The new Hungarian schools and their products

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with early Soviet history when the regime’s aim was the creation of a superior Soviet man. Viktor Orbán’s regime is embarking on something similar, and naturally it will be the schools that will be responsible for educating this new patriotic, religious, moral Hungarian breed.

Today’s western culture is rotten to the core: secular and immoral. However, a few years of Hungarian schooling will produce an entirely different Hungarian population. These new Hungarians will be the perfect products of the newly introduced school system where children will have to take either religion or ethics classes in addition to classes on the traditional virtues of courtship, family life, rearing children, and learning to be faithful to one’s spouse “till death do us part.” In addition, the whole educational system will be permeated with “patriotism.”

That kind of education was the ideal of the Horthy regime, but it didn’t work then and it will not work now. Perhaps even less so. Today’s teenagers are a far cry from teenagers attending gymnasium in the 1920s or 1930s. In those days most of the high schools were in the hands of religious orders who imbued their charges with religious devotion and morality. Religious education was compulsory even in public schools and girls had to learn to darn socks, knit, crochet, and cook a little. Between the two world wars many boys had to take military training.

All this is coming back. There will be compulsory religion or ethics classes in grade seven and in grade eleven. The original suggestion promoted by Fidesz-KDNP politicians, among then László Kövér, even wanted to introduce ethics or religion in kindergarten. One can never start early enough! However, by high school students will be able to discuss such weighty questions as capital punishment and the difference between good and evil. They will be introduced to Aristotle’s Ethics. Origo reported that among other things pupils will also learn about such political concepts as liberalism and conservatism. Given the philosophical underpinnings of the Orbán regime, it’s pretty easy to imagine how these classes will be skewed.

But that is not all. For example, students will have learn about “courtship,” about the “relationship between man and woman” and apparently about “bringing up baby” including how to put diapers on. I can only hope that boys will be taught the art of diapering and girls “basic military skills,” which will be also compulsory.

The whole curriculum will be imbued with “patriotism.” In plain language, it will be saturated with nationalism. This nationalism can take really bizarre forms in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. A separate commissioner was appointed by the prime minister whose only job is the spread of “the culture of horses.” Since the early centuries of Hungarian history the horse was an important part of life and warfare. And because Hungarians were known in Europe to be excellent horsemen today’s nationalists are working very hard to make Hungary a “horse nation” again. This commissioner came up with the idea of introducing horsemanship in schools. The kids would learn not only how to ride but also how to take care of horses. As a former undersecretary of the ministry of education jokingly said, “Sure, the kids will be riding along on their horses on the “Nagykörút,” the outer “Ring” in Pest!

As we know, riding is an expensive hobby, but according to the commissioner it is not as expensive as all that. Moreover, European Union money will be spent on the project. The poor EU! Do people in Brussels know what the Hungarian government wants to spend their money on? The whole thing is outrageous especially since far too many Hungarians, for example, don’t know how to swim!

Military training and horsemanship in schools is enthusiastically supported by Csaba Hende, minister of defense. He is reinstating military high schools and according to plans high school students can even matriculate in the subject. As for the horses, he is all for it. Hence here is a cartoon about him and the horses.

My sweetheart is so handsome, not an officer just an infantryman, the soldier of Viktor Orbán

And the frightening thing in all this is that the far right’s harebrained ideas about horses and early Hungarian history coincide with the Fidesz government’s ideas about education. Three men belonging to the Eurasia Solidarity Foundation are setting out on horseback for Kazakhstan, looking for “relatives.” Here are our explorers:

Lovakkal Kazahsztanba

I’m a bit puzzled by that 1848 hussar uniform. What is it doing in Kazakhstan? There are other puzzling aspects of this trip. How will the horses cross the Black and Caspian Seas? Moreover, the three (and horses as well?) will fly from Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, to Tehran. The Iranian destination indicates that these three are linked to Jobbik, a party with close, perhaps even financial, ties to Iran. Here is their route:

Among the patrons and advisors of the Eurasia Solidarity Foundation one can find Sándor Lezsák (Fidesz, earlier MDF), deputy speaker of the house; Mihály Varga (Fidesz), finance minister in the first Orbán government and undersecretary in the prime minister’s office; and Sándor Fazekas (Fidesz), minister of agriculture. Jobbik and Fidesz are tied to each other in hundreds of ways. As I have often said, one never knows when Fidesz ends and Jobbik begins.

