Self-serving censorship is farcical as evidenced by the anti-gay propaganda in Hungary.
In the fifth volume of the popular Harry Potter books, Dolores Umbridge, the personification of government meddling in education, forbids professors in Hogwarts from disclosing anything beyond what is strictly pertinent to their lessons. One rebellious schoolkid, however, points out in Umbridge’s class that she cannot reprimand him for misbehaving during the lesson, as it is irrelevant to the subject. He gets detention.
He has a point though. The government has no place restricting education this way. Yet this is exactly what the Hungarian leadership is doing, to the point that books such as Harry Potter might have to be hidden under wrapping to shield kids from gay propaganda that does not exist.
In the fictional wizarding world, these restrictive rules were passed in order to keep them in the dark about political news. In real life, however, the Hungarian government claims that it is protecting children from self-serving sexuality, transgender, and gay advocacy. It is as if anyone wants to “convert” children to being gay or transgender. As if by not talking about sexual minorities would have any benefit for children.
Apart from the obvious moral problems there are other dire issues with this new legislation. Bookstores are uncertain about which books need to be separated and made inaccessible to children under 18, as mandated by the law. This ambiguity also extends to classroom materials. The implementation of the law remains unclear, leaving many questions unanswered.
What about works like those of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh, and Greek history, and the Harry Potter books? Bookstores claimed that for instance Harry Potter books were wrapped to protect them and not to protect children from them, but still the law is yet unclear on implementation. More controversially, what about religious texts like the Bible, which though prohibits homosexuality (meaning during reading it needs explanation what that is) or the Song of Songs which is nothing if not self-serving sexuality? Overzealous Christians wanting to protect children have already made idiotic legislation which backfired and got the Bible banned in the US.
So far only a couple of books have been wrapped up reportedly and only in a handful of stores. The law is not clear on how to apply it and to what extent. The government’s supposed concern for protecting children becomes comical when considering its track record in child protection. Preventing children from receiving proper sexual education does not benefit youth. Instead of addressing systemic issues in child protection, such as failing support institutions for families in need, the government resorts to smoke and mirrors measures.
Let’s not forget another possibility that the government is choosing to instigate this scandal to use it as a red herring, drawing attention from the escalating crisis of livelihood in Hungary.
either way, the government has no place in censoring material from either the bookstore or from schools. Doing so will lead to falling competencies, as evidenced by the worst comprehension results by Hungarian students. The less the government interferes with education, the better.
In Harry Potter, it was the students who helped get rid of the meddlesome and evil government officials. It might only be a story for children, yet it is an empowering one. Students can affect great changes. No wonder the illiberal Hungarian government do not want kids to read such a story.