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双语:美式民主的局限与弊病

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美式民主的局限与弊病

Limitations and Drawbacks of American Democracy

中国人权研究会

The China Society for Human Rights Studies

2021年12月

December 2021

民主是人类不断解放自身、追求自由的产物。几千年以来,世界各国、各民族不懈探索,由此形成各具特征的民主实践,共同丰富着人类政治文明和民主谱系。民主的表现形态不尽一致,民主的实现路径并非定于一尊。虽然美国竭力标榜其民主模式的种种优势,但美式民主已经暴露出其多重局限与弊病,绝非现代民主政治的理想方案。

Democracy is the outcome as mankind works to liberate itself and pursue freedom. For millennia, governments and nationalities worldwide have worked painstakingly to develop democratic practices that are distinct from one another, adding diversity to mankind’s political achievements and democratic lineage. Democracy can take many forms, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to democracy. Although the U.S. extols the virtues of its democratic model, its numerous limitations and drawbacks have been laid bare, and it is far from being an ideal system for modern democracy.

一、美式民主的迷之自信

I. The “illusionary sense of confidence” in American democracy

近代以来,启蒙时期的思想遗产伴随着欧洲殖民主义者的对外扩张而传播至异国他乡,最终,在北美大陆上建立起一套以社会契约论与天赋人权思想为理论基础,以三权分立、权力制衡为核心内容的民主体制。二百多年来,西方一些人,特别是一些政客和学者,逐渐滋生了对于美式民主的迷之自信。冷战结束以来,这种迷之自信极度膨胀。美籍日裔学者福山曾断言,自由民主(美式民主作为典范)代表着人类政体的最后形式。虽然美国抗击新冠肺炎疫情的糟糕表现足以证明美式民主并非人们想象的那样管用,但是我们还是要进一步问一下:美式民主是否经得起理论检视,构成现代民主政治的终极真理呢?美式民主能否成为放之四海而皆准的规定性政治模式呢?答案显然是否定的。

Since the beginning of modern times, the intellectual heritage of the Enlightenment period has been diffused in foreign countries in the wake of the expansion of European colonialists. Finally, a democratic system, in which social contract theory and the thought of natural rights are the theoretical foundation and the “separation of the three powers” and the checks and balances are the core content, has been established on the North American continent. For over two hundred years, some in the West, especially some politicians and scholars, have gradually developed an illusionary sense of confidence in American democracy. Since the end of the Cold War, this confidence has been taken to the extreme. Japanese-American scholar Francis Fukuyama asserted that liberal democracy (represented by American democracy) stands for the ultimate form of government. While the poor performance of the U.S. in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has abundantly illustrated that American democracy is not as effective as people think, we still have to ask: Can American democracy stand up to theoretical scrutiny and become the ultimate truth of modern democracy? Can American democracy become a one-size-fits-all prescriptive political model? The answer is obviously no.

从政治属性和意识形态来看,美式民主属于资本主义民主。查尔斯·比尔德认为美国宪法乃是一部“经济文献”。这其实隐晦地揭示出,藉由美国宪法建构的美式民主乃是资本主义发展到一定历史阶段的产物,仅代表并服务于少数资本家的利益。这与服务和代表最广大人民利益的社会主义民主,具有根本差异。从表现形式和操作模式来看,美式民主是以竞争性选举为核心的票决民主。在美国政治生活中,民众定期选举被赋予无以复加的重要性,成为美式民主的全部内容。但事实上,完整意义上的民主政治除民主选举以外,还应当包括民主协商、民主决策、民主管理和民主监督等环节。美国这种以选举为核心的票决民主,难以支撑起完整意义上的民主政治。因而,美式民主不应是也不可能是现代民主政治的唯一、终极方案。

In terms of political traits and ideology, American democracy is a kind of capitalist democracy. Charles Austin Beard held that the U.S. Constitution is an “economic document.” This actually implies that the American democracy based on the U.S. Constitution is the product when capitalism reaches a certain stage and only represents and serves the interests of minority capitalists. This is fundamentally different from socialist democracy, which serves and represents the interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. In terms of manifestation and mode of operation, American democracy is a voting democracy featuring competitive elections. In American politics, undue importance is attached to regular elections by the people which have become the whole story of American democracy. However, in fact, democratic politics in its complete sense should also encompass democratic consultation, decision-making, management, oversight, etc. in addition to democratic elections. The American voting democracy centered on elections can hardly sustain democratic politics in a complete sense. Therefore, American democracy should not and cannot be the sole and ultimate system for modern democracy.

二、美式民主的历史局限

II. The historical limitations of American democracy

随着二战以来美国跃升成为世界霸主,那套运行于北美大陆的政治体制获得极大程度的关注,美式民主似乎风光无两。但是,当美国的一些政客站在道德至高点,试图垄断民主的定义权和解释权时,又为什么不认真反思一下本国曾经历经的曲折的民主化过程呢?须知,美式民主绝非一蹴而就的产物,而是受到经济发展水平、历史传统、地缘关系等因素影响并在历史进程中自我革新的结果。虽然美国宪法建构了美式民主的框架,但美国政治生活中长期存在着大量不符合民主要求的制度和实践,美式民主一开始就充满了历史局限性。

With the rise of the U.S. as the world’s dominant power since World War II, the political system operated on the North American continent attracted a great deal of attention, and American democracy seems to be enveloped in glory. However, when some American politicians claim the moral high ground and try to monopolize the right to define and interpret democracy, why not rethink the tortuous process of democratization in the U.S.? It must be noted that American democracy is by no means an overnight outcome but the result of self-renewal that is influenced by factors such as the level of economic development, history and traditions, and geopolitical relationships. Although the framework of American democracy is established under the U.S. Constitution, there have long been numerous systems and practices inconsistent with requirements of democracy in American politics. American democracy has been fraught with historical limitations from the outset.

