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广州翻译公司:别急着断言历史已经转折

作者: 来源: 日期:2016-11-24 8:51:20

Liberal self-flagellation always assumes a bleak future

别急着断言历史已经转折

 

广州翻译公司:加内什:美国人刚选出一个想减税和去监管的总统,自由主义者就断言自由主义已死。其实,未来还有许多可能性。

 

Imagine that Britain’s Labour party had replaced Gordon Brown or Ed Miliband before they contested a general election. In all likelihood, there would have been no Tory government, and therefore no referendum on the EU and therefore no exit from it.

想象一下,假如英国工党(Labour party)在大选之前把戈登•布朗(Gordon Brown)或埃德•米利班德(Ed Miliband)换了下来,那么很可能,现在的英国政府将不会是保守党政府,退欧公投就不会举行,英国也就不会退欧。广州翻译公司。

 

Imagine that Hillary Clinton had swung 100,000 votes across three US states — Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania — that elected and re-elected Barack Obama. The world would now be stifling a yawn at the resilience of mainstream politics against reactionary stresses.

想象一下,如果希拉里•克林顿(Hillary Clinton)在威斯康星州、密歇根州和宾夕法尼亚州这三个在上两次大选中都投票支持巴拉克•奥巴马(Barack Obama)的州多赢得了10万张选票,那么,世界现在将有些索然无味地目睹坚韧的主流政治又一次抵挡住了反动压力。

 

Those of us who follow politics are suckers for the epic: when electorates do strange things, we want to believe we are living through a kink in history. When the world’s two stablest democracies vote for change, it must be the end of liberalism or the hollowing out of the middle class or something comparably grandiose at work. To blame it on particularities, such as the left’s saintly patience with mediocre leaders in recent years, is somehow unsatisfying.

我们这些追踪政治动态的人都有史诗情结:当选民做了奇怪的事情,我们想相信自己正在经历着历史的转折。当世界上两个最稳定的民主国家投票支持改变时,这一定是自由主义的终结、中产阶层空心化、或其他什么同样宏大的因素在起作用。把这怪罪到一些特殊状况(例如近年来左翼对平庸领导人表现出来的圣人般的耐心)的头上,似乎不能令人满意。广州翻译公司。

 

Maybe this year will turn out to be a lasting twist in the world story from liberalism to non-liberalism. But the grounds for believing so amount to one close referendum and one even closer election. The first is yet to be implemented, or even defined, and the second, whose implications are as ambiguous as the views of Donald Trump, that big-government free-marketeer, that Keynesian Reaganite, is reversible in four years' time. Americans have just elected a man who wants to cut taxes and repeal financial regulations. From this, Mr Miliband has inferred that the “old economic settlement”, by which he means liberalism, is dead.

今年或许将标志着世界历史从自由主义到非自由主义的一次持久转折。但是,这一观点所基于的理由,也只不过是一次很悬的退欧公投和一次更悬的美国大选。退欧尚未付诸实施,甚至尚未得到界定;而美国大选的影响尚不确定,唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)这位大政府和自由市场、凯恩斯-里根主义的信奉者也可能在四年时间里转变观点。美国人刚选出一个想减税和废除金融法规的总统,米利班德已由此推断出,“旧的经济安排”——他指的是自由主义——已经死了。

 

The only intelligible lesson of 2016 is that William Goldman’s verdict on Hollywood — “Nobody knows anything”, said the screenwriter — applies to matters of state. Forecasting political events is as inexact a science as picking a commercial hit out of a dozen submitted screenplays, and less fun. Having failed to predict these events, we should leave it a while before extrapolating from them the end of the postwar order of trading nations secured by American military guarantees, or even the post-1979 move to globalisation.

2016年唯一明白易懂的教训就是,编剧威廉•戈德曼(William Goldman)对好莱坞的评判——“没人懂任何事情”——也适用于国家事务。预测政治事件是一项不精确的科学,就像从十几个提交上来的剧本中挑一个能火的剧本一样,而且更不好玩。如果没有预测到这些事件,我们应该暂且把它们放下,不要马上就由这些事件推断战后相互贸易的国家由美国保障的秩序走到了尽头、甚至1979年后开始的全球化进程走到了尽头。广州翻译公司。

 

This confident account, aired as though it had already happened in the days after Mr Trump’s election, has western nations tumbling like dominoes to autarky and a suspicion of all foreigners bar certain favoured strongmen. It holds out hope for high-minded Germany as the point of fixity in the storm, like one of its classy midfielders decorating a mindless game of football with some cultured passes.

