Jag har nu kollat upp vad Arnstad skriver om Churchill. Har han verkligen helt missförstått Churchills berömda uttalande? Passagen i Arnstads Älskade fascism som Leo Kramár hänvisade till visade sig vara riktigt lurig.

Den parlamentariska konservatismen accepterade endast den etablerade demokratin med varierande grad av avsmak — något bittert som måste uthärdas och ibland accepteras. Forskning kring den tyska mellankrigstida demokratin under Weimarrepubliken har visat hur de antidemokratiska konservativa junkrarna eroderade den konstitutionella staten innan Hitler kom till makten 1933. Västvärldens ståndaktige bulldog Winston Churchill, som representerade det enda land i världen som 1940–1941 stod emot Nazi-tyskland, hade inga högre tankar om demokrati. Såsom konservativ politiker kunde han först 1947 drista sig till ett av sina berömda citat: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” (“Demokrati är den värsta styrelseformen, undantaget alla dessa andra former som har prövats då och då”).’ Däremot var aldrig den brittiska konservatismen auktoritär på samma sätt som på den europeiska kontinenten, eftersom Churchill och hans kolleger var djupt rotade i ett väletablerat parlamentariskt systern. Dock utmanas myten om den brittiska konservatismens ståndaktighet av studier kring den nazityska ockupationen av öarna i Engelska kanalen under andra världskriget. De traditionella eliterna på dessa brittiska öar samarbetade till fullo med sina tyska ockupanter, även när det gällde deportationen av judar till Förintelsen. Fotografier visar hur myndigheterna låter brittiska polismän — bobbies — hjälpa nazityska dignitärer i sin yrkesutövning (Arnstad 2013: 222).

Arnstads huvudsakliga påstående, när allt kommer kring, tycks vara att Churchill är ett exempel på en konservativ politiker som mycket motvilligt accepterade parlamentarismen – att han var en av dem för vilka parlamentarismen var “något bittert som måste uthärdas och ibland accepteras”.

I den enda meningen som underbygger detta påstående citerar Arnstad den berömda sentensen om demokrati som det minst dåliga styrelseskicket. Att meningen verkligen är tänkt att vara komprometterande visas av nästkommande mening, där avstampet “däremot” inleder reservationen att den brittiska konservatismen trots allt inte var auktoritär. Alltså underförstått att det tidigare sagda utgör just tecken på en auktoritär eller demokratiskt tvivelaktig inställning.

Betyder det att Arnstad missförstått innebörden av uttalandet, som ju tveklöst uttrycker att demokrati faktiskt är det bästa styrleseskicket som någonsin prövats, och utgör ett försvar av demokratin som dessutom har fördelen att det kan avväpna en del kritiker? Det tycks mig inte så glasklart som Leo Kramár låter påskina. Arnstads mening rymmer ju också en tidsaspekt: att Churchill uttryckte detta först 1947. Så man skulle kunna tänka sig att det är detta som är komprometterande. Att Arnstad är med på att uttalandet uttrycker stöd för demokratin, men hävdar att tajmingen visar att det bara handlade om att motvilligt “acceptera” demokratin.

Denna tolkning leder naturligtvis till frågan om Arnstad har efterforskat Churchills tal och skrifter, och verkligen kommit fram till att detta uttalande är det första som försvarar parlamentarism och demokrati. Han lämnar inga referenser som tyder på detta. Arnstads formulering är ju för övrigt mycket märklig: att Churchill först 1947 kunde “drista sig till ett av sina berömda citat”. Man kan rimligen inte beskylla Churchill för att dröja med uttala vad som i efterhand kommer bli ett berömt citat, som om han hade bevingade ord undanstuvade i vinkällaren. Min kanske lite ogina tolkning är att denna märkliga formulering beror på att Arnstad måste fokusera på just “berömda citat”, och skyla över allt annat, för bara då stämmer kronologin med hans argument.

