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[Editorial] Concern with President`s Thoughts and Words

Posted May. 28, 2004 22:36,   


President Noh`s speech at Yonsei University two days ago brings about concerns over his thoughts and understanding of things. While he had experienced a 63-day suspension of his duties following his impeachment charge, and claiming himself that it "had taught him much", nothing really seems to have changed. He still views the world as black-and-white, and still appears unable to hold back comments that provoke the opposition party. This undoubtedly disappoints the public.

Of course, there are some truths and agreeable points of Noh. He undoubtedly moved a lot of young hearts with his own history of struggle against poverty and his eventual success from his faith and diligence. His ability to express himself directly is also in contrast to Korea`s previous presidents, letting people "feel" the end of authoritarianism.

However, the president`s fundamental mentality is quite concerning. His stance on conservatism and progressivism is merely the tip of the iceberg. The president sees conservatism as "the strongest doing as he pleases, the winner reaping everything, and applying without exception the rule of the `survival of the fittest`." He defined conservatism as "not to change things if it can be avoided" and that "whether you apply a more rational conservatism, a more friendly conservatism or any other kind of conservatism, the `conservatism` in conservatism will never change."

In short, this is an inappropriate way to describe and analogize. According to the president`s rationale, conservatism is evil and progressivism is good. Those who try to retain their power are the conservatives and those who dream of a unified community become the progressives. Leaving our everyday arguments of pro/anti conservatism aside, it is difficult to expect people to unite if the leader of the nation himself holds these kinds of views. A healthy and rational conservatism should not be our target of objection, but our objective itself. Conversely, if progress is skewed by radial ideals, it will become the target of objection. A president of a country should be able to balance the two.

His mention of "cooperative survival" is equally disappointing. He said, "`Cooperative survival` is the culture of communication and negation, only failure awaits those who use this ideal as a means to force his opponent to surrender." His definition makes little sense. He speaks of "cooperative survival", but appears to be holding hostile intentions inside. And depending on how you look at it, it may even look like a declaration of war against the opposition, using Prime Minister Kim Hyuk-kyu as a hidden card. No wonder the Grand National Party is so upset. When the impeachment was renounced, President Noh promised to begin the politics of harmony and "cooperative survival." But it is questionable whether this truly is what he claimed he would begin.

We can`t ignore his easy-going attitude toward the economy as it is now clear that a small group of people is exaggerating the crisis in the hopes to avoid the wrath of revolution. Noh said, "While I`m in charge, the economy is safe," but his progress report for the first year is a 3.1% fall in economic growth and 30,000 less jobs. The president should recognize that the true cause of the economic crisis is this attitude of his.

With this kind of attitude and thoughts, he can`t unify the people, nor relieve them. I hope that the president will humbly review what the real causes are for today`s conflicts, divisions, political unrest and economic crisis.