Recent quotes:

The True Foucault | Dissent Magazine

His pronouncements on politics were made in a similar vein. He is commonly associated with a bleak assessment of modern society, in which power, far from being confined to the state and economics, is disseminated through a network of disciplinary institutions—schools, hospitals, social services, asylums, and prisons, among others. Many are familiar with Foucault’s claim that the authority wielded by such entities is derived from their claims to specialized knowledge, which he succinctly dubbed “power-knowledge.” But, to Foucault, this argument was just one part of a broader framework. He relentlessly insisted that, even if power is a pervasive force in our collective lives, it always manifests itself in concrete struggles. He wanted us to see practices such as the military regimentation of bodies or the relationship between therapists and patients as akin to hand-to-hand combat—judo matches, rather than Orwellian thought control. Power is always an effort to control someone’s conduct: finding the right hold, identifying vulnerabilities, creating incentives for compliance.

Government has no room to maneuver

the US government is slowly giving up its room for fiscal maneuver. Non-defense discretionary spending made up over 60% of the federal budget in 1962. By 2017, that figure has fallen to 15%, and it’s expected to continue its decline. As that share falls, I wonder how that affects the mindset of legislators, who anticipate diminishing responsibility for allocating funds. In absolute terms, the budget they control is still enormous. But I suspect that it takes away the initiative of US politicians: they can simply let the government go on autopilot, since their predecessors have already committed most available funds. If legislators no longer have room to identify new initiatives for spending, what is there to do except find new things to ban, and then argue with the other side?