Intellectual abuseYesterday 1,016 people grouping themselves under the title “Intellectuals longing for an advanced economic leap” announced their support for Lee Myung-bak, the Grand National Party’s leading presidential contender.
The group consisted of 643 people from academia, including former and current university presidents, 54 people from the legal profession, 152 from the medical field and 83 people from the press, culture and sports fields.
Anyone in this nation can express their support for a specific presidential contender.
There is nothing wrong about their decision regarding contender Lee. It is their freedom to choose. However, the problem is that they have used the word “intellectual.”
The phrase “declaration of an intellectual,” is drenched with the blood and sweat of Korea’s modern history.
On April 25, 1960, 258 professors announced that the March 15 election was unlawful. As the professors took action, public opinion moved with them and the Syngman Rhee government met its end.
The declaration of intellectuals was also a key event during the dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s.
The world listened when these people spoke because of the power that intellectuals have.
Declarations of intellectuals continued, even in times of democratic government. During the current government, over one thousand intellectuals and academics have made declarations. Some criticized the left- wing democracy, some criticized the abrupt return of wartime military control, some opposed the land reclamation of Saemangeum.
Although each issue might have been different, the intellectuals’ declaration was a public announcement of their opinion on a social issue.
The fact that over one thousand intellectuals announced their support for one specific presidential candidate who is embroiled in political disputes degraded their declaration to that of a common crowd.
Hundreds of professors who participate in politics ― or polifessors ― and polinalists, that are journalists who participate in politics, have already gathered around major presidential candidates.
Not a few among them are using the title of intellectual to advance their own interests against common sense. Supporting someone is their choice, but they should not abuse the title of intellectual.