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An
Guest

Basic military skills in schools…how fun… I remember “honvedelmi neveles” in high school in the late 80s. We had to go out to the woods once in a while and throw (fake) hand grenades.
Interesting,I just read in the news that the government bought Raba with the possible intention to use it for producing military equipment….so maybe the plan is to develop Hungary into a military superpower 🙂
http://www.portfolio.hu/vallalatok/vegre_megtudtuk_a_hadiiparban_teljesedhet_ki_a_raba.163524.html

GDF
Guest

“There are other puzzling aspects of this trip. How will the horses cross the Black and Caspian Seas?”
They will walk on water. This is the least one could expect from a Hungarian horse and a horseman in hussar uniform.

GDF
Guest

An:”Interesting,I just read in the news that the government bought Raba with the possible intention to use it for producing military equipment….so maybe the plan is to develop Hungary into a military superpower :-)”
And why would they need equipment for that? Fuel for equipment is running out anyway, the future is in the horses. We just don’t understand the regime’s wisdom…

Paul
Guest

“As I have often said, one never knows when Fidesz ends and Jobbik begins.”
In the latter stages of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin (the political wing of the Provisional IRA) began to present itself as a ‘normal’ political party, with no links to the terrorists.
The Unionists responded by always referring to Sinn Féin as ‘Sinn Féin-IRA’.
Perhaps we should do the same with Fidesz and Jobbik – and always refer to them as ‘Fidesz-Jobbik’?
It would drive the Orbánistas mad!

Paul
Guest

Rather ironically, although ‘Sinn Féin’ strictly translates as just ‘we ourselves’, it is usually ‘translated’ as ‘ourselves alone’.
And in the first Dáil Éireann, they had just over two thirds of the seats…

An
Guest

Sorry for being OT
Another one from Planet Hungary: the new law on attorneys changed the wording of the oath defense attorneys have to take. First, there is now an addition that says that the defense attorney will serve the “Hungarian nation’s benefit”. At the same time, they took out the clause on confidentiality (It originally stated that the attorney will keep secrets he/she learns about through practicing his/her profession confidential).
http://index.hu/belfold/2012/02/28/kikerult_a_titoktartas_az_ugyvedi_eskubol/

Bowen
Guest

Well, in theory I’m all in favour of a morally aware Hungary: a society which values personal responsibility; avoids a culture of blame; sees no value in cheating; looks forward, rather wallowing in self-pity; builds a sustainable future where achievements and diversity are encouraged.
Unfortunately (to borrow a Hungarian proverb) “the stinking part of the fish is its head”.
How dare this government set out this kind of ideologically transparent agenda!

tigerente
Guest
riviera1
Guest

@”..the difference between good and evil..”
As always, that’ll be easy in Orban’s Hungary–all clarifications will be made by the Catholic church under the guidance of the good Pope, himself.
However, we shouldn’t expect that the kids will ever learn the differentiate between Right and Wrong. That would been learning about the decadent Greeks and Romans, and as the Church teaches, History didn’t begin until later.
“…when Fidesz ends and Jobbik begins..:
Sadly, that part will be inverted in the foreseeable future. It will read, “Where Jobbik ends and Fidesz begins..” as that flip flop will happen before the next election.
Can we not convince Jeb Bush to invade Hungary in 2014??

Mutt Damon
Guest

When I was a kid we often had “ló gyulai” that is horse sausage. It’s almost the same as the regular “gyulai”, but it’s a bit darker, still good. These horses in the cities will be very useful one day if the going gets tougher …
This education of the “good christian citizen” will have the exact opposite effect on the kids. It will devaluate even the things that were working in a more or less neutral school system before. Also since they can’t brainwash the parents the children will be in constant limbo in families where the parents will “adjust” the information.
Another thing. In high school kids will very likely challenge a lot of things. How do they account for that?
Attorney’s oat. Horror. One cannot find the words. Attorney client privilege abolished?

GDF
Guest

An: “First, there is now an addition that says that the defense attorney will serve the “Hungarian nation’s benefit”. ”
How about the client’s benefit? Orwell couldn’t have imagined this.

An
Guest

@GDF: Working in the client’s interest is still in there in the oath, but they added this line about serving the Hungarian nation’s benefit.
So…. which is it then (in case there is a conflict)? And who decides what serves the nation’s benefit?

Wondercat
Guest

@An: Is not in Anglo-American jurisprudence every attorney first and foremost sworn to uphold the Court, to the point of declining to represent the interests of a client if to do so would mean, for example, lying in Court? The same principle as serving first the Hungarian nation’s benefit, perhaps.

Mutt Damon
Guest

@Wondercat I’m no lawyer, but what you’re suggesting is impossible. Attorneys cannot be forced to testify against or disclose any information about their client. That’s the whole idea behind the “defense” attorney.

