“Kim Moon-Soo: The Making and Re-Making of a Radical Thinker, Part I,” by Joshua, One Free Korea, 13 August 2005, http://freekorea.blogspot.com/2005/08/kim-moon-soo-making-and-re-making-of.html.
Kim Moon-Soo is the man who may yet break the drought that has fallen on the bleak political landscape of South Korea, one that for too long seemed to have been divided between opportunistic appeasers and opportunistic reactionaries, each with its own dubious connections to Korean dictatorships that the nation’s history will not view kindly. Charismatic, fiery, and proficient in the use of new media, Kim has emerged as the standard-bearer of the New Right, a new political grouping largely formed from former leftists and labor leaders who fought South Korea’s dictatorship of the past and North Korea’s dictatorship of the present.
Like its neoconservative counterpart in the United States, Korea’s New Right is idealistic and intellectual, retaining its liberal values despite rejecting some of the solutions most commonly associated with them. Their Internet magazines, such as DailyNK, fill a role similar to that of publications like The Weekly Standard in the United States (full disclosure–the DailyNK prints my screeds).
Kim’s biography is that of the New Right itself: a former student radical, labor organizer, and political prisoner, Kim emerged from prison to a democratic South Korea, joined the Grand National Party, converted to Christianity, and now seeks to unite both Koreas under democracy while keeping Korea out of the Chinese orbit. Beyond his persuasive skills, Kim’s life story speaks of a deep character, a powerful intellect, an occasionally explosive temper, and a profound attachment to ideas rather than an allegiance to ideology. Kim is no ordinary shop-floor demagogue. The man is also capable of serious thought on matters of statecraft.
This week, Kim introduced South Korea’s counterpart to the North Korean Human Rights Act in the National Assembly. It is the latest in a series of provocative jabs at the governments of North Korea and China, and follows a lifetime of confronting authoritarian regimes.