Like a computer software firm updating program versions, the North is steadily updating its ideology to make it relevant. This practice of mass control by in-your-face ideology has been laughed off in much of the world, including China. But North Korea is increasing its ideological cult worship.
After the Oct. 9 nuclear test, for example, banners sprang up over North Korea stating "We are a country with a nuclear deterrent." Kim's test feeds a national pride that is part of the propaganda drilled into Koreans from birth: that Kim alone can fend off the US and Japanese enemies.
"The cult of personality campaign is more extensive today than in 1985," says former South Korean foreign minister Han Sung Joo, who visited Pyongyang this past October, and in 1985. "Unlike the Stalin and Mao personality cults, there is a deification and a religious emotional element in the North.
“The twinned photos of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are everywhere. Every speech says Kim Il Sung is still alive. I think if I stayed another two weeks, I might even see Kim Il Sung. The country worships someone who is deceased, as if he is alive."
[Excerpt of an article by Robert Marquand, The Christian Science Monitor]