美国长期剥夺有色人种的民主参与权利。《独立宣言》宣称“人人生而平等”,但是连前总统奥巴马都承认:“种族歧视几乎仍存在于我们生活的各个制度中,影响深远,仍是我们基因的一部分”。这表明,种族主义自立国开始就成为美式民主的“基因”并延续至今。尽管美国自我标榜为民主灯塔国,然而1787年美国宪法部分条文充斥着种族偏见,选举资格长期限于成年白人群体。1866年宪法第十四修正案首次承认年满21周岁黑人男子的选举权,1870年宪法第十五修正案开始赋予所有肤色的人以选举权。虽然黑人群体名义上享有选举权,但由于部分州采取读写能力测试等限制性手段,黑人的选举权长期形同虚设。直至1964年《民权法案》通过以后,黑人群体方才真正享有选举权利。即便如此,有色人种至今也难以真正享有平等的民主权利。2021年11月22日,联合国少数群体问题特别报告员费尔南·德瓦雷纳在结束对美国为期两周访问时发表讲话,谴责得克萨斯州的一项法律,导致有利于白人的“不公正划分选区”,从而削弱了少数群体的投票权。费尔南·德瓦雷纳指出,包括得克萨斯州在内的美国部分地区的选举法会剥夺数百万少数族群民众的平等投票权,从而有可能破坏“民主”。

The U.S. has long deprived people of color of the right to participate in democracy. The Declaration of Independence states that “everyone is born equal,” but even former President Barack Obama admitted: “Racial discrimination affects almost every system governing our lives. It exerts a profound impact and is part of our DNA.” This shows that racism has been in the “DNA” of American democracy since the founding of the country and continues to this day. Although the U.S. proclaims itself a beacon of democracy, some of the provisions of the U.S. Constitution of 1787 are awash with racial prejudice, and eligibility for election was limited to white adults for a long time. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1866 recognized for the first time the right to vote for black men over the age of twenty-one. The 15th Amendment to the Constitution ratified in 1870 began to endow people of all colors with right to vote. Although the black people have the right to vote in name, the right to vote existed in name only due to restrictions such as literacy tests in some states. It was not until the adoption of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that the black people truly enjoyed the right to vote. Nevertheless, it is difficult for people of color to really enjoy democratic rights on an equal footing even today. On November 22, 2021, Fernand de Varennes, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, gave a speech at the end of his two-week visit to the U.S. He condemned a law in Texas, saying that the law caused the gerrymandering that works to the favor of whites while weakening the voting rights of minority groups. Fernand de Varennes pointed out that the electoral laws adopted in some regions of the U.S., including Texas, would deprive millions of minority citizens of the equal right to vote and potentially undermine “democracy.”

美国长期系统性驱逐、排斥和同化印第安人。1787年宪法并未承认印第安人的公民身份。受利益驱使的白人群体长期掠夺印第安人的资源,将他们驱离土生土长的家园甚至进行杀戮,令他们的族群文化遭受毁灭性打击。长期的驱逐和屠杀,导致印第安人从15世纪末约500万减少至20世纪初的约25万。19世纪50年代起,美国政府对印第安人实行“保留地”制度,把印第安人安置在指定居住地上。1887年至1933年间,全美印第安人被夺走大约9000万英亩土地。此外,美国政府还推行“美国化”教育,专门设立针对印第安人的“保留地”寄宿学校、劳务培训学校等。印第安年轻人虽然可以进入公立白人学校,但是入学后必须放弃印第安传统。经年累月,印第安部落传统文化被逐渐瓦解。

The U.S. has systemically expelled, excluded, and assimilated Indians for a long time. The Constitution of 1787 did not recognize the citizenship of Indians. Driven by profits, the whites have long robbed Indians of their resources and expelled them out of their homeland, dealing a hammer blow to their ethnic culture. The U.S. expelled and massacred Indians for a long time, causing their population to plunge from about 5 million at the end of the 15th century to about 250,000 in the early 20th century. Beginning in the 1850s, the U.S. administration operated a “reservation” system restricting Indians to designated areas. Between 1887 and 1933, some 90 million acres of land were looted from American Indians. Moreover, the U.S. administration also promoted “Americanization” education, setting up “reservation” boarding schools, skill training schools, etc., for Indians. Young Indians could be admitted to public schools run by whites, but they must give up Indian traditions upon enrollment. Over the years, the traditional culture of Indian tribes gradually fell apart.

美国长期限制妇女的平等参政权。1787年宪法颁行以后,妇女参与政治生活的权利长期未被认可。为此,妇女群体自19世纪中叶即轰轰烈烈地开展了争取参政权的运动。直至美国宪法第十九修正案通过,妇女和男性平等享有选举权方才得到承认。

The U.S. had long restricted women’s right to suffrage on an equal footing. After the promulgation of the Constitution of 1787, women’s right to participate in politics was not recognized for a long time. For this reason, a campaign for women’s right to participate in politics had been in full swing since the middle of the 19th century. It was not until the adoption of the 19th Amendment that equal voting rights were recognized for women and men.

林肯曾用“民有、民治、民享”描绘民主政府的理想图景,但那些美国底层民众、弱势群体一开始并未真正分享到民主果实,而是长期居于政治生活的边缘地带。美国民主政治并非自美国宪法通过即已至臻完美。美式民主的逐渐发展,离不开美国黑人、妇女等弱势群体的不懈抗争。

Abraham Lincoln described the ideal vista of a democratic government being one “of the people, by the people, for the people.” However, the lower classes and vulnerable groups in the U.S. did not really enjoy the fruits of democracy at the beginning and had been marginalized in politics for a long time. American democracy did not achieve perfection with the passage of the U.S. Constitution. The gradual development of American democracy is inseparable from the tireless struggles of vulnerable groups such as the blacks and women in the U.S.

