When Angela Davis, a domestic terrorist, wrote, “Racialized Punishment and Prison Abolition”, she began by extensively citing an ex-Marxist French philosopher. “Michel Foucault’s ‘Discipline and Punish’ is arguably the most influential text in contemporary studies of the prison system,” she argued while crediting herself with an analysis of the “racial implications” of his ideas.
There is a straight line that runs from Foucault and Davis to the “prison abolition” movement that in its mildest form encompasses police defunding and reducing penalties for offenses and diverting criminals away from prison, and to proposals like Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s BREATHE Act that would create a “roadmap for prison abolition,” with the “full decarceration of federal detention facilities within 10 years”.
Terms like “carceral” or “decarceration”, now commonly used by leftists agitating for the elimination of prisons, police and the criminal justice system, owe much to Foucault.
Foucault’s Prison Information Group had originally been set up to aid Communist terrorists behind bars in Europe, but quickly linked together the idea that criminals were revolutionaries and criminal justice needed to be abolished. Angela Davis, who faced her own criminal charges over Marxist terrorism, took Foucault’s ideas and racialized them. And now they’re broken out.
While black nationalists are more likely to cite Davis and other black nationalists, she and leftist intellectuals very clearly credited Foucault and his Marxist analyses of criminal justice. Neither group tends to mention that aside from leftist extremism, Foucault was also a pedophile.
Many political activists have hidden or not so hidden private lives, but Foucault’s pedophilia was a fundamental element of his opposition to prisons and the criminal justice system.
Two years after Foucault wrote ‘Discipline and Punish’, the book described by many defunders as the founding text for the prison abolition movement, he signed a petition calling for legalizing sex with 13-year-olds. This was not a one-time event. Foucault had signed another petition “calling for the freedom of three men accused of sex with boys and girls between age twelve and fifteen” as part of his vocal activism on behalf of legalizing the act of molesting children.
Foucault’s interest in prison abolition for pedophiles was not strictly objective. A decade earlier, he had been sexually abusing eight-year-olds in Tunisia.
“They were eight, nine, ten years old, he was throwing money at them and would say ‘let’s meet at 10pm at the usual place’” a former comrade related. “He would make love there on the gravestones with young boys. The question of consent wasn’t even raised.”
All sorts of writers and thinkers were privately guilty of assorted offenses, but it’s impossible to distinguish Foucault’s pedophilia, his sympathy for pedophiles and his opposition to locking them up from his more popular views on prisons and the criminal justice system.
In “The History of Sexuality”, he wrote censoriously of a 19th century village for persecuting a farm laborer who had groomed little girls to sexually pleasure him.
“The pettiness of it all,” he bemoaned. “This everyday occurrence in the life of village sexuality, these inconsequential bucolic pleasures, could become from a certain time the object not only of collective intolerance, but of a judicial action.” Foucault wrote sympathetically of “these timeless gestures, these barely furtive pleasures between simple-minded adults and alert children.”
An understandable position for a man who had paid starving little boys to do even worse. So was Fouculat’s insistence that believing “a child is incapable of explaining what happened and was incapable of giving his consent are two abuses that are intolerable, quite unacceptable.”
The Marxist influenced philosopher who later died of AIDS was certainly not the only 70s European intellectual to justify child abuse, but he did so in the same analytical terms that are at the core of police defunding and prison abolition arguments, and although long dead his sticky intellectual fingerprints are all over its modern rebirth in the western world.
A CBC softball interview with Ruth Wilson Gilmore, a black nationalist leftist activist calling for eliminating prisons, has her saying, “We in the contemporary abolition movement are fond of citing Foucault”. Gilmore often mentions the ex-Marxist child rapist as an inspiration.
A New England Journal of Medicine paper promoting “restorative justice” or having criminals apologize to their victims instead of being locked up, quotes Foucault. An Indiana Public Media story promoting prison abolition includes Foucault’s ‘Discipline and Punish’ as one of the top items on its reading list. Foucault runs through the abolition and defunding movement. And there is no escaping the fact that his seemingly dispassionate analyses of the prison system, grounded in pseudo-Marxism, were really expressions of sympathy for leftist terrorists.
And for pedophiles like him.
Despite widespread knowledge about Foucault’s crimes against children, no one in the movement influenced by his ideas has ever bothered to disavow them or even answer whether they believe that child rapists should be an exception to their proposed “prison abolition”.
‘Abolitionists’ go through every logical fallacy in the book. They redirect, argue that the question is a distraction, that child abusers are a minority of criminals, that most of them never get caught and that the phenomenon will disappear once the root causes are addressed. They claim, as The Intercept does, that imprisoning pedophiles is racist because, “while whites constitute the majority arrested for child pornography possession, black people get longer federal sentences.”
Mostly they act as if their movement hasn’t addressed the question and doesn’t need to.
But Foucault, the godfather of prison abolition, had already addressed the question. The movement, which quotes him so often, refuses to admit to his answers because it would destroy whatever support it has even among those who favor releasing most criminals.
Prison abolition was the brainchild of a child rapist who wanted to legalize pedophilia. He opposed prison because he belonged there and because the inmates would have never let him live if they knew what he was. Had Foucalt ever been imprisoned for his crimes, he would have been beaten to death by even the most hardened criminals: as imprisoned pedophiles often are.
The Left has much to say about America’s original sins and how they define the present, it has far less to say about its own original sins and how they define its movement. Prison abolition, police defunding and similar criticisms of the justice system are built on a child rapist’s conviction that raping children should not be a crime and that no one should be locked up for it.