Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Michel Foucault. Four decades since complications from AIDS brought his career to a premature end, the French philosopher—a role he both embraced and pushed away—continues to top rankings of the most-cited scholars in the humanities. This is to the chagrin of conservative critics of higher education, for whom his influence is synonymous with the perversions, figurative as well as literal, of the academy and of modern life. His vast authority is equally lamented by many orthodox Marxists, who hold him responsible for the shift away from class as the central fact of social organization and the proper locus of radical activism—and toward boutique “identitarian” causes and the emancipation of the self from normative structures of all kinds. 

To even mention Foucault these days is to get tangled in these crisscrossing lines of critique. Not only that, but it is increasingly difficult to assess his body of work on its own terms, independent of the institutional structures that bear the imprint of his ideas, albeit in bowdlerized form. From third-rate college courses in which students who can barely read a novel are taught to “problematize” and “interrogate” this or that classic; to dormitory sexual-safety workshops that reject “normativities” and welcome subaltern “sexualities” (always with the silly pluralizations); to sundry h.r. trainings and corporate Pride messages that present even more rudimentary versions of the same rhetoric and conceptual framework—our institutional landscape can often look like it was designed by the Frenchman.

But if so, then it is all the more reason to consider these discourses in the light of Foucault’s own insights into the workings of discursive power. There, in his writings and lectures, we find a philosopher of unquestionable genius. Michel Foucault was perhaps the closest figure the 20th century offered to the European ideal of the Thinker Who Had Read Everything. He philosophized with a healthy and daring disregard for disciplinary boundaries, drawing freely—and commandingly—from history, theology, classics, literature, jurisprudence, political economy, anthropology, medicine, and psychiatry, among other branches of study. 

“It is right and just that Foucault should be posthumously crowned the citation king.”

Unlike most of his academic imitators and putative heirs, moreover, Foucault was capable of crafting sparkling, highly ironic prose (“my aim is to examine the case of a society … which speaks verbosely of its own silence”). Roger Scruton, of all people, was a fan of his style. And it is right and just that Foucault should be posthumously crowned the citation king of the humanities: After all, he inaugurated a systematic and highly original science of modern power, one that was bound to catalyze new fields of inquiry, even if many of those who took them up weren’t up to the task. This new science benefited greatly from Foucault’s refusal to be confined to philosophical abstraction, from his limitless curiosity about power at the most concrete and granular levels.

His, however, was a bleak genius. The normative and metaphysical void at the heart of his science of power created the conditions for the bastardization of his thought. The result is that today, some of the most powerful institutions in our society deploy his concepts and vernacular to perpetuate themselves in a manner that is downright, well, Foucauldian. Or put another way, Foucault’s ingenious methods for analyzing power have now emerged as but one more strategy for the maintenance and expansion of existing institutional power. This, even as these institutions themselves remain susceptible to his critique of what he called the “devious and supple mechanisms of power.”

When I first encountered Foucault, I was an undergrad Trotskyist just beginning to tire of street activism (George W. Bush’s war machine rolled on, no matter how many issues of our newspaper we hawked on the quad). Bored with orthodox Marxism’s formulas of socially necessary labor and surplus value, I gravitated to the usual names on the “theory” shelves of the university bookstore: Freud and Lacan, Deleuze and Guattari, Virilio, Baudrillard, Lyotard—and Foucault. Of these, Foucault made the slightest impression on me at the time and Jacques Lacan the strongest, to the point that I seriously contemplated psychoanalytic training. While Lacan wasn’t a philosopher, his method promised to yield a general knowledge about the causes of things—a knowledge arising from the clinician’s practice of healing troubled minds. 

By contrast, Foucault, though ostensibly the philosopher, seemed to be doing history … or something like it. As a historian, he wasn’t telling traditional stories of great men, of course. But nor was he concerned—not principally, at any rate—with the class-based patterns of subjugation and resistance that, according to my Marxist education, condition what actors believe, constrain their range of actions at any given historical moment, and finally generate social change. Instead, Foucault was obsessed with the micro-histories of institutions dealing with the sinful and the aberrant: the confessional, the mental hospital, the prison, the family magistrate’s chamber, the schoolhouse punishment room, and so on. 