An
Guest

@Wondercat: No,it’s already in there that the attorney will act according to the law of the land and the Constitution (that is he would not do anything unlawful,even if that’s the client’s interest). It was part of the oath before,and it is part of the new oath. On top of that,the new oath talks about serving the nation’s interest.
For those of you who speak Hungarian, here is the previous oath:
“Én… esküszöm, hogy ügyvédi hivatásomat az ügyfelem érdekében, a Magyar Köztársaság Alkotmánya és jogszabályai szerint lelkiismeretesen gyakorlom, és az ennek során tudomásomra jutott titkot megőrzöm. (Az eskütevő meggyőződése szerint:) Isten engem úgy segéljen”.
And here is the new one:
“Én, … fogadom, hogy Magyarországhoz és annak Alaptörvényéhez hű leszek, jogszabályait megtartom és másokkal is megtartatom; ügyvédi/ügyvédjelölti tisztségemet a magyar nemzet javára gyakorolom. Hivatásom gyakorlása során szakmai kötelességeimet lelkiismeretesen és legjobb tudásom szerint, ügyfelem érdekében eljárva teljesítem. (Az eskütevő meggyőződése szerint:) Isten engem úgy segéljen!”

Kirsten
Guest

I am speechless on that. I cannot understand that given such weird ideas there is not a general public outcry on the madness presented by either government or people attached to it. That can go on and on: the government will come up with weird ideas, the (more sane) public will have to think what exactly does that mean, do they mean that seriously or is that only a distraction, how to stop that, explain to the more gullible that this is weird etc. while the government will come up with some other, again obviously useless idea, etc. I do not think that the relevant question is whether OV wishes to harm Hungary on purpose, perhaps yes perhaps not (I think he believes this is all “true” and correct), but why he is able to paralyse an entire society by presenting one mad idea after the other, and get people who know better (in his own party and among his supporters) to tolerate that and pretend this has meaning. That I am unable to comprehend. Every society has people with strange ideas and visions but to elect one of these specimen as prime minister is really disaster.

Paul
Guest

Kirsten – exactly. When I read Éva’s posts my normal reaction is interest or perhaps anger/outrage, but increasingly I just sit here utterly baffled by what she reveals of Planet Hungary.
The children appear to have taken over the kindergarten.

Paul
Guest

OT – but another excellent piece on the treatment of the Roma over on the Contrarian Hungarian blog – http://thecontrarianhungarian.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/trouble-in-sajokaza-being-buddhist-and-roma/
BTW – I hope that when he writes of ‘seawage canals’ he actually means ‘pipes’!

Member

This oath thing is still bothers me …
If the case is not a civil suit the plaintiff is actually the state. How can you have a lawyer who is bound by an oath to support your opponent? What kind of whacky constitution would support this?

Member

@Paul “he actually means ‘pipes'”
Yes, I think so. I believe he translated the word “csatornázás” into sewage canal. The word “csatorna”, the base of the word, means a lot of things, like channel and drain. Anyway “csatornázás” means underground sewage pipes.
Currently the Roma neighborhoods have no pipes. Sewage just flows away and ends up in the Sajo river.

GDF
Guest

Paul:”BTW – I hope that when he writes of ‘seawage canals’ he actually means ‘pipes’!”
What he means is connection to the sewage treatment system. This can be done with pipes and sometimes with channels, which are very large concrete (sometimes other materials) pipes, usually not round likes pipes are generally imagined. Obviously, an area of town not connected is still relying on the outhouse and on the streetpumps shown in the article.
I guess the writer translated the words kanalis – kanaliza’la’s (sewage pipe – installation of a sewage system) to canals…

Member

Eva: “Three men belonging to the Eurasia Solidarity Foundation are setting out on horseback for Kazakhstan, looking for “relatives.” bahahaha I hope they will find them. Are they taking few a DNA kits with them? Can you imagine if they find some “magyar” deep in Kazakhastan or somewhere in Iran? Next thing you know Fidesz have new voters, as Hungarian citizenship will be granted based on DNA.

steve
Guest

I am declaring a day of national joy.
It can be a medicine for the pain of the nation.
Please party, laugh, smile, celebrate.
Have a good time.

