19 August 2008

"Subversive Books"

Despite the apparent democratization of South Korea, it appears that its Ministry of Defence still runs on a Cold War mentality, and maintains a list of "subversive books" which are banned in military facilities.

There are three categories under which these books can fall. The first is books praising North Korea in some form - politically, culturally, socially, otherwise. The second is "anti-government or anti-American"; remember that the definition of "anti-Americanism" in South Korea is really that of anti-Republicanism. The third is "anti-capitalist," and an example would be a book criticizing the management policies of the Samsung neoliberal empire.

Most books are Korean, but there are two Noam Chomsky books as well.

With the advent of the Internet and the democratization of the civilian world, however, being deemed "subversive" may actually improve a book's sales figures significantly.

Wikipedia's Korean-language article on subversive books (English not available)

Nevertheless, it bears remembering that the South Korean military is dominated by a Cold War mentality infused with Confucian and Christian extremism, like the rest of the nation's conservative mindset. The military, and US Republicans, are glorified as the protectors of South Korea's sovereignty, democracy, and prosperity, never mind that US intervention in Korean War was the idea of Harry S Truman, a Democrat. The US, like the Chinese Empire before it, is an enlightened older brother nation to be revered at all costs - in particular, when the Republicans are in power, especially since the US was responsible for starting South Korea's Protestant revolution. (A corollary: buy F-15's for the Air Force, instead of buying a European fighter more suitable for South Korean conditions. Or buy the outdated Ford Taurus for the highway patrol, instead of better cars made by companies in Korea and elsewhere.) Any deviance from this program is a hallmark of Communist leanings. This is the same prevalent mentality in the Korean-American community, as well as the Unification Church, which is busy corrupting US politics.

I'll be as outspoken as ever in Seoul, in opposition to the rampant McCarthyism among South Korea's conservatives and Christians, well personified in the landslide victory of President Lee Myung-Bak and the Grand Nationals. After all, the future of US democracy may depend on keeping them in check. I will gladly follow the footsteps of Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan, fellow Americans who have protested against the South Korean brand of conservatism.

On unrelated notes, my 90-day multiple entry visa is approved, and should be ready anytime now. Also, I tracked down a copy of Korea Fantasia (mentioned in the last post) at YesAsia.com, and placed an order; it should be in my hands in time for my flight to Seoul.