3 new education minister's ideas about disrespecting the laws

Minister of Education Renato Janine Ribeiro (Photo: Valter Campanato / Agência Brasil)
Minister of Education Renato Janine Ribeiro (Photo: Valter Campanato / Agência Brasil)

Philosopher Renato Janine Ribeiro took the post of Minister of Education on April 6. Respected intellectual, he is a professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences of the University of São Paulo. Four years ago, Janine Ribeiro wrote one of the articles that make up the book Culture of Transgressions in Brazil - Scenarios of Tomorrow (Saraiva, 200 pages, R $ 55). It was the third volume of a trilogy on the reasons for the lack of commitment of many Brazilians to ethics, idealized by the ETCO-Brazilian Institute of Competition Ethics and by the iFHC Institute, of the former President of the Republic Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

In his article, the now Minister of Education speaks of the importance of having a higher body to monitor and punish those who threaten society to avoid mutual distrust that, in metaphorical terms, could transform everyone into serial killers; the delay of Brazilian society in reacting against offenders; the welcome intolerance against corruption; the mentality of wanting the law only for others; and the risk that, in the age of Facebook individualism, people will lose interest in common causes.

Check out 3 excerpts from Janine Ribeiro's article below.


1) The importance of repressive power

Suppose the following scene: we suspect that there is a serial killer in a room. We don't know who he is or, strictly speaking, if he exists. But, if it exists and is there, it is someone very smart. Unmasking him is difficult. Attempting an alliance with others against him would be the greatest naivety. What is the best strategy, then, for each one to save their own life? It is to kill everyone else. That is, we have a self-fulfilling hypothesis, a self-fulfilling prophecy; the mere suspicion that one of the others cannot be trusted can lead me, rationally and without any anger, to go to war against everyone.

What results from the suspicion of a murderer among us, if there is no superior and powerful body that investigates and punishes, is that each one is left to his own luck - which means: to his use of fraud and violence.


2) Society against transgression

For a number of reasons, which transit expresses well, in Brazil we believe that access to goods that do not exist for everyone depends more on our own cunning and strength than on good social ordering, be it spontaneous and carried out by society itself, be it it imposed vertically by political authority. When the traffic is tight, it is often that some try to win over others, going by the shoulder, forcing the passage of their car.

Evidently, if we had a greater tradition of organizing ourselves, like the Americans and the French, it would be very difficult to appeal to transgression. The offender would have against him, not only the police or the state, but society itself. Those harmed by the queue breaker would find it easy to tell him that he is wrong, that he is selfish, that he disturbs others, in short, that, far from resolving anything, he is only making matters worse.

3) The danger of only living with equals

We run the risk that social ties will be reduced to what is most narcissistic, each one only living well with those who are similar. Here, the great principle of equality, which includes difference, is replaced by that of identity, which does not admire anyone who differs from us, by nature, culture or belief.

Today, news is segmented. The idea, enunciated in the 1990s, that a paper newspaper would have customized editions for each reader, so that there would not be two identical copies, was not carried out as expected, but exists in the ether: there are, for example, two Facebooks alike. In summary, we are losing the common reference of humanity. There are few times when a society reacts to the same issue. Note that it is not about reacting equally; that would not be democratic; it is a question of questions that everyone can answer, even if in a different way. When such questions cease to exist, it is possible that we lose the common meter, the notion of what social life is.


To learn more about the Culture of Transgressions - Scenarios of Tomorrow, click here