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LostInParadise's avatar

How can the North Korean government so successfully deceive the entire population?

Asked by LostInParadise (23933points) December 31st, 2011

They must keep out all foreign media – Internet, books, movies, magazines and videos. Doesn’t anybody get suspicious? Does North Korea send athletes to the Olympics? What would happen if and when they returned?

The stories I hear about refugees crossing the border is always the same – absolute astonishment over the lies that they have been told. If North Koreans knew what life was like across the border in China and South Korea, they would all be out on the streets.

Can’t the West drop leaflets or videos or send radio broadcasts?

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14 Answers

bob_'s avatar

They don’t deceive the entire population. Quite a few of them are in prisons.


Propaganda and mass mentality control.

flutherother's avatar

The North Korean population is controlled through propaganda and through fear. Even those who know the truth deny it to themselves lest they and their families end up in Camp 22

zenvelo's avatar

The control of information into and in N Korea has been going on for over 60 years; it has been run by the Kim family since N Korea was founded in 1948. That means three full generations have never known anything different.

Koreans culturally have always had a patriarchal society, even in the south, which helped form the cult of personality that has developed around the Kims.

The Kims demand total obedience and sacrifice as good for the country and the Kim family. They enforce it with prisons and with shaming. Thats why the country is kept closed; if they opened the border for just one day a year, the whole thing would collapse.

judochop's avatar

The same way the American government does it.

CWOTUS's avatar

What @judochop said. Look at how many people believe all of the lies of the American government and various candidates for political office – on both all sides. People believe that Democrats have the answer, that Republicans have the answer, that one of them is fundamentally different from the other – and that we “must have them” at all.

It’s pretty simple, really, especially when people want to be fooled.

Kardamom's avatar

@CWOTUS And to make the control complete, threaten them with death. Even if people don’t believe, or don’t know any better and simply believe what they’ve been told because they’ve never known anything else, if you threaten people with death, you are more likely to get people to comply and act like they believe whether they do or not.

LostInParadise's avatar

In the U.S. the situation is different. Information is available. The great mystery is why people will act counter to their own interests.

The situation in North Korea reminds me of the Big Lie concept of the Nazis. I looked on the Web and found this quotation.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.
Joseph Goebbels

Charles's avatar

Nothing surprises me about the alleged practices of the North Korean government. Look at religion for example. Look how many people believe all that stuff. Is it a coincidence that some countries are majority Muslim, some Hindu, some Christian? Or, are the people as children brainwashed to think a certain way?

Paradox25's avatar

Propaganda along with fear. Fear is a major tactic used by authoritarian governments to keep people in line whether or not they agree with them. There is a good reason for people that live under these types of aristocracies to be wary since the consequences of dissent are usually extreme. Authoritarian individuals use the same types of fear tactics to maintain control over their victims in very much similar ways as well.

Misinformation along with information control helps the authoritarian cause like it has in the past. However there is more access to information today than ever before so eventually oppressed people may start to rebel with more frequency in the near future.

flutherother's avatar

@LostInParadise Goebbels never made that comment. He didn’t believe that effective propaganda could be made from lies. He preferred to base his propaganda on the truth. The North Koreans probably do the same. They can’t say that food is plentiful in their country but they will find ways of explaining the shortages which are to their advantage.

LostInParadise's avatar

Thanks for the correction.

mattbrowne's avatar

Their brainwashing is far more effective than that of the Nazis ever was.

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