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Jacques Julliard.

CHRONICLE – The effort undertaken by the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, deserves to be welcomed, argues the historian and essayist. Furthermore, the author depicts the successive blindnesses of Western intellectuals since the post-war period.


It is not only the French who are rebellious to any idea of ​​reform, as a Emmanuel Macron on the verge of exasperation. Their school too, despite the projects that have followed one another for fifty years at the rate of metro trains around 18 p.m. Why? Because there exist, in the chapter of this School, two competing projects which have proved, with use, to be incompatible. The first is to make it an instrument for disseminating knowledge and culture. It was believed for a long time that there could be no other. Mistake! For a good half-century there has in fact been another project which consists in making the School an instrument for reducing social inequalities. Let's call the first "the Jules Ferry project"; it is that of the Third Republic. And let's call the second "the Bourdieu-Meirieu project"; it is the project of critical sociology and professional pedagogists.

The first, true foundation of the republican ideology, aims at excellence: it is a question of allowing each one to go as far as possible in the acquisition of knowledge and the corresponding diplomas; but also to make the School the crucible of French excellence in science and technology in the concert of nations. It is a project oriented towards the progress of individuals and the whole nation.

The second, both political and scientistic, aims to prevent social inequalities from being reflected in school results, even if it means making natural inequalities cheap. A typically Rousseauist project, which starting from Discourse on the origin of inequality, ends in Émile ou de l'education to the denial of all knowledge inculcated from outside.

So children should not be taught. You just have to help them teach themselves. This amounts to forcing everyone to redo for their own account the historical course of humanity and to deny the cumulative nature of the knowledge acquired.

So children should not be taught. You just have to help them teach themselves. This amounts to forcing everyone to redo for their own account the historical course of humanity and to deny the cumulative nature of the knowledge acquired. Extensive program! It is also necessary to eliminate extra-school transmission, particularly within families, which is likely to widen inequalities. Materials and methods likely to favor the “heirs” will therefore be excluded, in particular everything that relates to general culture. Which, by the way, intends it to remain the monopoly of the dominant social classes… It's very simple: each time the sociopedagogue hears the word “culture”, he pulls out his planing machine. This general culture has been eliminated from the Sciences Po exams; more broadly and more recently, the spirited Najat Vallaud-Belkacem has wiped out ancient languages, the balance classes, European pathways with a stroke of the pen. Too discriminatory! A chance for heart patients that cardiology was not deemed to be discriminatory. My God, what a condescending, obscurantist idea these people have of the working classes!

Because since 1981, until last May, it was the Bourdieu-Meirieu model who won at the top of the State, and in particular in the entrenched camp of Rue de Grenelle, where the ministers pass but where the doctors of egalitarian cretinism are irremovable.

They will say that I exaggerate. I am unfortunately below reality. I only want proof of this in this very French history of the baccalaureate, which would only be comic if it did not have, as we finally realize, dramatic consequences.

Initially, the deliberate desire to give the baccalaureate to anyone who attends. Luc Ferry even claims that to stick to it, you have to make a written request… But the baccalaureate, we forget it too much, is the first higher education diploma. Its function of minimal selection – at the very least of orientation – having disappeared, the result has been a gigantic traffic jam at the entrance to universities. In some options, we are to reject "very good" mentions in the baccalaureate! Consequence: we have recourse, under the pretext of not selecting, to the drawing of lots! We are ashamed for the University. But this buffoonery has at least the merit of demonstrating that the refusal of any selection by knowledge has the inevitable consequence of negating knowledge itself. And the triumph of obscurantism! Do you know of any other place, in France or in the world, from the United States to North Korea, where skills and competencies are selected by drawing lots?

If only the results in terms of equality compensated for the abandonment by the School of its scientific ambition! This is not the case: not only is France a country in the process of slow deculturation, as evidenced by the cumulative results of the Pisa surveys and the Shanghai ranking of higher education establishments, but it remains one of the nations Europe where the inequalities observed at school are the deepest. It is a bitter failure that only the complicity of the specialized sections of the well-meaning press manages to conceal in part from the general public.

The truth is quite simple: school is not made to reduce inequalities.

The truth is quite simple: school is not made to reduce inequalities. Naturally, the education it provides must be given under conditions that are as egalitarian as possible. But if one wants to change the material, economic nature of society, it is the formation of primary incomes that must be tackled; that is to say on the scale of wages and income. Want to reduce inequality? Reduce wage gaps!

It is not by diverting the school from its educational mission that we will make the Revolution! Not even social reform! Because it is indeed a real diversion that it was a question of. The first declarations and the first decisions of the new Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, clearly meant that the Bourdieu-Meirieu line was abandoned in favor of the Jules Ferry line. I welcome it. It was time. Of all the tasks, without exception, which fall to the new power, the most urgent and the most decisive for the future is the reconstitution of the Republican School and an unprecedented development of scientific and technical research. Asian countries have understood this well, which, like South Korea, spend lavishly on education and research. For France, it is even the only variable available to the new president to put France back in the forefront of modern nations.

In this regard, the reforms just announced by Jean-Michel Blanquer are, for the most part, welcome, starting with the liquidation of the harmful work of the previous government in the area of ​​colleges. The re-establishment of the balance classes instituted in the past by Jack Lang, as well as the teaching of ancient languages ​​and European courses, was indeed the minimum. The reduction to twelve of the number of students in CP and CE1 classes in the priority education networks, the reinstallation of supervised studies for evening homework are measures that go in the direction of democratization.

