Sunday, August 23, 2015

Optimism and Why Not? Full Speed Ahead!

The Tyranny of Liberalism: 
Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command
Kalb, James
(2014-04-29). Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Kindle Edition.

"THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT THE TYRANNY OF LIBERALISM: WHAT IT IS, HOW IT comes about, what its implications are, and what to do about it." (Kindle Locations 24-25). 

Believe it or not, the author remains faithful to his purpose throughout this book, which is thoroughly upbeat and is far from pedantic. I recommend it. The book is very readable.

That said, I have a question which the book really didn't answer for me: Has Kalb indeed posited the conditions for the triumph of traditionalism over liberalism and how does he see this triumph coming about? What makes the traditionalist Kalb's formula for the restoration of culture better than a neoconservative recipe for turning our world around? Be it noted that Kalb is quite dismissive of neoconservatism and its possibilities for effectively countering liberalism:

"For some, neoconservatism has served as an initial step out of liberalism. On the whole, however, it has functioned more as a way of lining up conservative impulses in the service of the established public order. It has confused the loyalties it tries to promote by subordinating them to liberal goals and by sapping resistance to the direction of events. It follows simple conservatism in recognizing no ultimate authority other than social practice, and in the end it concedes every issue to whatever positive beliefs have become dominant. Neoconservatives have been ready to follow the development of liberalism wherever it might go, distancing themselves from the center of ideological power as it moves to the left only to the degree needed to establish their position as necessary participants in the mainstream political discussion. That approach to politics can claim the virtue of immediate practicality, but it is often difficult to distinguish from careerism." (Kindle Locations 2597-2603). 

I guess I will have to ask my neocon friends to explain themselves.

At any rate, it is hard to see whence the traditionalist will draw the wherewithal and the direction for his mission and how he will carry it through. Maybe I missed a chapter. His Chapter Nine on Faith and Authority does not seem to have that as its purpose.

The present sense of disarray which we are experiencing in the Catholic Church in the run-up to the October Synod of Bishops for me is perhaps most telling in terms of the dimensions of the problem. Perhaps St. Augustine needs to be quoted more often where he insists that there never were good old days. As bankrupt as Liberalism is, I'm wondering if any other scheme or recipe can be assured the ultimate triumph over such sin and division this side of heaven. Tyranny needs to be fought and the Kingship of Christ needs to be proclaimed.

I like Kalb's neat categories, but other than concurring with his judgment that the kind of liberalism which runs roughshod over our world today is nothing but a curse, the vote is still out on whether I need to cut my ties with neoconservatives in favor of an all-out "Gospel without compromise" traditionalist approach. Stay tuned?



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