firmly in place has been confirmed through an abundance of historical evidence.
Tolerance and Ethics Textbook
The term is a title of a program that is broadcasted by a broadcasting company. The tolerance has the implication of respecting the opinion of others who have different opinions from mine. No one would raise any objection to the assertion of this program that calls to respect other opinions under the liberal democratic society.
However, I have a question that the majority of the themes handled under this program has been looking at the lives of classes that have been neglected from our society and help their lives without discrimination. I could not comprehend what kind of relationship exists between respecting the various opinions of others and helping the neglected class of our community.
Relationship between helping the neglected class and tolerance
There is a clear problem in that the poor and hapless people were at the wrong end of discrimination. However, this is an issue of system improvement. A fair law enforcement has to be made without discriminating the neglected class through the settlement of the legal system. Consistent application of law for same crime has to be applied for those hapless and poor people or for those who are wealthy. In addition, helping the neglected class through the expansion of social safety network is to help out the needy people literal sense, but not the spirit of tolerance.
The spirit of tolerance started in the western countries by mutually recognizing the religions of each other to overcome the conflict of Catholic and Christians. This was the valuable conclusion earned from the painful history where people were convicted of their own belief that the opponents were politically suppressed, resulted in wars, killings, and hatred and oppression.
Rather, the excessive thinking for justification in "helping the needy people" would lead to have other people to follow what I am contemplating. Therefore, if the action to lead other people with such a justifiable way of thinking, it would cause to repeat the history of conflict and hostility. This may be contradicting to the spirit of tolerance to respect the opinion of other people. And, it may very well be the denial of the 'difference' from that of 'distinction'.
Ethics textbook and spirit of tolerance
The more acute problem is that the ethics textbooks may push such a justifiable way of thinking excessively emphasized. The ethics textbooks have certain element of compulsion that all people have to comply with for people without a choice. Under the situation, all justifiable ways of thinking taught through the ethics textbooks may invite the danger to go against the spirit of tolerance even further. It may force the outcome that a specific opinion of a specific class is enforced upon all people.
In order to avoid such a risk, the ethics textbooks have to be structured with the contents that all people may agree as much as possible. Under the current situation, then, do the ethics textbooks of Korea teach the contents that all people may consent? Then, we will take a look at the ethical decisions asserted on the textbooks through a few cases.
Diverse ethical propositions
In the ethics textbooks, the phrase of "helping the poors" is repeatedly emphasized. However, the objections may be raised to this phrase that seems so obvious. Another word, more important than helping the poor is deemed to be a self help. We may think that I have to obtain the independence and make a living with my own sweats and efforts but without the damages incurred upon other people, therefore, it would be a starting point to contribute to the society.
Also, in ethics textbooks, there is a phrase saying, "human is a social animal." (Aristotle) This phrase is a core proposition that is a starting point of a theory at all times within the ethics textbooks. The phrase supports the justification for people to mutually help each other. This is a theory to cover that, "men are social animals that they shall help each other." However, it may be conceivable that if the true nature of human is a social one, people would live by asserting the sociality even if the textbooks do not emphasize it. This theory may thought of as the wrong theory that mixes the justification and the reality.
Furthermore, there is a saying that, "human has to pursue the spiritual value rather than the materialistic value." In ethics textbooks, contemporary people pursue more for material value than mental value and call it the ‘value transfer phenomenon' But, we cannot really criticize people working hard to make money while living in the capitalistic society. In addition, the wage that I receive is the value that I created by converting it into money. Accordingly, unless I committed illegal activities, (this is a legal issue, not an ethical issue.) making money would not be easily said as to pursue the material value only.
As such, we cannot unilaterally say that many ethical decisions under the ethics textbooks would be true and we have to realize that the opinions of people may differ. Under such a reality, the ethics textbooks that are produced and managed with the tax of people have a limit in handling a specific opinion as more strenuous assertion.
Ethics textbook has to be established under the spirit of tolerance
The ethics textbooks today seem to pursue the neutrality and objectivity on the surface, but they have they own clear positions when looking at the details. They seem to emphasize the rationalized discussions but they teach their own opinions to the students. This is a contradiction to the spirit of tolerance.
In order to implement the ethics education based on the spirit of tolerance within the territory of public education, it would be one of the ways to present various opinions fairly and squarely. If not so, the terms that all people may agree has to be taught first. In a contemporary society where there are diverse opinions existing, the value that all people may agree is the spirit of tolerance that the opinions of all other people may differ.
Lee Chang-ha (Teacher at Hwimun Middle School, firstname.lastname@example.org)