An influential strain of liberal thought demonizes certain groups and viewpoints as enemies of liberty, and supports restrictions on individual rights to further liberal ends. The use of illiberal and authoritarian means for ostensibly liberal ends, what Michael Doyle terms ‘low road’ liberalism, is embraced by self-described rights proponents in both the political right and left, and among key democratic states in Europe, North America and East Asia. Low-road ideology justifies, and habituates the public to, an ever-expanding set of illiberal practices that undermine open, rational public discourse. Our essay shall analyze low-road politics and practices in various contexts (especially in US and South Korea) and how they can be countered. We focus on two, transnational human rights campaigns: the mostly right-liberal (rightist), US-led campaign against North Korea, and the left-liberal, South Korean-led campaign against Japan.