Not the grand things in history but the seemingly marginal in human affairs interested him most. He wasn’t so much preoccupied with the power differentials and conflicts embedded in the mode and relations of production, as with the production of power in the hidden and embarrassing little corners of ordinary life—in the interplay between, for example, the young boy or girl just discovering masturbation and the Victorian governess charged with interdicting such behavior. 

More peculiar still, Foucault was elusive when it came to defining the objects of his investigations. You could never pin him down to spell out just what, say, madness or perversion is, as a thing in itself. Nor would he identify the immanent sources of these phenomena, whether in the psyche, prevailing social conditions, or some nexus of the two, as historicism would have it. Indeed, he wasn’t engaged in a historicist project—that is, beginning with what is conventionally taken to be a universal (“justice,” “beauty,” “rights and duties”) and then charting its alterations and contouring by contingent historical forces. 

“Foucault was elusive when it came to defining the objects of his investigations.”

Foucault’s method was far more radical and discomfiting than that. As he explained in The Birth of Biopolitics—his 1978-1979 lecture at the Collège de France and one of the rare instances in which he pulled back the curtain, as it were, on his lifelong methodology—Foucault asked history to tell the story of a given universal as if the universals don’t exist at all. Foucauldian historiography would trace the “concatenations” of institutional structures and discursive practices that surrounded a given human field—be it sex, psyche, family, or what have you—developing “knowledges” regarding it, transposing their grids on it, invading the field, and ultimately generating, distributing, and redistributing power between the various nodes of the social order. 

To take one example: What is monstrosity? Or who is the social monster? In his 1974-1975 lecture on the Abnormal—in which he previewed many of the major themes of his monumental History of Sexuality—Foucault tracked how the monster came to be defined in the course of an exchange between a well-established judicial power and a rising psychiatric power. Faced with cases of defendants who killed innocents for no legible motive, a desperate judicial system in the early-modern age turned to the apostles of the new sciences of the mind to ask (in a sort of dialogue between the disciplines staged by Foucault): 

I am confronted by a motiveless act. So I beg you, either find some reasons for this act, and then my punitive power can be exercised, or, if you don’t find any reasons, the act will be mad. Give me a proof of dementia, and I will not apply my right to punish.

To this plea, psychiatry proudly responded:

See how indispensable my science is, since I can perceive danger where no motive reveals it. Show me your crimes, and I will be able to show you that for many of them there is no motive. That is to say, I can show you that there is potential crime in all madness and thus justification for my own power.

The motiveless crime is as old as time immemorial. But the discursive figure of the “criminal monster”—who was dangerously present in the social body wherever madness was found, which is to say, everywhere—could only be defined in the terms of this power exchange between law and medicine (with much of the advantage accruing to the latter). One crucial implication is that power isn’t an imposition from the outside on the otherwise “neutral,” “objective” pursuit of knowledge. Nor can power ever be banished from these other domains, which are, in fact, domains of power. “Relations of power,” as he wrote in the first volume of his History of Sexuality, published in 1976, “are not in a position of exteriority with other types of relationships (economic processes, knowledge relationships, sexual relations), but are immanent in the latter.” 

Since the agents of this “power-knowledge”—priests and spiritual directors, educators and disciplinarians, scientists, physicians, psychoanalysts, judges, social workers, etc.—inevitably examine and categorize their subjects relative to the often-moralistic norms of their expertise, the “normal” and normativity must be seen as outgrowths of, and legitimating buttresses for, this very power. Following his academic mentor Georges Canguilhem, who outlived him by a decade, Foucault mounted a potent critique of the entire apparatus of social normalization. Imbued with a pseudo-scientific prestige, “normal” and “abnormal” had been used in the early-modern age to exert hitherto unprecedented levels of discipline over people with marginal sexual habits, racial minorities, the mentally ill, the disabled, those who simply didn’t fit in for one reason or another. Normalization was a grave crime by Foucault’s reckoning—perhaps the only one he recognized and condemned, insofar as he was capable of condemning anything. 

Today, a version of this set of propositions—about knowledge as itself an imposition of power, and “normality” as one of its most oppressive features—animates much of American higher education and our elite institutions more generally. It impels your average museum director to agonize over how the visual forms and curatorial lingo used to represent indigenous communities might perpetuate colonial domination; or a prestigious medical association to stage interminable critiques of its own long-standing role in upholding racism and patriarchy; and on and on. 

