F.A. Hayek

Hayek, Mises…and Foucault?


You don't normally associate the leftist high priest Michel Foucault—likely the most influential figure in Americ

an academia during the last 40 years and the most cited intellectual in the humanities—with libertarian economists such as F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Joseph Schumpeter, and Milton Friedman. Yet five years before his death in 1984, Foucault gave a generally appreciative series of Paris lectures on classical liberalism that have finally been translated into English. In The Birth of Biopolitics (Palgrave MacMillan), Foucault, always focused on the exercise of power and repression, tells his students to read Hayek and crew "with special care." He found much to commend in their work. First and foremost, true liberalism is "imbued with the principle: 'One always governs too much.'" As important, it asks (and answers) the question, "Why, after all, is it necessary to govern?"