One of the best intellectuals of the twentieth century said that at first, he thought he did not understand the books of the postmodern movement, but then he realized that there was nothing to understand. The books that are not understood are full of elementary errors that are never corrected because they are not even read by those who buy them, and the few who do read them do not understand them. There was a time when teachers with a lower level were not understood by their students in class and failed many of them so that they would think that they had such a high level that they could not understand them.

Nothing is missed by not reading, for example, the books of Bourdieu, Foucault or Derrida. Foucault always defended the decriminalization of rape and pederasty and wrote thousands of pages to justify this extreme sexism saying that all relationships, including sexual ones, are power relationships, both sexuality between adults and between an adult and a minor, both with free consent of both persons and with violence. Many people buy his books or simply hear about them, if they read any of them, they do not understand them and end up putting Foucault as a reference of education and even feminism. Their disorientation is of such a caliber that they claim to be against child sexual abuse, and they have as a referent the greatest defender of child sexual abuse. The tactic of Foucault’s hooligans is to try to make those who read more and better than them feel insecure. When asked why they use someone who defends pederasty as a referent in education the only thing they answer is: you haven’t understood his work.

Even books with a good intellectual level and with theories in favor of non-sexist values in education, if they are not written in understandable language, fall into elementary errors that are never corrected, and furthermore, those who claim to have read them multiply those errors. There are thousands of examples, but here I can only give a few. Even books of very good quality by very documented authors –as is Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action– have errors that the author never corrects, like the concepts that he misinterprets in Austin’s Theory of Speech Acts or Parsons’s Theory of Societal Community.

Almost nobody notices it and it is frequent that some brilliant student, who knows more English and consults the Internet more, notices it and the professor corrects him believing that the mistake is his student’s, since such difficult books cannot be mistaken, and neither can the friend who brags about being an intellectual.

Intellectually excellent books that contribute to the improvement of education and society are written in understandable language. Those who know a lot do not need distance, nor stages, nor to write in a way that cannot be understood. On the contrary, they write so that everyone can understand them. That way, if they make a mistake, no matter how small, it is quickly detected, they are told about it and correct it. The conclusion is very clear: the intelligent thing is to read excellent and therefore understandable books.

Por Ramón Flecha

Catedrático Emérito de la Universidad de Barcelona. Investigador número 1 del ranking científico internacional Google Scholar en las categorías de "gender violence" y "social impact" (violencia de género e impacto social, respectivamente). Director de REVERS-ED.