However much allowance we might make for the wages of vulgarization, such tendencies clearly bear some connection to Foucault’s own work, with its constant injunction to be wary of power-knowledge, its assault on normalization in the “order of knowledge.” Ironically, as the case of today’s “Foucauldian” museum and medical association suggest, Foucault’s suspicion of normality has itself come to function as an instrument of normalization and a source of self-legitimation for power: We should continue to dominate this field—for who else could offer a more stringent critique of our complicity in oppression than we ourselves?

More on all that, anon. What matters at this point is to name the deeper philosophical operation at the heart of Foucault’s method—nominalism: the belief, originating with medieval thought, that the things we observe in the world are too different from another to permit any kind of essential classification or the assertion of universals. Foucault didn’t hide the ball when it came to his nominalism. “One needs to be nominalistic,” he declared early on in the History

The Australian scholar Carol Bacchi has described this as Foucault’s “critical nominalism”: Let’s pretend the essential thing or the universal doesn’t exist and see what we can learn about the workings of the powers that treat of this supposed universal. Less a deep metaphysical commitment than a kind of experimental wager, according to Bacchi, Foucauldian nominalism shifts our focus away from things as they “are” or are conventionally taken to simply “be,” and toward how they “become” through the institutional practices and force relations that call them forth and subject them in the order of knowledge, magnifying their own power along the way. (This, however, didn’t mean giving in to a full-blown anti-realism, since for Foucault, the practices and force relations in question, though encircling nonexistent universals, were themselves all too real.)

In this way, as Foucault himself wrote in the second volume of the History, published in France in 1984, the year of his death, we can “endeavor to know how and to what extent it might be possible to think differently, instead of legitimating what is already known.” The answer, it must be admitted 40 years later, is that we can learn a great deal by this means. Foucault’s critical nominalism yielded numerous counterintuitive insights that are indispensable for understanding our current predicament. It was the basis of the bleak genius that would earn him enormous influence over the course of his life and afterlives.

Consider the 1978-1979 lecture. Although the topic was “biopolitics,” Foucault (as was often the case) digressed in a freewheeling manner, and ended up spending most of the course on questions of political economy. More specifically, he devoted the bulk of the lecture to periodizing the development of “the liberal art of government,” beginning with the mercantilist raison d'état orders of the early-modern era, through the rise of classical liberalism in the 18th and 19th centuries, and finally to what he diagnosed, with astonishing prescience, as the neoliberal age.

Unlike some of his other studies, identifying the essential term in Biopolitics appears more difficult. What is the nonexistent universal here, whose examination is to lay bare the structures that valorize their power on its basis? At various points, Foucault took up state and sovereignty, market and price. But the lecture most fundamentally concerns “freedom”: more specifically, the production and regulation of freedom as the basis for the liberal art of government, or “governmentality.” What he revealed in the course of his tripartite periodization was the sinister tendency of liberal power toward ever greater sophistication: The more the realm of liberal freedom expands, the more freedom is produced, the more supple and inescapable become the pressures bearing down on the liberal subject. 

The early-modern, mercantilist, raison d'état order was a blunt tool. Its primary subject, as the name implies, was the state itself. It was the state whose freedom of action had to be preserved against other European states and, especially, the possibility of any single state reprising the role of the Roman superstate. To achieve this, the raison d'état state trod carefully and humbly in external relations, lest it disturb the European balance of power. But the other side of the coin was a nearly limitless police power inside the state’s frontiers. 

National markets had emerged at this point (through a vast exertion of state coercive power, as Karl Polanyi showed). But the market—along with domains like population, “health and morals,” and not least religion—had to be roughly policed by the raison d'état state determined to maintain its position vis-à-vis other states. So it was that the parochial European subject, still accustomed to premodern custom and premodern liberty, suddenly confronted a world in which you couldn’t simply abscond to the next village over or take refuge in the monastery to escape the prince’s jurisdiction. As the characters in the novels of, say, Stendhal are chagrined to discover, the long arm of the prince now extended to the next village over, to the far-flung monastery or charterhouse, to every village and monastery—indeed, to every person, place, and thing within the prince’s frontiers. 

