Frenchman Michel Foucault (1926-1984) is one of the most important characters in the development of Cultural Marxism and through it, Identity Politics and the Social Justive Left. Normally considered to be a Postmodernist, Foucault mixes the ideas of his great heroes, Jean-Paul Sartre and the Marquis de Sade (1740-1816).
There is little good to say of Sartre, a typically French, bourgeois self-loather with a ghastly delight in his own wordiness, but I shall return to him in another piece. De Sade is another kind of fish altogether.
Although known as a ‘libertine’ for his use of explicit sexual imagery in fiction, de Sade was no mere hedonist. Rather, he was a libertarian, who used his prose to attack the social and religious mores of the day, which he regarded as stifling, inhumane and hypocritical. De Sade wrote at a time, in France, when criticism of the establishment or the Catholic Church might have been a terminal mistake and so he wrapped his political message in terms of sexuality. This did not stop him being jailed more than once, but it did keep his head attached to his shoulders.
His most famous work, ‘Justine’ 1791, is actually the story of two sisters, both brought up in a orphanage. On leaving it, one of them, Juliette, loses no time in becoming a courtesan and profiting greatly, leading a life of pleasure and luxury, while Justine herself tries hard to avoid this path in order to follow a ‘righteous’ one. However, at every point she is beset by lechers and sexual perverts, who prevent her from living what she sees as a moral life. In the end, she is rescued by Juliette, who has become wealthy and famous.
In other words, for de Sade, crime does indeed pay, in buckets, and a virtuous life is a life wasted, since the individual can never stand against the general corruption of humanity and may only either enter into and profit from it, or succumb to penury, misery and abuse. (An interesting comparison may be drawn between ‘Justine’ and John Bunyan’s ‘A Pilgrim’s Progress’, the latter being, of course, one of the most important works of the Protestant Enlightenment; the two are diametrically opposed.)
For de Sade, the perversions of humanity represent the Catholic Church, which he hated. His object was to shatter the illusion that following its code, and remaining silent while it abused you, was the right thing to do. Instead he portrayed it as sheer folly, proposing that it was far better to indulge the human instincts than to deny them, since the good and the meek would always be preyed upon by the cruel and avaricious. To that end, Justine’s consorts are painted in the blackest, most reprehensible form, filled with greed and lust for power, which latter was expressed in terms of sexual gourmandism.
Foucault’s miasma of perversion
If you are tempted by the dark miasma of sexual perversion that informs Foucault, cut out the middle-man and go straight to de Sade. It is from his misunderstanding of de Sade that Foucault gets his one big idea, that sex and violence are the same thing and that, therefore, ‘oppression’ is sexual in nature as well as that of all sex being oppressive. For de Sade, the association of sex with violence was the monstrosity of Catholicism, but for Foucault, it becomes the sickening well of perversion from which all of humanity is born.
Thus Foucault divines that all human relationships are about power and its expression is invariably through sexual dominance, specifically by those who penetrate (men) ‘oppressing’ those they penetrate (women and homosexuals.) Sex, therefore, is violence perpetrated by the strong (in de Sade, the Church and the Establishment) upon the weak (in de Sade, the libertarian thinkers who were challenging their rule, including de Sade himself.) For Foucault, women and particularly homosexual males are made to play the role of the oppressed free-thinker in de Sade, and mainstream society becomes the universal ‘oppressor’.
De Sade allows Justine to be saved by someone who accepts reality as it is and who has lived as a libertine (his analogy for a libertarian) and so his conclusion and moral is that it is far better to live life to the full than to be constrained by social and particularly religious notions, which only promise happiness in the afterlife and which are false in essence. Like Voltaire, de Sade prefers the here and now. Foucault, however, has replaced the Church with the broader mainstream society, leaving him shadow-boxing, especially in an era when taboos about sex were tumbling. Simply, for de Sade, the act of setting aside Catholic dogma, expressed through the pursuit of licentious sex, is the first step towards freedom, but because Foucault has no such specific a target as dogma, he is unable to conceive of any liberation from his ghastly system, and so, death, with which he was obsessed, became the only escape.
While love in de Sade is hard to find but still exists, in Foucault it becomes identical with the killing urge and so, the ultimate act of love becomes murder and that of self-love becomes suicide. Foucault could not, constrained by his own circular logic as well as concern for his academic career, advocate wholesale murder, so instead, he became fascinated by suicide.
His entire, excruciating, 4-volume ‘History of Sexuality’ can be reduced to, ‘Dominant men screw everyone else and they always have done, isn’t that awful?’ Never bothering to explain why natural hierarchies might be a bad thing, his solution to this was that only male homosexual sex, in which both partners penetrated each other, and so shared the ‘oppression’, could be considered a morally acceptable form of intercourse. Unfortunately, this core thesis continues to corrode and pollute Western academic thinking.
It should be no surprise, after that, to discover that Foucault was a sado-masochistic homosexual male. He considered death to be the ultimate sexual act and wrote several paeans in praise of it. He admired the idea of group sex-suicide, in which everyone had sex and consummated it, as his warped mind desired, by killing themselves. This particular idea took deeper hold in his later life, when he began to see the consequences of the early spread of HIV — which amounted to a kind of Foucauldian heaven, as homosexual men had sex with, and killed, each other at the same time.
Sex as a weapon
Through Foucault, sex became the weapon of death itself, a bizarre and highly corrosive concept which directly led to the feminist notion, as expressed by Dworkin, that ‘all sex is rape and all men are rapists’. That this is a perversion is obvious: sex creates life, it does not end it. It is not a violence but a gift.
Sex is in fact the precise opposite of what Foucault, Dworkin and the other addled purveyors of postmodernist, feminist garbage contend it is. It is the finest act that we can indulge, because it makes life; and life is the most precious thing humans know. We are here for one purpose alone: to reproduce. The function of females in mammalian species is to conceive within their bodies and carry, to term, new individuals, which they should then dedicate their lives to rearing. This is how all human cultures evolved, into two separated but complementary groups in which men act as protectors for women and children.
Bear in mind too, that men do not need women in order to have sex. Males can both penetrate and be penetrated and, since time out of mind, men have responded to the unavailability of women by having sex with each other. It was women who needed gender, as a way to attract and bind to them, sexually active men. And even today, put a male into a dress, make him suitably feminine and there is no shortage of men who will penetrate her. For thousands of years, males have been dressing as women and modifying their bodies, through the use of hormone-rich concoctions or through simple castration, in order to attract men — and succeeding.
That is why the sanctity of marriage is so protected in religion. It is not to ‘bind the sexuality of women to men’ but to formally and contractually make a man responsible for, and the protector of, each woman, obliging him to provide for her and all her offspring. Marriage and all the other social conventions surrounding sex are the means through which men’s natural urge to fuck everything in sight can be moderated. Society was arranged — by women — such that sex would only be available to men if they signed their lives away to a particular woman. Understand that the loser in the marriage bargain is always the man and it has ever been so. He is rendered unable to spread his seed far and wide and must restrict himself to sex with only one woman — an unnatural condition if ever there were one; yet it is one that men accede to willingly, for the good of their genes.
Foucault — being wrong becomes a lifestyle
Foucault was diametrically wrong. If there is a power dynamic in sex it is not of men over women, but of women over men. If there is oppression, it is not of men ‘oppressing’ women, but of women oppressing men, by limiting their choices in sex, deliberately and persistently. Women want to control the sexual marketplace and they will do anything to that end, from shaming men for having sex with other males, through attempting to prohibit prostitution and attacks on transsexual women, to trying to shut down the nascent business in artificial sex dolls.
We will go into this more deeply in another piece.