[EDITORIALS]Advice for the Advisory Councils

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[EDITORIALS]Advice for the Advisory Councils

The ruling Millenium Democratic Party and the opposition Grand National Party are wrangling over each of their advisory councils - the Presidential Advisory Council on National Affairs and Policies of the ruling party and the National Reform Committee of the opposition party. If the Millenium Democratic Party accuses their opponents' advisory council of being a private, secretive organization that works to fulfill the Party President Lee Hoi-chang's desire for the country's presidency, whereas their council is a pure national advisory institution, the Grand National Party counters, "The Presidential Advisory Council is Kim Dae-jung administration's secret forefront institution, whereas our council is a research institute of national management strategies."

The councils are made up of prominent people from all sectors of society, including professors, former high-ranking government officials and artists. The councils research and provide advice on long-term strategies, visions and policy development. Claiming that one's organization is good, whereas the opponents' is useless, lays bare our political culture and norms that are filled with obstinacy and self-righteousness. The problem becomes worse as such debates are developed into the practice of dividing intellectuals into those "on my side" and those not, and muscle-flexing. When the MIllenium Democratic Party recently raised a suspicion that a participant of the National Reform Committee, a novelist, wrote a newspaper article that criticized the media tax probe, the practice of taking sides was further fueled.

What is most bothersome is the advisory councils' management style. The councils are managing without disclosing the names of participants. The opposition party is worried that if the names are disclosed, they will incur disadvantages from the ruling camp. The ruling party is concerned that the members would then be labeled as "pro-ruling camp." These predicaments are partly understandable. But we would like to note that such a secretive management style heats up low-grade disputes.

Participating in the councils as if they were secret societies is not proper. Such exhaustive criticism of each other's council only leads a society to ruin.
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