firmly in place has been confirmed through an abundance of historical evidence.
Double Nationality in the Globality Age
Recently there is an aggressive controversy over nationality. As more people try to take advantage of double nationality to evade military service, some argue that the Nationality Act and Overseas Korean Act should be revised complying with the trend.
The "people" is one of essential concepts to this issue. Nationality is nothing
more than a
means to verify the people. Then, what does the people mean?
What is surprising is that there is no clear definition of the people in the Korean Constitution but the Provision 1 Article 2, "Requirements for the Korean are specified in the law". "Requirements for a people" refer to specific standards on which a person can belong to a people. They are different from definition in essence, and cannot substitute definition as well. Given the Provision 2 Article 1 rules "Korea's sovereignty resides with the people, and all powers come from the people", the people is the basic component of the Constitution. Nevertheless, it makes no sense that a people is not even defined and the requirements are specified in the law." Thus, you have to deduce the constitutional concept of a ‘people' from requirements in the law. This only worsened the current controversy over nationally.
Then what does the people mean? What is essence of the people? It was Jose Ortega y Gasset, a Greek philosopher, that first came up with a clear answer to the issue. He defined essence of life as "interest in future", and from the perspective, he pointed out "If a nation is to exist, it should have a purpose for future". According to him, an essential property of the people is "Those sharing future".
He also mentioned that "Sharing past" is not sufficient to form a nation. As the ground for the assertion, he cited that Spain, his hometown, and Latin America came to be divided for good since they failed to share common future although they have ‘past, language and race' in common.
As for typical practices to acquire citizenship, we have given his assertion an implicit permission. A person can get in-nature citizenship through birth or acquire citizenship through marriage, adoption, acknowledgement or nationalization. Given people tend to live for good in a country where he was born and marriage or nationalization is an act revealing his willingness to live in the country for his remaining years, acquisition of citizenship means that he wants to live in the country in future. Considering the fact that new born babies have no past, and that those who acquire nationality through marriage or nationalization cannot be asked about their past, it is apparent that requirements for a people are not about past but about future.
Thus, it would be safe to say that people in a country are "Those who want to share future in the country". The Korean is "people who want to share future in Korea". In the sense, the Korean should accept those who want to share future with them and allow those who determine their future does not belong to Korea to leave this country, at least from a moral perspective.
As the sovereignty is exclusive, a person should have one nationality in theory. In fact, however, there are many who have double nationality and the number is expected to be on the rise in this globality age. Those people share some part of their future between two peoples. Since it is not clearly specified how, when, what and with whom, they should share, they are likely to give rise to several problems.
As for this issue, we need to be generous above all. It is irrational to take a critical attitude toward the issue of double nationality at present, since it is too harsh to relevant people and there is none who benefits from it. The tendency of double nationality will be more common as the border of national countries fades away even more. Now it is time to accept the reality and handle the issue in a more rational and generous way.
More serious is those who try to evade their duties as a Korean while enjoying
all benefits given to a
Korean, taking advantage of double nationality. In particular, evasion of military service can bring about the biggest side effect. Those who intend to get exempt from military service through the loophole go back on their word. In terms of evolutionary biology, they are called ‘cheaters'. Given that human justice is believed to evolve from anger against breach of promises, evasion of military service stimulates human justice by the roots. In the sense, any act to punish those cheaters is a natural response. One of cases in point is the current bill initiated by a opposition lawmaker, which was designed to deny those who abandoned Korean nationality for exemption from military service of all rights as a Korean, by even keeping them from sustaining qualification as an ethnic Korean abroad.
In the meanwhile, this strict punishment is too harsh to those who want to ‘share some part of future', running against the generosity to acknowledge them as Korean. This conflict between justice and generosity cannot be settled by anyone. As long as the issue of double nationality exists around, more and complex problems will be continuously generated. The wisest way to handle those tough problems is to accept the fact that they are hardly solved.
One of realistic ways to cope with insoluble problems is to just leave it. It is, of course, difficult to choose this ‘benign neglect' in the case since evasion of military service using double nationality is in the face of our justice.
If carefully look, we can see that the way is still more realistic than any other alternatives.
First, the way does not affect the principle based on generosity. The system of liberal democracy and the concept of people base their existence on generosity. Generosity itself is a rewarding virtue, which should be sustained for long.
Second, there is no executable measure to punish those evaders for now. If any, the problem might not have been this worse.
Third, the problem does not give any active harm to society. I believe the fact military service evaders get away with does not damage social justice.
Fourth, this problem originated from Korea's obligatory military service. Obligatory military service is not proper for this society that based its composition principle on liberal democracy and capitalism. In the respect, I suggest Korea's military service should be operated in the form of voluntary conscription. This problem is short-lived, which can be ultimately solved as time goes by.
Fifth, those evaders are paying dear for their act. Evasion of military service taking advantage of double nationality is ‘deception' which will be recorded so that others judge their personality on that. They will pay big time when applying for seats requiring high reliability, especially public positions.
Given above, it is desirable to just let it go. Although it will be tough to handle anger in our mind, the only solution to the issue is generosity. You should be generous when you need to be. If generosity is easy to get, there is no point why we should value it.
Bok, Kohill (Writer and economic analyst)