We've seen how dictatorships deal with people they don't like. Lenin and Stalin, for example. They were just peachy guys when they weren't deliberately murdering and starving millions of their own citizens. And good old Adolf--we all know how he treated the Jews.
In the twentieth century, communism murdered 100,000,000 people. These one hundred million were killed largely for being inconvenient for the governments that killed them.
In fact, Hitler was something of a piker. Even assuming the worst-case estimate of 26 million killed in Nazi concentration camps, that's still only 1/4 of the total dead due to communist atrocities.
These people were tortured to death for a variety of heinous crimes, including things such as:
* being critical of their government
* being homosexual
* having a religious faith
I wish I could say that the news of North Korea's concentration camps was shocking or surprising, but it is neither. This is the kind of thing that such regimes always do. Their governments rely on "maintenance of terror" to keep the populace in line. People who misbehave (or who are merely reported to misbehave!) simply disappear, never to be seen again...and that gets noticed by those left behind.
Just try leafing through The Black Book of Communism. Or try reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich--the chapter on the death squads and concentration camps will make your stomach churn, unless you have no shred of humanity in you.
It takes a special kind of cognitive dissonance to look at communism as a good thing, in light of all the evidence of the crimes committed by communist dictatorships. Every time communism is tried it ends up killing people by the millions; every time it is tried it results in a handful of people--those in power!--living very well, while the masses live in poverty.
When a communist revolution happens, the people who support it are sold a bill of goods; they're told that the "new boss" will make sure everyone is treated equally. But some people are more equal than others.
In the USSR, there were special stores for the high-and-mighty. The average
The primary difference between communist Russia, and Russia under the Czars, is that in communist Russia the citizens were given ballots once in a while. The ballots frequently only had one name on them and the outcomes of the elections were foregone conclusions, but they at least had the illusion of self-determination. Otherwise there was no difference in the average person's life.
Well, except for the people who were killed in the name of communism, of course. The lives of those people were affected--they were truncated.
North Korea is the scapegoat of communism these days. People are more than willing to be critical of North Korea while ignoring Cuba under Castro, or communist China. But both Castro and China are killing their millions, one way or another, and the terror and the torture and the murder continues unabated to this day.
Anyone who wears a shirt with Che Guevara's unmodified photo on it and thinks he's being cool and striking a blow for the common man, is utterly ignorant of what Guevara stood for. Guevara was a cheap murderer, a gangster that Heinrich Himmler would have understood perfectly. In "Message to the Tricontinental", he writes of "hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine."
The majority of the 100,000,000 people killed by communism in the 20th century were Chinese--on the order of 60,000,000 or so. Think about this: that's twice the population of Canada.
Like any communist dictator in history, Kim-Jong Il is a brutal dictator, a person who thinks nothing of killing people wholesale in order to maintain his grip on the reins of power. The news that he's presiding over such brutal torture and murder is not at all surprising.