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Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault (born June 15, 1926, Poitiers, France; d. June 25, 1984, Paris), birth-name Paul-Michel Foucault, was a French philosopher and historian associated with post-structuralism whose work in the study of the cultural bases of sexuality, psychology and criminology was broadly influential within and beyond the academy. Regarded as a left-wing icon and a "gay" icon, Foucault can be best classified as a sociopath rather than a socialist, insofar as there is any consistency in his ideas. There is no other explanation for his eccentric insistence on the similarity between such disparate institutions as schools, hospitals, factories, prisons and barracks. It is notable that while he insisted on their resemblance, he himself chose to live in universities, not in a prison, factory or barracks. Foucault was an atheist.[1] See also: Atheism and postmodernism

Foucault's politics were lacking in any consistency. He praised Ayatollah Khomeini a theocratic dictator who suppressed human rights, despised democracy and imposed Sharia law on homosexuals in Iran.[2] Similarly, he also reflected in 1978 "What could politics mean when it was a question of choosing between Stalin’s USSR and Truman’s America?", the implication being that he considered both to be equally evil.[3] Foucault spoke out against Mass surveillance, although he was more concerned with America having mass surveillance than other countries. The closest thing he gave to a good word about America was to say that, despite what his fellow Europeans claimed, America wasn't sexually puritanical and if anything it, or at least 1960s San Francisco where he taught at Berkeley was, in his view, even more liberated than Europe, considered the center of global sexual liberation, in that regard.[2] Foucault was largely responsible for the philosophy department of the then-recently created University of Vincennes being infamously radicalized, and he participated with 500 students in a takeover of the school, hurling projectiles at cops to "resist" (with Foucault in particular being especially eager to do so), as part of a solidarity movement for the Sorbonne student takeover that same day in January 1969.[4] Ironically, the University of Vincennes's creation had been the result of similar radical student riots during May of the prior year. Foucault had not participated in the May 1968 riots himself, as he was teaching at the University of Tunis at the time they were occurring, though he was nonetheless kept briefed on the events by his homosexual lover and student Daniel Defert (who had been in Paris at the time) via the latter holding up a transistor radio to the phone for hours on end giving reports of the disorder.[4] Foucault regarded the pathological pornography of the Marquis de Sade with veneration although he would later admit that he thought his idol "hadn't gone far enough."[4]

In the 1970s, Foucault, in a similar manner to Norman Mailer petitioned for the release of the killer Jack Abbott, and for the release of French bank robber Roger Knobelspiess from jail, arguing that the method used to imprison him a form of torture and an abuse of the law. He allowed himself to make a special case out Knobelspiess simply because he was a writer, which could be regarded as elitist.[5]

Shortly after Knobelspiess was released in 1981, he ended up in jail again in 1983 for the same charge. Foucault, when confronted with this, denied that Knobelspiess was guilty of the first charge simply because of the recent arrest, and said that "You are a danger to yourselves and a danger to us, if, that is…you do not wish to find yourself in the hand of a legal system that has been put to sleep by arbitrariness. You are also a historical danger. For, like a society, a justice which has to question itself can exist only if it works on itself and its institutions."[6][7]

In 1971, Foucault entered a blind debate with linguist and fellow radical Noam Chomsky, with Foucault's answers in relation to what should happen if the Proletariat were to take over shocked even Chomsky, causing him to admit after the debate that he "felt like [Chomsky] was talking to someone who didn’t inhabit the same moral universe." Specifically, the responses in question were "When the proletariat takes power, it may be quite possible that the proletariat will exert towards the classes over which it has just triumphed, a violent, dictatorial and even bloody power. I can’t see what objection one could make to this",[8] as well as replying to Chomsky's insistence that the proletariat "must act as sensitive and responsible human beings" that such ideas as responsibility, sensitivity, justice, and law were merely “tokens of ideology” that completely lacked legitimacy as well as stating “The proletariat doesn’t wage war against the ruling class because it considers such a war to be just,” he argued. “The proletariat makes war with the ruling class because … it wants to take power.”[4] Similarly, he also entered a debate with Maoists around the same time, and in response to the concept of a People's Court by the Maoists, advocated for popular justice without any courts at all in an explicit comparison to the September Massacres during the French Revolution in 1792.[9][10] To sum this up, he is justifying lynching, mob rule, and anarchy, instead of the rule of law. It is also to be noted that these justifications made him even more extreme than even his contemporary leftist academics such as Jean Paul Sartre and Karl Marx, who advocated going as far as to reenact Robespierre's Reign of Terror.

