Magazine | March 9, 2015, Issue


“Do you still look down on mothers who choose to stay at home to raise their children and bake cookies?” (American Elephant, @AmericnElephant)

Foucault among the Buckleyites

I was delighted to see Daniel Foster quoting Michel Foucault in your pages. Despite his reputation as being the typical French intellectual who is chic, impenetrable, and wrong — which he was, on occasion — Foucault took many positions we would recognize today as being right of center. He disavowed Marxism by 1973, supported Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his struggles against the Soviet state, and toward the end of his life was recommending that people read Mises and Hayek. I am presently writing a book about his last three lecture series before his untimely death in 1984, when he was taking seriously such questions as truth-telling and character development and, as he put it, “not being governed quite so much.”

It is my hope that more conservatives take a second look at this scholar.

Nathan Harter

Christopher Newport University

Newport News, Va.

In his “Happy Warrior” column (February 3), Daniel Foster makes a persuasive case that today’s Mount Holyoke co-eds (and I use that term advisedly) take their vaginas, or lack thereof, entirely too seriously. Eve Ensler’s ubiquitous theater piece, and the controversy over its supposed exclusion of transgenders, make clear the feminist movement’s latest strategy: If they can’t completely eliminate sex, they’ll damn well make it boring.

Yet in the course of an otherwise delightful column, Foster does not entirely avoid the whiff of the seminar room himself. Not only is there entirely too much Foucault for anyone more than five miles or three years from a college campus, but: ouroboros, dialectic, hegemony? Yes, this is William F. Buckley’s magazine, but NR’s founder used fancy words sparingly, and always with a hint of irony. By using academese to dismiss academia, Foster undermines his case against overintellectualism.

Ronnie Meyers

Paterson, N.J.

Daniel Foster responds: Mr. Meyers, osculate my fundament.

Steven F. Hayward is a visiting professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a fellow of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. He writes daily at

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

B.S. Degrees

Exhibit A in the category “Questions Nobody Is Asking”: Does Howard Dean believe that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is qualified to be president? “Qualification” has two related but distinct senses: The ...
Politics & Policy

Can Israel Survive?

Jerusalem — In the weeks since the Charlie Hebdo and kosher-supermarket massacres in Paris, thousands of French Jews have contacted Israeli authorities to begin the process of aliyah, the “ascent” ...


Politics & Policy

Reform the Clean Air Act

Once every eight years comes a day perfect for hiding the most unpopular and ill-advised policy decisions. It arrives right after a second-term president’s midterm elections, when he will never ...

Books, Arts & Manners


Happy Warrior

The Darwinian Tradition

I’ve always been interested in the application of Darwinian and ersatz-Darwinian thinking to areas outside biology proper, and back when I was merely a future grad-school dropout, I spent a ...
Politics & Policy


Foucault among the Buckleyites I was delighted to see Daniel Foster quoting Michel Foucault in your pages. Despite his reputation as being the typical French intellectual who is chic, impenetrable, and ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she was not 100 percent sober during the State of the Union address. That’s okay, Madam Justice: We’re not sure the president was, either. ‐ President ...

Most Popular


Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More
Politics & Policy

He Just Can’t Help Himself

By Saturday, the long-simmering fight between Nancy Pelosi and her allies on one side and the “squad” associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other had risen to an angrier and more destructive level at the Netroots Nation conference. Representative Ayanna Pressley, an African-American Massachusetts ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More