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Our education system was and still is today one of the best in the world. However, it is now experiencing new problems, which have been consistently denied as a result of both political point scoring and a lack of courage. Dare we suggest that the true reasons for these indisputable difficulties actually come, for the most part, from the school itself ? What is the solution ? How can teachers be helped to do their best so that their pupils perform better ?" Luc Ferry
Listening, closeness, emergencies, love - politicians today play up to the mother. Leaders dare not lead, the citizens are now so child-like that they simply wait to be told what to do by the State : the Leisure State behaves like those mothers who cannot stand to think that their children can play by themselves, and insist on keeping them busy. Where are the fathers ? Is this the end of the paternal reference and the symbolic order of things ? A psychoanalyst, Michel Schneider was formerly a director of music and dance at the Ministry of Culture.
Given the intellectual force of liberalism, its political appeal, its economic effectiveness and its historical significance, why is it so unpopular among French intellectuals? Why does it elicit so little serious discussion? And why is it the object of so much confusion, so many clichés and misunderstandings? Is it simply out of resentment, because intellectuals feel that the market does not afford them the material and symbolic rewards that they believe they deserve? Is it just because they prefer to play a critical role in a society where capitalism is triumphant? Perhaps, but these reasons do not explain everything and they certainly dont explain the systematic rejection of liberal thought in France. A sociologist of knowledge rather than of social determinism, and a specialist in belief systems, Raymond Boudon ruthlessly analyses the cognitive mechanisms that make liberalism so hateful in the eyes of French intellectuals. The result is a keen, detailed review of the clichés that have encumbered discussions for more than thirty years. Raymond Boudon, a professor at the University of Paris-IV, is a member of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques. He us the author of numerous works, most notably LInégalité des chances, La logique du social, LIdéologie ou lorigine des idées reçues, LArt de se persuader, Le Sens des valeurs and Déclin de la morale? Déclin des valeurs. He is the co-author, with R. Leroux, of Y a-t-il encore une sociologie?