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

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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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

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 Olson Booklist
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 2 edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933859741
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933859743
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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_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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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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This book is written in a detailed and academic style, but its arguments are persuasive and rock solid. Citations are excellent and worth of perusing in and of themselves. The book overall is very well written and edited. Kalb is a master of brevity and I did not notice a single error with the text.

I don't think anyone with an open mind and familiarity with logic could disagree with the premise of this book. As for the solutions - well, that's another matter and one inherently restrained by the tyranny about which the author writes. Overall, this book is essential to anyone who wishes to oppose the present liberal regime that dominates the west.
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Kalb's book is a comprehensive but easily readable overview of the concept of Western, democratic liberalism. It helped me come to the understanding of this large and difficult term as something like "equal freedom," which too often is enforced by governments concerned not with "equal" opportunity but rather concerned with "equal" outcomes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A book that is truly a magisterial work. Read this book.
I recommend it highly. As a fellow "rad-trad" along with the author,
I am reminded that when all is said and done;
"sed confidite ego vici mundum."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Simply superb. Must read for all those concerned with the slide in our (still) democratic societies, Definitely a work that will deeply offend the PC crowd and all associated groupings. Do not miss it. I read it in one sitting.
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Format: Paperback
James Kalb's book is bound to become a classic of intellectual conservatism, joining such works as the Agrarians, I'll Take my Stand, Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences, and Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind. Kalb goes to the roots of the problems with liberalism, He notes that even classical liberalism, due to its false assumption that all world views are matters of individual preference, inevitably leads to the tyranny of present-day liberalism that opposes traditional religion, the traditional family, and any particularity which people require to have an identity and live in the world. He rightly points out the inevitable destruction of the liberal social order, and suggests practical steps conservatives can take to persuade liberals to least rethink their position.
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