A friendly librarian, working undercover, emailed me the following review that appears, starred and boxed, on page 6 of the November 1 issue of Booklist (a publication of the American Library Association):
The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command.
By James Kalb.
Nov. 2008. 330p.ISI, $28 (9781933859743); paper, $18 (9781933859828). 320.51.
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