“By this I mean a number of phenomena that seem to me to be quite significant, namely, the set of mechanisms through which the basic biological features of the human species became the object of a political strategy, of a general strategy of power, or, in other words, how, starting from the 18th century, modern Western societies took on board the fundamental biological fact that human beings are a species. This is what I have called biopower.” – Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population
Since its creation, Michael Foucault’s concept of Biopower has been used to analyze and critique institutions of power. In the most abstract terms, Biopower is the aggregation of individuals into populations by institutions that are then managed by those very same institutions (the nation state, capitalism). Biopower boils all the way down to having immediate, physical control over the bodies of individuals. There are a variety of mechanisms through which institutions wield in order to exercise Biopower. An example of soft Biopower is the use of “social constructs” such as race as a means of blanket de-individualization. An example of hard Biopower is found in the deportation of illegal aliens that are foreign to the body politic.
The term Biopower has always been used from a Left-of-center perspective concerned with Freedom and bodily autonomy when critique is leveled at any given institution. A cursory Google search of “Biopower” yields a litany of articles discussing how the War on Terror, State Racism, and even white boomers watching Fox News are instantiations of Biopower, and all of these articles are presented from what we would colloquially refer to as a “Leftist” point of view. Likewise, these points of contention are all tangential to the greatest leftist boogeyman of them all – the Third Reich and their eugenics programs. All fears flow from this single point.
Despite its origins with Foucault and Leftist academia, I would argue that the concept of Biopower resonates much more coherently when approached from a “Right Wing” perspective, especially in conjunction with the use of Moldbug’s Cathedral. Even by 1976, the publication of the first volume of The History of Sexuality, much hay could have been made with contemporaneous examples of institutions exercising Biopower with a leftward bent: forced integration, blockbusting, abortion, proliferation of the birth control pill, etc.
Southern states in America experienced Biopower of the Federal government with forced integration. In 1957, Orval Faubus, the governor of Arkansas, called up the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the integration of black students at the all-white Little Rock Central High School. President Eisenhower parlayed the Governor’s move by nationalizing the Guard and ordered them to assist in the integration of the black students into Little Rock Central.
All states faced forced integration at the end of the barrel of a gun like Arkansas did at Little Rock, or they complied quietly. One could point out that this was an extension of post-Civil War Reconstruction (which was an extension of the American Civil War, which was an extension of the English Civil War..), yet the Federal government was carrying out the very same tactic of integration/fracturing in Northern metropolises as well through the use of Blockbusting. Busing was an issue famously fought in Boston in the late ’70s.
The neoliberal egalitarian rendition (the one we all learned in public school and that is perpetuated by fat retards) of Blockbusting is the real estate profiteering through the use of anti-Black racism, focusing primarily on the initial resistance provided by these white communities to selling to potential black buyers. Flip the coin and you’ll see that Blockbusting was a concerted effort by commercial and government agents (the Cathedral) at fragmenting white-ethnic Catholic communities in the inner cities, most prominently New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
Blockbusting is a perfect example of Biopower: literal Black bodies were moved around, used to break up these white-ethnic communities situated at the core of American cities. The reasons for doing so could be seen as two-fold: these communities were sitting on valuable real estate throughout American inner cities that could be bought for low and sold for high using Blacks as instruments of Biopower all the while government functionaries were happy to see these communities destroyed as they were intermediary hierarchies and could potentially pose a threat to their (descending WASP/ascending Jewish) rule. Subsequent white flight into the suburbs cast these communities into spatial disarray, contributing to their deracination and increasing inability to see themselves as something more than individuals, as mere consumers.
While Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe vs. Wade took place in 1965 and 1973 respectively, they were landmark events taking place in a culture that was already experiencing a decline in fertility. Abortion and the proliferation of birth control were the Cathedral’s use of Biopower in hammering home the emancipation of women from the burden of the propagation of their respective peoples. This emancipation allows them to focus on adhering themselves to their careers (i.e., the machinery of the regime) instead. Their reproductive energies that would have contributed to their specific, particular ethnic or religious communities are re-directed to provide more energy to the State and Capital. Women were being “educated”, told that their freedom would allow them to pursue whatever goals or desires that they had but ultimately found themselves in service of distant machinery instead of immediate man.
Although all of these examples preceded the publication of Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, I am not going to fault him for not considering them as these are American instances of Biopower (although France has had their fair share of examples). The problem is that these instances of Biopower run contrary to the Milieu in which Foucault was trying to establish the notion of Biopower in the first place. These are instances in which the State or Capital (or the Cathedral) were destroying intermediary institutions that were markedly White, Christian and Male/Heterosexual. This runs against the grain of Marginalization in Academia, in which the plight of non-White, non-Christian, and Female/Homosexual are extolled and championed.
The river of History does not flow towards the massifying of individuals, by which freedom and autonomy are limited. The opposite is true: centralized powers offer “freedom” in exchange from decoupling one’s self from other networks in order to join in on the centralized node that simultaneously destroys intermediary hierarchies, thus creating an extremely vertical power structure (akin to standing at the base of a skyscraper and looking up). Voters care most about the Presidential election, which is further away from their State and local elections. Gossipers care more about the Kardashians than who their own daughter is dating.
Foucault does say that State Racism is “a racism that society will direct against itself, against its own elements and its own products…”, but this is mentioned within the context of the Nation-State protecting its own biological heritage. This stands in stark contrast with actually happened. In fact, the examples provided were not instances of the Nation-State practicing Biopower against foreign elements. What occurred in the United States of America was the destruction of the Nation at the hands of the State, the destruction of America by the United States.
As these white-ethnic urban communities in the North and Southern whites were squeezed out of the political structure, they were also being squeezed for all of their worth by hands of the market. Their property was liquidated, their labor was redirected from their communities to the State/Market, and they were having fewer children. After their escape into suburbia, these now fractured groups were then being funneled back into cities, social and cultural environments that are increasingly hostile towards them. All the while this was occurring, a new servile labor force was being imported to drive down wages and to increasingly fracture the already tenuous national identity.
There is no other way to look upon these processes other than as a frenzied cannibalization of the nations, populations, and sheer human material by the State, Market which allowed these very same institutions to reach maturation in the first place. Like an orange, there is only so much juice you can wring out of it before you reach marginal returns, and eventually you’ll come to a point where you will unable to render any juice no matter how hard you squeeze.
The issue of how institutions use Biopower is not stifling individuality, the issue is with how Biopower creates too many individuals. An inverted social hierarchy is manifested; an upside triangle with the bloated and broad State that sits upon each and every individual at the individual level. A person born into this Milieu must interface with the centralized power only as an individual, since most intermediary hierarchies have been destroyed, subsumed, or co-opted by the central power. It is immediately obvious that this dynamic is incredibly unbalanced. The individual has no bargaining power as an individual.
It is these lower institutions and coherent population groups that truly gives each individual a unique personality and differentiates them from the rest of humanity. It seems that Foucault and the Leftists that carry on his line of thought believe some kind of Enlightenment utopia of freedom and bodily autonomy can be reached once we shuffle off the coil of biological and historical “anachronisms.”
Yet what is a tree that has severed all of its roots? Dead.