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By Roger Anderson
BACK IN THE 1980s, as a student, I was introduced to the work of the French postmodernist philosopher Michel Foucault. My lecturer contrasted him with Enlightenment philosopher Charles Fourier, a utopian Socialist thinker who argued that in a perfect world the sea would lose its salinity and become pure lemonade — because everything would be so perfect. A bit crazy you might think, but wait until you meet Michel Foucault!
This atomised and idiosyncratic truth is actually all that matters, and anyone telling you that it’s nonsense is oppressing you by forcing their own version of reality on you.
Foucault, often viewed as the father of the Queer Theory which underpins the issues around gender we now grapple with, didn’t believe in anything as mundane as actual lemonade seas, he didn’t believe in any sort of objective reality at all. No, if you think the sea is made of lemonade — then, for you, the sea is lemonade. This atomised and idiosyncratic truth is actually all that matters, and anyone telling you that it’s nonsense is oppressing you by forcing their own version of reality on you.
…it’s my hypothesis that the individual is not a pre-given entity which is seized on by the exercise of power. The individual, with his identity and characteristics, is the product of a relation of power exercised over bodies, multiplicities, movements, desires, forces.
— Michel Foucault
Foucault, you see, didn’t believe in science. For him objective facts are oppressive and represent the assertion of control and power by other individuals. He wasn’t only anti-science, he was anti-Enlightenment. When he applied his ideas to sexuality, he concluded that all classifications; gay, straight etc., were recent constructs and, like everything else, articulations of power relations.
In short you could be anything if you liberated yourself from the narrow definitions and morals imposed by society. Literally, as Foucault’s extracurricular activities showed, anything was OK if you thought it was — even young boys in Tunisia. Any attempt by others to impose their morals on you was, by definition, oppressive.
Now fast forward to 2021 and the logical end result of all this is: If I decide I’m a woman, then I’m a woman. Anyone questioning this, including a ‘biological female,’ — remember science doesn’t matter, it’s just another oppressive system to be rejected — is, by definition, my oppressor. I can do or be anything I like just because I say so.
So, welcome to Foucault world folks! Amoral narcissism is encouraged, but leave your oppressive inhibitions at the door and don’t impose your reality on anyone else or you are oppressing them. You have become the oppressor and the bigot.
A final thought: Noam Chomsky, following his famous 1971 debated with Foucault, remarked
He struck me as completely amoral. I’d never met anyone who was so totally amoral, I mean, I couldn’t make sense of him. It’s as if he was from a different species, or something.
Noam Chomsky on Moral Relativism and Michel Foucault
9 thoughts on “Welcome to Foucault World Suckers!”
Looks like Monsieur Foucault has had an influence on thinking for the gullible and opportunistic that he couldn’t have dreamt of
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Reblogged this on Ramblings of a now 60+ Female.
I have always admired Chomski’s thought and reasoning since I first came across his writings when I was studying linguistics.
Over the years since then I occasionally tried to get my head round Foucault but could never manage it. his writings just seemed like a lot of words to me (poor translation? I thought) and I was unable to grasp any underlying meaning
So i was pleased to hear it wasn’t just me and that even a thinker like Chomski “couldn’t make sense of him”.
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If this caricature of Foucault’s massive oeuvre is what the woke lot use to justify their fluffy neo Stalinism, then it is an appalling indictment of their intellectual abilities. If it is yours, then I think you had the wrong teacher.
I have no interest in writing boring intellectual tomes about Foucault’s flawed theories – if you want a sociological thesis go elsewhere.
These are the real world ramifications of his “massive oeuvre” (I’d typify it as massive ‘something else’, a steaming heap of it) like it or not.
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Fascinating. After observing Nicola Sturgeon over the past year or so, I’d wrestled with what to make of her.
Some, increasingly shocked individuals were saying: Immoral; very immoral; sociopath.
Others were pointing to, or relating to, seemingly genuine indications of very rigid morals, even against herself.
I can think of quite extreme examples of both. More longstanding observers rationalised her via a Jekyll and Hyde interpretation.
But this paragraph from your article chimes exactly with my current position:
“So, welcome to Foucault world folks! Amoral narcissism is encouraged, but leave your oppressive inhibitions at the door and don’t impose your reality on anyone else or you are oppressing them. You have become the oppressor and the bigot.”
Ammoral narcissism. No foundation. No internal conscience. Like peering into the void of a non-person. With no internal moral anchor or compass.
But with one clear difference from that paragraph. The INTENTION of imposing that, fickle, transient, ever-changing, subjective ‘reality’. On everyone.
