Sociology (Tocqueville’s discipline, and the one practiced in this book), for instance, has largely been captured by the view that inequalities are the most prevalent and most consequential things around. That view is so forcefully held and so apparently beyond criticism that it has become not only virtually synonymous with the dominant vision of what politics is for but virtually sacrosanct, too. For many sociologists, there just isn’t anything else to care about more than inequality, and there just isn’t anything else to do but to combat it politically.
As the saying of unknown origin goes, it ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. It’s funny to think that all the ceaseless chattering about inequality is just this century’s version of Freudian psychology, a fleeting intellectual fashion among the intelligentsia, soon to be deservedly ignored. It’s liberating to hear it summed up so concisely like this; it reminds you that there’s life outside this stifling, insular climate of opinion.