Återkommande åsiktsregistrering i Sverige sedan Krilonböckernas 1940tal

Eyvind Johnsson, författare till Krilontrilogin

Under andra världskriget fanns många sätt att övervaka den bräckliga svenska neutraliteten. Pressen fick order vad som kunde skrivas och böcker kunde censurerar. Efter ett tag förstod såväl författare som redaktörer och skribenter vad som gick att säga och skriva. Eyvind Johnsson tillhörde de modiga som berättade om t ex tortyr i Norge under nazister från Tyskland och inhemska men fick paketera berättelserna i de tjocka volymerna om Johannes Krilon. Nu finns ett nyvaknat intresse för den kämpande humanisten Eyvind Johnsson.

2010 disputerade Per A Wiktorsson på denna oerhört sammansatta och betydelsefulla trilogi och För några månader 2012 sedan berättade kulturjournalisten Jens Liljestrand om Johnssons envetna kamp för tryck- och yttrandefrihet i essän ”Friheten att vara mänska”. 2014 tryckte NEO en intressant essä av Torbjörn Elensky om Krilon och Johnsson.

Böckerna om Krilon är fyllda av patos för tanke-, press- och yttrandefrihet.

I Eyvind Johnssons personliga credo för människovärdet är friheten störst:

”Jag är krigförande. Jag är på den sidan som strider för FRIHETEN
ATT VARA MÄNSKA, för det högsta av allt. Friheten
att leva tryggt. Friheten för varje mänska att yttra sig öppet. (…
) Friheten är inte någonting man får alldeles gratis. Framtiden
är heller ingenting man får till skänks, jag menar den ljusa, den
fria och fina. Jag kan upprepa vad jag lovat er ännu en gång och
vad jag kan lova världen: en ljus, en fin och fri framtid, och
stora ansträngningar, stora offer för att nå den.”

Under dessa år 1939-1945 grundlades säkerhetsregister över de som varit eller kunde fruktas träda över gränsen i den ideologiska kampen mot Hitlers eller Stalins tankesystem. Neutraliteten krävde att svenskarna teg. Exporten fortsatte som vi vet men först när vinden vände 1943 började debatten öppnas något. Men registren behölls och fylldes på under de kommande decennierna, nu mest av kommunister och homosexuella.

1966 avslöjade Björn Kumm, Sven Rydenfeldt och Janerik Larsson att Säpo registerat kommunister eller barn till dessa på ett inte tillåtet sätt. En ung man förvägrades bli polis för att hans far var kommunist och av landets 5 miljoner fanns 300 000 i registren vilket tyder på ett oerhört insamlat material, främst via fackföreningsmedlemmar. LO och S var naturligtvis inblandade men som vi alla minns avslöjades inte detaljerna förrän 1973 av Bratt och Guillou i IB-affären . Bloggen Tankar om IB har mer intressant.

ÅSIKTSREGISTERING 2012
Underrättelsetjänster har all anledning att hålla koll på presumptiva terrorister med våldsbejakande ideologier. Jag har inga invändningar mot dagens system där Säpo övervakas av riksdagen och ser heller inga hinder för att använda elektronisk kommunikation som källa för bevisföring, sk signalspaning och FRA-lag.

Vad jag vänder mig emot är de utomstatliga organisationernas egen åsiktsregistrering och hur deras företrädare idag vill använda medel för att stoppa öppen diskussion om svensk invandringspolitik, migration, integration och andra avgörande frågor för landets demografi och ekonomi. Här ges några exempel på initiativ till eller redan genomförd åsiktsregistering:

1) Tidskriften Expo har en lista på personer som bör uppmärksammas pga deras åsikter,
2) Transportsarbetarförbundets uteslutningar av medlemmar med sympatier för Sverigedemokrater
3) Svenska Kyrkans beredvillighet att kartlägga teologer med kritiska åsikter och återkommande censurvilja.
4) Advokatsamfundets vilja att utesluta Sverigedemokrater från nämndemansuppdrag
5) LOs kampanj “Alla kan göra något” som ska utbilda 150 000 aktiva medlemmar att kartlägga åsikter så att inte fel personer väljs till poster
6) Oviljan hos regeringen att öppna arkiv hos fd östtyska Stasi där över 50 svenska journalister m fl finns namngivna och som inte kan ursäktas för sina brott mot oss medborgare.

Det finns säkert många fler exempel på åsiktsregistrering än dessa. LO har relativt gott om pengar och Expo anses ha goda huvuden som betingar sitt pris för att hjälpa LO med de bångstyriga medlemmarna. Men risken är att en öppen debatt om rasism och integration, migration och ekonomi, inte kommer till stand och att de med sk avvikande åsikter blir förbannade.

Eyvind Johnssons maning till mod för att bevara yttrandefriheten kallar oss att inte glömma. Hade han levat idag är jag övertygad att han skulle varit skeptisk till Sverigedemokraternas politik men ha slagits för deras och allas rätt att yttra sig. Den rätten ska inte bero på de register som nu upprättas för att hota och tysta ned.

Uppdatering 18 juli 2014

Programmet Danmarks Röst

Mitt föredrag om yttrandefrihet

Richard Rorty on John Dewey´s unwanted metaphysical pragmatism

(paper from New School Univ, NYC 1993)

”For some years, when ever I thought I had found something general and useful to say, it sounded like an echo of something I had once read. When I tried to run it down, I was constantly led back to Dewey.¨
Richard Rorty, 1985

Richard Rorty’s indebtness and fascination of John Dewey are too vivid and complex to summarise in one short paper like this one. Rorty’s commentaries and theoretical expansions range from Dewey’s epistemology to his writings on politics, theology, art and much more. Since I have neither read all the Early, Middle and Later Works of Dewey, nor all the relevant books on the history of pragmatism, but read about all Rorty has written on Dewey, I can only give an overview of what Rorty says in this matter. The accuracy of his Dewey- interpretation is something I must leave for another occasion, although I will state some criticisms of Rorty from other Dewey scholars together with some minor personal remarks.

In the first part I will concentrate on Rorty’s use and critique of Dewey’s efforts to rewrite metaphysics in a new philosophical kind of mixed thought, ’naturalistic metaphysics’. This theme in Rorty’s writings occurs mostly in the 1970s, with the 1977 essay ”Dewey’s metaphysics” in focus. In the second part, I will bring up some of Rorty’s considerations on Dewey’s political, social and ethical writings. These aspects of Dewey corresponds with Rorty’s voluminous writings during the 1980s. Third part deals with the hope for social change that Rorty sees in Dewey.

I. Rorty’s critique of Dewey’s metaphysics

Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Dewey are the three most important philosophers in our century, Rorty claims in Philosophy and the mirror of nature. All three had had an early dogmatic period when they tried to build systems, and a later when they abandoned their attempts and turned to edifying thought (or so Rorty claims). In Dewey’s case, he tried to construct a naturalised version of Hegel’s vision of history, without foundations on the glassy essence of mind or need for certainty.

This occurs most clearly in Dewey’s 1925 lecture series and book Experience and Nature. Dewey had distinguished earlier in the essay ’An empirical survey of empiricism’s’ three conceptions of experience; the classical antique concept empeireia, depreciated by Plato as habit, custom and thoughtless action, 2) Locke’s new empiricist version of experience as fresh, personal, coercive, sensational forms and 3) 19th and 20th century practices of science, experimentative, hypothetical, objective and verificationist. But this third view of experience was still ’more or less inchoate’, as Dewey himself said .

Rorty sees both merits and failures with Dewey’s holistic notions of experience, recollection etc, but in the end views the whole project of a naturalistic metaphysics as barren. He finds good things to say, though, on Dewey’s way to the metaphysics of experience. There are lines that can be developed Rorty maintains, in other directions than Dewey saw. Where Dewey went wrong, Rorty have even construed a successful imaginary Dewey, a ’hypothetical Dewey who was a pragmatist without being a radical empiricist and a naturalist without being a panpsychist’, to show that Dewey was not totally all off the track to a new kind of anti- foundational reconstructive thinking, although the price might have been too high. The question in the following debate seems to be whether Dewey actually reached that goal or not, as new kind a metaphysician or failed as a traditional one with hopeless premises.

Rorty states the main problem with Dewey’s metaphysics as the failure to merge evolutionary biology, Locke and naturalistic empiricism with socio-historical narratives like Hegel’s. Dewey, along with other early 20th century thinkers as Bergson, James, Whitehead etc, had tried to view mind and matter, idealism and materialism, culture and nature, as a matter of degree rather than two distinct areas of terrestrial life. Dewey’s ’holistic naturalism’ stressed the continuity of existence between organic and inorganic ’events’. No ontological breaks are to be seen in nature. The distinctions between the physico- chemical, psycho- physical and mental are rather ’levels of increasing complexity and intimacy of interaction among natural events’.

Rorty views this strategy as problematic. ’The problem with this way of obtaining continuity between us and the brutes is that it seems to shove the philosophically embarrassing discontinuity back down to the gap between, let’s say, viruses and amoebae’. The contrasting effect of ’experience’ with invariant nature is thereby lost. Where should the contrasting line of the experiencer and his/her experience be drawn ?

Dewey could have taken the linguistic turn à la Rorty, contrasting language-users with non-language-users. ’He could then have gone on to note that the development of linguistic behaviour – of social practices which used increasingly flexible vocal cords and thumbs to produce longer and more complex strings of noises and marks – is readily explicable in naturalistic Darwinian terms’. Language is a more suitable notion than experience, Rorty thinks, for pragmatic uses.

The attempt to find a definition of the word ’true’ that seemed to haunt both James and Dewey was better served, Rorty holds, by making truth to be a predicate of sentences, rather than something experienced. This is not because formulating philosophical problems in terms of sentences rather than in terms of psychological processes is clearer. But that the malleability of language is a less paradoxical notion than the malleability of nature or of ’objects’.

R.Westbrook however, finds a lot of linguistic emphasis, elaborated and made essential to man, just in Experience and nature, the very book Rorty thinks hopelessly idealistic and too heavy laden with metaphysical questions and answers. But in this study of experience, language is the ’peculiar form’ for human beings, and stands according to Dewey, as communication, as ’a wonder by the side of which transsubstantiation pales’.

Dewey actually said that communication is ’infinitely more amenable to management, more permanent and more accommodating, than events in their first estate’, thereby granting language more coherence than experience, I believe. The question is whether one should leave all ’events’, and ’the world well lost’, using words and meanings as the only guiding principles in a Davidsonian-Rortyan way. Problems of solipsistic idealism and linguistic relativism arise and Putnam’s realism gets a point, though . . .

In the essay ’Dewey’s metaphysics’ Rorty makes some claims as to why the project failed, and some meta-philosophical claims. ’It is easier to think of the book [Experience and Nature] as an explanation of why no one needs a metaphysics, rather than as itself a metaphysical system’. The kind of philosophy that Rorty praises Dewey for, are books like his Reconstruction of Philosophy and The Quest for Certainty, which were valuable ’historico- sociological studies of the cultural phenomenon called metaphysics’. By taking the best out of previous systems of thought and then after serious detailed intellectual work view their problems as not much of use, Rorty grants Dewey status as a ”first-rate” philosopher. Only similar meta- philosophical parts of Experience and Nature get praise from Rorty. The rest is too bland and idealistic.

Dewey himself agreed to a certain extent with Rorty’s comment that he was at his best bringing up internal problems in philosophy and rereading its best attempts in a new light. ’If there is any worth in Experience and Nature, it is not, I should say, this ”metaphysics” which is that of the common man, but lies in the use of the method to understand a group of special problems which have troubled philosophy’. Rorty brings also up Dewey’s later characterisation from 1948 of Experience and Nature where Dewey wrote that it should be understood and rebaptised as Experience and Culture rather than anything naturalistic in metaphysics. The interpretation of this later passage is not without doubt from other commentators, e.g. Sleeper.

The heavy anthropocentrism in Dewey’s metaphysics that his contemporaries (especially Santanya) saw and criticised does not bother Rorty, rather the opposite. Dewey gives almost too much to naturalism, where he should gone ’Hegelian all the way’ instead. Dewey’s positions towards the tasks of philosophy are important here for Rorty who claims that Dewey oscillated between two views on his profession; a ’therapeutic’, like helping Wittgensteinian flies out of bottles, and a scientific, empirical, important and constructive. Dewey had to be helped from getting too scientific.

