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People have always wondered what makes America so paranoid. The historian Richard Hofstadter wrote about it in 1964 in a famous Harper’s essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” that he later expanded into a book. He took aim at all the usual suspects: Joe McCarthy going on about “a great conspiracy on a scale so immense,” turn-of-the-century Populists warning of international bankers seeking to crucify Americans on a cross of gold, antebellum Know-Nothings raving about Catholics and the Pope, and so on.

人们总想知道是什么让美国如此偏执,1964年,历史学家理查德·霍夫施塔特在一篇著名的文章《美国政治中的偏执风格》中写到了这个问题,后来他把这篇散文扩展成了一本书。
他把矛头指向所有常见的嫌疑人: 乔 · 麦卡锡大谈“一场规模如此巨大的大阴谋” ,世纪之交的民粹主义者警告称,国际银行家试图把美国人钉在黄金十字架上,战前的无知者大肆吹捧天主教和教皇,等等。

But one aspect Hofstadter didn’t address is why. Why is it that Americans are so quick to blame their problems on others instead of themselves? Rather than analyzing their society in a calm and sensible way, why do they continually go in search of mysterious foreign cabals?

但霍夫施塔特没有提到的一个问题是“为什么”, 为什么美国人总是把他们的问题归咎于别人而不是他们自己? 为什么他们不能冷静理智地分析自己的社会,而是不断地去寻找神秘的外国阴谋集团?



Although Hofstadter traced the problem back to the mid-nineteenth century, we can trace it back even farther – all the way, in fact, to the nation’s founding. Indeed, we might argue, with only slight exaggeration, that it began with a single individual: James Madison.

虽然霍夫施塔特将这个问题追溯到19世纪中叶,但我们可以追溯到更久远的时代——事实上,可以一直追溯到美国的建国,我们可以毫不夸张地说,它始于一个人:詹姆斯麦迪逊。

Madison, of course, is the wealthy Virginia slaveowner who played a leading role in the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and was an equally important figure in the great ratification debate that followed immediately after. He wrote 29 of the 85 newspaper articles known as the Federalist Papers, which expounded the new plan of government to his fellow countrymen. And he authored the all-important Federalist No. 10, the essay that political scientists never tire of quoting, which argues that democracy must be endlessly checked and balanced against itself in order to prevent Americans from coming together in “a rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project.”

麦迪逊是弗吉尼亚州一位富有的奴隶主,在1787年的制宪会议上发挥了主导作用,并且在随后的大辩论中也是一个同样重要的人物,在85篇被称为《联邦党人文集》(Federalist Papers) 的报纸文章中,他写了29篇,这些文章向他的同胞阐述了政府的新计划,此外,他还撰写了至关重要的《10号联邦党人》( Federalist no. 10) ,这篇文章被政治科学家们永远不厌其烦地引用。
文章认为,必须对民主进行无休止的检查和权衡,以防止美国人“对纸币的狂热,对废除债务的狂热,对财产平等分配的狂热,或对任何其他不正当或邪恶的计划的狂热。”

Madison was even pithier in an October 1787 letter to Thomas Jefferson in which he summed up the meaning of checks and balances and separation of powers in a single sentence. “Divide et impera,” he wrote, “the reprobated axiom of tyranny, is under certain qualifications, the only policy, by which a republic can be administered on just principles.

麦迪逊在1787年10月写给托马斯·杰斐逊的信中更精辟,他用一句话总结了权力制衡和分权的意义: “分而治之” ,他写道,“暴政这一被推翻的公理,在某些条件下是唯一的政策,只有这样,一个共和国才能在公正的原则下得到管理。 ”

These twenty-five words tell you everything you need to know about American politics, including why they’re now in such trouble. Divide et impera, Latin for “divide and conquer,” is Madison’s ironic justification for dividing government up into separate executive, legislative, and judicial functions and then pitting them against one another so as to neutralize democracy’s most dangerous tendencies.

这二十五个字告诉你关于美国政治你需要知道的一切,包括为什么他们现在陷入这样的困境。
Divide et impera 在拉丁语中是“分而治之”的意思,麦迪逊讽刺性地为将政府划分为独立的行政、立法和司法职能部门,然后让它们相互对立,以抵消民主最危险的倾向。

The idea is to structure the polity in such a way that it ends up more rational and moderate than any of its components. But divide et impera leads to a paradox. If, as the Preamble to the Constitution states, “we the people” are the prime movers in the new republic, able to “ordain and establish” new constitutions and destroy old ones in the bargain like the 1783 Articles of Confederation, then what happens once they undergo the self-division and conquest that Madison describes? Are they still “we the people”? Or are they now an agglomeration of splintered sub-groups without any sense of collective democratic identity or will?

