In what has started out as a one man protest against the blatant anti-Americanism of the US beef protests has now gained a few more members to include Han Chan-sik from the Donga Ilbo:
American philosopher John Rawls said reasonable disagreement is a feature defining a free democracy. In other words, it is natural in a democratic society where a variety of ideas and beliefs co-exist that a reasonable opinion inevitably conflicts with other reasonable opinions. Once a party starts showing hostility toward another, all of society turns into a constant and hostile battleground. Anti-U.S. beef candlelight vigil protesters are beginning to show hostility against those who oppose their cause. […]
Only a handful of citizens have defended Lee and Jeong on the Internet. But they have had to write a long prologue to their defense, stressing their neutrality. The protesters who have taken to the streets have smothered opposing voices. Rawls’ solution to reasonable disagreement, which constitutes both the strong and weak points of a democratic society, is to secure democracy by procedures; namely, Rawls said all interested parties should abide by agreed-on procedures to allow all parties better results over the long run. The protesters have given up on procedural legitimacy and rationality. They have occupied the streets day after day. Korea’s political system allows diverse voices to be heard, but in this democratically rich society, democracy itself is being threatened. [Donga Ilbo]
Likewise Kim Dae-joong from the Chosun Ilbo agrees with this sentiment that democracy and freedom of speech in Korea are under threat by this thinly veiled anti-US movement that is trying to silence the Chosun Ilbo as well:
Going a step further, they launched a specific operation by reopening a Daum forum against the Chosun Ilbo. The debate forum Agora and housewives’ group 82cook urged a boycott of a list of businesses that advertise in the daily. The DongA Ilbo and JoongAnd Ilbo are subject to similar assaults. Street signs with directions to the Chosun Ilbo have been damaged by protesters.
Apart from the debate on whether we will or will not import U.S. beef, whether there is a BSE risk or not, and whether cattle aged less or more than 30 months should be labeled, our society is sinking into a swamp of serious distrust and distortion. We lack the basic virtue of a civil society of carefully listening to others’ views, however right one may be. I’d like to tell those citizens who browbeat the one-man protester that it is they who should protest.
An authoritarian government in the past attempted to kill the DongA Ilbo by threatening its advertisers. Now, 30-odd years later, in a democratic country, the threat is resurfacing not from the state but by what is invariably called "people power." This is anachronistic.
It’s a feature of human societies that we can have views on a certain matter that differ from others. In a democratic society, we should be able to express different views. We lived through an era that did not accommodate different views and their expression, and we called it dictatorship. [Chosun Ilbo]
Some other Koreans who have come out against the beef protesters include Kyeongi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo and talk show hostess Jeong Seon-hee who have been viciously attacked into silence by the anti-US forces behind the protests. Despite these vicious attacks more people are showing up to take on the protesters along side Lee Sae-jin:
Meanwhile, thousands of conservative activists supporting the deal staged protests Tuesday in a Seoul plaza where anti-U.S. beef rallies were to take place later.
"It’s time to put out the candles," said Suh Jung-kap, a conservative activist at the site. The protesters "are only interested in overthrowing the Lee Myung-bak government, not the safety of public health."
He said his group members will try to prevent opposing protesters from entering the site, raising the potential of clashes between the two sides. [Star Tribune]
The conservative groups need to ally with the veterans groups to confront the anti-US forces behind the protests. The leftist anti-US groups are very well organized and it is time the conservatives in Korea organize as well to confront them. It has worked before as evident by the successful stand against these leftists when they tried to tear down the MacArthur Statue in Incheon. Guess who was behind the MacArthur protests? None other then North Korean spies. With the teachers and labor unions involved with the anti-US beef protests it doesn’t take much deduction to understand what is helping to guide these protests as well.
It is interesting though, how just a few weeks ago the new Chinese Red Guards were roaming the streets of Seoul beating Korean citizens that didn’t agree with them and now they have been replaced by a new generation of Korean Red Guards that are currently roaming the streets of Seoul doing the same thing.