Crispin Sartwell, Michel Foucault Switches Sides, Splice Today, 7 June 2021
Neither the left nor the right can deal with an anti-authoritarian.
The French philosophe Michel Foucault (1926-1984) is currently up for re-assessment. In The New York Times, Ross Douthat writes that Foucault, usually thought of as a notorious postmodern neo-Marxist leftist relativist, has lately been associated with the Trumpian right. And an essay in The Point surveys the various attempts to make the French bad boy over into a neo-liberal, for heaven’s sake, and condemn him on that basis. (Neo-liberalism and Trumpian populism are also completely incompatible with one another.)
Right. Michel Foucault’s not on your side. But that doesn’t mean he’s on the other side.
In my opinion, the most important intellectual book of the late-20th century is Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.