En diktators politiska filosofi

I dessa dagar frågar man sig kanske hur en så tokig snubbe som Khadaffi kunde skaffa sig sådan makt och hur han har lyckas hålla sig kvar vid den i över fyrtio år. Från Ernest Gellner – som i ett mer generellt resonemang exemplifierar med Libyen – kan man hämta tre olika förklaringar som alla rör grunderna i Khadaffis politiska filosofi. Att vissa bedömare har varit blinda för de diktatoriska bevekelsegrunderna för denna filosofi tycker jag är väldigt fascinerande.

The accident of geology and oil wealth has on occasion allowed the puritan version of Islam to be applied with a rigour which would have been difficult under ordinary economic constraints – as in modern Libya. In recent years, Gaddafy has pushed the logic of scripturalism further than earlier puritans had dared in practice, restricting the fount of legitimacy to unambiguous Revelation only – i.e. to the Koran – and denying the authority of humanly and historically tainted extensions of it, such as arguments based on transmitted oral ‘traditions’ only, or on the example of the Prophet’s life. […]

It is clear that, if such an extreme scripturalism were established, it would free the ruler – already endowed with much elbow room by the miracle of oil wealth – from the restraint imposed on him by the normal legal-theological corpus. The abstract and general, and hence in practice ambiguous, precepts and assertions of the Koran would restrict him less than the highly elaborated body of scholarly consensus. […] Gaddafy is the first Sunni ruler to go so far as to suspend the Sunna (the codified traditions, as opposed to the Koran itself). […] Gaddafy’s suspension or pruning of the Sunna thus undermines much of the position and authority of the ulama [religiösa lärda], and in a way constitutes a disestablishment of the ulama class. […]

It is interesting that those attracted by this extremism should also frequently move towards a socialist radicalism and a rather mystical, highly nebulous notion of the Revolution, which is entitled to make all demands but whose promises remain wholly unspecific. But the convenience of such a combination from the ruler’s viewpoint is obvious. The socialist radicalism destroys any social bases of opposition which depend on wealth independent of the state. […]

At the same time, the democratic radicalism, the creation and encouragement of local committees which can overrule officials, means that no official can be secure of his tenure, and is thus all the less able to afford any independent stance vis-a-vis central authority. For instance, in Libya recently a local official was subjected to censure for failing to carry out instructions issued from the capital, and those emanating from the local elected committee – and as the two were not necessarily congruent, this was liable to keep him on his toes and mend his fences in all directions.

Gellner, Ernest (1993), ‘Flux and Reflux in the Faith of Men’, i Muslim Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), s. 62-64.