When Yeonmi Park made the courageous decision to flee North Korea at the age of 13, she couldn’t have imagined the life that awaited her.
After enduring the barbarity of North Korea’s ruling regime, unspeakable acts of sexual violence as the victim of a human sex trafficking ring in China, and a trek across the frozen Gobi Desert, Park managed to escape to South Korea and, eventually, the United States. While her U.S. life has given her a deep appreciation for basic, God-given liberties, Park’s experiences in America have alerted her to a much larger issue overlooked by much of the country — the fragility of freedom.
In her new bestselling book, “While Time Remains: A North Korean Defector’s Search for Freedom in America,” Park issues a stark warning about the left’s increasing threat to the American way of life. The intolerance today’s U.S. leftists display towards individuals refusing to subscribe to their worldview is leading the country down a path to totalitarianism, she says, in which free speech and independent thinking are forsaken in favor of groupthink.
“The new ideology might start in only a small number of classrooms, or magazines, or bureaucracies,” Park writes. “But these little fringe ideas held by a small number of young people and immature adults in isolated industries located in eccentric parts of the country can slowly but surely become the entire society’s dominant culture. Especially if the new ideology works to the advantage of political, financial, and cultural elites, they will be happy to adopt it as dogma in all the country’s institutions of power.”
To illustrate the ideological takeover underway, Park takes readers on a journey through her personal encounters with distorted, leftist philosophy in America, including indoctrination in college classrooms. While a student at Columbia University, Park recounts an instance when a professor bizarrely claimed that the literary works of Jane Austen promoted “female oppression, racism, colonialism, and white supremacy.”
“My comprehension abilities were by no means perfect, and I just resolved to ask one of my new classmates later on what the professor had actually said,” Park writes. “But ‘Jane Austen books,’ the professor clearly went on, ‘propagate the idea that women are inferior to men; that only white males are fully evolved and capable of higher-level thinking; that salvation is only achievable through the dogma of Christianity.’ … She ended with a line I’ll never forget: ‘This is how we look for hidden systemic racism and oppression.'”
As someone who comes from a country ripe with real oppression, Park’s confusion with such distorted logic effectively exposes the absurdity of leftist thinking and its hatred for Western culture. Anecdotes like these in the book demonstrate how the ideological corruption of our education system has increased the ranks of America-hating leftists who go on to fill government institutions and major corporations.
Throughout the book, Park highlights numerous issues relevant to today’s ongoing cold civil war, including cancel culture and an increasing disregard for American values among a growing number of Americans. Some of the book’s most notable points, come in its final chapter. In it, Park discusses the need for a “fifth founding” that, like the American Revolution, re-establishes self-governing principles, such as personal responsibility and an emphasis on local governance.
“For too long, we have looked to our national government in Washington, D.C., to solve all our problems and to resolve all of our differences,” she writes. “But it is not the job of the president to fix your local school system; it is not the job of the Supreme Court to make decisions for your family or community. It is your job—and mine, and all of ours—to participate every day in self-government, not just to outsource democratic government to politicians.”
Park’s call to action stands in stark contrast to most Republican Party politicians, who love to complain but never do much, if anything, to address America’s worsening problems. It’s a refreshing push for grassroots activism that doesn’t just encapsulate the importance of self-governance, but the American spirit as well.
“While Time Remains” provides readers a comprehensive investigation into some of the biggest philosophical struggles we face as a nation. Filled with hearty and concise analysis, readers should consider adding this book to their spring reading list.