[OUTLOOK]The one way to survive is to reformFor a healthy society to develop, reformative rightists and rational liberal leftists should coexist. But in our society, conservative right wingers are not reformative and and liberal left wingers are not rational. So, the rightists have been criticized as being hard-core conservatives and the leftists have been denounced as being false liberals. Fortunately, self-reflection has taken place recently on both sides, so that among both conservatives and liberals, a new movement has risen. This is desirable indeed.
In my case, I belonged to the liberal left wing in my 20s and 30s but now, in my 60s, I belong to the conservative right wing.
I consider this to be the result of maturity and sublimation, as my experiences and insight have deepened through the years.
But as I have taken part in the new conservative right movement during the past year, I have seen the weak points that conservatives have. If they don’t improve, our country’s conservative forces will lose the opportunity to lead again in the future.
The first problem is that South Korea’s conservative forces face a lack of reform spirit.
Conservatives should have had the innovation to preserve the valuable things they have achieved, while throwing away the wrong practices, but unfortunately they have not done so.
They mistakenly thought that the peace and prosperity they had enjoyed would last for good, andthey were met with the failure of being deprived of their stronghold.
There is only one way for the conservative forces to survive in this land. It is to carry out painstaking self-reform.
The political party that represents conservatives in our country is the Grand National Party.
How is the Grand National Party’s situation now? A few days ago, someone told me he would like to emigrate ― not because the governing Uri Party is doing poorly but because the opposition Grand National Party does not offer hope for tomorrow.
I remember the remarks made by Lee Moon-youl, a novelist who once was a member of the Grand Nationals. He said he joined the party thinking that it was a giant warship, but it turned out to be obsolete. Even now, for the Grand National Party to become a speedy battleship, there is no other way than to conduct self-innovation.
Second, the conservative forces in our country are not equipped with the experience and vision needed to manage the country or the nation.
It goes without saying that the progressive forces also lack those qualities, but the conservative forces also lack the experience in national administration they need and have failed to give people a vision for the future.
Third, the conservative forces in our country have repeated their criticism and resistance without offering desirable policy alternatives to help shape the fate of our nation.
For example, consider the cases of educational reform and unification policy.
Most people still do not know what is wrong with the revised private school law. This tells us that the conservative forces, including the opposition parties, have failed to communicate to the public.
South Korea’s conservative forces should make every effort to improve these weak points from now on. The local elections now at hand do not matter. They should not forget the past, when they won an almost overwhelming victory in the local elections but lost the presidential race.
In the case of China, Jiang Jieshi’s military forces of the nationalist Guomindang won almost every battle over Mao Zedong’s military of the Communist Party.
But his military forces were expelled from the Chinese mainland because they were defeated in the last battle. This is called winning the battle but losing the war.
For South Korea’s conservative forces not to be defeated again in the presidential election, an all-out war, after winning victory in local elections, a local battle, they must take drastic action to correct their weaknesses and strengthen their fighting capabilities.
* The writer is a pastor of Durae Church and the chairman of the New Right Union. Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.
by Kim Jin-hong