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 # "Free" is Slavery

Thae Young Ho is the highest ranking defector to ever have come out of North Korea. He was an ambassador to Sweden and then to England. At the Oslo Freedom Forum back in 2019, I got to talk to him for a few hours, and it's a conversation I'll never forget.

It's rare that we get such a high ranking official to come out of the country to tell us how they operate, but Mr. Thae is one of those people. He was able to enlighten many of us what North Korea's process for the currency revaluation was and why they backtracked. He also told us about how they had to execute someone so that the regime wouldn't get blamed. If you read any works of Rene Girard, that shouldn't surprise you, especially given that it's an atheist country.

## Kim's Rise to Power

But the story that struck me the most was about Kim Il Sung's rise to power. Mr. Thae explained that after being installed as the hand-picked leader of North Korea in 1945, he wasn't that popular. His Korean was marginal as he had grown up mostly in China. His education was a scant 8 years, all of it in Chinese and communist guerrilla tactics weren't exactly beloved by the people. Yet if we look at how he's looked at in North Korea today, he's essentially viewed as a divinity. Somehow, this poorly educated, barely comprehensible puppet of the Soviet Union became the god of North Korea.

So what happened? How did he gain all that power? What did he do to take control? You would think that given what we're generally told about communism that it would be based completely on fear and ruthlessness that consolidated his power. And certainly, there was plenty of that. But according to Mr. Thae, Kim Il Sung relied on something else: free stuff.

## The Cult of Free

Everyone loves free stuff. Think about how popular the free stuff section on your local craigslist is. I'll bet you anything it's the most visited and monitored part of the site and rarely will you find stuff that's that valuable that someone hasn't taken already. It's part of the human instinct to try to get something for nothing and Kim Il Sung exploited it.

As with most socialist/communist programs, the way he won over the North Korean people was with lots of entitlements. They got free health care, free food, free housing, a guaranteed job. They got everything they needed. And with Soviet subsidization, it worked great. People supported him and for a time, a lot of international observers thought that North Korea was doing better than the South.

But there's a darker side to "free stuff." What happens when they run out of a scarce resource? How do you determine who gets it? Say there's medicine that will help two different people, but there's only enough for one. Who gets it?

In a free market, prices help you decide that, and a high price spurs greater production of the scarce resource so that the prices come down. But if it's free, what do you do? When you have a central controller of everything, the answer is obvious. You reward those that are loyal and punish those that are not. Instead of money being your currency, it was loyalty to the regime that was your currency.

## Markets Build Community

Soon, the only people that really got the free stuff were near the top of the ideological hierarchy. Instead of prices determining what you got, it was your perceived compliance and loyalty to the regime that determined it.

In the absence of a market, compliance was what determined who got what. Mr. Thae's point of the story was that there's something sacred about market transactions. Market transactions cause both parties to have obligations to the other. There's a mutual desire to satisfy the other party and it binds us together in a community. That's precisely what they lacked in North Korea and why the regime was so powerful. 

It's easy to listen to these stories and think of it as "out" there, that it's got nothing to do with us. But after listening to this story, I started thinking about what stuff I got for free from centralized entities. I get GMail for free. I get Facebook for free. I get YouTube for free. I realized that the cost of getting these things was indeed compliance. In these walled gardens, they can kick you out at any time and that is indeed what they do. The reason why these companies have so much power is because they give you this stuff in exchange for compliance. They give you this stuff to *enslave* you.

## Western Governments

Fact is, there's way more of the communist/socialist system of free embedded in our supposed democracies than we think. Remember during the pandemic how you had to get a vax to keep your job, visit your sick relatives or travel? There were people in the US suggesting that unvaxxed people should be denied health care services. Such tactics really only work when the service is "free." The central controller of the resource extracts its pound of flesh, just not in money. Many governments have gone down this route. We're much closer to communism in western societies than we'd like to believe.

Prices and paying for things are a good thing. They obligate both parties to the trade to satisfy the other. The instinct to get something for nothing is not one that builds civilization. The reason communism has led to tyranny every single time is because the central government ends up with all the resources and wields absolute power through "free" stuff. 

Reject free. Pay for value.https://m.primal.net/HpeW.jpg  
 Thanks Jimmy, wise words 
 this remains one of the most pervasive mechanisms - when people are told something is free. They want to believe it this they do. 

Absorbing and intergrating the reality that there are no free lunches is key to living a good life. 
 Something for nothing = rooted in selfishness

Paying for things = rooted in cooperation  

Of course the latter builds a better civilization 💡 this was a great read!!! 
 Legendary note. Thank you so much for putting it out.🙏 
 "ของฟรี" หนทางสู่การเป็นทาส
 Exactly, free exchange is the natural state, not a system invented by humans.