I Arnstads värld tycks Churchill alltså vara en vindflöjel som först 1947 uttrycker (eventuellt) stöd för demokratin, men vars tidigare ståndpunkt var en annan (oklart vilken, inga sådana påståenden preciseras). Att på detta sätt väva in Churchill i ett reaktionärt sammanhang – ett sammanhang av underminerande av parlamentariska institutioner och av kolloboration under nazistisk ockupation – ter sig oerhört märkligt. (Märkligt även om man beaktar att Churchill under en period stödde och såg positivt på Mussolini, som en kompanjon i kampen mot kommunismen, ett faktum Arnstad inte anför men som ter sig mer relevant för hans poäng än de saker han själv tar upp.)

Hade Arnstad varit intresserad av Churchills verkliga inställning till demokrati hade han kunnat göra något så enkelt som att scrolla lite i Roland Quinaults artikel “Churchill and Democracy”, som finns tillgänglig på Google Books Då hade han hittat ett och annat uttalande av Churchill att begrunda. Som exemplevis:

I was brought up in my father’s house to believe in democracy. ‘Trust the people’ that was his message. […] Therefore I have been in full harmony all my life with the tides which have flowed on both sides of the Atlantic against privilege and monopoly and I have steered confidently towards the Gettysburg ideal of ‘government of the people by the people for the people’ (Quinault 2004: 27).

Detta är naturligtvis något självförhärligande och förenklande, men även efter en genomgång av Churchills ståndpunkter under hans långa karriär kan slutsatsen inte bli annan än att han stödde den utveckling, som i princip sammanföll med hans livstid, då “democracy became the basis of political legitimacy in the western world” (Quinault 2004: 27, 46). Någon vindflöjel, som opportunt ändrar grundläggande principer efter tidsandan, det kan Churchill rimligen aldrig beskrivas som. Eller för att citera Isaiah Berlin:

Churchill is one of the diminishing number of those who genuinely believe in a specific world order: the desire to give it life and strength is the most powerful single influence upon everything which he thinks and imagines, does and is. When biographers and historians come to describe and analyse his views on Europe or America, on the British Empire or Russia, on India or Palestine, or even on social or economic policy, they will find that his opinions on all these topics are set in fixed patterns, set early in life and later only reinforced. […] His belief in and predilection for the American democracy are the foundation of his political outlook (Berlin 2000: 612).

Det är nu tydligt att frågan huruvida Arnstad har missförstått Churchills berömda uttalande är en bisak. Han har hur som helst missförstått Churchill.


Referenser:

  • Arnstad, Henrik. 2013. Älskade fascism. De svartbruna rörelsernas ideologi och historia. Norstedts.
  • Berlin, Isaiah. 2000. “Winston Churchill in 1940.” I The Proper Study of Mankind, red. Henry Hardy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • Quinault, Roland. 2004. “Churchill and Democracy.” I Winston Churchill in the Twenty First Century. Cambridge University Press.

The effectiveness of coercion depends on the cohesion of the agents of coercion. Any single one of them is generally weak: to be really effective, it is necessary that there be a number of them, often quite a large number, and that they stick together and maintain discipline. But what exactly makes men stick together, especially in perilous situations, in which betrayal and abandonment of a group — if that group is about to lose — may be by far the best strategy? Among the considerations liable to induce an individual to remain loyal, one of the most important is the conviction that others are also remaining loyal to the group, so that it will continue to be a numerous, disciplined and effective force. If the others are about to desert, it is very wise to do the same; if no one else will do so, it is most unwise to constitute the one exception, who will then be conspicuously punished, by way of example to all the others.

But how does one know, in situations which often involve geographical dispersal and lack of quick and reliable communication, whether this or that group or leader will continue to attract loyalty? One good criterion is whether that group or leader or cause is, by the recognized standards of the culture, ‘legitimate’. This consideration does not sway the individual waverer because he is necessarily a fanatical adherent of the locally held doctrines concerning what is and is not legitimate. It sways him because he thinks that others are also swayed by it, perhaps in the same opportunist spirit as he is, and so, in the interest of his own safety, he wants to stay on the ‘legitimate’ side because he expects it to win.

