Foucault’s rejection of the concept of justice led him to espouse several other views that were out of step with the left-wing consensus. For example, Foucault was skeptical of the notion of a “universal desire—much less a ‘right’—to any social good, including health care.” Daniel Zamora has argued that Foucault abandoned collective revolution entirely, focusing instead on “a wide array of micro-powers that operated at the level of sexual relations, schooling, family structures, expertise, science,” and everyday nuances in “social and cultural organization”. Foucault reduced revolution to a question of individual lifestyles—a trend we can see reflected today in the preoccupation with microaggressions, the need to oppose patriarchy in the family structure and the idea that using nonbinary pronouns is a revolutionary action. Foucault transformed revolution into a lifestyle of inclusion.
With his emphasis on lifestyle and individual choices, Foucault laid the foundation for the culture of the wokescold, which replaced the Chomskyite vision of a collective, class-driven left, focused on structural change. Foucault’s postmodern critique was not intrinsically married to any particular system of human organization. Foucault opposed Marxism for most of his life and his thought is consistent with neoliberal capitalism in striking ways.
Foucault’s revolutionary critique was largely concerned with social issues, particularly sexuality and mental health. However, there is nothing inherently revolutionary about a libertine social politics. The rejection of traditional childrearing practices, for example, is a boon to corporations, who would prefer not to have to give employees time off for parenting.
Foucault is insistent that the bourgeois mode of existence is wrong, and he is in favor of revolutionary thought, yet what happens when the systems of knowledge and power in a society reject the bourgeois mode of living? When the heteronormative patriarchy that has traditionally excluded all other identities is itself excluded, what is a postmodern thinker to do? Where should he focus his critique of systems of knowledge and power?
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor