Obituary: Etienne Borne
ETIENNE BORNE, a founder of the French Christian Democratic Party, the Mouvement Republicain Populaire (MRP), was a philosopher, teacher and one of the principal ideologues of French Christian Democracy. He was a keen political polemicist and was involved in a number of famous arguments on behalf of the MRP and of his conception of society. He was not, himself, a deputy but he was a member of the most influential political circles of Christian Democracy and a friend of many of its great names including Emmanuel Mounier and Georges Bidault.
Etienne Borne was born in Manduel (Gard), was a student at the Ecole Normale Superieur, and taught at the Lycee de Nevers, the University of Sao Paulo, and a succession of French schools as the philosophy agrege. In 1962 he was made an Inspecteur d'Academie and in 1971 an Inspecteur General. He was Secretary General of the Centre Catholique des Intellectuels Francais.
Borne was a passionate moderate. He remarked that the doctrine of the centre was the hardest to practise. As the editor of the MRP's Terre Humaine from 1951 to 1957 he was influential amongst intellectuals. Borne was also the MRP's link to the French Labour movement and was on the Christian Democratic Left.
In 1950 Borne was engaged in controversy with the pamphleteer Joseph Hours, defending the MRP from the charge that it was anti-patriotic and insisting that the subordination of the state to a higher ideal (Europe) was not 'anti-statism'. Borne entered the ring on behalf of the European ideal. The building of Europe, he asserted, was the one great new idea (alongside nationalism and imperialism). His speech to the 1954 MRP congress was a famous call to arms over Europe.
Unlike many of his milieu, Borne was not a neutralist and had a healthy suspicion of the Soviet Union but he did take the 1952 Republican Party rhetoric about 'rolling back the frontiers of Eastern Europe' rather too seriously and condemned the United States' 'bad humour' and impatience. He was a critic of liberalism and of Marxism and looked to a 'people's democracy which was neither totalitarian nor individualistic'. He was a critic of the Fourth Republic's Algerian policy.
After editing Terre Humaine he was one of the founders of France Forum and, after hesitating whether to support the Socialist Gaston Defferre, threw himself behind Jean Lecanuet in the 1965 presidential election.
From the blogs
Justice, the bedrock of our society is for sale under the Government’s latest plan to sell legal aid...
Take inspiration from the green-fingered brigade who have been showing off their creativity at the R...
There are more empty shops on our high streets than ever before, says another report into the state ...
The guard has changed at Old Trafford for the first time in 26 years. Meanwhile, down the road, the ...
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.