[LETTERS to the editor]Reason beats blind nationalismProfessor Yoon Pyung-joon’s analysis of Korean psychology in reference to the recent flurry of events surrounding Professor Hwang Woo-suk’s research results and the associated media postures (Opinion Dec. 3) aptly spelled out the true picture of the Korean mental make-up.
Superiority complex or inferiority complex, whatever you may call it, the burning desire to accomplish “the world’s best, “Asia’s biggest,” cost notwithstanding, and the raging patriotism ― all these traits, Professor Yoon claims, have seen their realization in the “Hwang Woo-suk syndrome,” synonymous with “blind nationalism,”which might lead the nation into an unknown demise.
Korea is not alone being locked into this sort of plight. Notice what happened with Japanese imperialism and German fascism in recent history. In each case, there was fierce nationalism at work behind the scenes.
However, history has shown us that unguided nationalistic pride by itself does not necessarily drive a nation into disaster. Only when people are forced, in some sense, to elect someone who is so hot-blooded that he would further inflate the existing nationalist fervor, do such setbacks of disastrous proportion take place.
Given the hyperventilating mood of the national discussion on Dr. Hwang’s research, I consider Koreans very lucky if and when they hear me say, “You people do not have a reckless leader as we do in the United States.”
We have just started seeing, both in Korea and in the United States, enough people voice reasoned opinions of their own in a bid to check the whirlwind of a mass assault.
by Samuel S. Oh