranger than fiction. According to Fox News, North Korea’s “benevolent” leader recently issued this bizarre proclamation in an attempt to cull specific liberal western trends that are gaining popularity in his hermit kingdom. North Korea’s state-led Provincial Youth League issued an order on “proper” hairstyles, stating that mullets and other unauthorized hairstyles are “anti-socialist behavior” and are part of the “yellow wind of capitalism.”
The North Korean state-friendly newspaper “The Rondong Sinmun” wrote, “We must be wary of even the slightest sign of the capitalistic lifestyle and fight to get rid of them.” The clampdown on unruly self-expression is not just limited to hairstyles. Clothing like ripped or skinny jeans, T-shirts with slogans, and nose and lip piercings have also been outlawed.
It’s hard to say with any degree of certainty why extremely maniacal dictators like this do the things that they do. However, modern science and psychology seem to have identified specific common characteristics shared by authoritarian tyrants. According to researchers, totalitarian dictators are typically driven to acquire and maintain power at any cost due to a deep-seated sense of vindictiveness, narcissism, and paranoia.
Seth Davin Norrholm, Ph.D. stated,
“They see themselves as very special people, deserving of admiration and, consequently, have difficulty empathizing with the feelings and needs of others . . . Not only do dictators commonly show a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, but they also tend to behave with vindictiveness often observed in narcissistic personality disorder.”
It’s not the first time nor the only example.
Kim Jong Un has a history of establishing regulations like the ones he recently enacted. Other trends, like spiked or dyed hair, have also been banned, according to Britain’s Daily Express. However, anyone wanting to change things up with a fresh new style is “free” to choose from 15 cuts previously approved by the government. This kind of prohibition aims to squelch any behavior deemed capitalistic, western, or generally non-socialist.
Frankly, this newest iteration of ridiculous prohibition is quite docile compared to some of the previous laws that have been created in North Korea. For instance, it’s illegal to own a Bible at all. The Bible is considered a symbol of Western culture, and owning one has reportedly led to arrest and even execution in some cases!
One of the most terrifying examples from the dystopian legal system is the three generations of punishment rule. The law was created in an attempt to try to stop people from attempting to escape from prison. It states that if you commit a crime, not only you but your entire family could be punished for the same offense.
How about one more? To control the dissemination of information, the population only has access to three television channels wholly owned and operated by the North Korean government. In addition, standard internet access is non-existent in the kingdom, and it’s illegal to smuggle in western film and literature.
What can we learn from something like this?
The world is filled with crazy people, and sometimes those people end up in positions of power with the ability to oppress those they govern. Our history books are filled with similar examples that serve as sobering reminders that we shouldn’t take the freedoms we enjoy in America for granted. While the U.S. has its fair share of problems, we also want the right to address those problems via peaceful processes. And while our politicians are far from perfect, they’re not even remotely in the same category as someone like Kim Jong Un.
Even if they were, they’re not dictators with unlimited power, and the American people can throw them out of office at the ballot box on a regularly scheduled basis. Historically, national liberty has proven to be a fragile concept that needs to be guarded and nurtured at all costs if it’s going to last.
Reading about the sad reality that exists in places like North Korea makes me grateful that I live in a free country with constitutional rights, the rule of law, and democratic processes. America isn’t perfect, and neither are its citizens. However, as we approach this Memorial Day weekend, I’m reminded of the high price that’s been paid time and time again so that we can enjoy a way of life that much of the world can only dream about. So in closing, rock your skinny jeans, sport your mullets, and God bless America!
Josh is a faith and culture writer with ThinkCivics. He attended seminary through Rock of Ages Baptist Bible Institute out of Cleveland, TN. He has held about every position one could hold in a local church: Sunday school teacher, Children’s Church Preacher, Bus Ministry Director/Worker, Missions Director, Choir Director, Song Leader, Janitor, etc. In October of 2005, he was ordained as an Assistant Pastor at Rest Haven Baptist Church, and that’s where he served until God called him into the Pastorate at Enon Baptist Church in Alto, GA at the age of 32. He stepped out by faith in obedience to God’s instructions and quickly received a call from Blessed Hope Baptist Church in Free Home, GA where he now serves as Pastor. In his free time, Josh enjoys spending quality time with his wife (who is his high school sweetheart) and three children: Zoey, Ava, and Jack, as well as reading, writing, hunting, cooking, weight lifting, and martial arts.