三、美式民主的现实弊病

III. Real drawbacks of American democracy

(一)美式民主的极化

(I) The polarization of American democracy

20世纪70年代以来,美国政治生活出现了明显的极化现象。政治极化,意味着:第一,外部差异性日益凸显。不同政治力量的政策偏好朝着对立方向发展;第二,内部同质性渐趋强化。各个政治力量越发捍卫自身追求的价值观,同其他政治力量难以调和。近半个世纪以来,经济全球化导致美国制造业不断向海外转移,而虚拟经济的迅猛发展使得财富逐渐集中到少数人手中,美国社会贫富差距不断拉大,底层民众同上层精英的矛盾越发难以调和;美国长期奉行多元文化主义,国内种族矛盾尖锐。这些差异投影到日常生活,即表现为政治精英集团之间渐趋对立。具体而言:近年来,民主党趋于自由主义,共和党则变得越发保守,两党之间原有的中间地带逐渐消失;两党内部愈加团结,日渐同质化。由于两党的观念认知渐趋分裂,美国社会的凝聚力正在不断丧失。

Since the 1970s, obvious polarization has been taking place in American politics. Political polarization means that: First, external differences become increasingly pronounced. The policy preferences of different political forces pull in opposite directions. Second, the internal homogeneity gradually intensifies. Different political forces defend the values they pursue, and it isn’t easy to show reconciliation with one another. For nearly half a century, economic globalization has caused the constant transfer of American manufacturing overseas, and wealth is concentrated among a few people due to the rapidly growing virtual economy. The gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S. is widening, and the contradiction between the lower classes and the upper-class elites has become increasingly entrenched. Multiculturalism is upheld in the U.S., where racial conflicts are intensifying. These differences are manifested in the deepening opposition between political elites. Specifically, in recent years, the Democratic Party has tended to be more liberal, while the Republican Party has become increasingly conservative. The middle ground between the two parties gradually vanishes. Internally, the two parties have become more united and homogenized. As the two parties gradually pull in opposite directions in terms of concepts and perception, American society is losing its cohesive force.

在执政压力、价值观对立和政党内部压力等因素影响下,美国民主党和共和党议员很多时候并不能同他党理性商谈,而是将党派利益置于民众利益之上。两党派议员相互拆台的情况时有发生。原本被视为公意论坛的美国国会,已经沦为两党“恶斗”的竞技场地。众议院议长佩洛希作为左翼民主党人的代表,先后两次推动针对特朗普的弹劾程序。实际上,无论民主党人的理由多么冠冕堂皇,弹劾特朗普在许多人看来就是一场滑稽的党派政治斗争。

Due to factors such as ruling pressure, conflict of values, and internal party pressure, it is often the case that American Democratic and Republican members of Congress cannot enter into rational discussions with other parties, but instead put the interests of the party above those of the people. Members of Congress of the two parties counteract each other’s efforts now and again. The U.S. Congress, which was regarded as a forum for discussing public opinions, has degenerated into an arena where the two parties fight against each other. The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, as a representative of the left-wing Democrats, promoted the process of impeachment against Donald Trump twice. In fact, many people find the impeachment of Trump ridiculous party politics, however high-sounding the Democrats’ grounds seem.

政治极化加剧了不同权力的摩擦、对立,造成国会和白宫、执政党与在野党的合作不畅、冲突不断,进而影响着美国政治系统的运转效能。为了弱化疫情对其谋求连任产生的冲击,特朗普试图淡化病毒对民众生活的威胁,强力推动复工复产。而多数民主党人在抨击特朗普政府抗疫不力的同时,鼓励在部分州强制要求民众佩戴口罩。两种主张针锋相对,令戴口罩这一简单的防疫举措政治化。被不同党派执政的州政府倾向于从本党主张出发,采取“特征鲜明”的抗疫政策。鉴于联邦层面缺乏强有力的统筹安排,不同州政府的抗疫政策时常打架,难以有效遏制疫情的快速传播。当政治极化的现实叠加在权力制衡体制之上,“散装美国”缺乏高效应对疫情的能力,这不仅严重威胁普通民众的基本权利,而且令本就严峻的国际抗疫形势雪上加霜。

Political polarization has aggravated the conflict and antagonism between different powers, causing disputes between Congress and the White House and between the ruling party and the opposition. As a result, it undermines the running of the American political system. To reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on re-election, Trump tried to downplay the threat of the pandemic to people’s lives and forcibly promoted the resumption of work and production. However, while criticizing the Trump administration for its ineffective fight against the pandemic, most Democrats encouraged to force people in some states to wear masks. This game of tit for tat politicizes the simple anti-epidemic measure of mask-wearing. State governments ran by different parties tend to adopt an anti-pandemic policy with “distinct characteristics” based on their own party stand. Given the lack of full coordination at the federal level, the state governments are often at odds with one another in terms of anti-pandemic policies, making it hard to check the rapid spread of the pandemic. Due to the political polarization coupled with the system of checks and balances, “scattered U.S.” lacks the capacity to effectively deal with the pandemic. This undermines the basic rights of ordinary people and also worsens the already hard-pressed global efforts to fight the pandemic.

