I've only read the introduction so far. I was most struck by Jim Kalb's description of the orthodox status achieved by liberalism in modern society:
Liberalism so surrounds us that it is hard to imagine an alternative. Even those who see difficulties with it almost never reject it fundamentally, but attempt to reinvent it in some way or another. Complaints that liberalism is not really free, equal or democratic end not in its abandonment as misconceived and unworkable, but in proposals for some more authentic form of freedom, equality, and popular rule, and thus in a call for a more liberal liberalism. In contrast, traditionalist concerns about cultural degradation and deterioration of fine-grained social order are treated as secondary matters and handled by appeals to creativity, therapy, or ad hoc stopgaps.
It's fine writing. I'll post a more detailed review later, but in the meantime the book is available for purchase through Amazon and through the publisher ISI. (There's an interesting interview with Kalb posted at the ISI site.)
It's a fine book. Kalb is a bit abstract and doesn't provide a wealth of specific examples to illustrate his points, so it would be hard going, I think, for someone not well-versed in, say, the things discussed at this site or other traditionalist sites. I find myself filling in the blanks. If you handed this book to a liberal (or a mainstream Bush Republican, but I repeat myself) he might have a hard time doing that, but I'm not sure liberals are the intended audience anyway.ReplyDelete
But he articulates very well (I'll emphasize: very well) a comprehensive analysis of Liberalism that is useful for those of us who have been engaged and fighting.