Hiding behind a mask of privilege
Most terrorists wear masks. They dress in the same clothes or swap outfits with each other. When anonymity is guaranteed, one becomes bolder and more aggressive. Anonymity can turn ordinary men into cruel murderers. A man who grew up in the United Kingdom does not hesitate to behead another man when hidden behind a mask. It is exactly what political theorist Hannah Arendt called “the banality of evil.”
Not everyone may become evil behind the veil of anonymity, but people easily forget their sense of shame and become disorderly. Even a respectable man may urinate on the street when he is in the reserve military uniform. He feels no shame because it is a reservist, not himself, who is committing the crime.
This is how some elite people behave in Korea, especially once they become a member of the National Assembly and wear the badge of privilege. They become all about personal gain and a zombie of party politics. They wear old but powerful bulletproof vests. They were too afraid of voters to speak up for a corrupt lawmaker but still saved him with a secret ballot.
The more incompetent the lawmakers are, the more they hide behind their anonymity. They didn’t process a single bill in four months but are shipshape in safeguarding their privileges.
The 19th National Assembly members promised to ban the profitable activities and side jobs of National Assembly members, to reform the National Assembly members’ pension plan, to limit immunity from arrest, and to improve the benefits system and the disciplinary system. But none of these pledges to voters has been kept.
But senselessness is a fatal flaw. We are not talking about a common scandal but a case that involves corruption regarding railway parts and the “bureaucratic mafia” of the Korea Rail Network Authority. The insensitivity towards safety that will bring another fatal disaster like the Sewol ferry tragedy is prevailing. The National Assembly chose to become a part of the “bureaucratic mafia” by abandoning the safety of the nation.
The members of the National Assembly are different from the reservists. They have the power to command the government and sway the national administration. But they used their power to incapacitate the judiciary. The rejection of the motion to arrest the corrupt lawmaker is nothing but terror against citizens.
The terrorist Assembly is dangerous. Plutarch warned in “Lives of the Nobel Greeks and Romans” that the rank of politician is full of dangers in democracy. If the lawmakers only follow the will of the people, they will fall together. If they go against the people, they will be ousted by the people.
*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo. JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 5, Page 31
By LEE HOON-BEOM