New wave of French Conservatives set up school in Lyon

Marion Maréchal

From Church Militant

Located in Lyon — what Harvard and Oxford-educated, Paris-based, Washington Post correspondent James McAuley described as a “bourgeois provincial French city” — the Institute, founded in September 2018, calls itself a “school of knowledge not ideology.”

According to the school’s website: “We prefer learning to ideologies. We are constantly concerned with respecting a real intellectual pluralism which favors reasoning, initiative and analysis, and which enables everyone to confront the most varied currents of thought.”

In her remarks on the website, Maréchal points out that the social and political sciences are plagued by ideological activism. “Nothing is missing from the call for political correctness: obsession with race and gender, indigenism, decolonial theories, neo-feminism, immigrationism, LGBTQIAA+, Islamic proselytism,” she says.

The social sciences have been under fire for their unreliable results since at least 2012. The headline from a 2018 article in Wired magazine captures the sentiment: “The Science Behind Social Science Gets Shaken Up Again: An attempt to replicate some of the decade’s best research shows some of it … doesn’t.”

Maréchal believes the need for reform in political and social science is urgent because the results of sociological “research” often drive public policy decisions.

More broadly, she compares the overall climate of political correctness on American college campuses with the same kind of political pressure French students endure.

ISSEP is pursuing partnerships with global corporations and institutions of higher education. It has official relationships with St. Petersburg University in Russia and Kaslik Holy Spirit University in Lebanon.

The Institute has been criticized because it is unaccredited by French education authorities.  For example, in McAuley’s piece for the Washington Post, he described ISSEP as a “for-profit” entity even though it appears to be supported by a not-for-profit foundation.

The educational project is also derided because Maréchal lacks traditional credentials for leading an institution of higher education.

But perhaps what raises European and American eyebrows to the greatest heights is ISSEP’s ties to Steve Bannon and Breitbart. Bannon is an unofficial advisor to the project, and Raheem Kasaam, former editor-in-chief at Breitbart News London, serves on the school’s equivalent of a board of trustees.

Bannon is involved in a similar undertaking in Italy, Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI) led by Benjamin Harnwell. Bannon and Harnwell made a deal with the Italian government to lease Trisulti Abbey, planning for it to be both the new headquarters for DHI and the Academy for the Judeo-Christian West. It is what Bannon called a “school for gladiators” that would train a new generation of political leaders in the tradition of Judeo-Christian values.

Church Militant asked Harnwell why the United States doesn’t have a “leadership institute” like DHI or ISSEP.

In occupied Europe, we are now fighting for the right to be Christian. It’s that simple. If you are an actual believing Catholic (as opposed to simply an ethnic Catholic) you are now thought of as slightly odd. And that’s just by other Catholics. Whereas in the [United] States — probably thanks to the relatively healthy influence of Evangelical Protestantism — it’s not that remarkable. So the battle on your side of the pond is not yet as elementally existential. So while in Europe we’re fighting to be Christian, in the United States, because the situation isn’t that desperate, you have been able to direct your energies towards towards the pro-life movement instead (which is so much stronger than ours).

So I’ll put it like this — in 25 years, what is left of a mainstream presence of Christianity in Europe will have ceased to exist. Whereas in the [United] States, I don’t think the outlook is quite as pessimistic. But I don’t doubt, by the way, that if it weren’t for the peculiarly strong presence of Protestantism in the States, acting as a sort of orthodox gravitational pull on Catholics, the situation in the U.S. Catholic Church would be as dire as it is in Europe.

Bannon is a strong supporter of both DHI and ISSEP. In a joint press conference with Maréchal’s aunt, Marine Le Pen, at the 2018 National Front Party congress in northern France, Bannon gushed, Maréchal “is not simply a rising star on the right in France. She’s one of the most impressive people in the entire world.”

While focused on establishing a new kind of graduate school in the social sciences, Maréchal may well be working on a second front. The Sydney Morning Herald says, “This 29-year-old, charismatic, thoughtfully-spoken extremist could well be the woman most likely to challenge Emmanuel Macron in the 2022 presidential election.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s