Pubic Order Management Act in Uganda is often a contentious issue. People who advocated it in a previous situation regret supporting it when they find themselves in another situation today. Public order is build on “Private Order”. The direction of our public morality will be in the same direction of our private morality. It seems as individuals we all need to keep in check the moral direction that we are taking. It is a personal examination of conscience, retrospection on our life and what we do to each other within our family, community, society as individuals.
A day does not pass without the media covering news stories about human episodes of defilement, disgusting stories of adultery, annoying facts of corruption, pitiable news of murder of the innocent and the vulnerable and the like. These are records of a high level of moral-degradation within our self. The question is, how does this happen so often? What has happened to our human values? Where are our cultural and religious institutions? Why do we see our cultural teachings and beliefs becoming only a part of our history?
Day after day our world is becoming smaller and smaller due to increased mobility of people and goods. When we believe in the global village we unconsciously accept a ‘global morality’ which is often times compromised to accommodate everyone. Whether we like it or not we become silent acceptors or approvers or even victims or perpetrators of moral relativism. We are oftentimes forced to accept values, beliefs and behaviour that are originally not ours and personally we may not like them or subscribe to them. To fit into a larger society we close our eyes to our personal beliefs or sometimes it is difficult to defend it lest we are termed outdated, conservative or even fanatic and people-hater. We are forced to become part of a pluralistic society which is not always humane in thoughts and behaviour.
As the population of the world has grown more than seven billion it is important to increase the production to meet the economic needs of all the inhabitants of the world. This has led to economic warfare. The governments of the world thinks of economy, market and production more than anything else. Every nation wants their country to be top in the list of production and export. Maximum profit makes them to glow. Economic obsession makes everyone blind to moral and human prosperity. Personal wellbeing which includes moral wellbeing of individuals are sacrificed for the economic wellbeing.
Our education system is largely geared to economic prosperity. Most education institutions, both public and private are interested in offering education that will make the learners to be successful in economic-driven society. Everyone talks of ‘marketable courses’. The content of education and the learning process do not have space for human, moral, and spiritual formation of the learners. Science and technology takes precedence in every thought and practice; they are all geared to be more and more efficient in material production and enhancing one’s economic power. Our schools are designed to bring out smart ‘Apes’ with straight A’s but low levels of humanity in them. The ‘orders’ have even made teachers present a non-educative presence; they are just more as text books or just mere sources of scientific formulae and/or other purely examinable principles.
The parents (both father and mother) too are running a rat-race to gather as much resources as possible to cater for the family Even within individuals, there is a rush for material production that makes parents immersed in wealth creation by working long hours and hence do not have time to spend with their children. This makes the parents unable to participate in the moral build-up of their children. In a family setting parents pass on their moral education through love and affection, which is expressed in quality-time spend with their children. Today’s economic work trend does not give this parental opportunity to the parents. When this moment of love-expression is lost, children do not have the assurance of parental love and fail to assimilate family life education.
Most cultures had revered place for teachers in the society. Today the education with economic overtones does not attach reverence to teaching profession or do not have a esteem for the teacher. Teacher is merely a service provider and expected to give good value for the money (fees) paid. In the economy based education, the traditional respectful gap between children and elders has diminished. And the commercialization of education has not helped, for where the parents failed, we would hope that teachers would come to the rescue but it is not the case. Teachers are given strict orders to make the students pass their exams whether or not morality has been taught. Most school proprietors nowadays treat their students as customers rather than as young minds under their guardianship. Education becomes meaningless if it was passed on only for monetary gains. Too much concentration on monetary benefits will close the eyes of the educators in the sight of moral challenges. Due effort should be given to moral education even if Examination Boards do not evaluate them!
Lose of family values and the diminishing respect for teachers will also lead to disrespect and indifference to the institution of religion. Modern men and women have learnt to treat religion as a matter of convenience. It has become a fashion to say ‘I am spiritual but not religious’. A critical analysis of this statement does not mean anything. It could mean I make my own God and I make my own religion that is suitable to my taste, a religion that does not challenge one’s life and morals. In this context all the values, norm and suggestions for healthy life proposed by religious traditions and their leaders do not make any sense. One such norm is sacredness of marriage and other related norms regarding the union of man and woman.
At this juncture we cannot forget all the perils brought about by urbanization, unemployment of young people, migration of rural people and other related social problems. All these problems and challenges of modern living have enormous impact on the moral fiber of the society. Human beings begin to get used to living ‘anyhow’. This will eventually lead to colossal social ills and the loss of sense of evil. We may have scientific knowledge of the material world, but fail to have wisdom of life.
Many of the mentioned social challenges have their root in lack of sense of belonging. A person without a deep sense of belonging is no person at all. It is a sense of belonging that gives us self-esteem, family spirit, patriotic feelings, and loyalty to each other as individuals and as persons connected to each other. An African proverb gives us a valuable lesson here, “All hands begin with shoulders.”