SEOUL — Here in this ancient city, political leaders must grapple with a lot of sobering matters.
For starters, how on Earth does a country smaller than the state of Virginia feed more than 50 million people every day? The metropolitan area of this capital city has more than 25 million people crammed peacefully together at twice the density of New York City.
How does a country this crowded boast the freest and open press in all of Asia? How does it peacefully maintain such impeccable religious freedoms?
How does this country dotted with rice paddies year after year prove to be one of the most innovative and energetic free market powerhouses in the world?
And, just 25 miles from a hostile border, how do South Koreans go about their normal daily lives knowing that enough rocketry of war is pointed at them to annihilate their city seven times over? Making matters even terrifying, their enemy — former compatriots — are also in the final stages of developing a nuclear warhead to annihilate them another 10 times over.
With all of these seemingly insurmountable challenges, the city of Seoul plugs on with vigor and cheer. Everyone, it seems, is happy and eager to be helpful to strangers. They work hard, yet relish life.
Halfway back around the world in Washington, D.C., meanwhile, things are working differently.
Political leaders there inherited the most powerful economic engine ever devised by human beings. They were born into a nation largely protected from foreign enemies by vast oceans. Their dowry included wide-open ranges and endless natural resources.
Most precious of all their inheritance: a set of timeless founding documents to guide them through the thorniest challenges a free people could ever face.
And I mean no offense to hogs, who certainly have more intelligence than most of the geniuses from Washington running for president right now.
How many times have you been standing in line at the grocery store or pumping gas and heard somebody say: “You know what is really wrong with America today? Felons convicted of terrorist attacks on American soil are not allowed to vote. That’s what’s wrong with America.”
Never? Well, tell that to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running for president on that platform.
Or, how about “let’s abolish our Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency? Forget building a wall, let’s tear down the walls and fences we now have and just throw our borders wide open?”
Another great idea is to abolish all air travel and hike gasoline prices through the roof so that you cannot afford to drive to work anymore.
Also, hamburgers will be rationed as we decide on how best to kill all the cows in America.
There is a reason that political leaders here in South Korea aren’t having those debates. It is because these are profoundly unserious ideas from fundamentally unserious people. No successful adult anywhere in the world would come up with ideas like this and utter them out loud.
Even more alarming is that these ideas are the most considered, well-thought-out ideas from some of the politicians running for president.
And this does not even include all of their delusional conspiracy theories about President Trump supposedly colluding with hookers in Moscow to bring down the American government. Or, something like that.
Far and away their most insidious and dishonest endeavor — one that pretty much all of them completely agree upon — is that those who work should be forced to pay for other people to go to school free. And you should be forced to pay for “free” health care for everybody else. Some of them even go so far as to say that you should be forced to pay wages to other people who just don’t feel like working.
This is not just a platform of “free stuff.” It is an ideology that has proven time and time again to be a lie. “Free stuff” does not actually exist. It is merely a mirage to make people give up all their freedoms and other people’s money so that politicians can gather as much power as they can seize.
Anyone in America who believes otherwise should come here to South Korea. See if you can find some “coyote” and pay him to smuggle you across the border into North Korea where the ideology of “free stuff” reigns supreme.
You should go there and live out your socialist dream. And leave South Korea and the American dream alone.
⦁ Contact Charles Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @charleshurt.SEOUL