Here's an old but good article on Michel Foucault by Roger Kimball. Kimball is the anti-Foucault intellectual -- that is, a total prude. And the article is written from that perspective (its title is The perversions of Michel Foucault). Kimball seems positively fascinated by Foucault's "perversions"; the article is written in titillating detail. (On sexual matters, I'd like to think that I'm somewhere in between both of these thinkers.)
Foucault's work and his life illustrate the dangers of the abyss. The most valuable part of Kimball's article is its comparison between Foucault and Nietzsche. It mirrors what Allan Bloom wrote in The Closing of the American Mind. That is, Nietzsche's work was quite profound, as was, to a lesser extent, Heidegger's. But it all started going downhill with his (post-Heideggerian) successors, especially the French ones. Here is Kimball:
But Foucault differed from Nietzsche in more than such outward trappings. The fundamental world outlooks of the two men were radically different. Basically, Foucault was Nietzsche’s ape. He adopted some of Nietzsche’s rhetoric about power and imitated some of his verbal histrionics. But he never achieved anything like Nietzsche’s insight or originality. Nietzsche may have been seriously wrong in his understanding of modernity: he may have mistaken one part of the story—the rise of secularism—for the whole tale; but few men have struggled as honestly with the problem of nihilism as he. Foucault simply flirted with nihilism as one more “experience.” Mr. Miller is right to emphasize the importance of “experience,” especially extreme or “limit” experience, in Foucault’s life and work; he is wrong to think that this was a virtue. Foucault was addicted to extremity. He epitomized to perfection a certain type of decadent Romantic, a type that Nietzsche warned against when he spoke of “those who suffer from the impoverishment of life and seek rest, stillness, calm seas, redemption from themselves through art and knowledge, or intoxication, convulsions, anaesthesia, and madness.” Foucault’s insatiable craving for new, ever more thrilling “experiences” was a sign of weakness, not daring. Here, too, Nietzsche is a far better guide than Foucault. “All men now live through too much and think through too little,” Nietzsche wrote in 1880. “They suffer at the same time from extreme hunger and from colic, and therefore become thinner and thinner, no matter how much they eat.—Whoever says now, ‘I have not lived through anything’— is an ass.”
Kimball also references a debate between Foucault and Noam Chomsky, where Foucault's extremism makes Chomsky look like a voice of sane moderation!
One thing that is refreshing about Foucault’s political follies, however, is that they tend to make otherwise outlandish figures appear comparatively tame. In a debate that aired on Dutch television in the early Seventies, for example, the famous American radical and linguist Noam Chomsky appears as a voice of sanity and moderation in comparison to Foucault. As Mr. Miller reports it, while Chomsky insisted “we must act as sensitive and responsible human beings,” Foucault replied that such ideas as responsibility, sensitivity, justice, and law were merely “tokens of ideology” that completely lacked legitimacy. “The proletariat doesn’t wage war against the ruling class because it considers such a war to be just,” he argued. “The proletariat makes war with the ruling class because … it wants to take power.” Of course, this has been the standard sophistical line since Socrates encountered Thrasymachus, but these days one rarely hears it so bluntly articulated. Nor were such performances rare. In another debate, Foucault championed the September Massacres of 1792, in which over a thousand people suspected of harboring royalist sympathies were ruthlessly butchered, as a sterling example of “popular justice” at work. As Mr. Miller puts it, Foucault believed that justice would be best served “by throwing open every prison and shutting down every court.”
And you can watch parts of that debate courtesy of YouTube.