Tyranny in Our Time: James Kalb’s “Against Inclusiveness”

Tyranny in Our Time: James Kalb’s “Against Inclusiveness”, by Chiton Williamson.

The book’s thesis, briefly stated, is that what we call “diversity” is not diverse at all but, instead, a monolithic concept, matching and reflecting the monolithic thought of the increasingly monolithic social structure that has been developing and imposing it upon Western society for a generation at least.

The result of too much bureaucratic control, or the bureaucrats themselves?

Yet what is important about “diversity” is not diversity itself. (“Nobody really cares about Sufi poetry.”)

The point is to simplify society to make it more manageable by governing elites by ridding it of every nonliberal principle of order. This entails erasing distinctions — of sex, culture, family, ethnicity, and religion — that successfully ordered life in traditional societies but fail to correspond with modern bureaucratic and commercial structures and systems, in whose context they seem irrelevant or oppressive, or both….

“[P]eople must sort themselves out by class, money, style, occupational level, and educational certification,” because these are the only things considered important by the rulers and regulators of a mass commercial-bureaucratic Leviathan. Official indoctrination along these lines is ceaseless.

It has also been successful beyond all imagining. “The more intelligent and highly educated people are today, the more they believe what they are supposed to believe.” Not to believe, or to be seen not to believe, means the death of one’s career, “and career is everything among educated people today.” The less intelligent are also less easily brainwashed, but they are inarticulate and increasingly nonfunctional. As for the relatively few intelligent and educated dissenters, the more cogent their arguments, the more they are perceived to be dangerous to society, hence the more they are mocked, marginalized, and ignored. They are the New Invisible Men, and women. …

The  dissenters become the Outsiders. Meanwhile, the Insiders prosper:

There is nothing new, after all, under the sun, despite the conviction of the inclusivist elite that they are the most enlightened and intelligent people who ever lived.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” Barack Obama once said. He meant the New Class of persons — or the class of New Persons — that, in attempting to create a world that reconciles their ambition with their ideology, has succeeded in creating an antiworld into which the real one can fit only after a process of brutal pummeling and careful remolding. …

Contradictory and undemocratic:

Inclusiveness is inherently contradictory. It cannot cope intellectually or politically, for instance, with the reverse racism it encourages and sanctions. …

The experiment is necessarily a profoundly antidemocratic one. “Liberalism,” Kalb says, “is the power that hides itself. To satisfy its promise of equality, freedom, and democracy, it must keep people from exercising their freedom.”

It achieves this by declaring all cultures and beliefs to be equal and deserving of equal respect. It follows that none of them can be allowed to exert its authority in respect of anything that matters.

“All significant decisions must be made by someone who can pass himself off as an outside authority applying neutral standards of human rights, economic efficiency, and administrative effectiveness.” …

Kalb sees this indifference to human reality as one of inclusivism’s ultimately fatal weaknesses. … Yet another is the sheer boredom of a society in which everyone is pressed to feel and think things he neither feels nor believes, a society that is “terminally sensitive, caring, and dull.”

hat-tip Stephen Neil