Misunderstanding Derrida and Foucault

In the 1997 Australian comedy The Castle, an underprepared lawyer attempts to argue that the forced sale of his client’s house is in breach of the Constitution. The judge asks, “What section of the Constitution has been breached?” The befuddled lawyer replies, “What section… there is no one section… it’s just the vibe of the thing…”

In December last year, the Equalities Minister Liz Truss gave a speech in which she claimed that as a pupil at a comprehensive school student in Leeds during the 1980s, students were “taught about racism and sexism” at the expense of “time spent making sure everyone could read and write.”

The fault lay, according to Truss, with “post-modernist philosophy—pioneered by Foucault—that put societal power structures and labels ahead of individuals and their endeavours… in this school of thought there is no space for evidence, as there is no objective view—truth and morality are all relative.”

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