Indeed—and Foucault had much stronger libertarian elements in his thought that, in fact explicitly so in some places regarding limited government and free markets and, of course, anti-statism. A Nietzschean philosophy professor discusses Foucault’s classical liberal elements here, also here is a typical take on Foucault’s libertarian elements from a prominent (lew rockwell) libertarian perspective, and here is a Critical Review article analyzing Foucault’s later-life ‘hyper-liberalism’ and ‘libertarian politics.’
Um, are you serious? Like, is this a joke? Have you ever read a word of Foucault? The basic Foucauldian idea of the subject is so fucking antithetical to anything even remotely related to libertarianism that I’m surprised you can stomach his thought. This is more specious than your Walt Whitman bullshit, and that was some specious bullshit. And yes, I’m eschewing civility because i don’t take seriously this kind of wankery from anyone. Read Foucault; you are wrong.
It’s been demonstrated to my (rather reasonable) satisfaction that (1) you refuse to discuss libertarianism without strawmanning the position (or else you are simply ignorant) and (2) have made some really shitty ‘arguments’ in the past about the superiority of your ‘readings.’ Given 1 and 2, I believe it’s enough to counter your assertions with more of the same. I have read Foucault a fair bit. What are you even disagreeing with in what link and on what basis? As with most tumblr anti-libertarians, you’d be hella more interesting if you actually engaged specific positions honestly and explicitly.
1. I didn’t make shitty arguments about my readings; I made readings that flew in the face of your shitty arguments. The fact that I can wipe the floor with your line of thought when I’m stinking drunk says something about the intellectual rigors of libertarianism.
2. Again you defer to others to argue for you about Foucault. That’s not an argument. If I wanted a bibliography, I”d ask. I want you to make the argument using Foucault. But I can point you to all of Deleuze’s writing on Foucault (the stuff in Negotiations, his book Foucault), Foucault’s relationship to Sartre vis-a-vis Mao, Foucault’s writing itself (and his thoughts about the constitution of the subject, as well as his express disavowal, along with Nietzsche, of the validity of “freedom”), Judith Butler’s readings of Foucault, Derrida’s reading of Foucault…I can play this game too. Now you read these things and come back to me with specific things you disagree with. Or do your own argumentative work, you anti-intellectual kumquat.
3. There are no libertarian positions that are honest, so I can’t engage them honestly.
Okay, two things that will summarily destroy dude’s laughable (literally, I can’t stop laughing) argument that Foucault was ohmygodican’tevenfinishthissentence …a libertarian thinker. These two points are not a matter of style of “reading.” They are well documented in Foucault’s own words in interviews and the like, as well as all of his contemporary’s responses (as Pritch pointed out) and later criticism. In fact, this is ELEMENTARY STUFF. THIS IS STUFF A FRESHMAN YEAR PROF TELLS HIS STUDENTS READING FOUCAULT FOR THE FIRST TIME:
1. As David mentioned, FOUCAULT’S CONCEPTION/CRITIQUE OF THE SUBJECT IS COMPLETELY INCOMPATIBLE WITH LIBERTARIANISM. Foucault’s philosophical project began with a critique of the subject’s central place in Western thought (he called it “narcisstic” and “transcendental”), instead, he argued that subjects are formed and produced within discursive regimes of power, duh. He was mostly concerned with putting into question the a priori consciousness of being, i.e., the Cartesian cogito/subject, that has dominated Western discourse by tracing the subject as produced/embedded within relations of power. He’s trying to rethink life outside the subject form. Agency, at least traditional conceptions of agency, are put into question here. To be fair, his critique of Marx is that even the capacity for labor is produced by technologies of power. That’s not to say he wasn’t a Marxist (HE WAS HELLO), but he was interested in expanding that project. Now, I read some of your “examples” or whatever and the first one relies entirely on Foucault’s conception of juro-disciplinary power (not his later and more nuanced conception of biopower), but even then, the author makes the claim that: “Foucault comes close to a rather anarchist position, in which all power should be resisted.” UM, NO. Resistance for Foucault was fundamentally not a question of a subject willing resistance to power. THAT IS SO SO WRONG BECAUSE ITS INCOMPATIBLE WITH HIS IDEA OF THE SUBJECT AS I STATED ABOVE. HERE LOOK AT THIS REALLY FAMOUS QUOTE BY FOUCAULT:
“The death of man is nothing to get particularly excited about. It’s one of the visible forms of a much more general decease, if you like. I don’t mean by it the death of god but the death of the subject, of the Subject in capital letters, of the subject as origin and foundation of Knowledge, of Liberty, of Language and History.”
2. FOUCAULT’S CONCEPTION/CRITIQUE OF POWER IS COMPLETELY INCOMPATIBLE WITH LIBERTARIANISM. Okay this is related to everything I said above because POWER IS EVERYWHERE ALWAYS. It’s not a matter of “resistance” or “anarchism” then, because those things do not exclude the grasp of power. One of your other “examples” claims that Foucault was a “liberal” because he was concerned with the “self’s relation to self.” I mean, broadly speaking, yes Foucault was interested in the self’s relation to self. Unlike most misreadings of Foucault’s “totalizing” power-knowledge, there is a kind of “freedom” in Foucault. BUT ITS EXACTLY NOT A LIBERALIST CONCEPTION OF FREEDOM THAT RELIES ON THE TRANSCENDENTAL SUBJECT/AGENT THAT ONLY NEEDS TO OVERCOME/RESIST POWER. Here, have another quote in case you still don’t get it:
“In short, it is a matter of depriving the subject (or its substitute) of its role as originator, and of analyzing the subject as a variable and complex function of discourse.”
If “freedom” can be said to exist in Foucault, it is tied to his conception of life as alterity and biopolitics as inseparable from the productive, “natural” dimension of human existence as the element in which power has to function. So famously, he said power becomes the “power to make live and let die,” but there is a limit here. There is something radically other about life that exceeds the grasp of power. This is because technologies of government/security control the milieu of a population but are unable to completely penetrate its biological processes. Therefore these technologies only function in a regulatory way. The political tendency towards systemization (e.g., “resistance”) is based on the presupposition of the impotence of power. The residual power of life is disclosed not as merely power over life but as power of life. There is an Inherent unpredictability here that serves as the limit that governmental power cannot overcome, but it is also, ironically, the source for power (basically the idea of exponential increase). Life remains resistant to biopolitical calculations then, but it is not because of a willing agent-subject. It is tied rather, to life as force of chance and to the capability for error. Foucault’s challenge to biopolitics was to conceived of a politics of disorganization that affirms life without finality, ends, or goals. Here’s where Deleuze’s conception of life as “ontology of force” becomes a helpful corollary. Anyway, you can see the radically different conception of life/the subject/politics here that only a very deliberate misreading could mistake for “liberalism” or “anarchy.”
Now, if you have read Foucault, as you claim (and just to be clear I’ve read D&P, the three parts of HoS, Birth of the Clinic, Fearless Speech, good chunks of Archaeology of Knowledge and The Order of Things, half of his College de France lectures, more essays than I can count, more interviews than I can count, and some of these more than once or twice), THERE IS SIMPLY NO WAY YOU COULD SERIOUSLY MAKE THIS CLAIM BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT THE TWO THINGS LISTED ABOVE ARE THE CENTRAL TENETS OF HIS WORK. Also, I didn’t even get into his thoughts on community, care, and alternative politics, which are all explicitly Marxist. Here, you can begin by reading this: