Blake Smith, An Unlikely Intellectual Convergence, City Journal, October 20, 2021
Christopher Lasch and Michel Foucault told a similar story about the modern obsession with identity—and its dangers.
Christopher Lasch and Michel Foucault are rarely read side by side. Yet the two thinkers praised each other’s work, recognizing themselves as involved in a common project. Both assessed, on the one hand, the ways elites use networks of expertise and injunctions to moral “liberation” to strengthen their domination—and, on the other, the ways that modern people have come to look for knowledge of themselves from such experts. They shared a sense that beneath progressive policies for public welfare, demands for sexual freedom and identity-based affirmation, and therapeutic practices of self-discovery lies a dangerous potential for authoritarianism and alienation.