Nonsense, horsefeathers, and idle musings from a decade in South Korea (2002-2012).


27 July, 2010

"This is Not Political," said the Politician

By Aaron
27 July, 2010



If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
-H.L. Mencken

It's a wonder to me that anyone takes politicians seriously, particularly when those politicians get up on their moral high horse. Case in point: Over the past week, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, a former CEO of Hyundai Engineering and Construction, has taken to scolding local conglomerates for not feeling "socially responsible" and for not understanding the "sentiments of the lower class," whatever those phrases mean.

Of course, this comes from the man who earlier this year pardoned Lee Kun-hee, patriarch of the Samsung empire, who had been convicted on charges of financial hanky-panky relating to control of said empire. How this pardon affected the sentiments of the lower class is something that has yet to be explained.

Pardon me, then, if I am unmoved by President Lee's supposed concern for the little fellow. If he was truly motivated to help the lower and middle classes of society - or, indeed, South Korea as a whole - President Lee would have taken the first step toward demanding accountability from conglomerate heads by letting the conviction of Lee Kun-hee stand.

Not that President Lee, whose Grand National Party took a sound spanking in the recent elections and is now gearing up for another tight by-election this week, would stoop to political pandering. Heavens, no:

The Blue House, however, warned against the view that it was engaged in conglomerate-bashing for political purposes.

“The president’s attempt to find a model of co-prosperity between conglomerates and small companies is different from the past administration’s populist, anti-conglomerate policy,” said a senior ruling party official.

“A centrist pragmatism and working-class friendly principles have always been Lee’s philosophy,” said a senior Blue House official. “It should not be seen that Lee’s ideological coordinate has leaned to the left.”

So this is not political. The president has not leaned to the left, but rather he is merely talking like a left-wing politician. So it's just a charade, but it's not political.