两党对峙、政治极化造成美国“钟摆民主”现象和内外政策的“翻烧饼”。特朗普就任总统以后,接连撤回、甚至废除了奥巴马政府的多项政策和法案。他高调宣布退出联合国人权理事会等国际组织以及《巴黎协定》等多项国际公约。在经济上,特朗普高举美国至上的单边主义大旗,逆经济全球化的历史潮流而动,同中国等贸易伙伴大打贸易战。与之相对,拜登执政以后,就立即宣称美国将重返多边主义,重新加入联合国人权理事会、中止退出世界卫生组织,以期修复同西方盟友的外交关系。“钟摆民主”昭示美国国内外政策反复无常,国家财政持续损耗,普通民众将为此付出高昂代价。在“钟摆民主”下,美国内政外交政策被来回“翻烧饼”。执政党总是不断清算前任的政治遗产或者否决政治对手的政策主张,这令美国缺乏清晰一致的施策方向,国内民众因此无法形成稳定且长远的行动预期,许多国家、国际组织也在同美国打交道的时候疑虑重重。

The antagonism between the two parties and political polarization give rise to the “pendulum democracy” and the “pancake tossing” for domestic and foreign policies in the U.S. After being installed as president, Trump revoked and even abolished many policies and acts adopted by the Obama administration. He announced withdrawal from international organizations such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and many international conventions such as the Paris Agreement. On the economic front, Trump operated U.S.-centered unilateralism, acted against the prevailing trend of economic globalization, and launched trade wars with trading partners such as China. In contrast, after taking office, Biden declared that the U.S. would pursue multilateralism, rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council, and suspend withdrawal from the World Health Organization, in an effort to repair diplomatic relations with Western allies. The “pendulum democracy” indicates that the U.S. makes capricious domestic and foreign policies, and the national finances are being depleted at the great expense of ordinary people. Under the “pendulum democracy,” the domestic and foreign policies of the U.S. are “turned over like a pancake.” The ruling party always settles scores over its predecessor’s political legacy or vetoes the policies made by its political opponents. As a result, the U.S. lacks a clear and consistent policy orientation, and the people, therefore, cannot make stable and long-term expectations of action, and many countries and international organizations are full of misgivings when dealing with the U.S.

美国两党从政党利益出发,相互否决对方提出的政策主张,导致美式民主已经落入“否决型体制”的陷阱。有人干脆指出,美国政治的极化意味着以民主党和共和党为身份分野、以红州和蓝州为地理疆界的“两个美国”的出现。

Based on the party interests, the two parties in the U.S. veto each other’s policies, and as a result, American democracy falls into the trap of a “veto-type system.” Someone pointed out that the political polarization in the U.S. means the emergence of “two Americas” with the Democratic and Republican parties serving as the dividing line and the red and blue states as the geographic boundaries.

(二)美式民主的双标化

(II) Double standards of American democracy

虽然美国极力标榜人权、自由、民主等价值,营造民主维护者的形象,但是,美国维护民主的卫士形象是极其虚伪的。一旦所谓的民主运动威胁到美国的利益,美国则毫不犹豫地走向民主的对立面。美国民主的双标化,在对待街头政治和媒体自由方面表现得非常明显。

The U.S. flaunts the values such as human rights, freedom, and democracy and creates an image of a democracy defender, but the image of the U.S. as a defender of democracy is hypocritical in the extreme. If the so-called democratic movement compromises the interests of the U.S., the U.S. will act in opposition to democracy without hesitation. The double standards under American democracy are clearly manifested in its treatment of street politics and the freedom of the press.

首先,美国对待街头政治的双标化。长期以来,美式民主的号手们总是假定美国选民会基于理性判断而投出神圣一票,当选者能够遵守选举规则,坦然接受选举结果。然而,2020年美国大选发生的种种闹剧却让这些推崇美式民主的人无言以对。原来他们关于“有序竞选”的理性假设被现实无情地戳破。特朗普拒绝承认败选,他不仅宣称民主党计票作弊,而且通过社交媒体煽动民众发起街头运动。“川粉”带着“如丧考妣”的心情冲击国会,一度令国会确认选举结果的会议中断。长期以温和、理性面目示人的美式民主,出现了暴力化的街头政治现象。那么,美国赞成街头政治属于现代民主的一部分吗?恐怕很难有确定答案。

First, the U.S. operates double standards for street politics. For a long time, the advocates of American democracy have always assumed that American voters will exercise rational judgment when casting a vote and that the elected will comply with the election rules and accept the outcomes of the elections. However, those who uphold American democracy were dumbfounded by the farce that occurred in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. It turned out that their rational hypothesis about “orderly election” was turned upside down by reality. Refusing to concede defeat in the election, Trump claimed that the Democrats cheated in counting votes and exploited social media to incite people to launch street campaigns. Trump followers stormed the Congress with an utterly wretched mood, interrupting the Congress’ meeting to certify the election results. American democracy, which has seemed to be gentle and rational, emerged as violent street politics. Is the U.S. that supports street politics part of modern democracy? I am afraid it is difficult to give a definite answer.

无论是突尼斯爆发的“茉莉花革命”,还是席卷中东地区的“阿拉伯之春”,乃至乌克兰的政治危机,我们都可以看到,美国政客为后发现代化国家的民主化“操碎了心”。而在中国香港地区,港独分子在境外势力的推波助澜之下,发动了包括冲击立法会、袭击警察和无辜民众、围堵香港中联办等一系列暴动,公然挑战“一国两制”的法治底线……诸此种种,部分美国政客为之欢欣鼓舞,甚至称为“美丽的风景线”。美国国会漠视中国民众的不满,罔顾中国外交部门的强烈抗议,专门出台法案为暴徒们的行径背书;美国国会甚至公然邀请乱港分子头目参与涉港问题的听证会,企图为香港街头政治的极端化、野蛮化辩护。美国政客对待境外街头政治的言行,似乎表明美国鼓励街头政治,倾向于将街头政治视作民主理论与实践的应有部分。

