Power, Knowledge, and Michel Foucault (w/ Jason Kuznicki)

When I was a scholar at the Cato Institute, interns frequently asked me for reading recommendations. My advice was typically to read books outside of the libertarian canon. This was for a couple of reasons.

First, because understanding the ideas of those who disagree with us helps us be better advocates for our own ideas. But, second, because thinkers who aren’t necessarily aligned with our politics perfectly, or who reject them entirely, nonetheless have valuable insights to offer. Intellectual provincialism leads nowhere.

It’s with that lesson in mind that I brought intellectual historian Jason Kuznicki (@JasonKuznicki) on today to talk about the French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault. Foucault is often either looked at skeptically by non-leftists, or just ignored entirely. But his studies of knowledge and power, and the relationship between the two, offer powerful tools for critiquing the state, as well as other forms of coercion.

With Jason’s help, we explore Foucault’s core ideas and some of his most famous works. And we place them in the context of the broader struggle for liberty.

ReImagining Liberty is a project of The UnPopulist, and is produced by Landry Ayres. Podcast art by Sergio R. M. Duarte.

Music: Finding the Balance by Kevin MacLeod | Link | License

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