这种自信的描述——似乎它描述的事情在特朗普当选之后的这些天里真发生了一样——导致西方国家像多米诺骨牌一样一个接一个倒向了自给自足、倒向了对所有外国人的怀疑——只除了某些受青睐的强人。这种描述寄希望于高尚的德国能在风暴中保持岿然不动,就像优秀的德国中场球员用优雅的传球装点一场心不在焉的足球赛那样。

 

This assumes rather a lot: that Mr Trump, who has already softened his line on various subjects, meant what he said over the past 18 months; that what he said had a consistent anti-liberal theme; that EU exit will leave Britain less not more open as an economy; that European populism, from France to Italy, will break through over the coming year; that statist change in the west will not be offset by market reforms elsewhere. It is even presumptuous on the upside. It counts on Germany, which was upset by revelations of American espionage two years ago, volunteering for the ugly burdens that are the lot of a hegemon.

这里包含了太大的假设成分:要假设已在各个不同问题上软化了自己立场的特朗普,会对自己在过去18个月里说过的话说到做到,并且他说过的话包含一以贯之的反自由主义主题;要假设退欧会让英国成为一个更封闭、而非更开放的经济体;要假设从法国到意大利的欧洲民粹主义,将在未来一年取得突破;要假设西方的国家主义变化不会被其他地方的市场改革所抵消。它寄以希望的地方看起来甚至是冒昧的——它指望对两年前披露出的美国间谍活动感到心烦的德国,主动承担起一个霸主必然免不了的讨厌负担。广州翻译公司。

 

These hunches might be vindicated by events but what justifies the certainty in which they are couched? Who in 2008, as banks fell and governments acted, knew that right-of-centre parties would dominate the rich world eight years later? Why be sure of the shape of the rich world eight years from now?

这些预感可能会被后面发生的事件证实,但现在有什么理由把话说得如此确定呢?2008年,当银行纷纷倒下、政府采取行动时,谁知道中右翼政党将在八年后主宰富裕世界?现在凭什么能肯定八年后富裕世界会是怎样的状况呢?

 

Perhaps the worst will happen. Or perhaps mainstream politicians will crib enough from the populists to neuter their electoral appeal without changing the fundamentals of our societies. This implies less low-skilled migration and a further gumming-up of the already glacial work of agreeing trade deals. Or maybe America, which gave Mrs Clinton more votes than her opponent and gives Mr Obama lavish approval ratings, will revert to the mean in 2020 even without these accommodations.

或许最坏的情况确实会发生。抑或主流政治人士会从民粹主义者那里借鉴足够多的东西,在不改变我们社会基本面的情况下,平息选民的吁求。这暗示着低技能移民变少,原本缓慢的达成贸易协议的进程进一步陷入胶着。又或者,到2020年,即便没有这些调整,给了希拉里多于对手的普选票数、也给了奥巴马很高支持率的美国,将回归中庸。广州翻译公司。

 

There are many plausible futures and liberals seem to reach for the bleakest one as self-punishment for their hubris after the cold war, when Francis Fukuyama sensed the “endpoint of mankind’s ideological evolution”. In jeering his account of history as something that stopped in 1989, we have exchanged one teleology for another: the triumph of liberalism for its impending extinction.

关于未来会怎样,目前存在许多种有道理的可能性,而自由主义者们似乎触及的是其中最暗淡的一种,作为对冷战后骄傲自大的自我惩罚。冷战之后,弗朗西斯•福山(Francis Fukuyama)感觉到了“人类意识形态发展的终点”。在嘲讽他的历史在1989年终结的说法时,我们把一种目的论换成了另一种目的论:把自由主义取得胜利换成了它即将消亡。

 

Yes, he erred. But the lesson was the importance of predictive humility. It was the cue to accept human affairs as more of a dog’s breakfast than a knowable epic, not to sell our shares in the distressed asset called market democracy. There is no end of history and there is no end to our hysteria.

是的,福山错了。但是,这个错误带给我们的教训是,在预测未来时保持谦卑非常重要。它提示我们要接受现实,即人类的事情就是乱糟糟的一团、而不是一部可知的史诗,不要急着抛售我们在一份名为“市场民主”的不良资产中持有的股份。历史没有终点,人类的歇斯底里也没有终点。

 

广州翻译公司

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