For this kind of reason, those who control the symbols of legitimacy thereby also in some considerable measure control the crystallization of social cohesion and loyalty, and thus exercise great power, even if they are not themselves direct possessors of weapons or practitioners of coercion.

Referens: Gellner, Ernest. 1995. Anthropology and Politics. Wiley-Blackwell, s. 165–66.

The condition of rational ignorance is not blameworthy or somehow immoral or irresponsible. It is a natural implication of the division of labour that makes life richer for us. We all share the disability of Saul Bellow’s Mr Sammler, who says, ‘I am more stupid about some things than about others; not equally stupid in all directions; I am not a well-rounded person’. If I am a typical citizen, I specialize in manufacturing goods, farming, offering professional services, making music, or whatever. I may be very good at what I do but I may be virtually incompetent at delivering professional services, making music, or any of a vast array of other things, all of which I could do, if at all, only at a much lower level of competence than I do my chief occupation. As Schumpeter noted, I might similarly drop down ‘to a lower level of mental performance’ as soon as I enter the political field. I might argue and analyse ‘in a way that [I] would recognize as infantile within the sphere of [my] real interests’. If I put some years of preparation and forty hours a week into it, I might do politics quite well. But the whole society would lose if I did that rather than what I have chosen to do.

Schumpeter’s observation is cited by virtually every contemporary writer on democratic theory. And no one has yet offered more than wishes about how to change the fact. The fact is not easily changed because it is so eminently reasonable that it is the fact.

Referens: Hardin, Russell. 2003. Liberalism, Constitutionalism, and Democracy. Oxford University Press, s. 168-69.

Suppose we identify the ”power” of an individual as that individual’s ability to induce others to take actions that they would not have taken, had the first individual not acted. The leader’s power, then, is founded upon his ability to solve derived coordination problems. Here the leader causes followers to act in concert, whereas they would not otherwise have been able to do so. When the coordination problem is impure, one might say that followers are coerced: due to the leader’s actions, at least some are forced to give up on seeking their favorite outcomes because the leader causes other players to expect, and thus implement, other outcomes instead. Nevertheless, in ex ante expectation or in the long run, all followers can be made better off than if they contended constantly for their most preferred results. This kind of ”power” seems mild, but as we have seen, it lends the leader stability against challenges by individuals and by coalitions, and makes real leader discretion possible. Thus in primary social dilemmas the leader is able to apply sanctions to force action, to dictate allocations, and to settle disputes. These are the more conventional trappings of ”power”.

It is misleading to say that leadership is based on power. In an important sense, rather, power is based on leadership. Because the leader produces group benefits that are degraded when leaders are overthrown or weakened, and because the realization of those benefits requires responsiveness on the part of followers, the leader does indeed have power. But as this model shows, power need not precede leadership at all. Leadership is based on the group’s need for solution of social dilemmas; the focalization of the leader confers power.

[…]

Thus the coordination model focuses its analysis of leadership on a particular class of political, social, and organizational ”leadership” situations: those in which a group faces a series of social dilemmas whose solution is eased by the mediation, sanctioning, and especially the focal suggestions of an identified person. Within that class of situations, the approach unifies all sorts of leadership activity, from informal task leadership in a small group to moral statesmanship in a large population. Further, the model avoids the confusing use of ”power” as a foundation, rather than as a result, of leadership. Ultimately the power of a leader depends on the forbearance of those who have the ability, and even some motivation, to overthrow or defeat him. The coordination model establishes that such restraint is problematic, and thus locates the power of a leader in the goals of followers.

Calvert, Randall L. 1992. “Leadership and Its Basis in Problems of Social Coordination.” International Political Science Review 3 (1), s. 19-20.

Hur är detta möjligt?

I samband med kritiken av den europeiska konservatismen skriver
Arnstad att Winston Churchill inte hade några högre tankar om demo-
krati och återger det berömda citatet som tillskrivs honom: ”Democracy
is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that
have been tried from time to time” (s. 222). Citatet är dock ofullständigt:
Arnstad berättar inte att Churchill hänvisar till någon annan, och han
är nog den förste som inte har förstått att det Churchill menade var att
demokratin är överlägsen alla andra kända statskick.

Kramár, Leo. 2014. “Fascism som ideologi och praktikHistorisk Tidskrift 134 (1), s. 70.

Perhaps the most widely celebrated object of ridicule was the ‘Eurovision Song Contest’, an annual television competition first broadcast in 1970. A commercial exercise glossed as a celebration of the new technology of simultaneous television transmission to multiple countries, the show claimed hundreds of millions of spectators by the mid-Seventies. The Eurovision Song Contest — in which B-league crooners and unknowns from across the continent performed generic and forgettable material before returning in almost every case to the obscurity whence they had briefly emerged — was so stunningly banal in conception and execution as to defy parody. It would have been out of date fifteen years earlier. But for just that reason it heralded something new.

Judt, Tony. 2005. Postwar. A History of Europe since 1945. New York : Penguin Press, s. 482–483.

Man hoppas att Åsa Romson nu insett att ”kraftuttryck” i form av onyanserade historiska jämförelser inte lämpar sig för en vice statsminister. Hursomhelst, en föregångare vad gäller Auschwitz-jämförelser utgörs av den tyska radikala vänstern på 60-talet:

Anti-militarism had a special place in German student protest as a tidy way to condemn both the Federal Republic and its Nazi predecessor. With the growth of opposition to the Vietnam War this conflation between past and present extended to West Germany’s military mentor. America, always ‘fascist’ in the rhetoric of a minority of radicals, now became the enemy for a far broader constituency. Indeed, attacking ‘Amerika’ for its criminal war in Vietnam served almost as a surrogate for discussion of Germany’s own war crimes. In Peter Weiss’s 1968 play Vietnam-Discourse the parallel between the United States and the Nazis is explicitly drawn.

If America was no better than the Hitler regime — if, in a slogan of the time, US=SS — then it was but a short step to treating Germany itself as Vietnam: both countries were divided by foreign occupiers, both were helplessly caught up in other people’s conflicts. This way of talking allowed West German radicals to despise the Bonn Republic both for its present imperialist-capitalist associations and for its past fascist ones. More ominously, it authorized the radical Left to recycle the claim that it was Germans themselves who were the true victims—an assertion hitherto identified with the far Right.

We should not, then, be surprised to learn that for all their anger at the
‘Auschwitz generation’, young Germans of the Sixties were not really much concerned with the Jewish Holocaust. Indeed, like their parents, they were uncomfortable with the ‘Jewish Question’. They preferred to subsume it in academic demands for classes on ‘Faschismustheorie’, obscuring the racist dimension of Nazism and emphasizing instead its links to capitalist production and imperial power apparatus’ was the imperial lackeys in Bonn; their victims were those who opposed America’s war in Vietnam. In this peculiar logic the populist, down-market tabloid Bild Zeitung, with its withering criticisms of student politics, was a revived Der Sturmer, students were the new ‘Jews’; and Nazi concentration camps were just a serviceable metaphor for the crimes of imperialism. In the words of a slogan graffitoed across the walls of Dachau in 1966 by a group of radicals: ‘Vietnam is the Auschwitz of America’.

Judt, Tony. 2005. Postwar. A History of Europe since 1945. New York : Penguin Press, s. 418–419.

