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Thought Paralysis: The Virtues of Discrimination
Farhad Dalal
Routledge (London: Karnac Books) / Softcover / Nov 2011
9781780490526 (ISBN-10: 1780490526)
reg price: $63.50 our price: $ 57.15 (may be subject to change)
272 pages
Not in Stock, but usually ships within 2-3 weeks

Given the enormous struggles, efforts and money expended on the equalities enterprise, why has more progress not been made? And further, why have things actually become worse in some circumstances? It is argued this has occurred because:

- The values of Equality have been bureaucratized, allowing the liberal principle of "live and let live" to be perverted and put in the service of fear and control.

- The Diversity discourse has been hijacked by the libertarians and put in the service of increasing profit, under the guise of liberty and inclusivity.

- The equality movements have become apolitical, sidetracked into the project of the indiscriminate celebration and preservation of cultures, in lieu of challenging the status quo within cultures as much as between them.

- The versions of psychology and sociology that the equality movements have drawn on are over simple.

- The attempts to do away with judgementalism and unfair discrimination have ended up vilifying the capacities for judgment and discrimination per se.

The book walks the thin line between the apologists who deify "difference" and the zealots and bigots who vilify the different, to argue that to create a fairer world, we need to enhance our capacities for discrimination, not stifle them.

Although the work is focussed around equality, it has bigger things to say about the human condition and organizational life in general.

‘Splendid – a plea for true egalitarianism.’
- Oliver James, author of The Selfish Capitalist: Origins of Affluenza

‘This book exposes the ideologues that fight against the principles of equality; it confronts the liberal left which has lost its cutting edge, opting instead for that happy pill, “diversity”; and it challenges those Britons of colour who are preoccupied with culture and lose sight of issues of power and racism. Meanwhile, prejudice and bigotries continue to blight lives. Farhad Dalal’s timely and brave wake up call must be heeded by progressives.’
- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, weekly columnist on the Independent

‘This is a very important book that should be read by all those who believe they support the equalities agenda. The cause has become progressively bureaucratized with little more critical thought than the inequalities they set out to remedy. Dalal offers us an astute and detailed description of this process, re-engaging our critical faculties and paving the way for more genuine progress towards human rights. Since the various discourses of political correctness have frequently become coercive and intimidatory, it requires some courage to challenge them from a radical position, risking accusations of giving support to conservatism and prejudice. It must, therefore, be recognized that this work is not only erudite and engagingly well written but also brave.’
- Dick Blackwell, Director of the Centre for Psychotherapy and Human Rights

‘Hurrah, and what a relief – at last an intelligent argument for using judgement and discrimination against prevailing multiculturalist dogma and relativist orthodoxies. Thought Paralysis bravely takes on the “diversity peddlers” and “liberals of a certain persuasion”, whose constructed taboos too often crush our capacity for discernment and silent criticism. And all this is done without giving succour to the reactionaries, firmly keeping faith with the emancipatory project. Written in a refreshingly accessible way, using a myriad of everyday examples, we are offered a complex defence of Enlightenment values. As I read, I had many “virtual” arguments with its author. This is a compliment as Dalal’s writing stimulated endless intellectual challenges. The author invites us to an “exchange of ideological fluids”, knowing that convictions, however strong, ought to remain open to interrogation and challenge. So read this book and let the critical juices flow.’
- Claire Fox, Director, Institute of Ideas; panellist, BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze

‘This book is truly thoughtful as Hannah Arendt might have used the word. With humane clarity and intelligence Dalal exposes the thought-less-ness that bedevils much of our well-intentioned, but ill-conceived, attempts to promote equality. This book is scholarly, well informed, and highly accessible in its style; it is essential reading for anyone involved with the “diversity, equality and inclusion” agenda so prevalent in today’s institutional life.’
- Patricia Shaw, visiting professor, Copenhagen Business School

About the Author:

Farhad Dalal works as a psychotherapist and group analyst in private practice, and has done so for about twenty-five years. Now living and working in Devon, he is a training group analyst for the Institute of Group Analysis, London. He also works with teams and organizations as a facilitator and consultant. Until recently, he was an Associate Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire’s Business School. He has published numerous papers on the subjects of psychoanalysis, group analysis, policy, organizations, and racism.

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