Schumpeter and rationality

A typical claim about Swedish political culture has been that it is rational or rationalistic. However, few have questioned this or tried to critically analyse what it means.

Schumpeter had something interesting to say about rationality, when combined with a notion of the common good:

“If one assumes the existence of a common good and asserts that it is a product of rationality, then it is a short step to dismissing all dissension as sectarian and irrational. Opponents who are merely ‘sectarian’ and ‘irrational’ can be legitimately marginalized and ignored; they might even be restrained ‘for their own good’ if they are persistent in their protests”.

The quote is from Held, David. Models of Democracy, 2 ed. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1996, p. 186.

Since both consensus and the state as a guardian of the common good have been mentioned as fundamental traits of Swedish political culture, this suggests that Sweden has had a low degree of tolerance for critics of the state and the dominant utopian myth.

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