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I can hardly imagine a person more unlike me than Michel Foucault. Flaming homosexual (note the strong contrast!), Communist, French.
But man, the more glimpses I get of him, the more I like him. Thaddeus Russell first explained Foucault's appeal, so I decided to start learning about him. I like to approach harder subjects through easier genres (where I write about approaching philosophy through history), so I'm approaching Foucault through biography: The Passion of Michel.
I also keep my eyes out for any reliable endorsements, like the one I found at Law & Liberty a few days ago. It's an excellent essay. I liked it so much, I subscribed to the author's Substack blog.
I especially liked the observation that we need to kick against the pervasive governing that is the hallmark of modernity's political practice. We need to engage in types of "counter-conduct," which are . . .
efforts to step outside of the dominant framework in which the conducting of conduct takes place; to find, as it were, alternative arenas of life in which different governing styles operate. These—the family, the church, synagogue or mosque, and the local community—are places where one does not merely rebel against the mainstream, or, for that matter, embrace abstract freedom from any and all social ties whatsoever. They are places where one discovers a web of relationships of authority, obedience, and mutual support deriving their strength from love, friendship, and trust rather than (as is the case with the state) from power alone.
For reasons I'll flush out, I think such counter-conduct is a right-hemisphere activity: a rejection of the aura of power/control that envelopes society and an embrace of the freedom necessary to appreciate the mystery of existence . . . and its ultimate unknowability (the Tao).
And so, yes, I will be delving into the work of a person who (some think) knowingly killed himself through sodomy in San Francisco bathhouses during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. The guy was a freak, but it seems he was fearless in his pursuit of truth, even if it started taking him in a decidedly un-leftist direction.
Based on my initial readings, I think Foucault would've converted (technically in his case, "returned") to Catholicism if he had lived long enough. Of course, "long enough" in his case probably means age 230, but still: I think he would've ended up there eventually.