TOI reports today that “North Korea lists 28 hairstyles to keep capitalism at bay.”   The Nazi’s outlawed Jazz music and the Soviets outlawed blue jeans.  Such things may become the avenues for individuality, self-expression, dissent, and free thinking.

Totalitarians cannot stomach any amount of freedom.  This is not only because they are control-freaks by nature, but because, as Hayek pointed out in the Road to Serfdom, any sphere of freedom is the source of spontaneity—that which is unplanned and unforeseen. Such spontaneity threatens to upset the rest of “the plan.” Only total domination over passive, compliant androids will do for the central planner. Freedom always creates embarrassing “unintended consequences” of government plans and interventions.

The ultimate end of propaganda and cultural engineering is to make a populace that complacently believes in collectivist values.  But the more extensive and petty the restrictions, the more the inherent individuality of people will butt up against the regime.  (Ayn Rand’s Anthem depicts this tension in a compelling literary form.)

….Hopefully some spunky North Korean kid who wanted a spiky haircut feels the injustice of the system and joins the ranks of those who will resist.