In an introduction to a volume of Dewey’s Later Works, Rorty points out the strategy of Dewey the professional philosopher and theoretician of social science, and Dewey the activist and social reformer. The volume consists of Dewey’s popular writings on education, philosophy, and ’inquiry’, where a tension surfaces between ’pragmatism’s conception of inquiry (in any sphere, not just philosophy) as a response to particular historical circumstances, and the traditional conception of inquiry as the discovery of eternal ”objective” truths.’

Dewey himself was happy with both positions, one where he openly stated his preferences, another where he neutrally used ’scientific method’, ’reflective thinking’ or ’psychology’ to promote certain goals in social or cultural thought. Rorty sees the latter scientific strategy as ’an unfortunate aftereffect’, and due to Dewey’s upbringing where certain topics such as ’the nature of judgment’, ’of reasoning’, or ’ of science’ were suitable areas for professional ’philosophical research’.

The problem for Dewey was, according to Rorty, that his recommendations of certain lines of thinking must be wide enough to leave room for free play of the mind but narrow enough to point to certain social and cultural goals. He wanted to praise certain (radical liberal/social- democratic) ways of thought, but feared to fall into an empty formalism and continued therefore to search for a middle ground in between a well- defined procedure, a recipe, and an uninteresting recommendation to be open- minded, critical, experimental. Rorty finds here several incoherencies in these attempts, e.g. Dewey’s almost Feyerabend- inspired passages ’against method’, along with many ’pro- method’ passages . But the optimism in Dewey’s own time and his status as an academic philosopher did not seem to make the different positions he held too far from one another. Like Rorty, Dewey did not want to put one audience before one another, and certainly he did not think of his fellow philosophy professors as his ’real audience’, in contrast with today’s self- marginalization of philosophy by logical empiricists.

Dewey’s mix of experimentation in science and metaphysical thinking leads to banalities Rorty thinks and refers to an old debate between S. Hodgson and Dewey in the 1880’s, on the metaphysics and the psychology of experience. Hodgson thought already then that Dewey’s notion of experience was too blank and transcendental. Rorty joins this critique. Who needs a discipline on ’the basic types of involvement ?’ – he asks. Rorty sees too much idealism, transcendence, and Kantianism in Dewey’s efforts (inspired by T.H. Green) to uphold that intuitions without concepts are blind. Dewey wanted his notion of ’transactions with the environment’ to sound both Darwinian and Kantian (p. 84), Rorty holds in his critique and continues with criticising Dewey’s anti- dualism.

Dewey seems to confuse two ways to revolt against dualism. One way is the Hegelian holistic notion of the Absolute, the other one is to describe phenomena in a non- dualist way of continuous ’raw feels’ as Locke did. This is only possible if Locke and Hegel are kept separate .

To do equal justice to Hegel and naturalism is a contradiction in terms, Rorty (and Santayana) claims. No man can serve both Locke and Hegel and cross the line between physiology and sociology. ’Nothing is to be gained for an understanding of human knowledge by running together the vocabularies in which we describe the causal antecedents of knowledge with those in which we offer justifications of our claims to knowledge’ (p. 78). Rorty refers to Dewey’s thinking of knowing and the known. To constitute the knowable by the cooperation of two unknowable as the events ’ unknown’ and ’unknowable’ is unintelligible Rorty argues.

Summary of Rorty’s critique:

1) The ’empirical method’ Dewey uses is unintelligible. 2) Dewey’s critique of the implicit social bias in other metaphysical systems contradicts his own ’observational’ and proposed neutral method. 3) His own ’naturalistic metaphysics’ is a rival instead of a complement to the sciences. 4) Only way out of problem 3) is to generalise from facts, but this leads to banalization. 5) If naturalistic metaphysics yields important knowledge, other cultural and intellectual areas besides philosophy benefits too.

But Rorty thinks all in all that what Dewey accomplished was not little. He opened up new avenues for cultural developments, by helping us put aside a spirit of seriousness which artists traditionally lack and philosophy are traditionally supposed to maintain. This (almost ironic) theme is echoed in the Jamesean style of Rorty’s later writings. But Dewey, who came down with the disease he was trying to cure by (re)constructing a metaphysics, was a common- sense philosopher after all. The merits of Dewey was not his reconstruction of new systems of thought or methods, but that he had a ’sharp nose for what was going on, and a genius for describing it’ in terms which broke conventional standards, Rorty exclaims with praise.

Now over to some Dewey scholars – Edel, Sleeper and Boisvert – who’ve discussed Rorty’s interpretations of Dewey’s metaphysics.

A. Edel claims that Rorty does not see that Dewey’s ’guiding principles of the conception of intelligence’ were more fully worked out . Edel’s critique relies on the importance of Darwin behind Dewey.

Edel claims that intelligence as shown in modern psychology and biology are active in experience in a way that builds a new kind of epistemology for Dewey, a non- Aristotelian, non- rationalist, non- empiricist, and pragmatic. But pragmatism is not a total overcoming of traditional epistemology or philosophy, Edel says, but overcoming of certain (Cartesian, dualist) problems. Not all conceiving of metaphysics is foundational, Edel argues with Rorty and we should not deny Dewey the right to try. Dewey’s own metaphysics as ’theory of interaction ’ deals ’concretely with how the study of human life should be carried on’. Interaction for Dewey is not mysterious, but based on his work in close cooperation with social and natural scientists. What was lacking for Dewey was a new vocabulary. He worked within sets of beliefs and presuppositions that was not well suited to his purposes .

Edel brings up an interesting discussion of the merits and disadvantages of knowledge v. self- formation/Bildung, where he tries to show that when Dewey always emphasised learning, new knowledge (intelligence in action) he also and foremost put forward habit- formation and growth of knowledge before any self- formative goals.