From the Jasmine Revolution that broke out in Tunisia, the “Arab Spring” that swept the Middle East, to even the political crisis in Ukraine, it can be seen that American politicians are “highly concerned” about the democratization of later modern countries. In China’s Hong Kong, aided by external forces, separatists launched a slew of riots, including storming the Legislative Council, attacking the police and innocent people, and besieging the building of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). They blatantly challenged the bottom line of “one country, two systems” ... Some American politicians danced for joy for this and even called it “a beautiful sight to behold.” U.S. Congress specially introduced a bill to endorse the actions of the rioters in defiance of the dissatisfaction of the Chinese people and the strong representations lodged by the Chinese diplomatic authorities. The U.S. Congress even flagrantly invited the heads of disorderly elements in Hong Kong to the hearings on Hong Kong-related issues in an effort to defend the radical and barbarian street politics in Hong Kong. The words and deeds of American politicians regarding street politics overseas seem to indicate that the U.S. encourages street politics and is inclined to regard street politics as what democratic theory and practice entail.

但是,具有讽刺意味的是,美国却强力镇压近年来国内发生的街头运动。由于金融危机的冲击,美国底层民众强烈抗议社会不公、财富分配不均,发起“占领华尔街”运动。对此,美国政客们却污蔑抗议民众为乌合之众,美国警察更是采取暴力清场等方式镇压。美国黑人弗洛伊德因使用二十美元的假钞而被白人警察暴力执法致死。美国民众走向街头,声讨种族主义的社会痼疾。对此,美国政客们却“义正词严”地斥之为“暴乱”。当部分民众不满特朗普的败选而占领国会大厦时,佩洛西等政客毫不犹豫地将之定性为“暴力运动”“叛乱”。

However, ironically, the U.S. has forcefully put down the street politics movements that took place in the U.S. in recent years. Due to the impact of the financial crisis, the unprivileged American populace launched a strong outcry against social injustice and uneven distribution of wealth and initiated the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. In response, American politicians vilified the protesters as rabble, and the American police suppressed them by employing methods such as violent dispersal. George Floyd, an American black man, was violently killed by white police officers for using forged bills worth twenty dollars. The American people took the streets to condemn the social ills of racism. In response, American politicians “righteously” denounced it as a “riot.” When some members of the populace dissatisfied with Trump’s defeat occupied the Capitol, politicians such as Pelosi labeled it as a “violent campaign” and “rebellion” without hesitation.

在对待街头政治时,美国怀揣双重标准:一方面,美国纵容、利用他国反对派发动街头运动乃至暴力抗议活动;另一方面,动辄对本国民众的抗议行动予以强力镇压。美国对境内境外街头政治持截然相反态度,充分显示美式民主的双标化。

In terms of street politics, the U.S. operates double standards: On the one hand, the U.S. connives with and exploits the opposition in other countries to launch campaigns of street politics and even violent protests. On the other hand, it forcibly suppresses the protests of its citizens at every turn. That the U.S. adopts diametrically opposite attitudes towards street politics at home and abroad abundantly illustrates the double standards of American democracy.

其次,美国操弄新闻自由也显示美式民主的双标化。媒体理应客观中立报道社会事件,促进政治生活朝着健康方向发展。然而,美国媒体却在新闻自由的幌子之下,采取双重标准,选择性地屏蔽某些对美国不利的信息,刻意引导社会舆论。虽然美式民主的号手们竭力强调新闻自由的价值,标榜美国媒体的中立性、客观性,但当面对同一性质的事件时,美国媒体却根据偏好采取截然不同的做法。例如,面对白人群体的失踪事件,美国媒体连续多天大肆宣传,而当少数族裔失踪事件发生时,美国媒体却缺乏应有的关注。在2019年香港地区发生暴乱时,美国媒体故意把镜头对准警察,而选择性忽视乱港分子暴力攻击警察和市民的恶劣行径,刻意营造香港警察“暴力镇压民主运动”的负面形象。2020年新冠肺炎疫情期间,美国媒体刻意渲染“中国病毒”,刺激并引发了大量针对华裔的仇恨言行;彭博社罔顾美国抗疫不力的事实,发布所谓的“全球抗疫排名”,标榜美国抗疫世界第一。如此双重标准的新闻自由,完全背离了现代民主社会的基本常识和行为准则。由此可见,受到政治操弄、利益裹挟的美国媒体绝非自我标榜的那般中立和客观。

Second, the manipulation of the freedom of the press in the U.S. also exposes the double standards of American democracy. The media should report social events objectively and neutrally to promote politics in a healthy manner. However, under the guise of press freedom, the American media operates double standards to block information that is unfavorable to the U.S. selectively and deliberately mislead public opinion. Although the advocates of American democracy strive to stress the value of press freedom and parade the neutrality and objectivity of the American media, the American media adopts totally different approaches based on their preferences when covering issues of the same nature. For example, American media would give coverage for many days in a row in the case of the disappearance of white people while hardly giving due attention to the disappearance of the people of minority groups. When riots broke out in Hong Kong in 2019, the American media deliberately turned the camera to the police while turning a blind eye to the egregious acts of Hong Kong rioters of attacking the police and citizens in an attempt to deliberately create a negative image of the Hong Kong police “violently suppressing the democratic movement.” When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, the U.S. media deliberately labeled it the “Chinese virus” and provoked a deluge of hateful words and deeds against Chinese Americans. Disregarding the U.S. poor performance in anti-pandemic efforts, Bloomberg released the so-called “COVID Resilience Ranking”, in which the U.S. ranked top in the world in the anti-pandemic measures. Such double standards on press freedom run counter to the basic common sense and code of conduct for a modern democratic society. This shows that the American media, which is driven by political manipulation and interests, is far from being as neutral and objective as it proclaims.

