Antoine Idier, Michel Foucault before the Commission for Penal Code Review, Lundimatin, 16 mai 2021
These past few weeks I’ve often been asked about the subject which has taken the name of the “Michel Foucault affair” (even though there was no “affair” to speak of), following the delirious accusations of a right-wing essayist and their circulation without investigation (that is, with complicity).
To tell the truth, at first it seemed unhelpful to waste time clarifying even the few points raised. The facts themselves appeared totally whimsical : a notoriously reactionary accuser who was never close to Foucault, dates and details which didn’t match up, the absence of any witnesses, clichés straight from witch hunts (cemeteries at midnight), etc. I thought that journalists would soon investigate the source (What did you see ? When ? What proof can you share ?) and that the story would just as soon collapse.
We see here simillar mechanisms to those at play in the “Guy Hocquenghem affair” : the hatred of May 68 and the left, homophobia, the instrumentalization of childhood and the accusation of “pedophilia”, the obsession with a deviant intelligentsia and the “freemasons of vice”, etc. Although here it goes further : the accusations play an additional role, serving as a denunciation of Foucault’s thought more generally while at the same time his thought itself becomes proof, the means of corroborating the accusations, however grotesque they are.