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The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command Paperback – November 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 2 edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933859822
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933859828
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* 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. But the equal freedom liberalism has brought is essentially the right to shop among goods, services, and “lifestyles.” The right to care about anything—family, neighborhood, church, heritage, and the truths about human nature and existence they express—except the economic-political regime, however, has shriveled under the onslaught of unelected management. Religion is judicially quarantined and separated from citizenship, state agencies assume familial functions, careerism undermines community, education becomes more vocational and less humane, and obligatory tolerance truncates public conversation. Meanwhile, epidemic psychological depression, uncontainable crime, endless warfare, and ever-increasing concentration of wealth indicate that liberalism’s consumer paradise is far from perfect—indeed, will and must collapse. 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. Slow reading, perhaps, but vital and vitalizing. --Ray Olson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

An outstanding contribution to political philosophy.... Those in search of a revitalized American conservatism will find The Tyranny of Liberalism essential reading. --David Gordon, The American Conservative (November 17, 2008)

James Kalb's new book is distinguished by remarkable comprehensiveness and a refreshing freedom from rancor. It is an excellent resource ... and those steeped in it will commend Kalb's clarity. --Stefan McDaniel, First Things

The roots, reach, and results of liberalism are inspected with consummate precision ... His clarifying, commanding work ... presents bottom-up solutions for the restoration of a noble, humane society. --Mary McWay Seaman, New Oxford Review

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. --Carl Olson, Catholic World Report

[It] falls into the genre of resistance literature ... This wide-ranging, ambitious, lawyerly brief against the regnant liberal consensus in America is powerful and effective because of its spirit of urgent dismay. --R.R. Reno, Intercollegiate Review

"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 OlsonBooklist

More About the Author

James Kalb comes by his interest in political theory naturally, through politically active parents and degrees in mathematics and law (Dartmouth B.A., Yale J.D.). His parents showed him the importance of participation, mathematics showed him the importance of how principles are stated, and law taught him to study decisions to find the principles behind them. His writing explores the nature of liberal political society--what it is, what is wrong with it, why it seems so incontestable, what to do about it.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Cressida on January 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
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 is clear; it is like looking through a clean sheet of glass without evening being aware of it; the arguments are tightly reasoned. He is never preachy, just rational and pragmatic. For those considering this book the best comparison to it that I can think of is Roger Scruton meets Tocqueville. Buy this book, you will not regret it.
The publisher should offer a few sample pages for preview!
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful By New Age of Barbarism on February 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
_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 decentralized efforts at overcoming liberalism, small enclaves of opposition thinkers, private scholars, small businessmen, and religious and local communities may remain the last resistance against this powerful ideology. However, the fact that within mainstream discourse liberalism is regarded as synonymous with such obviously apparent and self-evident goods as freedom, tolerance, and equality indicates how far of an uphill battle it must be in opposing it. Despite this, as Kalb effectively lays out and has become apparent to many individuals, liberalism is profoundly unfree, intolerant, and unequal. This book manages to not only show the glaring deficits in liberalism, but also offers some alternatives and ways to oppose the system.Read more ›
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Scott on June 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
The author does offer some good insights, but he has some sympathy with liberalism itself and does not clearly define precisely what liberalism is. He is mostly opposed to “radical” liberalism as seen in this country since the 1960s. His solution is traditionalism or “the recognition that tradition has its own authority and is not merely a default position or set of suggestions to be judged on other grounds.” (p. 202)

On the true nature of the problem (and thus his solution) he is wrong.

Some of his good insights:

“People feel stifled, but cannot say just how…The disappearance of common understandings that enable serious thought and action to be carried on by nonexperts and outside formal bureaucratic structures has made it hard even to think about the issues coherently. The result is a system of puzzled compliance.” (pp. 9-10)

“In practice, however, [the refusal to talk about transcendence] puts our own thoughts and desires at the center of things, and so puts man in the place of God. If we cannot know anything about God, only our own experience, you will soon say that there is no God, at least for practical purposes, and that we are the ones who give order and meaning to the world. In short, you will say that we are God.” (p.94)

“Those who study liberalism must therefore develop an understanding of what it is and where it is likely to go that is independent of what its proponents and theoreticians say and goes beyond cataloguing commonalities and variations. They must, in short, identify its basic principles and ways of acting and trace their implications.” (p. 107)

“All major tendencies of thought in the West have converged on contemporary advanced liberalism…Such a development needs to be explained.
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