R. W. Sleeper applies Dewey’s critique of James’ sloppiness also to Rorty. The seriousness and sense for the tragic in human finite life are lacking in Rorty’s writings on Dewey. Dewey was giving up a vocabulary, not what the words of that vocabulary had stood for’ Sleeper argues and finds evidence in the a fore- mentioned later note Dewey wrote 1948. ’And while I think that the words [metaphysics, metaphysical] used were most unfortunate, I still believe that that which there were used to name is genuine and important’.

In interpreting Dewey’s metaphysics as an explanation of why nobody needs metaphysics at all, Rorty himself fails to see that what Dewey is explaining is why nobody needs a metaphysical system of the traditional (foundational) sense. He misses Dewey’s proposal of a new use for the term metaphysics and the anti- foundational meaning in such a innovative use. Dewey’s metaphysics is more a question of perspective (’generic traits’ as a precarious perspective) than a matter of categories or first principles.The logical writings are what could save Rorty for viewing Dewey as a naive optimist and too scientist, Sleeper argues.

R. Boisvert believes that Rorty does not understand Dewey’s thought of the constitution of knowing and the known. He describes Dewey’s attempt to focus on the not yet known in defence. ’The solution is not yet known, but it is certainly knowable’. Dewey can assert with perfect consistency that events or aspects of events are unknown, but that they are knowable, Boisvert argues. Dewey did not try to develop a philosophy that would allow a ’clear-cut manner for justifying knowledge claims’. Like Heidegger, Dewey realised that only by a radical reworking of the tradition could philosophy break away from the now sterile generative ideas of modernity .

Such a radical reworking involves addressing questions about the nature of experience- which has always been the province of metaphysics. And metaphysics is not something we can dismiss, Boisvert says, with Ortega y Gasset and Dewey. ’Dewey realised that some orientation is 1) always present and 2) important for those concerned with living well. Such a [metaphysical] orientation may either go unrecognised and uncritically assumed, or the attempt may be made to formulate it carefully so that it can be evaluated thoroughly. Experience and Nature is an attempt to accomplish the latter’. Rorty, however, does not appreciate the unavoidable presence of metaphysical assumptions, viewing it more as an illusory itch that does not need to be scratched.

If we are to overcome the overcoming of metaphysics, Dewey’s writings are a good place to begin, according to Boisvert. And Dewey himself even claims that the arch- philosopher Plato is a good beginning, not the systematic Plato that Rorty saw as ’the pioneer of a mistaken path’ (a boring ’original university professor’, as Dewey said), but the Socratic Plato, who had a passionate concern for important contemporary issues along with the recognition that this concern is linked inevitably with First Philosophy. Boisvert’s defence of Dewey stresses the importance of these links between the philosophic and the political thinking in Dewey, which I will bring up in the next part.

Now I will here note some remarks by Rorty on Edel’s and Sleeper’s papers. Rorty does not want to preserve any high-brow notion of Dewey, pragmatism, or even philosophy. ’Making use of Dewey as an instrument for our present purposes seems to me hindered rather than helped by preserving Dewey’s idea that there is something called ’philosophy’ which needs to revised and revitalised by new ideas in the rest of the culture’. He does not agree with Dewey and Sleeper that philosophy have a constructive task to fulfil. The Deweyan notion of ’an indeterminate situation’ is nothing stronger or more metaphysical than a situation in which we do not know which words to use, Rorty says, again turning the discussion linguistic.

Rorty defends himself in the pragmatist camp by telling how he tries to adapt pragmatism to a new changed environment, bringing John Dewey into the 21th century. He thinks a poetic intelligent practice, or whatever keeps conversation fertile, instead of a experimental scientific, is more align with our time. I do not think Rorty really cares if one calls this attitude pragmatic, or as coming from pragmatism or even Dewey at all .

II. Rorty’s liberalism and Dewey’s.

Dewey’s did an immense and constructive effort to work through problems in the present. His attack on the mirror- imagery was bound together with a hope for and vivid sense of a new society. The two sides hang together for both Rorty and Dewey; a fierce attack of old dogmas in traditional epistemology together with a plea for edifying thought/metaphysics of experience, and a concern for the contemporary social, political and moral problems. The difference between them is that while Dewey still believed he sometimes had to construct something in theoretical terms more aligned to his mundane efforts, Rorty just wishes that he should have abandoned metaphysical and traditional philosophical language altogether, especially in politics. How Rorty sees Dewey’s use of anti- metaphysics in practical matters as something worthwhile is stated in a (Hegelian) quotation from Dewey’s Reconstruction in Philosophy, in Rorty’s ’post-political manifesto´ Contingency, irony and solidarity:

’When it is acknowledged that under disguise of dealing with ultimate reality, philosophy has been occupied with the precarious values embedded in social traditions, that it has sprung from a clash of social ends and from a conflict of inherited institutions with incompatible contemporary tendencies, it will be seen that the task of future philosophy is to clarify men’s ideas as to the social and moral strifes of their own day’

What Rorty tries to save here is the articulation of Enlightment liberalism (in its better 20th century version in the West ) while dropping the foundations for Enlightment rationalism that have grown stale and ineffective (unless one is fighting German conservatives as Habermas did and still does for which Rorty only has praise). As for Habermas and Bernstein, Rorty thinks that they both refrain from loosening the intellectual and epistemological foundations for democracy, but not Dewey:

’That shift from epistemology to politics, from an explanation of the relation between reason and reality to an explanation of how political freedom has changed our sense of what human inquiry is good for, is a shift which Dewey was willing to make but from which Habermas hangs back. Habermas still wants to insist that ”the transcendent moment of universal validity bursts every provinciality a sounder”’ .

Dewey tried to ’blow up’ (Rorty’s term) the flexibility and optimism of the American life- style to a philosophical system, by replying to critical commentators that ’any philosophical system is going to be an attempt to express the ideals of some community’s way of life. Dewey was quite ready to admit that the virtue of his philosophy was, indeed, nothing more than the virtue of the way of life which it recommended’, Rorty argues.

What other merits does Rorty see in Dewey’s quest for democratic liberalism more specifically ? The practical and humble attitude where Dewey himself stood back from theoretical considerations is foremost. Like ’. . . in the period 1920- 1960 – the period in which American social democrats nodded briefly and respectfully in Dewey’s direction and the got down the details of reform and reeducation’. That Dewey’s politics boils down almost to the later ’end-of-ideology’ – thesis from the 1950’s is a conclusion that Rorty does not hesitated to draw, which led to strong critique from other more radical Dewey scholars like Bernstein.

Bernstein sees this as a ’gross distortion’ of Dewey’s radical democratic liberalism and ideal of political freedom and community . Bernstein echoes actually Adorno’s critique of pragmatism as being too narrow and limited because it hypostasizes situations as eternal, along with similar critiques from the left. Dewey’s politics grew out of a need to reconstruct democratic communal life and was certainly not a ’an aesticized pragmatism’, as the kind Rorty promotes according to Bernstein which is against Dewey’s primary inner social and political concerns.

This ’apologia for status quo’ is a misreading of pragmatism that not only Rorty makes, but it is the everyday notion of ’pragmatic’, and unfortunately also pragmatism. Blended together with liberal democracy, it does not excite anyone as pragmatic liberalism did for Dewey (and his time) and still does for Bernstein, who evokes Dewey’s radicalism. ’If radicalism be defined as perception of the need for radical change, then today any liberalism which is not also radicalism is irrelevant and doomed’, Dewey wrote as quoted by Bernstein.

If we step down from Rorty’s meta-philosophical discourse, there are lots of practical decisions to make but where Rorty’s interpretation leaves us with few clues, except for the values of ’instrumental rationality’, ’accommodation’, ’science when not controversial’, ’common sense’, etc. The different competing conceptions of the self, of society, politics etc., which ones that should become pragmatically relevant are not without importance. If social practices and not theoretical are decisive, which shall we choose or give room to? After one has gone beyond the Either/Or of the Cartesian Anxiety, one still must struggle with questions of policies and problems of men. If appeal is only to the current social norms of the present, pragmatism does not make a tempting alternative

However, in contrast to Bernstein, Kolenda on the other hand sees a conservative and anti-utopian strain as already inherent in Dewey, which Rorty unfortunately takes over. ’In the end justification for Dewey stops at seeing what other do, at appealing to the de-facto norms of the day. To the extent that Rorty is prepared to follow Dewey in this respect, he is unnecessarily accepting serious constraints on the scope of the conversations concerning social and moral matters’. But this interpretation is too general, unsophisticated and would not stand a substantial critique I believe. Dewey himself argued against the status quo thesis, of course. Rorty quotes him affirming art before the present social codes, saying that the inhabitants of a liberal utopia instead would ’agree with Dewey that ”imagination is the chief instrument of the good/ . . . /art is more moral than moralities. For the latter either are, or tend to become, consecrations of the status quo. [and] The moral prophets of humanity have always been poets even though they spoke in free verse or by parable”’.

One other radical Dewey scholar besides Bernstein that most recently criticised Rorty and brings up the social criticism of Dewey is Robert B.Westbrook. The distinction between public practical/non-ideological life and private ironic/theoretical life is one that Westbrook finds at ultimate odds with Dewey’s conception of democracy as a ’way of life’, not merely public life. The communitarian side of Dewey, that Bernstein also emphasised, is lost when experience is not viewed as shared, which is central to the whole theory of experience. ’It is simply dead wrong to read Dewey’s liberalism, as Rorty has done, as celebrating a politics centered on ”our ability to leave people alone”’ , Westbrooks argues forcefully.

III. Rorty’s Deweyan hope

Not the metaphysician, not the liberal but the inspiring and hopeful social reformer John Dewey is what Rorty likes to praise most (along with Cornel West). In a stance between rigid left – and right-wing camps of current American political debates, Rorty views Dewey as someone who both was loyal to and critical of his society. ’What is most admirable in Dewey, what makes him a paradigm to be imitated, is not his criticism of a stitched-together monster called ”liberalism”, but his tone – that extra-ordinary combination of courtesy and passion, decency and romance, loyalty and skepticism’.

Rorty’s reflections of the public figure John Dewey, being ’The Great American Public Intellectual’ tells us something of this power. Dewey had the same position as Russell had in Britain, Sartre in France and, perhaps, Jürgen Habermas has in present Germany, Rorty writes. ’Not since Dewey has a philosophy professor in this country become a moral exemplar, a source of inspiration to generations of idealistic young people.’

The romantic but moral, Jamesean side of Rorty is less emphasised, but very important. He is a moralist like William James. He wants the intellectuals to stop worrying about ’what goodness is’, but start using their energies to fighting the ’thugs’ of former Soviet Russia, Paraguay, and South Africa, or the ’band of hypocrites’ that run American national politics. In this he sounds very much like Dewey, Bernstein writes with sympathy. ’When Rorty writes in this manner, when he calls upon journalists and intellectuals ”to function as citizens, to use the mechanisms of democratic gust, to help prevent the rich from ripping off the poor, the strong from trampling on the weak” and to help keep alive the social hope for reform, he is echoing the radical democratic impulses of Dewey’ .

IV Final remarks.

Richard Rorty does not believe that pragmatism can survive as a philosophical tradition without being transformed. Its visions of a new better society, of an enhancement of common people’s lives, of an experimental attitude in theory etc. may be best served by reconstructing pragmatic figures like Dewey without paying too much attention to preservers of tradition. Maybe that’s a position Dewey himself would have taken was he Richard Rorty trying to breathe life into an olde tyme pragmatist.

Free market fairness and the bleeding heart libertarian John Tomasi

At 8 am last week, the American political philosopher John Tomasi was presented at a morning seminar at Timbro, the leading liberal think tank in Scandinavia. The talk and following discussion by three Swedish commentators can be heard here.

His recent book Free market fairness was the occasion for the presentation.
What struck me was a couple of ideas that seem new; there is common ground between libertarianism (Nozick) and social justice (Rawls), Hayek had an early similar version of Rawls´ original position already by 1940s and that the political, economic theorists have mostly had disregard for business and trade. JM Keynes and Marx share the same aristocratic contempt for petty bourgeois activities as did Aristotle and ancient elites such as the upper castes in India (a point often taken by the middle class spokesman, liberal and successful businessman Gurcharan Das). Proponents of social justice, all parties in Sweden and most European too, believe that the good life is beyond business, beyond the practicalities of everyday lives and common people. The social democrats are the worst elitists, with their welfare state admiration and disrespect for market economies.

John Tomasi comes across as the best so far in decent and compassionate liberal philosophy. His position is derided as Bleeding Heart Libertarianism but let not that keep you from listening to him and get his book.

Frankrikes 3, 5 fel som hotade världsfreden under 1900talet

Frankrike har ett oförtjänt gott rykte som vid närmare betraktelse inte håller. Vid minst tre tillfällen har landet ställt till mer än vad vi vill minnas.

1919
Vid första världskrigets slut ville landet till varje pris kräva enormt skadestånd av den förlorande parten, Tyskland. I fredsavtalet som slöts i Versailles slott utanför Paris den 28 juni 1919 fick Tyskland ensam bära skulden för krigsutbrottet, avväpnas, avträda land och betala ett enormt krigsskadestånd på 440 miljarder dollar i 2012 års priser. England och USA ville ha mildare dom men Frankrike insisterade och fick igenom sin vilja. JM Keynes förutspådde en tysk revanschism vilket skedde som vi tyvärr vet i och med nazismens framgång och Hitlers bruk av anti-franska känslor.

1992
Det enade Tyskland sågs som en fara av Frankrike efter Östtysklands fall 1989 och Helmut Kohls planer på ett enat land. Frankrikes Francois Mitterand insisterade på att Tysklands starka ekonomi måste balanseras genom en gemensam valuta, euron. Trots att varken politiska eller ekonomiska förutsättningar fanns tvingade Frankrike till sig Maastrichtavtalet som ledde fram till eurosamarbetet och dagens kris. Vad som inte fanns i form av gemensamma överenskommelser och ekonomiska förutsättningar då men som Frankrike bortsåg från (liksom övriga Sydeuropa, och även Tyskland omsider) innebar att Tyskland skulle hjälpa till de övriga länderna i eurozonen med stöd och en lägre ränta. Johan Norbergs bok Eurokrasch beskriver vad som tyvärr skedde med Frankrikes goda mine.

2003
I upptrappningen av invasionen/befrielsen av Irak fortsätter Frankrike att sälja vapen till Sadaam Hussein, köpa olja och öppet stödja hans regim. Christopher Hitchens beskrev då och senare Jacques Chiracs hyckleri som inleddes redan 1974 med fransk teknik till irakiska kärnreaktorer, som tur var bombade av Israel . Frankrike valde att stå utanför angrepp på Irak genom att hota med sitt veto vilket ledde till att USA drog tillbaka sitt förslag till FNs säkerhetsråd och utgick från tidigare resolutioner mot Irak. Frankrike saboterade därmed västs möjlighet att stå enade mot en diktatur som hade mördat 100 000 tals av sina egna medborgare.

1940
Efter ha krigat på låtsats 1939 förlorade Frankrike snabbt 1940 mot Hitler-Tyskland. Landet var kraftlöst, gav upp och överlät makten till inhemska nazister. Det ska inte ligga landet helt till last att ha förlorat men det skedde under så erbarmeliga former att ett halvt fel och hot mot världsfreden måste ha begåtts.

Misérable.

SVTs partiska framställning av SDs och MPs budgetförslag anmäld

I presentation den 27 sept 2012 av Rapport av budgetförslag från SD och MP märktes en väsentlig skillnad. SVT visade totalt 6 negativa inslag och kommentarer av SDs förslag och 0 av MPs.

I presentationen av SD från Rapport fanns totalt fyra negativa kommentarer:

En experts negativa kommentar (Jan Ekberg, vars ESO rapport 2009:3, sid. 9, skriver om en årlig kostnad på 1,5 – 2 5 av BNP för invandringen, dvs 50-70 miljarder vilket inte togs upp i Rapports programledare Pelle Edins referat),

en kritisk minister fick uttala sig (Erik Ullenhag)

en kritisk oppositionsledare (Jonas Sjöstedt)

Rapports Mats Knutsson var bara kritisk i sin presentation.

Till detta kommer två sk Kommentatorer uttrycka sin kritik ( Per Einarsson och Filip Struwe), vilket finns på SVTPlay och sändes under dagen, men exakta tider framgår inte eftersom SVTs hemsida inte visar sändningar (sökning resultatlös)

Totalt sex kritiska kommentarer.

Vad gäller MPs förslag fanns ingen sådan kritik utan en neutral presentation framfördes, inga experter, ministrar eller andra partiledare än Åsa Romson själv fick kommenteera

Detta är ett uppenbart åsidosättande av opartiskhet som SVT ska stå för. Denna partiska framställning är nu anmäld till Radio och tvs Granskningsnämnd.

School vouchers in Sweden

Published in Policy Review no 5 by Centre for Civil Society, New Delhi in Dec 2012

Being a nation with a successful market economy in socialist-leaning welfare state, Sweden has one of the best functioning school voucher systems in the world. The combination of successful for-profit school corporations and other independent schools in a well-functioning government has proven that school vouchers can thrive even when the political majority votes for the left.

FACTS
First some facts. In Sweden, compulsory primary school starts at age 7 with grade levels 1-9 and ends at age 16. 77 % of all students finish primary school with marks in all subjects. The majority of primary schools are municipally run and the most common situation is that pupils attend a municipal school close to their home. Each municipal school can develop its own profile, have different orientations, such as Montessori pedagogy, English classes or cultural and sports profiles. Independent primary schools are open to all and the education should correspond to that provided in municipal primary schools. The organisers/ owners of independent schools may be a for-profit company, a non-profit foundation or an association of parents or teachers.

Secondary school starts at age 16 and lasts 3 years with profiles in science, social sciences, arts, vocational, computing, and many other options. All secondary schools must fit their profiles into 17 national profiles. 99 % of all students continue to secondary schools and 70 % finish their studies within the stipulated three years. Independent schools are open to everyone but may set different admission rules if the places are oversubscribed.

The average number of pupils per school is 380. There are significantly more
pupils per school in municipal schools (574) than in independent schools (188). Almost half of the pupils in secondary independent schools attended a school located in another municipality, compared with a quarter of pupils that attended municipal schools.

Teacher-student-ratio is 8, 3 per 100 students in primary schools and 8, 1 teachers in secondary schools, which is higher than the OECD average and school expenditures are thus higher than average. Internationally, Swedish students read well but do on average in EU/OECD tests in mathematics and science from an earlier higher position in 1980s. End-of-term reports were given only at grade 8 and 9 earlier but have since 2011 changed to be given from grade 6. Families and pupils will now be informed through meetings with teachers until grade 5, age 12, a change from being informed at grade 7, age 14, which has been the assessment policy since 1985. Giving out written end-of-term reports and marks to students under age 15 was forbidden until 2011, but have now been relaxed.

HISTORY
Swedish education policy before World War II had viewed educational reforms as a means to open the gates to higher learning for all. To raise the best and brightest from the lower classes by giving them entry to the former closed schools for middle and upper classes was the goal for the ruling socialist labour party (which ruled 1932-1976, the world’s longest democratically elected government). But after 1945, schools themselves needed to change according to the new more radical socialist education planners. The learning of the higher classes was to be brought down to conform to the new but less knowledgeable students from the working class the socialists thought, thereby downgrading their own class. Criticism of schools was first directed towards what was viewed as bourgeois and traditional values and knowledge. The new modern society needed new knowledge that was relevant to a welfare society, not to take over the old education system, the socialists argued. The goal for primary education as stated in the 1962 curriculum of the new school system of equal and open municipal primary schools was to support the varied development of the pupils and thus bring them knowledge and train their skills. Note here that the order of the notions; development comes first, knowledge and skills second and as an effect from pupils’ development. Development in social harmony was the openly stated goal for the post-war school system to which all Swedish parties adhered to .

In 1980s, Sweden had one of the most centralized education systems in the world, with less than 1 % students in independent schools (private boarding schools for the elite). But due to liberal ideas from New Public Management and demands from parents, especially in rural areas, ideas of deregulation started to influence local and central school authorities. Fear of shutting down municipal schools in remote areas led some parents to start cooperatives and hire teachers in order to secure schools nearby, albeit very small units. At the top level, education planners in government realised that they could not keep up with the pace of changes in curriculum, information technology, pedagogical profiles and international educational trends. A need for reforms was felt, but the government did not want to reform the whole system, rather allow others to take on initiatives that may blossom and become models. By 1989, the responsibility for staff regulations and salaries were handed over to municipalities from the state, which had until then the last word in all negotiations with teacher trade unions. All schools became much freer to adjust their organisations and make flexible solutions to cater to the rising demands from parents and the public. But it was not enough.

CENTRE-RIGHT INITIATIVE
A shift in government from centre-left to centre-right in 1991 pawed the way for a school. voucher system at primary and secondary school levels, enabling free choice among municipal and independent schools in the community or even in other areas of the country. The local municipal schools are obliged to welcome local students, a function which ensures continuity and access. In case an independent school is shut down, students have the right to enter the local municipal school, which they always had as an option.

The vouchers are not pieces of paper but a sum per student in the account at the local municipality budget. Independent schools send an invoice to the municipal office of total number of students in each grade and profile. Since all residents in Sweden have an identification number consisting of the date born and four numbers, the space for corruption is very low since no student can be start without registration in one school. To receive vouchers, all schools must adhere to national curriculum and be subject to the Schools Inspectorate. Before starting a school, an application process will determine the need for a school in a certain area with a certain profile. In this process, the local municipality may object, stating that there are already enough schools there. But the national Schools Inspectorate has the last decision power and may overrule the local standpoint.
The voucher is worth the average cost for a place at a government school. Restrictions prevent independent schools from charging top-up fees or selecting students, ensuring equality of access. Per Unckel, responsible Minister of Education 1991-1994 of the Moderate Party said that ”Education is so important that you can’t just leave it to one producer, because we know from monopoly systems that they do not fulfill all wishes.”

COMPETITION AND SEGREGATION
Thus the old idea from 1955 by Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman using vouchers to release pupils from their neighborhood government schools and increase competition leading to stimulate better results was introduced in socialist-leaning Sweden. Using tax money to subsidize the consumer, the parent and child, rather than the producer, the school, was a whole new idea in 1950s but adopted in Sweden. Rather than giving vouchers to the needy, vouchers are universal and for everyone. All families are entitled, which is the official Swedish welfare policy in health care, social welfare and other government services.
In 1992 when the voucher system started, independent schools did only get 85 % of the total expenses per child from municipal funds. What is more interesting is that the succeeding centre-left majority from 1994 in Swedish parliament did not revoke the voucher system but expanded it. The socialist government increased the voucher value to 100 % which meant that vouchers had become an established feature of Swedish education policy beyond rivaling political ideologies. Today there is wide support of the voucher system but doubts of the for-profit corporations. Support comes from parents and children who are able to leave downtrodden areas with malfunctioning government schools. To tell them that they are bound to chose the closest school will never win support.
But there is a great concern of the children whose parents to not exercise their right to chose better schools, especially in immigrant populated areas with fewer Swedish children than before the voucher reforms. Many white-skinned children leave for better schools in more Swedish speaking areas, thus leaving the brown-skinned children behind and with little contacts among the Swedish speaking majority. Some suburban schools have less than 1 % native Swedish speaking children left. School authorities, academics, journalists and all political parties including strong opinions from the centre-left parties (including the green ecological party) debate and discuss how to combine freedom of choice with need for social, cultural and linguistic integration. The socialists have recently argued for a system to ensure social variation and equality in each school, but have not come up with any practical policies how to divide students. Neither old Indian reservation systems in education do not impress, nor the new Right to Education quota of 25 % Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
Being ethnically very homogenous and with strong political reforms including high taxation to level out any inequalities, Swedish school policy makers became anxious that the effects of school choice would lead to more segregation and less equality. The former enthusiasm of school choice gave way to market-skeptic and market- ambivalent groups of policy makers and scholars . The National Agency for Education (NAE, Skolverket) is skeptic and ambivalent but has to follow the policy of centre-right government which rules since 2006, in favor of school choice but nevertheless with some caveats. Only the real for-profit education entrepreneurs are still happy with the school choice reforms, while the majority of education policy makers are concerned about inequality or seem to be. Being in favour of school choice has become equivalent to promote inequality and segregation against immigrants, which the left- dominated media is quick to use .

