Don’t underestimate the light.
Reductio ad absurdum is the argumentative technique, beloved by law school professors, of stretching a premise to its breaking point. North Korea has been much in the news. Nighttime satellite photos of the Korean peninsula show well-lit South Korea and North Korea in darkness. That darkness is the reductio ad absurdum of the premise of modern governance: that those who govern must employ force, fraud, and censorship against those they govern. Articles bemoan our lack of knowledge of North Korea’s closed society, but literally and metaphorically, the darkness tells you all you need to know.
Exhume the graveyard of governments and you’ll find that for most of the unlamented departed, censorship had taken hold. Censorship goes hand in hand with failure; indeed, it’s one of failure’s chief causes. Truth, information, and communication are as essential for human survival as food, shelter, and water. That they illegitimately rule by force and fraud is a truth that governments try to stop from achieving general circulation. Propaganda and patriotism will only take a government so far, though, especially among its more honest and intelligent constituents. There will always be those who recognize the truth.