Vad vi kan lära av kristdemokratins framväxt

Jag läste nyss en artikel som delvis berör temat för gårdagens långa blogginlägg. Jan-Werner Müller, vars artiklar jag ofta uppskattar mycket, skriver i senaste numret av Boston Review om katolicismens väg fram till accepterandet av den moderna demokratin.

Han inleder med att ta upp Turkiet och det faktum att AKP var nära att förbjudas av konstitutionsdomstolen. Många sätter sitt hopp till AKP eftersom de ser partiet som ”the prototype of a Muslim Democratic party that can appeal to believers while being fully committed to the rules (and values) of the democratic game”. Müller skriver vidare:

At the same time, loud voices proclaiming that Islam and democracy are incompatible remain in Turkey, and, of course, are not limited to it. Their pronouncements are reminiscent of what many secular liberals in nineteenth-century Europe had to say about democracy and religion, though with an important and instructive twist: back then, Catholicism was deemed an insurmountable obstacle to liberal democracy. Leading French Republican Léon Gambetta famously exclaimed “Le cléricalisme, voilà l’ennemi!” in 1877. In fact, far into the twentieth century prominent politicians and social scientists asserted that Catholicism explained the persistence of dictatorship in Latin America and on the Iberian Peninsula. Catholicism, in the words of Seymour Martin Lipset, appeared “antithetical to democracy”; Pierre Trudeau claimed that Catholic countries

are authoritarian in spiritual matters; and since the dividing line between the spiritual and the temporal may be very fine or even confused, they are often disinclined to seek solutions in temporal affairs through the mere counting of heads.

And as with Muslims today, Catholic citizens were suspected of maintaining transnational ties and ultimate loyalties to spiritual institutions elsewhere—a suspicion that still mattered in John F. Kennedy’s election campaigns.

Detta gör naturligtvis historien om hur kristdemokratin skapades och utvecklades extra intressant. Det som utmärker Müllers berättelse, och vilket fick mig att tänka på Quentin Skinners tanke om normativa principers inverkan på politiskt handlande, är att han betonar den idémässiga utvecklingen inom religionen ifråga som en central faktor.

[T]he pessimists and optimists do agree that institutional structures are what matters, not political ideas or programs. Thus both assert that calls for liberalizing Islam and arcane disputes about the Qur’an’s compatibility with democracy are largely beside the point. Programmatic moderation, if it happens at all, will be a result of democratic political practice, not its precondition. But are ideas and doctrinal development as marginal as the pessimists and optimists both confidently assert?

Den frågan svarar Müller på mot slutet av sin långa redogörelse för kristdemokratins framväxt:

Undoubtedly, the development of Christian Democracy—and its astounding electoral successes—was not due only to the attractiveness of its language and programs. Its strong anticommunism during the Cold War won it many votes. In the case of Italy, Christian Democracy also benefited from machine politics and, sometimes, corruption. Moreover, a postwar alliance between peasantry and the middle classes was instrumental in keeping Christian Democrats in power for unusually long stretches of time in Germany, Italy, and the Benelux countries.

Still, Christian Democrats required some body of thought to make democracy attractive for believers, while reassuring nonbelievers that those of faith had accepted pluralism. Unlike traditional regimes, modern democracies need public justifications for exercising coercion. And while many of these justifications might be disingenuous, they need to at least be plausible.

In the case of Christian Democracy, believers needed to be convinced that the party had not sold out to secularism (of which liberal democracy seemed merely one symptom); nonbelievers needed assurance that religiously inspired parties would not abandon state neutrality in religious affairs once in power, and that the pronouncements of a Maritain did not constitute a kind of “double discourse,” with different messages for believers and nonbelievers. It was a delicate balancing act. […]

The moderation of Christian Democracy was not just the result of day-to-day politics. Rather, a long-term process of scholarship and debate helped create a group of parties that appealed to voters not by being arbitrarily centrist, but by making widely agreeable proposals based on Christian values.

Implikationen av detta för debatten om islam och demokrati är enligt Müller ”that the formation of some liberalized Islam by self-consciously moderate and democratic Muslim intellectuals should not be seen as a sideshow to the hard-nosed politics of interests”. Detta är helt i linje med Skinners poäng. Det är en viktig poäng även för Raymond Geuss och politisk realism (som jag kommer publicera ett inlägg om i morgon).

The legitimatory mechanisms available in a given society change from one historical period to another, as do the total set of beliefs held by agents, the mechanisms for changing belief, or generating new ones (newspapers, universities, etc.), and the forms of widely distributed, socially rooted, moral conceptions. These are all important of what makes a given society the society it is. […] If one wants to attain a moderately realistic understanding of why a society behaves politically in a certain way, one will have to take account of the specific way the existing forms of legitimation work. There is nothing ”realistic” about closing one’s eyes to the fact that such warrants exist and are taken seriously. (Raymond Geuss, Philosophy and Real Politics, s. 35-36)

Att endast lägga vikt vid ”the hard-nosed politics of interests” är helt enkelt inte realistiskt; det intellektuella reformarbetet är inte en ”sideshow”. Müller igen, som avslutning:

The debates about the meaning of sharia for state law, the possible political implications of the Islamic institution of shura (“consultation”) on parliamentary procedure, and concepts such as theodemocracy are important. Thinkers such as Abdolkarim Soroush, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Khaled Abou El Fadl (see for instance his “Islam and the Challenge of Democracy” in Boston Review, April/May 2003), the late Nasr Abu Zayd, or more controversially Rashid Al-Ghannushi, and even more controversially Tariq Ramadan cannot bring about moderation, let alone liberal Democracy, single-handedly. But they may offer a body of thought—structured by moral values central to the Qur’an, such as justice—that can provide public justification.

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