Michèle Alliot-Marie

A Nation of Irresponsible Citizens Publication date : September 1, 1999

The question of responsibility is one of the cornerstones of the French Republic. Yet, contends the author, French society and its legal system do its utmost to encourage the irresponsibility of the majority and the excessive responsibility of a highly active minority, which includes entrepreneurs, presidents of associations, mayors and volunteers.
Michèle Alliot-Marie offers a highly pertinent analysis of the multiple aspects of the loss of responsibility in many areas: school and family life, public spirit, respect of the law, work, politics, the civil service, the legal system, and the media.
She deconstructs the mechanisms — too many laws, too many rules and regulations — that discourage ordinary citizens’ personal initiative, especially among young people.
Instead of increaing the number of useless protective barriers, she argues that citizens should be developing a new sense of responsibility. This may be the price of true democracy and of the success — and perhaps — survival of the French nation.

Michèle Alliot-Marie, who holds a doctorate in law and political science, is a lecturer at the University of Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne. She was a junior minister in the Ministry of Education from 1986 to 1988, and Minister for Youth and Sports from 1993 to 1995. She is a member of the political bureau of the French Republican Party (Rassemblement pour la République), assistant mayor for Saint Jean-de-Luz, and the first vice-president of the local council for the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. She is also the president of the Fondation du Bénévolat.