Gradually, however, the market began to outweigh the state in the calculus of liberal governmentality. The shift had much to do with the inexorably global development of capitalism. This inspired a new figure, the political economist, to educate statesmen as to the benefits of treating relations with external states not as a zero-sum war over a scarce amount of gold; but as a series of win-win partnerships based upon comparative advantage, set against a planetary backdrop of ever-growing markets. This new vision held the promise of something far more precious than a tense balance of power: namely, “the guarantee of perpetual peace” via “commercial globalization,” as Foucault summarized it. 

But to play this new game, the political economist taught, the state had better govern with “frugality.” Government must be limited, and the market left autonomous to do its thing, weaving mutualities between states and optimizing domestic and external conditions according to the infallible measure of the price mechanism. Put another way, the economy had to be granted a wide berth, since it was economic activity that could guarantee perpetual peace and perpetual power, and this couldn’t be achieved unless the statesman learned to accept the “self-limitation of governmental reason”: liberalism, in a word. 

This power exchange between the prince and the political economist was analogous to the one Foucault had identified earlier between the hangman and the psychiatrist: You seek to perpetuate your rule, says the economist to the prince. Give me the power to guide—and properly limit—your rule according to the “natural” and objective truth of price. To continue to exercise and grow your power, you must govern frugally. And you must consider the marketplace as outside your jurisdiction

That last injunction of the economist to the prince, as Foucault observed, represented a dramatic break with the practice of classical and medieval civilization. Under those orders, the market had been emphatically subject to the prince, who regulated the market, above all, to smoke out fraud and to ensure a just price. The result, said Foucault, was that the classical and medieval market “really functioned as a site of justice, a place where what had to appear in exchange and be formulated in the price was justice.” Not only was the market under the prince’s jurisdiction, but the market itself “was a site of jurisdiction.” But beginning in the 18th century, with the ascent of classically liberal, laissez-faire ideology, the market became “a site of truth” or “veridiction.” Truth here had a pinched definition: It meant the truth of the price as a natural expression of “value,” or “the natural price.” No longer was the just price any of the prince’s business.

The transition from the raison d'état order to the classically liberal one seemed to promise a new birth of “freedom.” The mercantilist police state lifted its boot off Europe’s neck. And the locus of freedom shifted from the state itself (its freedom relative to other states) to a more diffuse and fluid concatenation comprising the state, society, and market; that last, especially, had won its autonomy, the more freely to pursue the “truth” of price wherever it led. 

“‘See how indispensable my science is!’ say the shrink and the economist in tandem.”

Yet as Foucault was quick to emphasize, all this merely represented a “refinement” and “intensification” of what had come before, under the raison d'état order. State and market struck a typical, mutually advantageous power exchange aimed at securing a much larger—indeed, potentially global—sphere for the former and a wider scope of autonomy for the latter. “Freedom” was the essential term of this exchange, much as “monstrosity” or “perversion” had been for the emerging force relations between the penal and the psychiatric powers in roughly the same period of time. “See how indispensable my science is!” said the shrink and the economist in tandem.

As all this suggests, it would be downright ludicrous to take classical liberalism at its word, to speak of “freedom” as an abstract bundle of rights that attaches to each subject at birth. Rather, such freedom discourse is itself a condition and form of classically liberal governmentality. “The new art of government,” said Foucault, “must produce” freedom. “It must produce it, it must organize it. The new art of government therefore appears as the management of freedom. … Liberalism must produce freedom, but this very act entails the establishment of limitations, controls, forms of coercion, and obligations relying on threats.” Hence, for example, liberalism’s swift reneging on its pledge of political freedom the minute the worker stepped through the factory gates: “There must be a free labor market,” Foucault observed, but there must also “be a large enough number of sufficiently competent, qualified, and politically disarmed workers to prevent them exerting pressure on labor markets” (my emphasis).

The third stage in Foucault’s periodization—the one we are still living through or are on the verge of exiting, depending on whom you ask—redistributed still more power to the market and economics and away from the state and politics; in doing so, it further increased the sophistication of liberal power and rendered resistance still more daunting. I’m speaking, of course, of the neoliberal order. Today, “neoliberal” is a commonplace, often little more than a vague epithet flung by various partisans at their opponents. In 1978, however, the term itself was novel, and the model of political economy it identified at a larval stage. Even so, Foucault outlined the morphology of the hideous insect to come—and with greater precision than nearly all subsequent analysts.

