Modesty and humility should remain our most important behaviour in the forthcoming years – this is a nice sentence, a compass in the storm of life. This smartism has its second anniversary now. It was said in the evening of the first round of the elections. Viktor Orbán told it to the celebrating crowd.
So, the first half of this four-year period is over, and we experience every day how the prime minister observes his words declared on that day of the elections, and how he complies with his own guidelines. After all, he has not altered much on this modesty and humility over the past two years. A few letters only: he actively humiliated others. But this is only half of the term, so these tiny inaccuracies can still be corrected.
Speaking about guidelines, this half-term in governance has a really nice symbol. A measure that is sort of the essence of the past two years: it is the education of ethics in the primary school. It shows the strength of intentions and the lack of ability.
It shows what this government wants and is able to do to us. Or if not to us, then at least to our children. Although he could not find any reply to the question who from which curriculum and from what kind of money would teach ethics and, what is more, give religious education in more than four thousand schools, but another school year begins in September, and there must be some kind of tutoring. For example modesty and humility could be a standard in education. It would be so European! On the contrary, what we can see for certain now is that already primary school pupils will be stigmatized. It will be documented in the school certificate of the children if they attended ethics or religion classes, and obviously the religion they registered for will also be recorded. There will be a database on atheists, Catholics, Protestants, Israelites, Buddhists and Rastafarians; not even Gábor Kubatov could have a more beautiful dream than that. A Hungarian of full age is not bound to admit his/her religion, for example, on a census. Well, an underage will now be required to do so at school.
I admit I'm not versed in the issue of religious teachings, so it needs strong efforts from me to follow the prime minister’s train of thought that is so frequently referred to as to the separation of state and church; and maybe the entire enlightenment and rationalism are obsolete thoughts. I also dare suspect that the churches, including the Catholic Church, are not at all prepared to bear the burdens that the government wants now to impose on them. However, Zsolt Semjén himself may not have any idea who will teach and what will be taught to primary school pupils who may expect religion-related guidance from some smaller and poorer church or a religious community that has recently lost its status as a church, thanks to the government.
However, I can imagine non-believer teenagers grouped to the atheists who are condemned to listen to ethics. And the poor teacher who has now to re-educate them to become “harmonious persons with a firm ethical scale of values” as Rózsa Hoffman (Undersecretary in charge of education in the Ministry of National Resources) was so kind to say. It is such a serious task – it really is – that our government does not leave it to a booby parent. It rather takes it in its own hands and guides schoolchildren in the matters of what is good and what is wrong. Say they are really experts in deciding: they are good and everybody else is bad, you should have learned it by now. But, let’s imagine that a technology teacher recently retrained to a teacher of ethics enters the obstreperous classroom to make order in the little heads with regard to what is good and what is wrong, i.e. in the relation between intent and consequence, in relationship between individual and community, in the matter of free will, selection of values as well as honesty and righteousness. Imagine that teenagers who already watch, let’s say, news in the TV and ask questions. Such as: if somebody's opinion was acknowledged by the majority in a certain moment, is he entitled to disregard others’ opinion? Or: is it decent to change rules retrospectively? Or by chance: is it fair to fill the pocket of one’s own friends from others’ tax money? Or: is it right to be opposed to everything called European? Advanced pupils may ask the question why a football ground in a village is worth more money than a theatre in the town, though this question is not likely to occur in a primary school because football has still more fans there.
The teacher will stand there and rack his brain about what to say to that all, both in ethical terms and as guidance. And then, it comes into his mind how he could solve this hard situation. “Children, modesty and humility should remain the most important behaviour for you in your next years.”