Donohue v. Foucault

Here’s an odd coincidence. A local used bookstore recently received several good-condition titles by the French philosopher Michel Foucault, and was kind enough to set them aside for me to look at before they were shelved. Since I know the name, and that he’s a popular modern figure, but had never read any of his stuff, I brought all of them home; they are now stacked with a couple of hundred other books that I’m going to read some day.

Well, what do you know? All of a sudden, famous nutcase Bill Donohue has a bee in his bonnet about none other than Michel Foucault.

In Just Love, Farley makes it clear that she thinks very highly of Michel Foucault [pronounced FOO-CO]. She likes the way he taught that sexuality was nothing but a social construct, having no roots in nature. Foucault also taught that AIDS was a social construct, not a disease. He died of this “social construct” in 1984 at the age of 57.

In my new book, Why Catholicism Matters, I recount his lifestyle as an example of what happens when the Catholic virtue of temperance is condemned. “The French Nietzsche,” as he was called, declared God, and man, to be “dead.” This drug-addicted philosopher had sex with males of all ages, cruised the San Francisco gay scene with abandon, indulged in sadomasochism, intentionally infected as many young boys as he could, and even justified rape. This is Sister Farley’s intellectual hero. [emphasis in original]

Donovan is so maddened by Foucault that he revisits him again today:

Farley’s intellectual hero is Michel Foucault, a homosexual drug addict who intentionally transmitted HIV to unsuspecting boys and who also justified rape.

Foucault was gay, and appears to have had out-of-the-ordinary appetites; there is universal agreement that he had a taste for leather and was a regular at sadomasochism orgies when he was a guest lecturer at Berkeley. But to each his way-creepy own, I suppose; when consenting adults are in Rome, and all that.

The allegation that he deliberately infected boys with a deadly disease is not true. Foucault died in 1984, before there was even a test for AIDS, and during a time when the emergence of AIDS as a new and usually-fatal disease was just entering public consciousness. A Berkeley colleague recalls:

“I was telling him about AIDS and he wouldn’t believe it. He said this was American anti-sexual hysteria,” Sluga says. “I think he underestimated the realities, unfortunately.”

It is certainly possible that, dying of a barely recognized disease, Foucault transmitted it to others. There is no evidence — none — that Foucault deliberately infected anybody.

In other words, Donohue is libeling a dead man in order to defame a nun.

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