Friday, December 10, 2010

Dictator Lee Myung-bak Imposes Majority Vote!

Representative Democracy in Korea
Photo by Yonhap News
(Image from JoongAng Daily)

Who needs The Onion for news when you've got the legislative actions of the Korean National Assembly being reported on? Ser Myo-ja, reporting for the JoongAng Daily, already knows how to do irony: "Yearly budget brawl rocks Assembly" (December 9, 2010).

This actually is a yearly event. The South Korean National Assembly literally brawls each December over the upcoming year's budget. Why don't they just vote and get it over with, you ask? What?! And let the majority win? No way:
The fierce battle began on Tuesday night, two days before the end of the regular legislative session. About 200 lawmakers and staffers of the Democratic, Democratic Labor and New Progressive parties entered the main lobby of the National Assembly building Tuesday evening vowing to deter the ruling Grand National Party from passing the budget bill with its parliamentary majority. Opposition members blocked entrances to the main chamber and to the meeting room of the budget committee in order to stop deliberation and voting. (Italics mine.)
Let the majority outvote the minority? Unlike the use of physical force, that would be undemocratic:
Shortly after the ruling party approved the budget bill, Democratic Party spokeswoman Cha Young issued a statement condemning the action. "The passage of the budget bill indicates the birth of dictator Lee Myung-bak," Cha said. "Lee is no different from North Korea. North Korea fired a gunshot at the Korean people's hearts. Lee fired a gunshot at the Korean people's pride."
One sees why Cha Young holds the position of spokeswoman for the Democratic Party, given her way with words. I wonder if her turn of a phrase sounds as remarkable in Korean as in English.

But why -- you may well wonder -- is a majority vote undemocratic? Because the majority Grand National Party voted against the Democratic Party. Hence, by definition, the vote was un-Democratic. There's a sort of logic to that . . . a circular logic, of course, but that's the sort of logic least amenable to disproof. Q.E.D.

Some days, this blog just writes itself.

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