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Mihály Andor Restoring Servility in the Educational Policy History has witnessed many revolts of serfs but never a revolt of the farm servants of large agricultural estates. Serfs, whether faring better or worse, were in charge, within certain limits, of their lives on their own lot. Farm servants, on the other hand, owned nothing at all. Even though provided with accommodation and shelter, they had no control over their lives since they were dependent on their landlords’ humanity for their wellbeing . Serfs had the incentive to produce more so as to keep more. If their landlords tightened the rope around their necks, they had the consciousness to rebel. Servants, in contrast, received no more than their food and lodging, however hard they worked. Their resistance did not manifest itself in revolts but in sly individual acts such as punching the ox in the nose to slow it down in the furrows in order to make the work less exerting. At other times, they underhandedly spat or urinated into the landlord’s dish as a way of releasing their frustration. They cheated and thieved whenever they could to squeeze out just a bit more for themselves. The delayed and incomplete emancipation of serfs in Hungary followed by the partition of minor landholdings into tiny lots providing no independent subsistence rendered the majority of the population vulnerable , and thereby made the servile mentality prevalent. The servile subjects would expect everything from overlords or the government, while barely ever acting on their own accord and seeking every possible opportunity to steal and cheat. Neither trusting, nor cooperating with anyone, they would attempt to improve on their fate by private bargains, bootlicking, jostling, i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 527 2016.12.07. 15:47 528 TWENTY-FIVE SIDES OF A POST-COMMUNIST MAFIA STATE or, in a pinch, by fleeing. The state socialist system’s adversarial practice toward private property did not alter this mentality, and only the regime change of 1989 enabled the more visible presence of autonomous economic actors, on the one hand, and the rise of bourgeois/civic ethos and values, on the other. Despite these developments, such actors did not appear in large enough numbers. In the same vein, while the emergence of a bourgeois/ civic consciousness became perceptible, it has not grown robust enough to override the prevailing mindset of servility. Nonetheless, it was evident that, with the ever increasing presence of autonomously thinking and acting citizens, their power would, after a while, jeopardize the dominance of the “mafia” preparing to colonize the country. Therefore, the power elite set the goal to break down both the citizens’ sovereignty and free thought arising from their education and access to information. Moreover, the two aspects of the task had to be carried out simultaneously, since actors independent of the state would be the basis of free thought and civic courage. To prevent that from happening, new generations of subjects (of the state) had to be raised with the help of obedient educators. I am describing the scenario of the past five years stating with the reign of the second Orbán government. In the following sections let me examine the means by which these goals have been pursued. Creating a Climate of Fear The state-controlling mafia did not lay down the foundation of obedience through policies but by planting a general idea in the public that, essentially, whatever the truth is, it does not matter. Legality does not matter either. The Godfather and the Family will act as they please. This overall sense evolved through numerous smaller incidents. Let us see a few of them. In the wake of the 2010 disaster of the alumina sludge spill causing ten deaths and ruining three localities almost completely, private citizens donated altogether HUF 1 billion to aid the victims. The mafia government simply pocketed the entire amount, thus sending “us,” citizens, the message that “we” are unable to control even our own donations. “They” can do whatever “they” want to “us.” This was a big blow on society’s fledgling civic activism and solidarity. The message was heard, as a result of which, in the wake of the big flood of 2013, only one-third of the amount collected three years earlier could be raised on the nationalized account for donations. i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 528 2016.12.07. 15:47 529 Restoring Servility in the Educational Policy Assisted by the attorney general, the police or the NAV...


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MARC Record
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