&#91EDITORIALS&#93Caution on aid for activists

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Caution on aid for activists

The Blue House is devising a plan to provide the activists of the democratization movement with positions at state-run companies or to offer them business opportunities arranged by the firms. The Blue House adviser for personnel affairs reportedly briefed President Roh Moo-hyun about a list of hundreds of possible positions at the firms. There must be some people who missed the opportunity to adjust to this competitive society due to the mental and physical disabilities they suffered from the torture and prison terms imposed on them for participating in the democratization movement. If possible, the government may consider helping them maintain ordinary social lives.
There are, however, principles to be kept before giving such care. First is the principle of equity. There are different groups of people who made a sacrifice for our country. If the government takes the trouble to care for the group of democracy activists, people will criticize the government’s favoritism. There are the Korean War and the Vietnam War veterans, and the firefighters and policemen killed or injured in the line of duty. They will strongly object to the government if it only cares about the democracy fighters. The democratization activists have already received compensation under the law; thus the government’s plan to help them find jobs will be a double benefit.
The second principle is efficiency. The government is considering giving business opportunities at the state-run firms to the democracy fighters. We want to ask the government if it is at liberty to do so. The government is also considering hiring them as researchers in its research institutes; we want to know which institute wants to hire an unqualified researcher.
The third is the principle of discipline. A position at a public entity, no matter how low-level it is, must be filled according to the rules and existing procedures. Preferential treatment for one person means the loss of an opportunity for another. Such a poor practice in personnel matters is contagious, and more-important government positions will likely be filled through such improper ways.
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