My riff for today is about repressive societies.

Kim Jong-un executed several of his nuclear negotiators for their failure to bring about a nuclear deal with the U.S. If you watch footage of a Communist Party meeting in North Korea you see a room of, say, a thousand men all doing the same thing — smiling and wildly applauding while Kim drones on about the stupid stuff he talks about.

If you watch our State of the Union, you see members falling asleep or looking at their watches or yawning. Funny, no? But here’s the thing: Most of the important inventions have been made by open societies in the West. Kim may have total control and obedience over his population but what he doesn’t have is innovation.

The wisdom of an open society is expression which is the first step to innovation which is going to be the advantage of an open society over a repressive one. Riff over.

JACK COEY

15 Fairview St.

Keene