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It is ironic that Foucault had to go all the way to ancient Greece to grapple with contemporary political problems.  Only at that distance, it seems, could he see clearly, like the farsighted reader who holds the page at arm’s length to focus. Arguably, Greek thought provided not only a temporal remove from the present but also a disciplinary separation from politics: what could be more iconic of scholarly seriousness than a return to the classics? Yet perhaps he also needed the safety of ancient Greece to experiment with dangerous ideas.
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