The Hegel’s dialectics has the schema of thesis-antithesis-synthesis. An opinion (synthesis) is formed by putting together an argument(thesis) and arguments(antithesis) against it. The synthesis formed in this way becomes a new argument, which develop through a structure that creates new opposing arguments(antithesis) and synthesized opinions.
Disagreement is a significant opinion to be guaranteed, especially in a democratic society. Disagreeing on an issue and discussing it from a different point of view can be seen as leading democracy because it provides a new perspective and creates an opportunity to discuss the issue. Historically, opposition has given people hope and courage also led to social consensus for a better society. Modern women opposed a society in which suffrage was not given to women, and through the women’s suffrage movement, women’s suffrage was guaranteed and women’s opinions could be reflected in society. Rosa Parks opposed a society in which blacks had to give up their bus seats to whites, and this opposition developed into the black civil rights movement and brought about changes in American society.
However, opposition must be distinguished from disagreeing to disagree. Recently, Korean society has not been able to reach an agreement on various topics such as gender inequality, hatred, labor, mobility rights for the disabled, diplomacy, and privatization. Social discussion of the problem has evaporated, protests have been suppressed, and only biased media coverage of the problem remains.
On April 4, at a cabinet meeting, President Yoon Seok-yeol exercised his veto right(right to request reconsideration) of the amendment to the Grain Management Act, which obligates the government to purchase overproduced rice. In the opening remarks at the State Council meeting, President Yoon said, “So far, the government has been explaining to the Assembly the adverse impact, but it unilaterally passed the bill without proper discussions, which I regret.” also “(The revision) is a populist bill which goes against the national agricultural goal of improving productivity and farmers’ income and does not help the progress of the rural community.” Yoon continued “The revision is nothing more than a coercion that forces the government to spend taxpayers’ money to purchase overproduced rice regardless of market consumption,” and he said “I urge related ministries, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, to quickly come up with measures to stabilize rice supply and demand, improve farm household income, and develop agriculture.” Due to the president exercising his veto power, the amendment to the Grain Management Act was finally scrapped in the National Assembly.
In President Yoon’s remarks, there are no discussions on how to stabilize rice supply and price, solutions on how to increase agricultural productivity and farm household income, and no concrete improvement plans for the problems of the amendment to the Grain Management Act. He left only the stimulating frame of the “populist bill.” It is a prime example of disagreeing to disagree. Korea received 0 points in the global food security index and access policy according to the OECD standard and achieved 27th place in the global food security index. According to statistics, if grain imports are suspended, the current rice production will not be able to replace grain imports. Despite the continuous decrease in rice consumption, the self-sufficiency rate remains at 90-100%, and the grain self-sufficiency rate is gradually declining. It is a time when social discussion, not disagreeing to disagree, is desperately needed.
We must do the right opposition. Through discussion and cooperation, we must understand each other’s point of view and move toward a better consensus. To this end, ethical reporting by the media and opportunities and attitudes for dialogue must be fostered. Politicians should listen to the opinions of experts on issues and listen to the voices of members of society. Unfortunately, politicians including President Yoon are repeating the opposite of right opposition. They do not listen to the voice of society and just show opposition for the sake of opposition fighting among themselves. It focuses on economic value rather than public discourse, constantly produces internal and external problems, and shows recklessness in bringing important issues of society into political issues.
I hope the president who leads the country will take the lead in practicing healthy opposition and communication for a better society. The president’s term of office will be five years, but Korean society must continue to develop to achieve a better society in the future. I hope that President Yoon’s efforts will be the basis for this.