Unless she can internalise those two restraints from somewhere, they will be imposed externally, eventually. Either the external stability of psychiatric supervision, or the external conscience of prison wardens and Court Orders, or both.
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I do think the liberalism of the West is precious, as is its tolerance. I have yet to hear a woman say that they cannot tolerate trans people. The issue that women – it’s my take on it, anyway – have problems with is that the trans ideology affords no room for dissent or even debate. I would hope that even if I were a trans woman (it is trans women who are the real problem for women) that I would still be able to rationalise the hypothesis that, perhaps, my need to be validated as a ‘woman’ cannot go beyond a certain line. In other words, I have no prior moral claim to occupy female safe spaces and rights regardless of transition or self-ID, I am what I am, which is a trans woman. I’m an adult human female, by the way, just in case there was any doubt; I am trying to empathise.
It is possible – indeed, essential – to empathise with others, and I believe that most women do have empathy for trans women – or did, because I sense that it is rapidly dwindling. I was told by one poster on a National thread to go and read a woman’s (forgotten her name) book on queer theory, based, I suppose on Foucault and his adherents. I did read some excerpts from that book, but I had already read Foucault and other philosophers, and was both fascinated and repulsed by his arguments. The fascination came from questioning how he could ever have reached such an analysis and the repulsion from his (or, rather, my) conclusions. I still, to this day, cannot comprehend how his theory could lead to anything other than anarchy, especially sexual anarchy, with totalitarianism used to whip us onward to that end.
His philosophy is another form of the Ubermensch mentality in the dressing of a form of libertarianism taken to extremes. Those who are not able to withhold consent are merely used and abused because how could it be otherwise? As Chomsky says, there is just amorality – neither morality nor immorality, no prohibitive laws to prevent someone from doing what he/she/it/they want, no moral standards at all. On the face of it, absolute freedom seems to be a worthy goal, everyone allowed to be who and what they want, with society’s prohibitive laws struck down, but you can also imagine this stuff being extremely attractive to those with a predilection for predatory behaviours of every kind. Human beings are not that good at being able to police themselves, especially when there are no boundaries and no penalties.
As Chomsky also says, slavery, the oppression of women, the stigmatising of gay people have all passed into a new era of morality and have become intolerable to decent human beings in the West; their non-acceptance has become part of our culture’s moral and legal norms. Trans will also become widely accepted, I think, but not by oppressing others, and this is its sticking-point. It has singularly failed to impress its values upon the wider population precisely because it reeks of a totalitarianism that people very naturally veer away from, but, if it is willing to adjust its position, it, too, will become part of our culture of acceptance and normality. It cannot hope to do this by embracing Foucault and queer theory or by trying to oust women. This, in fact, simply reinforces its inherent immaturity.
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The reality of all of this jumbo jumbo is what can only be described as vile bestial behaviour. and the abuse of children. Depravity exists, it lurks in our community, and no one should be in any doubt that it doesn’t.
The SNP and their bedfellows the Greens are not short of activists, who are well into the spectrum of depravity. For them the ‘ freedom ‘ of children, or adolescents of age ten upwards to be free to legally engage in sex is a something that should be legislated for despite what the majority of people think, despite the majority thinking it is child abuse, paedophilic.
Similarly, these people also subscribe to the rights of individuals, the so called chicks with dicks to invade the space of every woman and girl. For them the bearded middle aged man in a dress self identifying as a woman should have the right to share a toilet, a locker room, or in fact any space where for example one’s ten, twelve or fourteen year old daughter could be.
Or what of health care. With the current coronavirus crisis having caused huge delay and cancellation to cancer treatment, cardiac surgery, joint replacement and other such treatments, the leader of one of the Scottish political parties was recently arguing in parliament that more medical resources should be diverted to effecting procedures on trans people seeking presumably gender reassignment. That for him was a burning issue of unfairness, but unfairness to who – the cancer patient to be denied surgery.
With all of this wrapped up in absolute hostility it is no surprise that this move towards a bestial depraved and perverted society, or at least a bestial depraved and perverted society in the minds of the priorly somnolent majority, is now becoming a huge political issue.
Especially since a speaker at an Alba women’s conference last Saturday was issued with death threats now being investigated by Police.
But make your own mind up on this and read the above linked article in Wings about the Scottish Green Party , their leadership, and one of the party activists. Not exactly what you’d want for your children. Sickening in fact. And that what’s on public view!
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Reblogged this on Kilted Splendour.