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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.
'“The title of this book may seem oxymoronic, which testifies to how completely the regime of freedom and equality that liberalism claims to be has triumphed over other sociopolitical ideas. . . . Without any specialist jargon, reams of statistics, or heavy-handed anecdotes, Kalb makes us see how all the ills of liberalism logically proceed from its deliberate philosophical poverty. Preparatory to liberalism’s demise, he suggests adopting a traditionalist outlook and resuming the loyalties and the functions liberal hegemony has tried so hard to suppress and usurp.” —Ray Olson, Booklist“James Kalb’s investigation of the increasingly oppressive character of liberalism is a conceptually rich and ingeniously argued study going back to the beginnings of the liberal worldview. The author is relentless in working to uncover the invitation to tyranny that has always been inherent in the ‘philosophy of freedom.’ Kalb tries to remove any doubt that the social engineering and wars against thought crimes that are characteristic of current liberal political practice have a long pedigree. These practices flow from what liberalism has always been, as a justification for liberating individuals from traditional social bonds and for valorizing individual choice and self-expression.” —Paul Gottfried, Raffensperger Chair, Department of Political Science, Elizabethtown College“This work is a source of consolation for anyone who has had to endure the interference of managerial elites and technocrats undermining their creativity and standards of excellence. It shows that liberalism really is the ideology of a particular class and also a kind of class religion. Like Alasdair MacIntyre, Kalb draws attention to the way in which liberalism operates to conceal what it does. He demonstrates that advanced liberalism is intolerant in somewhat the same way the Taliban are intolerant.” —Tracy Rowland, Dean, The John Paul II Institute, Melbourne, Australia“The Tyranny of Liberalism is an outstanding contribution to political philosophy. Readers who recoil from the arid wastes of Rawls will find Kalb a welcome and instructive relief. But he is no head-in-the-clouds philosopher. He has a sharp sense of current political realities. . . . Those in search of a revitalized American conservatism will find The Tyranny of Liberalism essential reading.” —David Gordon, The American Conservative“Liberalism seems to be riding high; and, truth be told, it never really went away. Some . . . may wonder, ‘What is the problem with liberalism anyway?’ A new book aspires to analyze and answer this question. In The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command James Kalb, a lawyer and scholar . . . shows that modern liberalism, despite the term’s etymology and the lofty ideals it exudes, is hardly the liberating system it claims to be.” —Jeff McAlister, The News Journal, Longview, TX“Liberals—on both the Right and Left—may posit that they favor freedom, reason, and the well-being of ordinary people. But some critics believe that liberalism itself erodes the very institutions . . . necessary to restrain its excesses. . . . One such liberal skeptic is attorney and writer James Kalb. . . . He believes liberalism inevitably evolves into a form of soft totalitarianism, or a ‘dictatorship of relativism,’ and why the Church is well positioned to be its preeminent foe.” —Annamarie Adkins, Zenit“There is no shortage of treatises against liberalism, but James Kalb’s new book is distinguished by remarkable comprehensiveness and a refreshing freedom from rancor. It is an excellent resource for those new to this debate, and those steeped in it will commend Kalb’s clarity and may even find something to learn from or profitably argue with.” —Stefen McDaniel, First Things“The roots, reach, and results of liberalism are inspected with consummate precision in James Kalb’s The Tyranny of Liberalism. . . . His clarifying, commanding work warns of the growing darkness . . . and presents bottom-up solutions for the restoration of a noble, humane society.” —Mary McWay Seaman, The New Oxford Review“Perhaps the highest praise I can give The Tyranny of Liberalism, is that it is Kirkian. It is filled with frank and illuminating criticism, and it rests solidly on a cogently expressed and cohesively articulated system of principles. . . . It is the work of an imaginative conservative who offers frank criticism and expresses the truth about authentic values and the permanent things with notable clarity, unusual insight, and welcome eloquence.” —The Catholic World Report'
Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute