”Putting Cruelty First” (Judith Shklar)

Nedanstående stycke, inledningen till ”Putting Cruelty First”, har jag tidigare citerat i ett annat sammanhang. Men det är så briljant och tänkvärt att det förtjänar att omläsas många gånger. Many years ago, a deeply religious Roman Catholic friend said to me, with some irritation, ”Why must you liberals bring everything down to cruelty?” What could he have meant? He was, and is, the most gentle and kindly of men, and a principled defender of political freedom and social reform. As a Christian, he obviously regarded cruelty as a dreadful vice. He was not defending cruelty or abandoning liberal politics; rather, … Fortsätt läsa ”Putting Cruelty First” (Judith Shklar)

Judith Shklar om John Adams

Ikväll börjar miniserien John Adams på Svt. Rekommenderas varmt. Ett citat som ackompanjemang: At his gloomiest, Adams predicted that his and Jefferson’s efforts to keep hereditary offices and honors out of America would fail. Exaggerated as they were, Adam’s worries were not without substance. He could see that the problem of equality in an open representative electoral system, in which majorities ruled, could not be abated by political careers open to talent only. Prestige had politically dangerous possibilities and, given the intensity of social ambitions, he did not see how one could contain ”the few” [uppkomsten av en oligarki]. This … Fortsätt läsa Judith Shklar om John Adams

De fattigas frihet

Negative liberty is ”the open door”, or the possibility to act without being hindered by anyone. My freedom is as vast as the space in which I can do everything I want without anybody’s intervention, and particulary without the intervention of officialdom. And [Isaiah Berlin] noticed something which has escaped many of his critics: that the poor also like their negative liberty; they too refuse to be controlled and manipulated in their daily life. The absence of freedom is just one more deprivation they have to bear. Judith Shklar, ”Positive Liberty, Negative Liberty in the United States”, Redeeming American Political … Fortsätt läsa De fattigas frihet

Den svartsynta liberalismen

Svante Nycanders essä i dagens DN är en nyttig påminnelse om att liberalismen traditionellt sett inte haft en ljus och idylliskt syn på individen. Inte minst i Sverige har detta glömts bort. Ingen teoretiker under 1900-talet representerar i högre utsträckning än Judith Shklar den svartsynta, kalla, pessimistiska varianten av liberalism. Här är ett utdrag ur ”The Liberalism of Fear”. (Lite klumpigt översatt till ”rädslans” liberalism. Mer korrekt vore egentligen ”fruktans” liberalism, men jag tycker att det ligger illa i mun. Samma med ”skräckens” liberalism. Eller?) Den intellektuella anspråkslösheten implicerar inte att rädslans liberalism saknar innehåll, bara att den är helt … Fortsätt läsa Den svartsynta liberalismen

Shklar om Michael Walzer och politisk teori

Eftersom jag på sistone varit inne på metafrågor om politisk teori, så tänkte jag citera Shklars beskrivning av Walzer: In all [of Michael Walzer’s] works there is beneath an admirable eclecticism a constant set of themes, above all the conviction that intellectuals are duty-bound to articulate the deepest beliefs and concerns of their fellow citizens, and that political theory is meant not to tell them what to do or how to think but to help them to a clearer notion of what they already know and would say if only they could find the right words. [s. 376] Även om … Fortsätt läsa Shklar om Michael Walzer och politisk teori

Tony Judt om Leszek Kolakowski

I det senaste numret av The New York Review of Books finns bland annat en runa över den politiska filosofen Leszek Kolakowski (1927–2009). Jag har bara läst ett par kortare texter av honom, men att döma av Tony Judts omdöme borde jag ta tag i Kolakowski på allvar. Extra intressant är att Judt som slutkläm gör en koppling till Judith Shklar. It was a defining feature of Leszek Kołakowski’s intellectual trajectory that he took evil extremely seriously. Among Marx’s false premises, in his view, was the idea that all human shortcomings are rooted in social circumstances. Marx had ”entirely overlooked … Fortsätt läsa Tony Judt om Leszek Kolakowski