(三)美式民主的金钱化

(III) Money-dominated American democracy

美式民主的拥趸们通常将自由竞选视作美国民主最引以为豪的标志。在他们看来:自由竞选不仅有助于民众自主择定政治代表,而且预设了民众平等担任公职的权利;竞选者倘若想要赢下选举,必须尽可能全面地向民众展示自身能力、表达自身主张,让选民提前了解竞选者的工作能力和施政承诺。

The followers of American democracy usually regard free election campaigns as the pride and joy of American democracy. They hold that an election campaign helps the people independently choose their own political representatives and ensures the people’s equal right to hold public office. Candidates who want to win the election must demonstrate their competence and express their views to the people as comprehensively as possible so that voters learn about the candidates’ competence and governance pledges.

但是,美式民主的金钱化,让自由竞选成为一句空洞的口号。在美国大选中,无论是竞选前期准备,还是善后工作,都离不开金钱的支持。竞选者需要负担媒体宣传、工作人员薪资和竞选活动组织等费用,这些开支也随着竞选时间的拉长而不断增长。例如,2004年美国大选耗费近40亿美元,2008年美国大选耗费约50亿美元,2012年美国大选耗费约60亿美元,2016年美国大选耗费约70亿美元,2020年美国大选耗费高达140亿美元。上述数据表明,当代美国民主政治同资本联系紧密,自由竞选有赖于资本支持,这深刻塑造着美国政治的运转逻辑。

However, free election rings hollow under the money-dominated American democracy. In the U.S. general election, financial support is indispensable for both pre-election preparations and the follow-up period. Candidates have to bear the costs for media promotion, staff salary, and campaign organization. These costs increase as the campaign time is extended. For example, the U.S. general election cost nearly US$4 billion in 2004, about US$5 billion in 2008, about US$6 billion in 2012, about US$7 billion in 2016, and up to US$14 billion in 2020. The above data illustrate that contemporary American democracy is intimately linked to capital, and the free election campaign hinges on capital support. This profoundly shapes the logic behind the running of American politics.

政治献金上限的解绑,加速了美国政治运作同金钱融合的进程,让美式民主加速走向金钱化。对于规范政治献金的来源和运用,美国起初秉持相对严格的态度。一些政治家们认识到利益集团介入选举可能会败坏民主,为此,必须严格控制私主体的政治献金。早在1907年,美国就通过《蒂尔曼法案》限制法人向联邦选举候选人给予直接的政治献金。水门事件以后,1974年修改通过的《联邦竞选法》规定:第一,个人给每个候选人的捐款不得超过1000美元,每年度向候选人、政党和政治行动委员会的捐献总额不得超出2.5万美元。第二,公司等团体可成立政治行动委员会筹集竞选基金。2002年通过的《两党竞选改革法》规定个人在初选和大选中向每位候选人捐款的最高限额为2000美元,向每个政党全国委员会捐款的最高限额为2.5万美元。然而,近年来美国以限制政治献金等于限制言论自由为由,放宽了对政治献金的限制。例如,2010年,联邦最高法院判决允许企业和工会组织可以不受限制地向政治行动委员会捐款;2014年,联邦最高法院又取消了个人向自己支持的联邦候选人以及政党参与竞选活动的最高捐献额度。美国不断放宽政治献金的上限便利了资本同政治联姻,利益集团进而可以合法介入民主选举过程。

The removal of the cap on political contributions has sped up the integration of American politics with money. Initially, the U.S. adopted a strict attitude towards governing the source and use of political contributions. Some politicians were aware that the involvement of interest groups in elections might undermine democracy, and therefore the political contributions made by private entities must be strictly controlled. Back in 1907, the U.S. adopted the Tillman Act of 1907 to restrict legal persons from making direct political contributions to candidates for federal elections. Following the Watergate scandal, the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 included several stipulations. First, individual donations to each candidate shall not exceed US$1,000, and the total annual contribution to candidates, political parties and political action committees shall not exceed US$25,000. Second, groups such as companies can set up political action committees to raise campaign funds. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) stipulates that the upper limit of individual donations to each candidate in the primary and general elections is US$2,000, and the upper limit of donations to the national committee of each political party is US$25,000. In recent years, however, the U.S. has relaxed restrictions on political contributions on the grounds that limiting political contributions is tantamount to restricting freedom of speech. For example, in 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that companies and trade unions were allowed to make donations to political action committees without restrictions. In 2014, the Supreme Court abolished the restriction over the highest donations made by individuals to federal candidates and political parties that they support in election campaigns. The continuous relaxation of the restrictions over political contributions facilitates the connection of capital and politics, and interest groups can intervene in the democratic election process lawfully.

美式民主的金钱化使得选民利益受损。常言道:“拿人钱财,替人消灾”。当选者为了维护同利益集团建立起来的“政治默契”,时常以或明或暗的方式回馈利益集团。这表现为:第一,论功行赏。当选者可以通过人事任命等手段犒赏利益集团代表。例如,奥巴马上台以后,即通过派驻大使的形式奖掖为其大选募资的功臣。第二,利益输送。当选者上任后实施有利于利益集团的政策。美国宪法修正案规定了公民持有及携带武器的权利,美国也因相对宽松的枪支管控政策成为世界第一大枪支持有国。美国历任总统面对不时发生的枪击事件,除了“深表痛心”之外,无所作为。联系到美国步枪协会曾向参选总统的特朗普提供3000万美元支持的背景,美国枪支管控法案出台受阻背后的缘由便不言而喻了。由此可见,资本家通常在捐献背后附加额外的政治条件,政治捐献合法化为资本家“明目张胆”地介入政策制定大开方便之门。虽然当选者是由民众选举产生的,但其行为逻辑实际上深受利益集团影响。一旦利益集团同选民立场对立时,兼具双重代表身份的当选者可能陷入抉择两难,不免会背弃民众利益。