In addition to his inconsistent politics, his entire philosophical outlook was also disorganized, with evidence at such being deliberately disjointed under destructive intentions, and that said philosophy was also rooted in his knowingly frequenting gay bathhouses and infecting people with AIDS.[11]

Homosexuality and Connections with Pedophilia

Foucault's homosexuality was apparently present since he was a child, as his father had once sent him to a doctor due to his attraction to the same sex, which contributed to his pathological hatred of the medical industry, viewing it as a form of oppression, and at the very least factored into his hatred of his father, which he publicly stated in multiple instances.[12]

In 1977 Foucault and a group of others (mainly male homosexuals) presented a petition to the French Parliament for the abolition of all age of consent laws. It was co-signed by Louis Aragon, Roland Barthes, Jean-Louis Bory, Patrice Chereau, Michel Cressole, Gilles Deleuze, Guy Hocquenghem, Jack Lang, Georges Lapassade, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Christian Hennion, Gilles Sandier, Françoise d’Eaubonne, André Glucksmann, Felix Guattari, Daniel Guérin, Bernard Dort, Pierre Guyotat, René Scherer, Christiane Rochefort, and Gabriel Matzneff. The petition was prompted by a current prosecution and the letter's text was as confused as everything else Foucault wrote, protesting that the accused person had been detained too long before trial, and that the offences had merely consisted of kissing. It used these red herrings to obscure the real issue. In 1979 Foucault signed two open letters to the French press repeating his demand for the age of consent to be abolished altogether. [13]

The title of Foucault's book “The History of Sexuality” is bizarre in view of the fact that it almost ignores the existence of the female sex. Foucault regarded women with contempt and marginalizes them in his world-view. He writes "sexuality" when he means homosexuality. The book gives a highly inaccurate picture of the mores of pre-Christian societies in Europe. He presents pederasty as normal and completely conflates it with homosexuality. Foucault was not a classical scholar and his picture of mores in ancient Greece is highly inaccurate. In ancient Greece, in most city-states, including Athens, homosexuality between adult men was not tolerated and sodomy was illegal between freeborn males of any age. Its health dangers were well understood. The man-boy love they talked about was limited to fondling and intercrural intercourse and was regarded as something a married, heterosexual man did on the side, not as sexual identity. Men who shunned women and preferred other men were extremely rare, almost unknown, and certainly not considered normal. Sodomy could be legally practiced with slaves, eunuchs or male prostitutes but the latter were despised and men who consorted with them were often ridiculed and disapproved of. Foucault condones and trivializes the abuse of underage girls as well as of boys, describing the rape of a young girl as a petty matter, [14]

In a dialogue with other fashionable left-wingers, Foucault expressed his disapproval of laws against adult-child sex: "And to assume that a child is incapable of explaining what happened and was incapable of giving his consent are two abuses that are intolerable, quite unacceptable." [15]

He died of AIDS due to his libertine lifestyle, in particular homosexuality, after discovering the presence of a subculture in Sacramento Bay, California, and knowingly infected several others in bath houses.[2][4] One of his last words was, in a dismissal of safe sex, "to die for the love of boys, what could be more beautiful."[16] He also was a pedophile, and he often acted as an apologist for homosexuality and pedophilia by acting as if distinctions between adults and children didn't exist. [2] (It should be noted that Simone de Beauvoir made a similar claim in the late 1970s regarding her own preying on her female students, many of whom were grossly under age).[17][18] On a similar note, when working in Tunisia during the late 1960s, he raped several little boys as young as eight in various graveyards, and paid them beforehand, with the French media witnessing this yet being indifferent.[19]

