Faith in humanity and science, there is no other choice

LFor a long time France proclaimed itself a country of science, which the world admitted without much reservation. It was the legacy of our kings, who were passionate about techniques and inventions, the consequence of the Enlightenment, which saw in the progress of mankind a sure path to freedom, the will of revolutions, empires and republics to make it one of the glories of the nation.

Founded in 1794, the École polytechnique was both the flagship of French science and the pride of successive political regimes. Even today, for example, it is she who opens the 14th of July parade. Two-cornered and sword, these young full heads – and in principle well-made – are successors of the Nobel Prize winners Becquerel (physics, 1903), Allais (economics, 1988), Tirole (economics, 2014), Marshals Vaillant, Niel, Fayolle, Joffre or Lyautey, the three presidents of the republic – Sadi Carnot (1857), Albert Lebrun (1890) and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (1944) – and thousands of other high-ranking engineers, captains of industry and inventors who have made human life easier and often better. On that day, the polytechnics received strong applause from the police, gendarmes and legionnaires.

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And yet, a few weeks earlier, the students in the 2022 parade had honored their masters during the graduation ceremony by declaring: “Science will not save us. All other things being equal, this statement “which smelled a little of the young man”, as a teacher from III would have saide Republic, recalling a famous “the Republic does not need scientists”, uttered by the President of the Revolutionary Tribunal, on May 5, 1794, sent Lavoisier to the guillotine.

Eco-bobo mother

The X thus took over from the graduates of AgroParisTech – the result of the merger in 2007 of companies founded in 1824 for logging, in 1826 for agronomy and in 1893 for the food industry – who had declared that they wanted to “desert” much of the subject of their education, namely to make agriculture safer and more productive.

If we dared, we would hardly exaggerate to say that the descendants of those who made it possible to feed the world would be ready to starve it in the name of eco-bobo mother, which is the militant and somewhat childish vision of realities and the necessities of the time.

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In any case, we would spit no better in the soup than these two pampered campaigns, valued and sometimes remunerated by the citizens’ taxes. They have also inspired many speeches of the same barrel in business schools, other refuges for spoiled children. It is more expected that veterinary trainees refuse to treat animals for slaughter, or that HEC graduates reject any idea of ​​trade or profit. So the loop is closed.

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This movement is not anecdotal. He is really only an avatar of the general state of mind of the French today, who – this is the most serious consequence – no longer believe in vaccines and imagine that they are injected to cause harm. ! With such beliefs and behavior it is not surprising that we report the return of tuberculosis and polio – currently in Britain – while we wait for the children to die or be disabled again due to lack of vaccination accepted by their parents from childhood diseases , thought to be extinct. It is the famous rule of “I am right” which, in the name of an illusory absolute individual freedom, sweeps away the collective interest.

Totalitarian project

Another example is climate change. The disaster has been announced, it is a fact. But the worst is certain if the man uses his greatest talent and abilities, which even anti-speciesists would have a hard time denying. In any case, it is not the admonition, the neighbor’s accusation and the nonsense that is unfortunately constantly disseminated that gives us a chance to get out of it, but the sciences – we will leave for today political will, courage and intelligence aside.

The glory of the Enlightenment, and for two centuries the glory of the French nation, was to bring all the sciences to the fore and even to the heart of the humanistic project. By a priori refusing to still believe in it, the dominant voices admit their distress and their own fears, but also an oppressive if not totalitarian project.

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But in a few decades, man has proven himself capable of meeting enormous challenges, such as eradicating hunger, where it caused millions of deaths 50 years ago – thanks Agro! –, to supply water and electricity almost everywhere – thank you Polytechnique!

To refuse to believe in science and progress – even if it means redefining it reasonably – is to refuse to believe in ourselves, almost in humanity. The choice is simple: give up now or fight for science to save us.

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