Kresta in the Afternoon – January 12, 2010 – Hour 1

  • Description:

    First Topic - Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command

    When it comes to liberalism, the usual story in postwar America is one of decline, accompanied by the subplot of conservatism’s ascendance. But take a longer view—look beyond and below politics—and it is the unchallenged triumph of liberalism and its philosophical assumptions that ought to command our attention. The triumph of liberalism means the tyranny of liberalism, explains James Kalb, for liberalism is the extension into the sociopolitical realm of modern scientific thought and technological rationality. These modes of thinking are regarded by nearly everyone today as uniquely authoritative; those institutions and beliefs which do not conform are regarded at best as annoyances, and at worst as evil. Furthermore, Kalb shows how liberalism is an expression of the interests and outlook of commercial and managerial elites, who are suspicious of less rationalized and controllable forms of social organization like the family.

    Second Topic – The Science on Women and Science

    Are women victims of a widespread bias in science and engineering, as a 2007 report of the National Academy of Sciences concluded? Or are there other, more plausible explanations for the paucity of women in various quantitative fields? What, if anything, should be done to encourage more women to become engineers and scientists? Anyone looking for a balanced and temperate treatment of this sometimes-contentious topic will welcome this collection of essays from leading academics on both sides of the issue. Editor Christina Hoff Sommers is the editor and our guest.

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