In this controversial new study, which breaks with the tradition of basing political studies on analyses of institutions and political personalities, the author likens the Republic of Korea to a laboratory for the clash of political cultures. In the late 1940s, the Americans embarked upon a democratization programme designed to create a Western bulwark against the spread of communism in East Asia. The intervening years have seen the advent and demise of military rule, with South Korea w having a democratically-elected government. Although the US strategy thus seems successful, the political crises of 1995 in fact indicate that many obstacles remain here to the adoption of Western-style democracy. Korea thus faces a difficult dilemma. It wants to democratize, to be accepted as part of the global community and therefore to adopt so-called universal values. But to date it has proved impossible to uproot traditional cultural values. Indeed, the author argues that it is impossible to do so and that membership of the global community for any country depends on acceptance that there are differences between all peoples; these cant be levelled by wishes, decree of 'political brainwashing'. This study argues that socialization in general and political socialization in particular are key factors in any analysis of democracy, be it in Korea or elsewhere. Accordingly, the work draws on moral education textbooks, together with surveys and interviews among members of the urban intellectual elite. In this manner, the psychological roots of power and authority - key concepts to an understanding of 'good government' - are explored.