One might, however, want to approximate the optimum as closely as possible, on the apparently reasonable assumption that the more of the conditions for optimality that are satisfied, the closer one will get to the optimum. This assumption is false. Under very general conditions, it is not true that a situation in which many, but not all, of the conditions for an optimum are fulfilled is necessarily, or is even likely to be superior to a situation in which fewer are fulfilled. […]

Tocqueville’s discussion of the ancien rigime in France may be read in this perspective. That system was characterized by a number of features that would be absent in a well-ordered society. The royal administration had wide, ill-defined, and arbitrary powers. The venality of office made a rational bureaucracy impossible. The obstruction of the parlements, highly politicized courts mostly acting for self-serving reasons, made it difficult to pursue consistent policies. Yet, Tocqueville argued, given the first of these features, the presence of the other two was in fact beneficial:

“The government, in its desire to turn everything into money, had first put most public offices up for sale and thus deprived itself of the faculty to grant and revoke them at will. One of its passions had thus greatly interfered with the success of the other: its greed had worked counter to its ambition. In order to act it was therefore continually reduced to using instruments it had not fashioned itself and could not break. Hence it often saw its most absolute wishes enfeebled in execution. This bizarre and faulty constitution of public functions took the place of any kind of political guarantee against the omnipotence of the central government. It was a strange and ill-constructed sort of dike that divided the government’s power and blunted its impact… The irregular intervention of the courts in government, which often disrupted the proper administration of affairs, thus served at times to safeguard liberty: it was a great ill that limited a still greater one.”

[…]
These cases are a bit like what happens when policymakers eliminate animals that create a nuisance for human populations, only to find that an even greater nuisance is created by the organisms they kept in check. Thus when Mao Tse-tung decided to eliminate sparrows because they ate grain, he had to reimport them later from the Soviet Union when the pests they kept down flourished, with catastrophic ecological results. Societies, no less than ecological systems, may have apparently absurd or noxious features whose removal might produce even greater ills. It is probably for this reason, among others, that Edmund Burke and his followers have been so adamant in their criticism of rationalist institutional design.

Elster, Jon. 2007. Explaining Social Behavior. More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, s. 439–441.

One afternoon some time ago, I was involved in a conversation around a table at the Hoover Institution. We were debating the meaning of a word. Uncharacteristically for an economist, one of my colleagues noted that this was essentially a factual question, which should therefore be settled by reference to the relevant factual authority: Webster’s dictionary. He fetched the dictionary and read us the following definition: “one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest.” Simultaneously several of us said “economist.” The word whose definition we had sought and just heard was, of course, “cynic.”

Most of the analysis that follows [in this book] is an economic theory of individual contribution to group action, and one may indeed find it cynical. I am generally concerned with pushing cynical explanations to their limit, to see what they cannot explain as well as what they can; I am not sure what to feel about the fact that they can explain as much as they can. Of those who instantly said “economist” that day, I was the only noneconomist. I said it with a slightly accusing tone. The others, I am convinced, said it with pride. I have since occasionally wondered who was more in the right.

Hardin, Russell. 1982. Collective Action. Baltimore: Resources for the Future.

Hur står det till med det kära gamla fosterlandet? Den frågan ställde sig mången nationellt sinnad person vid det senaste sekelskiftet. Dåligt, blev regelbundet svaret. Det kivades. Högern stod mot vänstern i rösträttsfrågan och i försvarsfrågan. Parlamentarismen pockade på att bli framsläppt men motades av dem som hade tronen, svärdet och altaret som symboler. Unionen med Norge låg i själatåget. Och: Ex oriente pericula [”faran från orienten”]. Tsarens Ryssland framstod som det stora hotet. Finland troddes bli russificerat. De ryska sågfilarna, motsvarigheterna till en senare tids polska tavelförsäljare, hembesökte och hemsökte stugorna. Sven Hedin spridde sitt Ett varningsord i en miljon exemplar, och Karl XII, statyerad i närheten av de sedermera så berömda almarna, pekade så käckt österut åt det håll varifrån faran kom. Att kungen i själva verket, som Günther klargjorde för tyske ministern under andra världskriget, närmast pekade på tyska legationen var det ingen som tänkte på.

Referens: Stjernquist, Nils. 1992. “Fredrik Lagerroth – De stora perspektivens man”, i Statsvetarporträtt. Svenska statsvetare under 350 år, red. Gunnar Falkemark.