The announcement of return to the syllabic method, instead of global or even semi-global methods, has brought out of their reserve the Diafoirus of pedagogy, which, for almost all of them, do not teach or have never even taught. These methods are no longer current, they claim from all walks of life. So what exactly are they complaining about?

The minister kicks in touch by getting rid of the mistigri of school rhythms on the municipalities. It's not brave.

I see only one reservation, but it is important. The minister kicks in touch by getting rid of the mistigri of school rhythms on the municipalities. It's not brave. The duration of education must remain the responsibility of the central power. We must not allow the four-day Darcos week, a rarity in the world, and an educational disaster to be reinstalled on the sly, but on the contrary restore an additional half-day, devoted, please, to French and arithmetic rather than archery and rhythm dancing.

Do you know why, despite their vibrant declarations, successive Presidents of the Republic since Georges Pompidou have lost interest in the School? Because it is an area where the results are slow to be felt and, therefore, of low electoral return. If Emmanuel Macron had the courage to tackle this immense project, better still, to continue it until the end of his five-year term, I would be, in the name of a certain idea of ​​the Republic and of education, willing to forgive him for any nonsense he might commit elsewhere.


I have known, during my existence, three successive intellectual glaciations, which it is good to recall at a time when Islamism strikes with redoubled blows, not only on bodies, but also on minds.

The first was the Stalinist glaciation. It marks our post-war period. In the intelligentsia, words were still frozen, words watched, opinions controlled, exchanges forbidden. Anyone who questioned the excellence of the regime led by Comrade Stalin could only be an agent of American imperialism. The inherently murderous nature of the Soviet dictatorship was, however, blinding even to the less knowledgeable; but divided between the force of evidence and the pressure of political correctness, many intellectuals multiplied the contortions which led many of them to a nervous breakdown, even to the temptation of suicide.

The second glaciation was Maoist. It did not have the enormous arsenal constituted by a powerful, respected, even hegemonic communist party in certain disciplines. His devotees repeated in vain – already! – that Maoism "had nothing to do" with Stalinism, the worm was in people's minds. To dispel any doubt, they replied with increased fervor and obsequiousness towards the new living god. It was the Chinese themselves who undeceived them, as the Russians had done earlier for Stalin.

The third glaciation, we live it nowadays, it is the islamist glaciation. The “nothing to do with”, which is to leftist devotion what the “at the same time” is to the mental universe of macronism, has asserted itself like never before. This is schizophrenic thinking applied to politics. We have seen the resurgence among certain intellectuals of the same type of argument that was current in previous ice ages: the theory of encirclement by imperialism, the erection of Islam into a "religion of the poor", resentment erected into engine of history, etc.

From this comparison, I want to draw some conclusions.

The “committed” intellectual is nothing other than a depraved militant, tempted to be forgiven, by an unlimited fideism, for his bad conscience for being neither a poor man nor an elected official in history.

The intellectual, who is normally a professional doubter, becomes as soon as he chases away the most credulous and the most servile of men. It is not for nothing that we have seen, to denounce alleged Islamophobia, intellectuals band together to lynch one of their fellows. Pierre-André Taguieff, Sylvain Gouguenheim, Olivier Grenouilleau, Marcel Gauchet, Michel Houellebecq, Alain de Benoist, Kamel Daoud, Alain Finkielkraut were among many others some of the victims of these collective lynchings which dishonor only their authors. The intellectual has the ethical duty to remain a single man; one should only be allowed to use this word in the singular.

The intellectual is the most religious of men. When an individual loses faith, he settles into agnosticism. An intellectual who loses faith immediately seeks another. It is not for nothing that around Stalin, then Mao, today Islamism, develops among many a cult of a religious nature, which takes the place of transcendence for them.

I will examine in a future article, what, in Islamism and in the mentality of its flatterers, is similar to Nazi and communist totalitarianism and what distinguishes them from it.


When a journalist, who presents himself as a polemicist, is hired to advertise the Élysée, he suddenly discredits journalism, controversy, and the Élysée.

Jacques Julliard is an editorial writer for the weekly Marianne.

Source: © Le Figaro Premium – Jacques Julliard: with Islamism, intellectuals risk blindness again

0 Comment

  • Patricia JS Cambay
    Published September 5, 2017 20h16 0Likes

    A very relevant article.
    The reforms announced by Jean-Michel Blanquer are good, but who will be able to carry them out?
    For decades, our educators have been trained at the school of Foucault, Bourdieu, Derrida, Meirieu, etc., at the Herbert Marcuse base.
    How many years will it take to turn the tide on one side and reasonably move forward on the other?
    Today's “intellectuals” and all our educators need to go back to school to study Bible/Torah verses.
    It is high time that we return to “Reason”.

  • yvets
    Published September 12, 2017 15h27 0Likes

    a new minister, new ideas bravo, very good
    but all these high officials, rue de Grenelle, in the rectorates, elsewhere, will they stay there?
    because we know it well, behind our smiling Najat, there was a mentor rather one. Will she stay in place, will she do what the Minister decides? and the programs concocted by these "knowing", will they be repealed?
    when I see some school books, I ask myself questions!!!

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