Foucault understood—better than even the neoliberal thinkers themselves—that neoliberalism wasn’t merely a restoration of classically liberal governmentality after a brief social-democratic interval, during which market economies embraced planning, welfare, and class compromise. Neoliberalism wouldn’t rest content with merely restoring the autonomous price “veridiction” of the 18th- and 19th-century market, which had been eroded somewhat in the three decades postwar. Now, the economist (and the corporate executive) inveighed upon the sovereign to adopt market mentalities and mechanisms as the very logic of politics. Prices had to be permitted to pursue and tell their “truth” in the sphere of exchange—and in every other sphere, as well. Whereas classical liberalism had merely demanded that society leave the market alone, neoliberalism “governs society by the market,” in Foucault’s famous formulation. 

“Freedom”—the essential term, the mysterious and nonexistent universal—shifted its locus once more. Under raison d'état, recall, we dealt with the freedom of the state (relative to other states, that is). Under classically liberal governmentality, freedom circulated more diffusely between state, market, and society (arguably, the social-democratic model was an extension of this model, one that took into account the existence of social classes). Under neoliberalism, the market took full control of freedom.

What followed was a near-total eclipse of Homo politicus (political man) by Homo economicus (economic man). This entailed the erasure of class as a permanent feature of market economies. The freedom of classes—or the clashing freedoms of workers, managers, and capitalists, to be precise—drew on non-market terms that would become increasingly illegible under the neoliberal dispensation. In railing against all talk of classes or other collective groupings, whether it emanated from the Nazis or humdrum social democrats, a figure like F. A. Hayek gave a hyperbolic expression to what it would mean for the market, and the market alone, to organize and administer “freedom.”

With the deep financialization characteristic of neoliberalism, moreover, the commodity, or C, stage of Marx’s general formula of capital—money-commodity-money, M-C-M'—would be denigrated, with a great deal of circulation coming to resemble the older formula of usurer’s capital—money-money, or M-M'. Except, and here was Foucault’s most unsettling turn, M would now encompass individual human bodies: not a class of persons forced to sell their labor power in exchange for wages, but a multitude of human-body-shaped capitals, entering the sphere of circulation at birth in the hope of valorizing themselves and maximizing returns on investment over the course of their life spans.

“Augmentation of the body’s natural capacities would become a prime imperative.”

And then came Foucault’s lecture of March 14, 1979. I would venture that this single lecture—spanning a dozen pages; Foucault’s time was cut short because he “had a meeting”—is the essential text for understanding the deepest problems we face in the opening decades of the 21st century: neoliberal capitalism and meritocracy; IQ, biotechnology, and the return of eugenic ideology; universal basic income and what to do with “useless bodies.” If we conceive of each person as a “human capital,” each “an entrepreneur of himself,” Foucault warned, people would face tremendous compulsion to “invest” in the “innate and hereditary elements” of their offspring. Freedom, organized this way, would transform marriage into a partnership for the “co-produc[tion] of this future human capital.” And the technological augmentation of the body’s natural capacities would become a prime imperative.

Notably, Foucault didn’t think that eugenic racism would be the major theme of this brave new world: It was “certainly to be feared,” but far more pressing was “the political problem … of the formation, growth, accumulation, and improvement of human capital” as such. Though he didn’t draw this out explicitly, the implication is clear: The next stage in liberal governmentality, the next shift in the organization of the nonexistent universal “freedom,” would witness yet another power exchange: away, perhaps, from market and economy, and toward tomorrow’s genetic and cyborg technologies. Or perhaps we should say: today’s technologies of control.

There is just one, big problem: Foucault’s body of work harbors few, if any, resources for those who seek to forestall such dystopian developments. To be sure, today’s critics of neoliberalism—most eminently, the University of California, Berkeley, political theorist Wendy Brown—have productively mobilized his original diagnosis to reassert the primacy of politics over economy. But those turning to Foucault himself for an alternative set of normative coordinates to guide political action—whether based on principles of justice or dialectical resistance—are sure to be disappointed. 

Foucault strenuously resisted any assertion of an enduring norm of human life, or any normative authority that might help us counter the impositions of power. Though fully aware of it, he rejected the distinction, going back to Greco-Roman thought, between power, on one hand, and coercive authority aimed at helping individuals and communities to discern and preserve what it means to be fully human, on the other. 

