沃尔特·李普曼《民主的力量》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析

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THE STRENGTH OF DEMOCRACY

By Walter Lippmann

THE STRENGTH Of DEMOCRACY, by Walter Lippmann, in To-day and To-morrow, March 30,1933, as reprinted in Lippmann and Nevins’s A Modern Reader, Boston, D. C. Heath and Company, 1936, pp. 73, 74.

Walter Lippmann, formerly associate editor of the New Republic and editor of the New York World, was then on the staff of the New York Herald Tribune, writing articles (“To-day and To-morrow”) which are syndicated nationally in America. He has written a number of books, of which A Preface to Morals is perhaps the most widely read.

The triumph of Hitler has reduced still further the domain of popular government in the world, and it is but natural that men should wonder whether it can hope to survive anywhere. Yet this impression that autocracy is sweeping the world is something of an optical illusion. The fact is that thus far at least the old democracies have withstood the impact of war and revolution and deep financial disorder. Wide as is the extension of autocracy to-day, except in one important country, it is no more widely extended than it was before the war. The exception is Italy, and Italy happens to be the one Great Power which had most recently achieved its national unity and had had the shortest experience in the conduct of representative government. For the rest it may be said that the Fascist and Communistic victories of the last fifteen years have been won only where democracy had not yet been established.

Thus in Russia the dictatorship of Lenin and Stalin was founded on the collapse of czarism. Japan, of course, has never had more than a faint imitation of popular government. The dictatorships of Central Europe and of the Balkan peoples had never known even one generation of political liberty and political responsibility. Hitler has overthrown a republic which was half strangled from the hour of its birth. But the old democracies of Scandinavia, of Switzerland, and of France, of Britain and of the Dominions, and of the United States, are still in being: the peoples which knew democracy in the nineteenth century, the peoples who have lived under the heritage of liberalism, have not fallen into disorder and have not surrendered to dictators.

A wise man once remarked that revolutions do not overthrow governments; governments collapse and revolutions ensue. The history of the last fifteen years offers impressive proof of this generalization. Kerensky did not overthrow the Czar. Kerensky attempted to organize a government on the ruins of the czarist regime. He failed and Lenin organized a government.

The German republicans did not overthrow the Hohenzollerns. The Kaiser had fled and his government was demoralized. The Weimar system failed to provide a government. In a half-dozen inconclusive elections the German people proved to themselves that they had not yet learned to make representative government effective. Only then did Hitler come into power.

The crises of the last few years have revealed the essential differences between the democracies which have a capacity to endure and the democracies which have not had it. The ineffective democracies disintegrate in a storm. Solid democracies are capable of uniting their forces, of concentrating power in an emergency, and then of relaxing when the crisis has been surmounted. The first great democracy to demonstrate this capacity was France in 1926. Confronted with what appeared to be an uncontrollable inflation, political power was concentrated in the hands of Poincaré, and order was restored. The second democracy to prove its strength was the British. In 1931, confronted with what might easily have become a catastrophe, the British people concentrated authority and mastered the danger. The third democracy to vindicate itself is our own during the last few weeks.

It is entirely misleading to look upon the concentration of national authority which took place in France in 1926, in Great Britain in 1931, and in the United States in 1933, as part of the tide of autocracy which has been sweeping over Asia and over Europe. What has happened in these three nations is the exact opposite of what has happened where there has been a collapse in dictatorship. The French, the British, and ourselves have been able to fortify democracy because popular government was inherently strong. Fascism has been overthrowing democracy where it is inherently weak.

Thus we are entitled to believe that democracy, once it is solidly founded in the traditions of a people, may be the toughest and most enduring of all forms of government. The generation through which we have lived seems to have given substantial proof that while popular government is difficult to establish, and must be learned by living with it, once established it will stand through very foul weather indeed.

Notes

Hitler, Adolf, head of the Nazi party and dictator of Germany.

domain, realm; sphere of influence; dominion; territory.

autocracy, absolute government.

an optical illusion, produced by too implicit confidence in the evidence of sight. Such illusions, such false beliefs, are not to be trusted.

Fascist, principles and organization of the patriotic and anti-Communistic movement in Italy started during the Great War, culminating in the virtual dictatorship of Signor Mussolini, and imitated by Fascist or blackshirt organizations in other countries. The word comes from the Italian fascio, bundle, group.

Communistic, the vesting of property in the community, each member working according to his capacity and receiving according to his wants. Russia has been trying out the Communistic form of government for the past two decades.

dictatorship, absolute, rulership, especially where the ruler suppresses or succeeds a republican government. Such rule is usually temporary or irregular.

Lenin, Nikolay. Real name Vladimir Ilich Ulanov, Russian Bolshevist leader (1870-1924). After the collapse of the Czarist régime in Russia, Lenin took control of Russia.

