Friday, November 20, 2009

James Kalb on "Inclusiveness"

I think that James Kalb is the most interesting and insightful political thinker writing today. I will be reviewing his book The Tyranny of Liberalism soon. The only thing holding me up is the fact that, after every paragraph, I end up walking around in a stupor, pondering some incredible insight he has brought to some political or social issue.

My family has become used to it, and know just to leave me alone until I come out of my trance.

In fact, we may have to induct him very soon into the Wisdom Hall of Fame--my list of Modern Wise Men. What are we at now, eleven? The last inductee was David Bentley Hart. Kalb may be next. If he added a more poetic element to his prose, he could pass for Richard Weaver.

Here is Kalb, making another stunning point, this time about "Inclusiveness," a species of "Diversity":

Inclusiveness tells us that characteristics that traditionally define personal identity have no legitimate social role. If my specific identity as a man or member of a particular people is connected to my position in the world, that's intolerable and something has to be done about it.

... From an egalitarian standpoint, it's all a pointless exercise.

... A makeshift remedy, but the best available within the liberal order, is provided by "coolness." It seems trivial, but people take it much more seriously than they will admit because there's nothing else on offer.

...At bottom, coolness is as silly as people think. It is notoriously unsustaining. It is completely obscure what it wants us to do. Those who try to live by it either crash and burn, fall into gross hypocrisy ("sell out"), or grow out of it. Within the liberal order, though, growing out of it means growing out of the only thing, other than sex, drugs, celebrity, or lots and lots of money, that redeems life from quotidian dullness. It means turning into a boring, conventional, older person, just like Mom and Dad. And that would be intolerable.
Read the rest here.

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