Dialogue (2)

One of the best dialogues between the Left and the Right is between Foucault and Noam Chomsky. Chomsky might be horrified to be told that he’s defending the Right, but I wouldn’t be the first to point out that while his politics is dependably of the Left it is grounded on an anthropology that is of the Right.

Foucault defends a vision of the person as fundamentally indeterminate, as manifest in his doctrine of La créativité or the indefinite possibilities of human life. The person, so the thinking goes, is fundamentally social, and the social is fundamentally indefinite and constructed. Utopia becomes possible and therefore imperative. True, in the short term there are fixed proclivities and limitations of various genetic groups or personality types, but all of these are social constructions from an indefinite set of possibilities. The violence of the Left is therefore revolutionary or transformative..

(but what sense can there being in perfecting what is essentially indefinite?)

Chomsky, on the other hand, has never wavered from a belief that a human being is a biological organism, and it is impossible for a definite organism to be without definite limitations. Positing an indefinite scope of créativité under all human life denies that human beings are alive at all. This fixed character of life is the basis for the pessimism or tragic view of the Right, which causes its uses violence to be either punitive or realist. Unlike the Left, there is no revolutionary uprising or “_____ -Spring”  or “great leap forward” but only gunboat diplomacy, realpolitik, and Final Solution.

(but it is either naive or ad hoc to imagine a complete assimilation of the person to other biological organisms.)

Scholastic philosophers might recognize in this opposition the (still unsolved) problem of how man can be both a sort of spirit and a sort of animal.

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