This free exchange relies on prices which rely on sound money, in the absence of barter or a voluntary gift of one's time or resources with another.

All systems that attempt to interfere with free exchange are systems of unnatural control. 
 Who knew that adding a trusted third party to a transaction would add friction? 
 When the friction adds skimming, scamming and fees, whoever is collecting knew😉 
 Wow, I won't forget this read.  Thank you. 
 Ya your write you know food stamps is really big business in the US I might be wrong but without food stamps Walmart wouldn't be profitable in its current business model.  
 I recently watched a documentary called "beyond utopia" which captured some stories of north Korean defectors escaping through China. When describing why they decided to defect even concerning the risks to their family and friends it always comes back to how they weren't part of certain classes and were forced to do so. 
The "Cult of the Free" as you described adds another dimension, in addition to the hardships these defectors are those who are either unable or unwilling to exhibit loyalty to the regime 🤔 
thanks for sharing 
 Great documentary! Yeonmi Park's new books (While Time Remains) is a sobering reminder of how far we're going down communism as well. 
 Very interesting, thank you! 
 Thanks Jimmy.  This post helped me better understand why l always had a strong underlying aversion to getting anything for free.  It also opened up my thought process as to the mindset of someone who would be offering something for Free(dom).  Truly diabolical word play. 
 Literally Diabolical 
 Yeonmi Park said exactly the same in one of her shows.  
 Got a link? I'd love to listen to it. 
 I cannot find the video I originally watched, but here she mentiones it too: 6:30 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WqBhQS_DPU  

 Great post. Nothing is free. You may not realize it but you'll pay for it indirectly and you may not like the price when the bill comes in.

Government hand outs are meant to enslave, to affect control via dependance. Don't fall for the bait! 
 It's a trap! 
 If someone gives you something or helps you , it is a natural human instinct to feel obligated to them. Psychopaths consist of roughly 4% of the population, but this can vary its time and place. They do not have this instinct, but they have learnt  how to exploit it by lying to, and cheating, non- psychopaths.  

“Government” is essentially psychopaths controlling non-psychopaths. 
This is why there is no “correct” form of government/political system. Politics is a vicious game played by psychopaths with each other.

Societies  change/collapse when non-psychopaths become aware of their exploitation by some means. Politicians try to slow this down by censorship and even imprisoning people who facilitate this awareness. i.e “Hate speech “

  Political theories  are based on the idea that people are NOT divided into psychopaths and non-psychopaths.  Hence :  “Equity” “Equal rights” “Human rights”  “each according to his ability “ 
“Societal values” .
It is laughable that Political Science does not discuss psychopathy.

In the past people lived in small groups/villages. By means of gossip, it was very difficult for psychopaths to operate without being discovered. When they were discovered they were made to leave the group, which effectively meant death. 
 Sadly, when you don't have personal relationships with the people in charge, they are incentivized to act like psychopaths. 
 I see this a lot in people my age (I'm a zoomer). I'm not sure what is causing it. The NPC meme is a very telling example of this. It is one of those jokes that isn't really a joke. 
 Don't become a slave. Avoid the 'free' handouts.

 great post, thank you 
 It isn't so simple, jimmy. What you're basically saying is that homeless and poor people should reject "free stuff" like food and shelter and choose to die because they don't have money to pay for it, right?

Communism/Socialism is not about "free stuff" for everybody. It is about ensuring the existential minimum for everybody. It is about ensuring the physical survival of the individual and preserving his/her human dignity. If you want something more than that - better home, car, healthcare, whatever - you have to work hard and earn money to pay for it. And note, work hard without being exploited by a capitalist system. 
 Unless it is being used as a stepping stone to Authoritarianism.  
 it always is. scale up the soup kitchen to nation size. including it's leadership. take away any other way of feeding and caring for yourself and you have raw communism. even a good leader can't keep track of more than a few hundred people. centralized control is centralized control no matter how much good will there is. 
 Powerful message 
 Excellent read, thanks! 
 Great article Jimmy, highly needed and appreciated. 

Yet, if non-psychopaths (normal people) don't constantly chase psychopaths and make their lives miserable, the abuse will continue. And I can't blame the psychopaths, because there nothing more fun than abusing pacifists. We The People will have to stop this. There is no other way. Ahrnold and Rocky will not jump from a heli to save us. 

 We have a way to walk away peacefully from this "free healthcare, government rights" system, but who will do it?

Defund the bastards. Use Bitcoin! 
 ## Markets Build Community

## Governments Build Corruption of Markets, Corrupting Community 
 That was such a captivating read!
Thank you  @jimmysong 
 When loyalty becomes your currency you become a slave. 
 Everyone should read this.
 Need I remind you: