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