How could he have done otherwise, starting from his premises? “The human” was one more empty or nonexistent universal—perhaps the nonexistent universal—fulfilling a highly mobile set of functions for the various institutions that generate and redistribute power by defining humanness. Why, then, should Foucault have felt the slightest indignation at the replacement of the human by the post-human, which he prophesied in the Biopolitics lecture and elsewhere in his work? Indeed, he didn’t. For him, there was nothing tragic about all that is solid melting into air. This was the grim flipside of Foucault’s absolute commitment to denormalization, the high price associated with his critical nominalism. 

Think back, for example, to Foucault’s account of the shift from the classical and medieval conceptions of the market and the price—as a site of jurisdiction and a mechanism of justice, respectively—to the classically liberal versions of the same institutions: as a site of veridiction and an index of “truth,” respectively. As an historian, Foucault was no doubt correct. Yet as a philosopher, he simply glossed over this apparent opposition between jurisdiction and veridiction—between justice and “truth.” 

How could the same institution, the market, that had at one point produced justice later generate something taken to be entirely different, namely “truth”? Can there be truth without justice, or vice versa? Anyone yearning to maintain a modicum of decency and humaneness in market societies must answer: No. For Foucault the nominalist, however, the apparent disjunction between these two terms—the inconvertibility of two universals—was of no normative consequence. It mattered only insofar as it represented the shifting calculus of power.

In this sense, the conservative critics aren’t wide of the mark when they charge him with treating everything as an imposition of power; or when they point out that there is no there there, in his epistemology and ontology, besides the relentless push and counterpush of power. Likewise, the orthodox Marxists aren’t wrong to lay at Foucault’s door at least part of the blame for the rise of “lifestyle-ism”—a politics obsessed with altering patterns of consumption and cultural attachment, rather than reforming, let alone overthrowing, existing relations of production. The two modes of critique needn’t be mutually exclusive, yet a fog of confusion swirls around both. This is owing to Foucault’s own reception as a thinker of “the left,” an impression reinforced by his throwing in his lot with various radical causes in his lifetime, and by the fact that many powerful progressive institutions in our time look and sound Foucauldian.

Yet the bare apparatus of Foucauldian analysis, precisely because it is nominalist, can lend itself as much to the critique of institutional power as to its upkeep. Foucauldianism swims swiftly, and it can swim either left or right—or in any other direction desired by actors mounting power and counterpower. 

This dynamic is perhaps more readily apparent in Foucault’s application of his science of power to sexual politics than in the still somewhat speculative realms of genetics and biotech. The overarching thesis of his History of Sexuality—that “sexuality” is an invention of the institutions that have defined, governed, and proliferated it as discourse, and whose power has waxed has a result—should be familiar enough. In another one of his strokes of genius, Foucault pointed out for example, that whereas ancient civilizations (and many non-Western ones down to modern times) typically regulated sodomitic acts, it was the modern West that conjured the figure of the “homosexual.” The homosexual had to be disciplined and regulated, to be sure, but he was also constantly forced to confess his “truth” (so much for repression). And not just the homosexual, but also the hermaphrodite, the masturbator, and so on.

“The sexually abnormal figure is still obliged to confess.”

For Foucault, this archaeology of the homosexual represented a scholarly cri de coeur against the brute processes of normalization that in his youth had compelled him to find love illicitly. In practical terms, Foucault’s and his followers’ assault against sexual normalization has helped bring about institutions that disavow normativity at every turn. And yet the sexually abnormal figure is still obliged to confess, to reveal a true inner identity: the woman assigned the wrong sex at birth, the two-spirit being, the bisexual, the asexual, and so on. 

A network of benevolent-seeming structures—schools and colleges, employers and retailers, psychologists, surgeons, and pharmaceutical giants—presents the subject with abnormal habits and desires with a “never-ending demand for truth,” as Foucault put it. The cadence of this demand has shifted, to be sure—we reject normativity, we welcome your abnormality, let us help you become who you “really” are—but the compulsion to confess is no less pressing for that. And just as was the case in an earlier stage of modernity, the expert bearers of power-knowledge continue to valorize and legitimize their power on the basis of the nonexistent universal. Once the confession has been extracted, the same old processes of medicalization and psychiatrization can proceed apace. “See how indispensable my gender science is!” boast the Pfizer executive, the top-surgery provider, and the medical-claims adjuster.

Michel Foucault left behind a double-edged sword. Careful how you wield it.

Sohrab Ahmari is a founder and editor of Compact.


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