Living with it in Hungary
Guest
Living with it in Hungary

I’m just now dealing with the ethics class. I’ve been trying to sort out specifics ‘cos one does have to wonder, just who’s ethics. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s been benign. But this entry deepens my resolve to fill in specifics that are missing here. I don’t know our ethics teacher but I plan on meeting him and asking question. It’s just tricky to ask questions because they always seems to be taken as criticism when coming from a foreigner.
And, so far no horses have shown up at school but we like horses. My wife and I have very seriously discussed moving the kids to be private student (home schooled but still must be attached to a school and write exams there) but if horses show up, all bets are off. 😉

Odin's Lost Eye
Guest
An you wrote ** “Basic military skills in schools…how fun… I remember “honvedelmi neveles” in high school in the late 80s. We had to go out to the woods once in a while and throw (fake) hand grenades.” ** I do not suppose that any one knows about this or the document which contains it. “Personnel not included in the Hungarian Army or Air Force shall not receive any form of military training or military air training as defined in Annex II.” And Annex II states “1. Military training is defined as: the study of and practice in the use of war material specially designed or adapted for army purposes, and training devices relative thereto; the study and carrying out of all drill or movements which teach or practice evolutions performed by fighting forces in battle; and the organised study of tactics, strategy and staff work. 2. Military air training is defined as: the study of and practice in the use of war material specially designed or adapted for air force purposes, and training devices relative thereto; the study and practice of all specialised evolutions, including formation flying, performed by aircraft in the accomplishment of an air force mission; and… Read more »
Guest
London Callaing! (Sorry I got some strange timeout message from TypePad – and it got posted under the wrong blog – strange!) So a Ministry for Sex then? From Fideszik? (see what I did there?) (To an Englishman Fisdesik works better but I know sz is classed as a single letter sound! Or what about Fidbik? – More suggestions please! Or if Orban really nauzes it up Jobfid!) I fear for sexual minorities in Hungary – looks like a mandate for discrimination. Or more dangerously, positive discrimination for Roman Catholics? How about the death sentence for Homosexuals – like Nigeria? And no civil partnerships then? – it could have really been a confident liberal mandate for a forward thinking Hungarian society – if it existed. Religious bigotry rules! A really worrying development for a free society – no word of how the internet should be controlled yet? (Because it will be.) Ah yes the horse! So I had my suspicions – Fidesz is a bunch of cowboys? GDF has solved the water problem (Hilarious GDF!) But I haven’t yet worked out how the horse will carry the three men? It might look a little undignified. And how will a horse,… Read more »
Dirk Diggler
Guest

There are so many things to be worried about in Hungary at the moment but the fact that education (which I never thought was that good to begin with) is being reformed is particularly worrying. Education is one of a country’s main tools for future success/development;these ideas being proposed will set Hungary further back. My son’s Hungarian mother never understood why I was vehemently opposed to our son being enrolled in a public school. Over the last few months she is starting to realize why I make the sacrifice to put the child in a private international school. I believe this article provides additional background and details about my concerns about Hungarian education. Thank you very much for covering this topic; my son’s mother has already been sent a link

Wondercat
Guest

OT: The view from Vienna, per KURIER: Proehle says — everything will be fine. Just fine.
http://kurier.at/wirtschaft/4486673-ungarn-damoklesschwert-haengt-ueber-uns.php

Kingfisher
Guest

When I was at a school (a state school in the UK), we had a weekly lesson that was curiously called “divinity” which in the past, would have been religious education but then had become a kind of class discussion on ethics, religion and the like. It was not an exam subject but it was a way of exposing us to different points of view, and also, getting us to publicly argue our points of view. If Hungarian ethics lessons were like these, I’d be all in favour. It is not clear to me how such subjects would be treated, and the worry would be that pupils would be handed an “ethics” textbook which tells them the right and wrong answers! But until we know more, it is a bit premature to start tearing our hair out about it.
Again, I don’t see any fundamental problem with studying Aristotle’s Ethics, although having done so at university level, I’m not sure how useful it would be for secondary school pupils.

Member
I remember our World View Basics (vilagnezetunk alapjai) classes from high school taught by our principal. It was very much a course about how awful Western society is, and how much better for us to live in the safe umbrella of the Soviet Union. There was also some mention of the non-existence of God. The good news is that many of the students who truly excelled in that class by firmly pledging themselves to teachings are great supporters of Fidesz now as I found out a few years ago on our class reunion. As far as “family planning” goes, I am sure from direct sources (first hand accounts) that many Fidesz members, like Orban himself did not abstained from premarital sex. I am not sure of their children, but I can completely can see a Palin moment unfolding, except that versus Palin many of our Hungarian preaching politicians would advise their children (or their partner) to abort a teen pregnancy. If there is one thing I respected Palin for, it was that as much that situation made her a laughing stock, she supported her child and stuck with what she believed in. Not to many HUngarian politicians would do that,… Read more »
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