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James Kalb

Lawyer and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Kalb maintains his own interesting Web site at which others of his writings can be found.


Click here for essays by James Kalb
What makes liberal claims seem plausible is not any inability of current moral views to achieve dominance but changes in the way in which dominance is established and maintained. Liberalism is at home in today's world. Its strength is its ability to use new methods of dominion that rely less on physical repression than on homogenization and centralization of social life, destruction of independent institutions and moral habits, and maintenance of the illusion of open inquiry and popular rule.

Jun. 2000 - from "The Tyranny of Liberalism", available here
Today's dissidents are particularist -- traditionalist, fundamentalist, populist, or nationalist. Beyond that, they are antisecularist and antihedonist. They reject a system of politics that bases social order on human desire, because they reject the view that lies behind it, that men make morality for their own purposes.

Jun. 2000 - from "The Tyranny of Liberalism", available here
In spite of claims of neutrality, liberalism establishes an enforceable official morality that supports a definite way of life. It makes demands for moral reconstruction that are necessarily intolerant.

Jun. 2000 - from "The Tyranny of Liberalism", available here
... the strength of liberalism in an age of publicity is its "stealth" quality. What the neutrality of liberalism amounts to is its ability to keep the substantive moral views it enforces invisible, thus removing moral disputes from politics and so preventing challenges to its own positions from even being raised. That quality gives liberalism an advantage in public discussion that has so far been insuperable.

Jun. 2000 - from "The Tyranny of Liberalism", available here
The development of liberalism has reversed its original principles. Rather than let society control the state, a more ambitious liberalism now makes the state control society.

Jun. 2000 - from "The Tyranny of Liberalism", available here
When our rulers today do battle with the religious and moral habits of the people, our rulers win. "Political correctness" shows that it is now possible to establish as authoritative moral views that are profoundly at odds with long-established understandings, as long as those who dominate public discussion are committed to them.

Jun. 2000 - from "The Tyranny of Liberalism", available here
Politics today is divided between an outlook that presents itself as rational and this-worldly, and absolutely dominates public discussion, and a variety of dissident views that speak for goods higher than human desire but are unable to make effective their substantial underlying support.

Jun. 2000 - from "The Tyranny of Liberalism", available here