Friday, June 29, 2007

Metric Tyranny Comes to Korea

Starting next week, traditional Korean measures will be criminalized and only the metric system will be allowed. "In typical fashion, the government is introducing this policy without any of the public debate or forewarning you would expect in a democratic society," says Micael Breen─Farewell to Pyeong.

Mr. Breen is referring to the very humane unit of measurement that is equal to "the space your average chap would take up if spread-eagled on the floor like Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man." Gone also next week will be the don, for measuriung gold, and the inbun, for measuing food portions. Only grams will be allowed from now on.

Here's an eight-month-old post of mine─An Attempt at the Abolition of Korea─that expresses my anti-metric feelings:
    In Big Brother Watches Britain, Mr. Peter Hitchens, England's greatest contemporary thinker, reminds us that both the Huxleyan and Orwellian dystopias employed the metric system, the significance of which was not lost on readers in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. Mr. Hitchens cites the criminalization of traditional weights and measures as just one of many examples of what he termed 'The Abolition of Britain'.

    These thoughts came to mind learning of the latest fiat from the Jacobinical "Participatory Government" of Pres. Roh Moo-hyun: Korea Bans Use of Traditional Weights and Measures [link via The Asia Pages].

    Granted, the metric system is better for scientists, but traditional measures ─ whether pounds or miles or don or li ─ are better for human beings. Let them have their metric system for their atomic bombs, abortifacients, and Auschwitz. Let us keep our traditional measures for apple pies, ales, and American football. Even metric zealots I have come across tell me that cups, tablespoons, and ounces are much better for cooking. The same is true for measuring the heights and weights of people or the things they use, as well as the distances they cover. And fractions are much more human and logical than decimal points. Yet traditional measures and their manifold benefits are being sacrificed on the altars of the false gods Progress, Efficiency, and Standardization.

    The Ministry of Fear Commerce, Industry and Energy said "it will... crack down on violators starting in July next year." That is when we will learn a lot about the Korean character. Will Koreans need to establish a chapter of the Metric Martyrs Defence Fund? I doubt it. When the Korean government has threatened to "crack down" on something in the past, at the end of the day it usually caves and opts for the more human option in the Rule of law vs Confucianism debate.

    When I was a kid during the dark night of the Carter years, I remember being taught that the metric system would replace our traditional measures. Then, when it was again morning in America, the much wiser actor who replaced the nuclear scientist in the Oval Office put a stop to such foolishness, or so I assume.

    My oppostion to the metric system is longstanding, as evidenced by these posts from my previous blog from three different years: Down with the Metric System! Long Live the English Imperial System!, Metric News, and Dystopias and Metric Measures.

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Blogger DDV064 said...

Having grown up in Australia through the 1960s and 70s and learnt both the imperial system of weights and measures in primary school and then learnt metric in my first two years of high school in the early 70s, I can use both systems with pretty much equal ease or facility. And in my opinion, metric is by far the superior system of weights and measures once it has been thoroughly learnt and applied in daily life. Imperial weights and measures to most younger Australians are now like a foreign language.

11:25 PM  

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