The Lavin Weekly: Undercover in North Korea, The DACA Decision, Neoliberal Problems, and Why It’s Okay to Not be Famous
1. “The Great Leader can’t be moderated. You can’t be a little bit less god.”
Suki Kim went undercover in North Korea. She disguised herself as a teacher, taught the sons of North Korea’s elite, and got to know the country like no other American citizen has. This week she talked to The Intercept about handling North Korea as a nuclear power. “It’s the center of the universe,” she says. “The rest of the world doesn’t exist. They’ve been living in a complete cult for 70 years.”
2. “The DACA decision, and similar immigration policies, make the entire country worse off.”
This week President Trump repealed DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)—a program that protected more than 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children. Not only is this repeal cruel, unethical, and legally questionable, it’s also, according to Derek Thompson’s article in The Atlantic, economically dangerous.
3. “The space for genuine, independent work is getting smaller and smaller.”
“This is the problem with neoliberalism. Whoever is paying for your bread ends up having some say in what happens,” says Douglas Rushkoff in his interview with Vox on the latest Google controversy. New America Foundation scholar Barry Lynn was a vocal supporter of antitrust regulations against Google. Then he was fired. A series of emails suggests that Google put pressure on New America to fire Lynn, suggesting that even scholarly thought is sullied by corporate influence.
4. “We all have a circle of people whose lives we can touch and improve—we can find meaning in that.”
“Most young adults won’t achieve the idealistic goals they’ve set for themselves, but that doesn’t mean their lives will lack significance and worth.” And research shows that fame and fortune doesn’t ensure meaning anyway, says Emily Esfahani Smith in The New York Times. It’s the small things that give purpose; the sense of contributing to and connecting to something outside of yourself. “A good life is a life of goodness,” says Esfahani Smith. And that’s something anyone can achieve.