James Kalb

James Kalb is the author of The Tyranny of Liberalism.

Latest by James Kalb in Chronicles

Results: 22 Articles found.
  • The Political Utility of Tragedy
    September 2021

    The Political Utility of Tragedy

    8 ¾ min

    The people who died on 9/11 were not symbols. They were real people of all kinds—fathers who coached Little League, widows working to maintain a dignified way of life, young people trying to make their way in a chaotic world.

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  • New York's New Normal
    December 2020

    New York's New Normal

    7 min

    What happens when the city that never sleeps locks down? When commuters stay home, and subways, shops, restaurants, theaters, museums, libraries, schools, playgrounds, public gardens, sports arenas, and churches are deserted?

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  • What the Editors Are Reading
    October 2020

    What the Editors Are Reading

    3 ¾ min

    The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967) by Bernard Bailyn, and The End of the Modern World (1950) by Romano Guardini.

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  • What Civil Rights Hath Wrought
    September 2020

    What Civil Rights Hath Wrought

    7 min

    The civil rights movement of the 1960s began with modest goals for changing the public sphere but morphed into an overhaul of every aspect of life. James Kalb reviews Christopher Caldwell’s "Age of Entitlement."

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  • Remembering Robert Nisbet
    January 2020

    Remembering Robert Nisbet

    6 min

    It is hard to imagine anyone today having a career like Robert Nisbet’s: professor at Berkeley, Arizona, and Columbia; dean and vice-chancellor at the University of California, Riverside; author of widely used sociology textbooks; and co-founder, along with his friend Russell Kirk and a few others, of postwar intellectual American conservatism. Nisbet greatly admired Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville. Like them, he combined liberal sympathies with deep respect for tradition and the varied local communities in which it finds its natural home. The combination, together with his intellectual acumen, made him a favorite of the early neoconservatives, who were a group of leftist intellectuals shocked out of complacency by the ’60s and looking for ways to limit the excesses of what was called progress.

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  • Secular Nationalism Is Not Enough
    March 2019

    Secular Nationalism Is Not Enough

    7 ½ min

    The Turkic peoples began as steppe nomads, then became soldiers and eventually farmers and city-dwellers. As they made these transitions they came to dominate ancient centers along the Silk Road.

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  • The Center Doesn’t Hold Here
    May 2018

    The Center Doesn’t Hold Here

    6 ¼ min

    How do you make sense of New York? There’s lots of intelligence, talent, and ambition here. There’s also a lot of insanity. When Barack Obama won his first presidential election people in my neighborhood partied in the streets all night.

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  • Why Are We Here?
    December 2017

    Why Are We Here?

    7 ¾ min

    Where does life come from, and why is it what it is? These are great mysteries. Even so, Darwinian theorists tell us it is nothing but a mechanical process that in principle is entirely explicable by reference to biochemistry, and thus to well-known properties of matter.

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  • November 2017

    Worse at What It Is

    5 ¾ min

    New York is always changing: It’s the city that never sleeps. When local writer Kay Hymowitz wrote a book about Brooklyn recently she talked about “creative destruction” on almost every other page. She had a point, and the city has seen both sides of the process.

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  • The Esolen Option
    July 2017

    The Esolen Option

    6 min

    If we don’t like the way of life around us, why not live differently? Why go along with something so inhuman and unrewarding? So asks Anthony Esolen in his new book.

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  • Blurred Lines

    8 ¾ min

    Public culture today is atheistic. It excludes God, natural law, and higher goods; bases morality on individual preferences; and views reason as a way of simply fitting means to ends.

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  • November 9, 2016

    Needed: A New Vision

    2 ¼ min

    The long term outlook remains bleak unless something basic changes. Trump's victory has unsettled things, and created an opening for something new to get started, but almost everything remains to be done.

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  • Beyond Populism
    August 2016

    Beyond Populism

    11 min

    Donald Trump’s political success dramatizes the nature of today’s politics. On one side we have denationalized ruling elites with absolute faith in their own outlook and very little concern for Americans as Americans.

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  • February 2016

    Who Defines America?

    8 ¼ min

    Who are the American people? The question is not likely to have a unique natural answer, since there are degrees, overlaps, and mismatches, but conditions limit possibilities.

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  • Trump and the Culture of Political Correctness
    November 2015

    Trump and the Culture of Political Correctness

    8 ½ min

    How has Donald Trump become the leading contender for the Republican nomination? The missing piece of the puzzle is the artificiality of public life in the United States. In a land of chain stores, internet memes, pop-culture formulas, and endless consultants, Trump has his own highly charged way of communicating.

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  • Mechanical Nihilism
    October 2015

    Mechanical Nihilism

    4 min

    This is a book about life in a society from which higher goods have been expelled, leaving no place for love, wonder, or beauty.

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  • The Practice of Politics
    January 2015

    The Practice of Politics

    7 ¾ min

    This is a history of liberalism as it appears to an intelligent, well-informed, and thoroughly convinced English liberal who worked for many years as an editor and correspondent for The Economist.

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  • A Necessary Book
    July 2014

    A Necessary Book

    3 ½ min

    We have been enduring the cultural revolution of liberal modernity. It is hard to say exactly when that revolution began, but it took a great step forward in the 60’s, when social and religious tradition lost its last shreds of public authority, and another after the collapse of communism freed it to go wherever it wanted without a serious external check.

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  • A Highly Acceptable Man
    November 2013

    A Highly Acceptable Man

    13 ¼ min

    Robert George's overall views are the least substantial aspect of his thought. They are very much like those that emerged in the wake of the 1960’s among the people who became the first generation of neoconservatives.

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  • Why Garry Wills?
    June 2013

    Why Garry Wills?

    12 ¾ min

    Garry Wills identifies himself as a Christian. He says he accepts the creeds, along with prayer, divine providence, the Gospels, the Eucharist, and the Mystical Body of Christ as the body of all believers. He also identifies as a Catholic, and tells us he prays the rosary and is devoted to the saints.

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Results: 22 Articles found.



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