The money-dominated American democracy damages the interests of voters. As a Chinese saying goes, “If you accept bribes, you have to relieve the giver of misfortune.” In order to safeguard the “political tacit agreement” established with interest groups, the elected candidates often give back to the interest groups, explicitly or implicitly. This is mirrored in the following aspects: First, reward according to merits. The elected can reward representatives of interest groups through personnel appointments, etc. For example, after taking office, Obama designated those who raised funds for his election as ambassadors as a reward. Second, benefit transfer. The elected will implement policies in favor of the interest groups after taking office. Amendments to the U.S. Constitution stipulate the right of citizens to possess and carry firearms. The U.S. has also become the country with the largest gun ownership in the world due to its loose policy governing gun control. Successive presidents of the U.S. have done nothing in response to shooting incidents that have occurred from time to time except expressing “deep sorrow.” As the National Rifle Association of America provided US$30 million in support to Trump in his running for the president, the reason for the abortive introduction of the gun control bill is self-evident. It can be seen that the legalization of political contributions paves the way for capitalists to “blatantly” intervene in policy formulation. Capitalists often attach extra political conditions to contributions. While the elected are elected by the people, their behavior logic is, in fact, deeply driven by interest groups. In the event of a conflict between interest groups and the voters, the elected with dual identities may be caught in a dilemma and will invariably betray the interests of the voters.

金钱绑架政治,资本扭曲民意,美国民主选举沦为资本家角逐权力的游戏场,美式民主政治日渐走向“钱主”政治。

Money kidnaps politics, and capital distorts public opinion. American democratic elections degenerate into an arena where capitalists compete for power, and American democratic politics gradually becomes politics in which “money talks.”

(四)美式民主的形式化

(IV) Formalized nature of American Democracy

民主的实现需要配以复杂的制度设计。一旦制度设计导致民主的实质落空,那么民主的形式化便不可避免。美式民主的制度设计,固然有其可取之处,但也存在导致民主形式化的缺陷。

The fulfillment of democracy requires complicated systems. Once the system causes the substance of democracy to fail, it is inevitable that democracy becomes formalized. Regardless of its merits, the system of American democracy has defects that make democracy formalized.

一方面,选举人团制度的推行令美国民主选举实践长期形式化。美国总统选举实行选举人团制度。选举人团制度是美国制宪时大州和小州妥协的产物。因为竞选者是否赢得一州多数选民票,将直接影响竞选者能否赢得该州在国会所代表的选举人的票数,选举人团制的要义也可简单归纳为“赢者通吃”。

On the one hand, the Electoral College system has made the practice of democratic elections in the U.S. formalized in the long term. The Electoral College system is implemented for the U.S. presidential election. This system was the product of compromise between the large states and small states when the U.S. Constitution was enacted. Whether a candidate wins the support of the majority of voters in a state will directly affect whether such candidate can win the votes of the electors represented by that state in Congress. Essentially, the Electoral College system can be summarized as “winner takes all.”

由于推行选举人团制度,历届美国总统选举多次出现竞选者输掉了普选多数票而最终胜选的情况。1860年,林肯虽然只得到不到半数的选民票,但依靠占优的选举人团票最终当选总统;1912年,威尔逊在比对手少约100万张选民票的情况下,最终当选美国总统;2000年,虽然戈尔比小布什多出53万张选民票,但是小布什依靠关键摇摆州的选举结果最终赢下总统大选;2016年,希拉里在获得超过特朗普290余万张选民票的背景下,最终与总统宝座失之交臂……由于关键摇摆州的得票情况影响候选人能否赢下这些州的选举人票,而关键摇摆州直接关系着候选人的选举人票是否超过270票,因此,两党候选人通常将绝大部分精力投入到影响最终结果的关键摇摆州。

Due to the Electoral College system, there are many cases in the U.S. in which the candidates lost a majority vote in universal suffrage but eventually won the election in the presidential elections. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won the votes of less than half of the voters, but he was finally elected president thanks to his dominant voting at the Electoral College. In 1912, Woodrow Wilson was finally elected president of the U.S. despite the fact that he lagged behind his opponent by about 1 million votes. In 2000, although Albert Gore received 530,000 more votes than George W. Bush, Bush won the presidential election thanks to the voting results in the key swing states. In 2016, Hillary Clinton received 2.9 million more votes than Trump, but still failed the presidential election. The voting results in key swing states determine whether candidates can win the electoral votes of these states, and the key swing states directly determine whether a candidate receives more than 270 electoral votes. Therefore, candidates of the two parties usually concentrate most of their energy on the key swing states that affect the final outcome.

民主政治最基本的要求是民主平等,然而选举人团制度的运行实际上长期违反了民主平等的基本原则。一方面,不同州的选举效力并不相同。创设选举人团制度旨在维护联邦制,推行选举人团制度整体利于小州,对部分大州构成了逆向歧视;另一方面,身处不同州的选民投票存在效力差异,这也构成对部分选民的差别对待。享有选举资格的民众理应平等,其投出的每一票对选举结果能够产生同等效力。虽然美国对外宣称自身实行普选制,但是依照选举人团制度,选民投票的效力真的符合“一人一票”“少数服从多数”的民主原则吗?不同州的选举人票背后象征数量不等的选民意志,仅凭借选举人票难以真实反映全国范围内民众的集体意志。在此情况下,胜选者真的具备足够厚重的民意基础吗?答案显然也是否定的。

The most fundamental requirement for democracy is democracy and equality, but the operation of the Electoral College system actually violates the basic principle of democracy and equality for a long time. On the one hand, the effectiveness of elections varies according to different states. The Electoral College system is designated to maintain the federal system. The Electoral College system works in favor of small states as a whole and constitutes reverse discrimination against some large states. On the other hand, there are differences in the effectiveness of voting by voters in different states, and this also constitutes discrimination against some voters. People eligible to vote should be treated equally, and every vote they cast has the same effect on the election result. Although the U.S. has universal suffrage, does the effectiveness of votes really comply with the democratic principles of “one person, one vote” and “the minority subordinate to the majority” under the Electoral College system? The electoral votes in different states symbolize the will of voters of varying numbers, and it is difficult to realistically reflect the collective will of the people nationwide by relying on electoral votes alone. Under this circumstance, does the election winner really enjoy popular support? The answer is obviously no.

