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.

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


Regular Order

Jussie Smollett’s story has always sounded a little . . . extraordinary. Smollett, who appears on the television series Empire, says he was attacked on the streets of Chicago at 2 a.m. by two men who shouted racial and homophobic abuses at him, beat him, doused him with bleach, and fastened a noose around ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Let’s Chill about Hate Crimes

‘Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of the television show ‘Empire,’ was attacked in Chicago by 2 assailants who yelled racial and homophobic slurs,” tweeted the New York Times on January 29. Mark the tone of absolute certainty about an unconfirmed claim. Many other news outlets took the same tack. ... Read More