PROBLEMATIC PROFITS
In 2012, 11 % of children are in independent primary schools and 23 % in independent secondary schools. More than 60 % of the independent schools are run for-profit by a small number of national school corporations. Initially this was not the case. Teachers with new educational ideas started new schools by early 1990s to make a mark on educational development, not to make profits. Cooperatives run by parents and teachers were pioneers but did not last as long as the corporations, which got into education by early 2000s. What have emerged as a success for all independent schools regardless of ownership are their better results in achievements and social functioning. In the spring of 2011, the average grade result for government primary schools was 66 %, whereas 77 % in independent schools. Hard to argue for closure of well-functioning schools, in Sweden as well as for threats to close private budget schools in India since the RTE Act in 2010.

But there is always the anti-market policy from the left that can be launched at any initiative run for-profit, especially education since this is cherished as an almost spiritual activity with high goals. This attitude which was as frequent in medieval Christian schools for noblemen in Europe as it was in the ancient Vedic gurukuls for the twice born male Indians is still alive and strong, but now in socialist and union circles, media, research and among government employees.

Recently the Left party, workers trade union LO, leading social democrats and some academics have rallied against both the school voucher system itself, with less public support, and the for-profit motive in education, with far more support, even among centre-right voting citizens. Even in the market-oriented US a recent survey showed that “people doubt the ability of profit-seeking business to benefit society” . Profits for school owners must mean less quality for students, since there is a zero-sum rationality of every enterprise, the American public falsely concluded, as did the Swedish and the British . That every action taken for profit must be anti-social is an “ineradicable prejudice”, eminent economist Joseph Schumpeter sighed in 1954 . Many cannot understand that being profitable does not mean that profits are handed out to shareholders at the expense of student concerns and results. But this would mean than the more money is spent, the better the students fare, which is not the case at all .

Friedman’s hope that competition would lead to better schools, independent and government, has been rewarded in Sweden. A longitudinal study of schools since 1992 and students born 1972-1993 shows that increase in the share of independent schools have robust effects on average performance at the end of compulsory primary school (grade 9) as well as long-run educational outcomes . The results showed also that a higher degree of independent schools has not generated increased expenditures, rather the opposite. Independent schools perform better than government schools, but do not cost more. The relative decline in student achievements since two decades back has most likely been helped by increased competition and better efficiency in independent schools. Without them, Swedish schools would do much worse.

A hope Friedman cherished was that school vouchers would enable the students with low socio-economic backgrounds to enter better schools. Sahlgren (2011) shows this to be the case in Sweden especially for students in schools run for-profit. Non-profit schools have less even results. The idea leftist idea to ban for-profit schools (and other services run by private business on government contracts) would lead to closure of schools, lessened competition and lower efficiency.

NOTES

This emphasis on social values rather than knowledge was openly defended as only being right and natural. ”In the golden age of Nordic social democracy, social virtues such as equal opportunity, cooperation, adaptation and solidarity were considered to be the main goals of compulsory schooling”, Oftedal Tellhaug et al 2006, p. 253.

Bunar 2010, p.8: ” With the exception of a few studies from liberal think tanks who wholeheartedly support the policy of school choice and acknowledge virtually all of its outcomes as solely positive, the vast majority of research in Sweden, including the ones from the NAE, could be classified as either clearly market-skeptical or strongly market-ambivalent”.
Asp 2011. According to polls made by Gothenburg University in 2011 but with same trends since 1980, journalists have sympathies for the left parties far beyond the average Swedish voters, 70 % versus 40 %. School choice reforms are thus negatively biased in policy debates, but often not in private discussions among parents and students.

Bhattarcharjee et al, 2011, p. 4.
Muir 2012.
Quoted in Stanfield 2012, p.30. This anthology has three contributions from Swedish school entrepreneurs.
Gustafsson and Myrberg, 2003 and Renstig et al, 2009.
Böhlmark and Lindahl. 2012.

REFERENCES

Asp, Kent. 2012. Journalistboken. Den svenska journalistkårens partisympatier. Kapitel 13. Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet, JMG.

Bhattacharjee, A. et al.(2011) Is Profit Evil? Associations of Profit with Social Harm: Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.

Bunar, N (2010) “Choosing for quality or inequality: current perspectives on the
implementation of school choice policy in Sweden”. In Journal of Education Policy, vol 25 (1)

Böhlmark, A and Lindahl, M (2012) Independent Schools and Long-Run Educational Outcomes: Evidence from Sweden’s Large Scale Voucher Reform. Discussion paper no. 6683. Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA, www.iza.org)

Friedman, M. (1955) “The Role of Government in Education”. In From Economics and the Public Interest, ed. Robert A. Solo. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Gustafsson, J-E and Myrberg. E. (2003) Ekonomiska resursers betydelse för pedagogiska resultat. Stockholm: Skolverket (www.skolverket.se, National Agency for Education)

Muir, R (2012) Not for profit. The role of the private sector in England’s schools. London: Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR, http://www.ippr.org)

Oftedal Telhaug, A. et al (2006). ”The Nordic Model in Education: Education as part of the political system in the last 50 years”. In Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, vol 50 (3).

Parding, K (2011) ”Forskning om den svenska friskolereformens effekter”. In Didaktisk Tidskrift, vol 20 (4).

Renstig, M et al (2009) Den orättvisa skolan. Stockholm: Hjalmarsson & Högberg.

Sahlgren, G (2011) Schooling for Money: Swedish Education Reform and the Role of the Profit Motive. London: Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA, www.iea.org.uk).

Skolverket (2011) Facts and figures about pre-school activities, school-age
childcare, schools and adult education in Sweden 2011. Stockholm: Skolverket
(www.skolverket.se, National Agency for Education)

Stanfield, J. (ed.) (2012) The Profit Motive in Education: Continuing the Revolution. London: Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA, http://www.iea.org.uk).

Jan Sjunnesson skriver om politik som om det fanns en frihetlig patriotism och om kultur som om det fanns ett liv bortom politiken.

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