How much authority the government should have has always been a difficult subject to universally address. Post-war South Korea has experienced a turbulent political history varying from junta to democracy and yet, has done relatively well in approaching a system fairer to its citizens, considering that its modern political history is shorter than a century. That being said, recent actions by the legislature concerning online gaming demonstrates that much change is still due of the Korean government while more active participation from the people is necessary.
The Shutdown Policy is an alarming indicator of how much a political party is capable of without acquiring social approval. The act prohibits all minors under 16 from accessing internet games, and considering how restrictive the policy is to a major portion of society, it is disturbing how little reference to scientific evidence was made in passing the law, some of which even turned out to be faulty. For example, during his speech proclaiming gaming as one of the four great evils in society along drugs, alcohol, and gambling past October, Representative Woo-yeo Hwang of the Saenuri Party quotes 3.33 million as the figure of citizens addicted to Internet gaming when the number is actually the figure for Internet addiction, and Representative Kyung-hwan Choi in an interview stated that “the government should put it upon themselves to stop [gaming] […]via any method” as “it is like drugs.” The prior example illustrates how careless, or deliberately misguiding, a senator can be in making a political claim and still be excused; the latter is not only constitutionally problematic but also ignorantly misdirecting of the nature of gaming. If the policy is justified, then minuscule factual reference and logical arguments seem to be the prerequisite in this legislature; such shallowness in lawmaking obviously poses detrimental risk to the nation’s stability.
If ill-justified, why has little to nothing yet happened against such acts? Admittedly, it is within the government’s responsibilities to improve the welfare of its citizens; however, never should the government normally have so much power as to invade personal sovereignty, especially when it is over legally ill-defined behaviors such as game addiction. Otherwise, the society of _________________,as referenced by the book Brave New World, would be merely a sleight of hand away. The general agreement among Internet forums is that the law is injudicious and illogical to the point where an ulterior motive would be better an explanation. The fact that the party is so eager to levy tariff on gaming, one of the few entertainment forms not yet taxed, for reasons hard to comprehend only consolidates the suspicion. Despite the public consensus, few except personnel in the games development sector openly and actively struggle against the act. A potential explanation is that the policy primarily affects minors, who are muted in the political scenes. In such cases, the parents should be the ones arguing for the rights of their children. However, the current social environment, which fanatically adheres to education, pays little attention to youth leisure and quality of life. Consequently, it is partially the adult citizens’ negligence of their duty in legally representing the minor’s voice that allowed the passing of laws depriving the minors of relief and the nation of a highly prospective industry.
In the name of whom is the government operating? A democratic society is a form that requires active feedback between the governing and the governed, and despite having constructed one, if the people are not willing to participate in its arduous duties, there is little difference to the junta we used to have. The policy is the manifestation of the lack of regulation over the government and the people’s negligence towards the government’s actions, and a repeal is in order. Fortunately, this instance is not too serious and serves as a reminder: it is in our name the government should be working.