His major works include

  • Folie et déraison, Paris: Gallimard, 1966 (Madness and Civilization, translated by Richard Howard, New York: Pantheon, 1965)
  • Naissance de la clinique, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1963 (The Birth of the Clinic, translated by A. Sheridan Smith, New York: Pantheon, 1973)
  • Les mots et les choses, Paris: Gallimard, 1966 (The Order of Things, New York: Vintage, 1973)
  • L'archéologie du savoir, Paris: Gallimard, 1969 (The Archaeology of Knowledge, translated by A. Sheridan Smith, New York: Harper and Row, 1972)
  • Surveiller et punir, Paris: Gallimard, 1975 (Discipline and Punish, translated by Alan Sheridan, New York: Pantheon, 1977)
  • Histoire de la sexualité, 3 volumes: La volonté de savoir, L'usage des plaisirs, and Le souici de soi, Paris: Gallimard, 1976 (History of Sexuality, 3 volumes: Introduction, The Uses of Pleasure, and Care of the Self, translated by Robert Hurley, New York: Vintage Books, 1988–90).


"Michel Foucault", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


  1. Religion and Culture Por Michel Foucault,Jeremy Carrette, page 15.[1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "America: Exceptionally good or exceptionally evil?". WND.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "The perversions of M. Foucault by Roger Kimball - The New Criterion".
  9. Miller, James. 2000. The Passion of Michel Foucault. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. 203-206.
  10. (archived version here)
    Foucault: In my view one shouldn't start with the court as a particular form, and then go on to ask how or on what conditions there could be a people's court; one should start with popular justice, with acts of justice by the people, and go on to ask what place a court would have in this. We must ask whether such acts of popular justice can or cannot be organised in the form of a court. Now my hypothesis is not so much that the court is the natural expression of popular justice, but rather that its historical function is to ensnare it, to control it and to strangle it, by re-inscribing it within institutions which are typical of a state apparatus. For example, in 1792, when war with neighbouring countries broke out and the Parisian workers were called on to go and get themselves killed, they replied: 'We're not going to go before we've brought our enemies within our own country to court. While we'll be out there exposed to danger, they'll be protected by the prisons they're locked up in. They're only waiting for us to leave in order to come out and set up the old order of things all over again. In any case, those who are in power today want to use against us--in order to bring us back under control--the dual pressure of enemies invading from abroad and those who threaten us at home. We are not going to fight against the former without having first dealt with the latter.' The September executions were at one and the same time an act of war against internal enemies, a political act against the manipulations of those in power, and an act of vengeance against the oppressive classes. Was this not--during a period of violent revolutionary struggle--at least an approximation to an act of popular justice; a reaction to oppression, strategically effective and politically necessary? Now, no sooner had the executions started in September, when men from the Paris Commune--or from that quarter--intervened and set about staging a court: judges behind a table, representing a third party standing between the people 'screaming for vengeance', and the accused who were either 'guilty' or 'innocent'; an investigation to establish the 'truth' or to obtain a 'confession'; deliberation to find out what was 'just'; this form was imposed in an authoritarian manner. Can we not see the embryonic, albeit fragile form of a state apparatus reappearing here? The possibility of class oppression? Is not the setting up of a neutral institution standing between the people and its enemies, capable of establishing the dividing line between the true and false, the guilty and innocent, the just and the unjust, is this not a way of resisting popular justice? A way of disarming it in the struggle it is conducting in reality in favour of an arbitration in the realm of the ideal? This is why I am wondering whether the court is not a form of popular justice but rather its first deformation.
  11. `The recent biographical revelations about Foucault's sado-masochistic amusements and his bath-house promiscuity - activities that apparently continued after he knew about the danger of AIDS and even had reason to suspect that he himself had already contracted AIDS - are wholly commensurate with the quality of the temperament displayed in his writings. Foucault's temper is malignant, and his philosophy is primarily destructive in intent. By totalizing discontinuity, difference, and contradiction, he makes negation his central theme, his constant purpose, and his only conclusion. As a result, his rhetoric often loses itself in obscure complications, dissolving into a tangle of opaque words that is enveloped in a fog of vague animosity sporadically illuminated by flashes of malice, paranoia, and narcissism. Given the general tone and temper of Foucault's work, one could draw a parallel between the dissemination of his writings and his apparently knowing participation in practices that contribute to the spread of an infectious, fatal disease.' (Carroll, Joseph. Evolution and Literary Theory, 1995, pp. 445-8)
  14. The History of Sexuality, I: 31-33.
  15. Le Monde, Jan. 26th 1977.
  16. Quoted in Mark Mark Lilla, The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics New York: New York Review of Books, 2001, 157.

See also