Tony Judt om Raymond Aron

In Tony Judts bok The Burden of Responsibility kan man finna några passager som kärnfullt beskriver Raymond Aron och det slags liberalism som han var närmast ensam om att torgföra i det samtida radikala Frankrike.

Ever since his student years in Germany, Aron was absorbed with, perhaps even obsessed by, the fragility of liberal polities and the threat of anarchy and despotism. This marked his writings in away that nothing about his comfortable childhood and youth could have predicted, and it sets him apart from almost every other French intellectual of his generation. […]


The link in Aron’s thought between political stability, civil order, and public liberties is clear – and as with Tocqueville, it was in essence a product of experience and observation rather than theory. This helps us understand his way of thinking about liberty in general, and the totalitarian threat to it. […]


[It] was not enough to lay bare the unpalatable facts about totalitarianism. There were some uncomfortable truths about free societies, too, that intellectuals were equally disposed to ignore. For Aron’s generation in the twenties and thirties, the widespread appeal of the writings of the philosopher Alain (Emile Chartier) had lain in his treatment of all political authority as incipiently, potentially tyrannical. […] But Aron reasoned that it is absurd to propose that the sole task of the theorist of freedom in a free society lies in opposing and restricting authority wherever it may touch him. For resisting and denying the moderate claims and capacities of government in a free society is precisely the way to clear the path for the immoderate variety (Weimar, again). The lesson of totalitarianism, in short, was the importance of order and authority under law – not as a compromise with freedom, nor as the condition of higher freedoms to come; but simply as the best way to protect those already secured.


Tony Judt (1998), The Burden of Responsibility. Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press), s. 149-153.