The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command
When it comes to liberalism, the usual story in postwar America is one of decline, accompanied by the subplot of conservatism’s ascendance. But take a longer view—look beyond and below politics—and it is the unchallenged triumph of liberalism and its philosophical assumptions that ought to command our attention.
The triumph of liberalism means the tyranny of liberalism, explains James Kalb in this illuminating book, for liberalism is the extension into the sociopolitical realm of modern scientific thought and technological rationality. These modes of thinking are regarded by nearly everyone today as uniquely authoritative; those institutions and beliefs which do not conform are regarded at best as annoyances, and at worst as evil. Furthermore, Kalb shows how liberalism is an expression of the interests and outlook of commercial and managerial elites, who are suspicious of less rationalized and controllable forms of social organization like the family.
Kalb does not merely rehearse a tale of woe, nor is he content simply to analyze the current situation. With reference to concrete issues such as the debate surrounding same-sex marriage, he outlines the kind of traditionalist response to liberalism that is likely to be most effective. He argues that traditional, decentralized, and nonliberal forms of social organization are ultimately impossible to eradicate, and he shows how more human forms of association than those favored by liberalism might once again be brought into being.
An outstanding, thoughtful, and clear defense of liberty
By Cressida - January 8, 2009
I had the honor of listening to and meeting the author of "Tyranny of Liberalism," James Kalb, at a recent ISI conference held at Yale University. Kalb shared the stage with several other prominent thinkers - some were entertaining, all were intelligent, but there was something about the quite intensity of his mind that I found engaging. I purchased the book, ran home, and read it cover to cover. I have been teaching political philosophy at the university level now for over 8 years and I can honestly say that "Tyranny of Liberalism" is one of the best books written on the challenges facing education, security, and freedom. I do not wish to give away too much of the book, but I will say that ISI is to be commended for publishing this important book and Kalb is to be honored for his courage to challenge the dogmatic relativism (how is that for hypocrisy?) of the left and the corrosive acid they pepper on our cherished beliefs in morality and civil liberties on a daily basis. The writing... read more
Important Reflections on the Nature of Liberalism and the Rule of Technocrats.
By New Age of Barbarism "zosimos" - February 9, 2009
_The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command_, published in 2008 by ISI Books, by author James Kalb is an important book which offers some very edifying reflections on the nature and tyranny of liberalism and the rule of the technocratic elite. As Kalb notes, liberalism is really the ideology of a ruling class and in today's world it has become virtually all-consuming. Any and all public opposition to the dictates of liberalism is instantly stifled and dismissed in various ways as bigotry, intolerance, or outright psychological instability. Nevertheless, there exist real and profound reasons why one should reject this reigning ideology and real and profound reasons why it has largely failed. However, given the political climate and the near total control of all mainstream institutions by liberals it has become impossible to offer any sort of real opposition to it. Kalb sees hope however in... read more
By Scott - June 14, 2009
At times frightening, this book certainly rings true. Far from the modern political pundits, this book dives deeper into human nature and natural law. Many other reviewers have already done an excellent job in describing the work, so I will save some time and merely say that for the true intellectual conservative, this is a must read.
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