One of the advantages of living in two countries – in my case Britain and France – is the realisation that modern madness is international. This, of course, is a great consolation for any patriot who sees his own country sliding ever further down the slope of institutionalised idiocy.
In France, the Minister of National Education, M. Benoît Hamon, has for the moment abandoned an experimental course in schools to prevent children from developing stereotypes about the sexes (for example, that men are better footballers than women). But this is only because the courses don’t actually work: the great goal of moulding the children’s young minds will continue. As the left-wing newspaper Libération puts it, this will be achieved:
… mainly by training all teachers so that they do not
reproduce the stereotypes, including by the way they behave
towards boys and girls, and by teaching that would be, as a
result, entirely seen through this prism.
In these few words one can see that, culturally if in no other way, the Soviet Union decisively won the Cold War.
In fact, this kind of nonsense has been going on for thirty years in France, not coincidentally the years of its relative decline. In 1985, the then Minister of National Edication, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, made a pass rate of 80 per cent in the baccalauréat the goal a matter of government policy.
It will surprise no student of the Soviet Union to learn that the goal was soon achieved, and that last year the figure was 87 per cent. The production quota has been over-fulfilled! Glory to the pupils of France! Glory to the teachers of France! Glory to the Ministers of National Education of France! Glory to the bureaucrats of the Ministry of National Education!
This year the pass rate will be over 90 per cent, in some areas of the country 94 per cent. ‘We are advancing towards 100 per cent success,’ says an ironic headline in Le Figaro: but why such lack of imagination? Why not more than 100 per cent, like votes for an African dictator in a single-candidate election? Pupils – sorry, students – could pass two, three, many baccalauréats.
The only fly in the ointment of this ever higher ascent is that, by all objective measures, educational standards are falling and youth unemployment in France is about 25 per cent. Glory to errors of grammar! Glory to bad spelling! Eternal glory to the unemployed youth of France!