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.