There were only two occasions on which I heard him say something which was plainly untrue, the first his claim on Brian Lamb’s program C-SPAN of November 7, 1983 that England did not have journalism degrees and the second in a speech where he described North Korea as a religious state, one divine figurehead short of a Trinity.
-- from the article
Considering the advent of Kim Jong-Un, the only fault in Hitchens' statement is that the third leg of that unholy trinity has now emerged. Of course, there will, in all likelihood, be a fourth and a fifth, perhaps even a sixth, somewhere downstream from here, so long as the Democratic Republic of North Korea remains more or less as it is.
And the further issue is that Hitch Had BEEN There, knew North Korea first hand after a fashion which I doubt Spear did ... and having seen in a documentary how fanatical the admiration and yes, downright WORSHIP the citizens of NK have for their various leaders, all I can say is that religion comes in all forms ... and STILL poisons everything.
Wow, Loren, you just gave me a fantastic idea. Could it be that totalitarian dynasties mimic the transformation of a myth (or, in this case, legend) into a cultus? You can imagine children of parents who came of age during the last days of the Korean War knowing only a Kim as leader teaching their children that the Great Leader was a kind of god (since, although the patriarch was born to Methodists (!), religion was banned, the better to work an apotheosis to the living in much the same way the Romans did). When a Kim dies, as we have seen in news footage, there is always great wailing and gnashing of teeth, the populace behaving in massive bereavement even more violently than one might expect of a close family death. This mirrors exactly the way religion is passed on to successive generations in those nations with monotheistic faiths. North Koreans simply cannot imagine a nation without a Kim. It is simply unthinkable. Now and then a persecuted North Korean manages to flee to the free world, but their escape would never be reported in a country with such controlled news as North Korea. I have always maintained that totalitarian states like Soviet Russia under Stalin, who became what he beheld in Nazi Germany, substitute for God the leader in control during their rise to power. Your use of the word "worship" is precisely what happens. And as you say, replacing a mythical god with a real one is just as poisonous (perhaps more so?).
I've always been amazed at how the Japanese people accepted their leader as god, and were willing to lay down their lives to conquer the world as he told them to.
I like your thoughts Loren. I was a little sad to read of Hitchen's untrue statements and especially his sticking-to-them, but you've reduced that in one area.
But, it seems obvious no one is perfect, so I can't expect Hitchens to be.