另一方面,少数精英长期把持美国政治也暴露出美式民主的形式化。美式民主的鼓吹者时常为美国推行普选制而骄傲不已,他们认为通过规范的竞选程序确保选举结果符合形式正义的要求,确保人人都有机会享有平等的选举机会。尽管普选制预设了民众自主选择代表、成功竞选公职的可能性,然而因为经费限制,普通民众无法负担起漫长竞选活动所需要的巨额成本。参与民主选举要求筹集大量资金,这已为普通民众设置了隐性门槛。多数普通民众除了定期投下选票,很难深度介入美国民主过程。只有少数受到财团支持的政治精英才能得到所在政党的提名。这一情况导致美国政坛长期被罗斯福家族、布什家族等少数政治家族所把持。美式民主政治终究不过是少数政治精英的权力游戏。久而久之,普通民众对待选举的热情也不断下降,因为他们深知自身的选票很难改变精英把持美国政治的局面。

On the other hand, American politics controlled by a small number of elites in the long term also exposes the formalized nature of American democracy. Advocates of American democracy are often proud of universal suffrage implemented in the U.S. They believe that standardized election procedures ensure that election results conform to the requirements of formal justice and that everyone has an equal opportunity to an election. Although the universal suffrage system presupposes the possibility of the people independently choosing representatives and running for public office, ordinary people cannot afford the exorbitant costs of a long campaign due to limited funding. Involvement in democratic elections requires a great deal of funds, an invisible hurdle for ordinary people. Except for making regular votes, it is difficult for the majority of ordinary people to get involved in American democracy. Only a few political elites supported by the consortia can be nominated by their party. As a result, American politics has long been dominated by a few political families, such as the Roosevelt family and the Bush family. American democracy is nothing more than a power game for a few political elites. As time passes, ordinary people have dwindling enthusiasm for elections because they know that their votes can hardly change the dominance of American politics by the elites.

四、结语

IV. Conclusion

当今世界,民主已经成为全人类共同价值。但是,价值通约性并不意味着价值实现方式的单一性。包括美式民主在内的各国民主模式,都是绚丽多彩的人类政治文明所不可或缺的底色。任何国家的民主发展,固然要借鉴外来文明的有益资源,更需要将普遍原理与具体国情结合。因而,一国不应该对他国民主模式指手画脚,也没有资格输出民主。但是,美国却对其民主制度充满迷之自信,认为美式民主是放之四海而皆准的制度真理,在全世界范围内充当民主的“教师爷”,强行推广其民主模式。这种企图当然会遭到其他国家的抵制,因为如果坚持世界上只有一种民主模式,这本身就是反民主的。

In today’s world, democracy has become a common human value. However, value commensurability does not mean that value can be realized by a single method. The models of democracy in various countries, including American democracy, are essential for brilliant political achievements. For the progress of democracy in any country, it is necessary to draw on the benefits of foreign civilizations and all the more to combine general principles with national realities. Therefore, no country should point fingers at other countries’ democracy, nor has the right to export democracy. However, the U.S. has an illusionary sense of confidence in its democratic system, thinking that American democracy is a one-size-fits-all system truth. The U.S. gives sanctimonious preaching on democracy all over the world and forcibly promotes its democratic model. Such an attempt will, of course, be boycotted by other countries because if we assert that there is only one democratic model in the world, it is in itself anti-democratic.

历史充分证明,美国在一些地区搞民主输出,不仅没有给当地带来繁荣发展,反而带来新的人道主义灾难。对此,美国不仅不思悔改,反而变本加厉,将国内两党内斗的恶习带入国际社会,纠集一些附庸国家和地区召开所谓的民主峰会。美国操办民主峰会,无非是企图借此垄断民主的定义和裁判权,借民主之名拉帮结派,建立一套以美国利益和意识形态为标准的世界体系。其实,美国搞所谓民主峰会注定是徒劳无益的。这是因为,美式民主已经充分暴露出诸多历史局限和现实弊病,已经逐渐失去说服力和吸引力了。越来越多的国家和人民已经深刻认识到,美式民主并不能代表民主的未来发展方向。各国人民应该而且也能够在独立自主的基础上走出一条具有本国特色的民主发展道路,为丰富人类政治文明多样性贡献智慧和力量。

Past experience fully illustrates that the U.S. export of democracy to some regions caused new humanitarian disasters instead of bringing prosperity and development to the local areas. For this, the U.S. remains impenitent and even brings the domestic two-party internal power struggle to the international community by gathering some vassal states and regions in the so-called summit for democracy. The U.S. organizes the summit for democracy in an attempt to monopolize the right to define democracy and act as a judge, form a clique in the name of democracy, and establish a world system based on the standard of American interests and ideology. In fact, the so-called summit for democracy is doomed to failure because the limitations and practical ills of American democracy have been exposed, and it gradually loses its persuasiveness and appeal. More and more countries and people become aware that American democracy does not represent the development direction of democracy. The people of all countries should and can independently pursue democratic development with their own traits and contribute their wisdom and power to the diversity of political achievements.

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