Revolution that quite wasn’t: What could have been “radical” vindicates the traditional

August 12, 2009 at 10:29 am 2 comments

Kim Il Sung
Mao Zedong

Continuing on how communism became an unwitting preserver of tradition through the time period in which the Western nations underwent a massive cultural change, it is also interesting to note how the adoration of the leadership in many communist countries underlines our basic human need for a monarchy.

Today, as most of the world’s nation-states are republican, we tend to laugh at communist nations for engaging in a “personality cult.” But on a deeper level, it is a healthy inclination for any country to look up to its king — and in absence of a stated “king” the leader of the communist party gains the popular expectation to act that role. Indeed, what people in DPRK give to its Great Leader, is very much like how pre-WWII Japanese “loved” their Emperor Hirohito, and how most monarchical nations looked up to their respective queen or king. Additionally, in absence of an actively practiced religion, the Great Leader also has gained the role of a religious messiah. The official biography of Kim Jong Il almost copies itself from the Gospel of St. Luke in its birth and childhood story.

In the United States, the only reason why such a personality cult did not become a central part of its culture was that the personality cult of Jesus Christ — not just a holy man or a saviour, but Jesus the King of Kings. With associated (decidedly American) doctrines such as dispensationalism and dominion theology, conservative Christians in America successfully fused American nationalism with Christianity and turned it into a distinctively American personal cult that provides both a substitute king and messiah that our human consciousness needs.

In the end, neither democracy nor communism did not entirely extinguish the human drive toward the primordial traditional worldview. Humans need that sense of relating to their monarchs, and no nebulous political theory can be a substitute to satisfy that human needs. As such the development of communist society during the 20th century vindicates the tradition.


Entry filed under: By Sarah Morrigan.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. samnangp  |  August 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Great post!

    It is interesting that the political personaliy cults also portray the leader as “glorious”, “righteous”, “ever correct”, and the all-knowing Father whose only concern is for the betterment of his children (the nation), mimicking the religious notion of God.

    In the case of the DPRK, they have an advantage in this arena over other communist nations in that they have the Father-Son concept in Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

  • 2. Sarah  |  August 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    and soon to come is Kim Jong Un, the “other comforter”, making up the trinity of the DPRK religion of Juche.


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