Alexander Riley, Senior Fellow, The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), specializes in the French intellectual tradition. In the July 5th issue of The American Mind, “Postmodernism, Criminality, and Madness,” he has no compunction in disclosing that many of the left-wing French intellectuals, among the most lionized of their profession, of having gone stark raving mad.
Let evidence be adduced: French philosopher Michel Foucault, one of the most influential theorists of sexual politics during the post-war era, after having committed allegedly despicable acts involving underage Tunisian children, died because of complications from AIDS. Notoriously homosexual, he had been frequenting gay bathhouses while in San Francisco performing research. Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser had frequent “mental breakdowns” prior to his institutionalization. He murdered his wife during one “psychotic episode” in 1980. Foucault’s dear friend, Gilles Deleuze, who paid homage to the Marquis de Sade, committed suicide in 1995. To top it off, a host of the “highest profile leftist French academics,” among whom Dr. Riley numbers Foucault, Althusser, Deleuze, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Roland Barthes, and many others, signed on in 1977 to abolish “the penal code on sexual relations between adult and minors.”
Riley, a professor of sociology at Bucknell University, comes up with the endgame in all this abstruse manipulation. For pied-piping scoundrels like Foucault and Deleuze, which were seeking to abolish the category of nature itself, madness essentially amounted to the creation of social control, for the structures of power produced by the powers that be had to be imposed on the unwitting or recalcitrant. Not only pathologies proved to be illusory, according to this line of thinking, but the authorities also kept the incarcerated or institutionalized from uniquely deciphering or deconstructing their exonerated fate. One hears the echoes of all this in Black Lives Matter movement and the deinstitutionalization of the lawbreakers or the mentally ill.
“Their ideas,” according to Riley, with not touch of exaggeration, “survive and are taught in many of the college courses, by many of the college professors, who today . . . adhere to the same distorted view of human life and society.” More’s the pity.