The zeitgeist of our times

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The zeitgeist of our times


Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn, center, and lawmakers and supporters of the conservative party stage a rally in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, to protest the liberal Moon Jae-in administration’s policies on North Korea, the economy and other key issues on April 20. [YONHAP]

The author is the deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

How will the future generation remember today? In politics, anachronism is frequently mentioned, and it makes me think about the times we live in. Outdated ideas and methods unsuited for the changes of the new era are considered anachronistic. It is a skeptical expression on backward ideas and acts. It seems that the ruling and opposition parties look at each other as anachronistic.

Last month, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party’s (LKP) floor leader, Na Kyung-won, said the Moon Jae-in administration was engrossed in anachronistic historical engineering that does not coincide with facts.

She was criticized after saying that “people are divided because of the Special Investigation Committee for Antinational Activities,” referring to the investigation into pro-Japanese collaborators seven decades ago. She claimed that she was not criticizing the committee, but the current administration’s criticism on its opponents as pro-Japanese far-rightists.

Ruling Democratic Party (DP) floor leader Hong Young-pyo said the opposition distorted the purpose of reform with anachronistic ideology. He was referring to the LKP’s insistence that electoral district reform by the ruling and three minor opposition parties was a “leftist plan for long-term rule.”

Anachronism is often mentioned in controversies over President Moon Jae-in. DP Chairman Lee Hae-chan said that Rep. Na calling Moon the “chief spokesman for Kim Jong-un” would have been a criminal insult on the head of the state in the past. The LKP claimed that was an anachronistic view from the authoritarian regimes. In a rally on April 20, the LKP went on to attack Moon for “begging for peace” from North Korea. A splinter party head denunciated the LKP’s languages for being “anachronistic and vulgar.”

What times do we live in if the committee, established in 1948, and criminally insulting the head of state, abolished in 1988, are hot topics? I hope that future generations do not remember today based on the arguments of yesteryear.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 23, Page 35
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