我们的想法是以这样一种方式构建政体,即它最终比其任何组成部分都更加合理和温和。 但是分裂和危机导致了一个悖论。 如果正如《宪法》序言中所说,“我们人民”是新共和国的主要推动者,,那么,一旦他们经历了 Madison 所描述的自我分裂和征服,会发生什么? 他们还是“我们人民”吗? 或者他们现在是一个没有任何集体民主认同感或意愿的分裂的子集团的集合?

其理念是,以这样一种方式构建政体,使其最终比其任何组成部分都更加理性和温和。
但是,“分而治之”导致了一个悖论,如果像美国宪法序言所说,“我们人民”是新共和国的原动力,能够“制定和建立”新宪法,并通过像1783年的《邦联条例》那样的协议来摧毁旧宪法,那么,一旦他们经历了麦迪逊所描述的自我分裂和征服,又会发生什么呢?他们还是“我们人民”吗?
或者,他们现在是分裂的小群体的集聚,没有任何集体的民主认同感或意愿?

Anyone who studies American fragmentation will suspect it’s the latter. But that leads to another question. Psychologists tell us that a healthy, well-balanced adult is one whose intellect, emotions, and drives come together to form a balanced and integrated whole. Since the individual is in charge of all his faculties, he’s able to marshal his resources so as to solve problems, work creatively, and process information clearly, logically, and accurately.

任何研究美国分裂的人都会怀疑是后者,但这又引出了另一个问题,心理学家告诉我们,一个健康、平衡的成年人,他的智力、情感和冲动汇聚在一起,形成了一个平衡和完整的整体, 由于个人掌控着自己的所有能力,他能够集中自己的资源来解决问题,创造性地工作,清晰、逻辑、准确地处理信息。



The upshot is a country that is lost, disoriented, and unable to tell where reality begins and fantasy leaves off. When the Washington Post recently reported that Russia is working behind the scenes to boost the Sanders campaign, a sensible person would have demanded to see the evidence. But not Bernie. To the contrary, he snapped to attention even though there was no evidence to be had and denounced Putin as an “autocratic thug” who should “stay out of American elections.”

结果就是这个国家迷失了方向,不知道现实从何而来,幻想从何而来。
当《华盛顿邮报》最近报道称,俄罗斯正在幕后推动桑德斯的竞选活动时,一个明智的人应该会要求看到证据,但伯尼桑德斯没有,相反,他在没有任何证据的情况下以此迅速引起了人们的注意,并指责普京是一个“暴徒” ,应该“置身美国选举之外”。

Similarly, when CBS News asked Biden why he was doing so poorly, he replied that it’s because “the Russians don’t want me to be the nominee … they like Bernie.” When a reporter asked Pete Buttigieg what the Russias were looking to accomplish in the 2020 election, he explained with equal confidence: they “want chaos.”

同样,当哥伦比亚广播公司新闻频道问拜登为什么做得如此糟糕时,拜登回答说,这是因为“俄罗斯人不希望我成为候选人...... 他们喜欢伯尼桑德斯。”
当一名记者问皮特·巴蒂吉格,俄罗斯人希望在2020年的选举中实现什么目标时,他同样自信地解释道: 他们“想要混乱”。

They can’t process information concerning what Russia is really up to and therefore make up horror stories to scare themselves in the dark. Instead of exposing a petty imperialist like Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post’s owner, they allow themselves to be manipulated.

他们无法处理有关俄罗斯真正意图的信息,因此编造恐怖故事,在黑暗中吓唬自己。
他们没有揭露像《华盛顿邮报》的所有者杰夫 · 贝佐斯这样的小帝国主义者,而是允许自己被操纵。

The upshot is a democracy that is too weak and fragmented to govern itself effectively. The big question is how to overcome Madisonian self-division so as to render democracy coherent and whole. But that’s a subject for another essay.

其结果是,民主过于脆弱和支离破碎,无法有效地自治。
美国最大的问题是如何克服麦迪逊式的自我分裂,从而使民主连贯而完整,但这又是另一个话题了。