Stalin (1879-1953), real name Yosif Visarionovitch Dzhugashvili; The name Stalin, Russian for “steel” as attribute to his iron durability, was an “underground” name. Dictator of Russia.

czarism, government headed by the Czar, the emperor of Russia.

the Dominions, the title given to Canada, New Zealand and other British colonies.

liberalism, form of government favorably disposed to democratic reforms and abolition of privilege.

ensue, happen afterwards; result; follow.

Kerensky, Aleksandr Foodorovich (1881-1970), Russian revolutionary leader, premier 1917.

régime, method of government.

Hohenzollerns, the Prussian family that ruled Germany before its collapse after the Great War. The Kaiser or emperor of Germany, Kaiser William II (1859-1941), was king of Prussia and emperor of Germany from 1888 to 1918, when he abdicated his throne.

the Weimar system. After the abdication of William II, the National Assembly at Weimar was held to draft a Constitution and to build up a German Republic. This Republic was doomed to failure from the very start, because it was weak and it was open to intrigues.

inconclusive, not decisive or conclusive.

disintegrate in a storm, separate into many parts whenever a commotion arises.

crisis, time of acute danger or suspense; turning point or decisive moment.

surmounted, overcome; conquered.

inflation, abnormal increase of the currency, especially by the issue of inconvertible legal-tender notes.

Poincaré, Raymond (1860-1934), French statesman and president 1913-1920.

catastrophe, disastrous end or ruin.

our own. Lippmann, an American, is here speaking of his own country the United States of America.

inherently, in itself; fundamentally; existing or abiding in.

very foul weather, very bad disturbance; very critical moment.

Questions

  1. Why is the impression that autocracy is sweeping the world something of an optical illusion?
  2. Of what generalization does the history of the last fifteen years offer impressive proof?
  3. How have the last few years revealed the essential differences between the democracies which have a capacity to endure and those which have not had it.
  4. Why is it entirely misleading to look upon the concentration of national authority in France, England, and America as part of the tide o30autocracy which has been sweeping over Asia and Europe?
  5. What are we finally entitled to believe of democracy?

参考译文

【作品简介】

《民主的力量》,作者沃尔特·李普曼,载于1933年3月30日的《今天与明天》。后收入李普曼及内文斯编写的《现代读本》,由波士顿的D. C.赫斯出版公司1936年出版,73—74页。

【作者简介】

沃尔特·李普曼,曾任《新共和报》助理编辑和《纽约世界》编辑,在此文写成时正供职于《纽约先驱论坛报》(《今天与明天》栏目),所写稿件被出售给全美各刊。他写过不少作品,其中《道德绪论》可能是拥有读者最多的。

民主的力量

希特勒的胜利进一步压缩了世界上民主政权的生存空间。人们自然要思考民主政权是否有希望在世界上任何地方都生存下来。然而,独裁政权横扫世界,给人带来的印象不过是海市蜃楼。事实上,至少现存老牌民主政权经历了战争的冲击、革命的洗礼和重度财政紊乱的侵扰。当前独裁政权覆盖范围颇广,实则扩张程度相比战争打响前没有增长多少。仅有一个重要国家是例外,那就是意大利。意大利近来才完成国家统一,成为强权大国,而且就实施代议制政府而言,意大利经验最少。至于其余独裁政权,可以说过去十五年法西斯和共产主义仅在没有建立民主制度的地区取得了胜利。

列宁和斯大林在俄国的独裁就是建立在沙皇政府崩溃的基础上。日本也只是粗略模仿了民主政体的形式,就止步不前了。而中欧和巴尔干人民的专政统治者们连一代人的政治自由和政治责任都不清楚。希特勒所推翻的共和国自诞生以来就半死不活。但是,如斯堪的纳维亚、瑞士、法国、英国及其自治领和美国,这些老牌民主政权尚存:那些了解十九世纪民主、生活在自由主义后续影响下的人们,并没有陷入混乱之中,亦没有向独裁者卑躬屈膝。

有位智者曾指出,革命并不推翻政府;而是政府崩溃,革命随之而来。近十五年历史充分证明了上述概括。克伦斯基没有推翻沙皇。克伦斯基欲在沙皇政权的废墟上重组政府,他失败了,而列宁组建了政府。

德国那些拥护共和的革命党人没有推翻霍亨索伦王朝,而是德国皇帝出逃,致使其政府意志消沉。魏玛体系未能给德国带来一个政府。经过一系列有始无终的选举,德国人证明了自己还未学会如何高效运作代议制政府。也就是在此期间,希特勒掌握了权利。

过去的数年危机让民主政权间的显著区别得以显现:有些有能力承受,有些则无力应对。低效民主政权在危机风暴中解体;稳固的民主政权则能在危机时刻团结力量,集中权力,消除危机后能够放松下来。首先要列举的是1926年的法国,其伟大的民主政权展现了上述能力。面对看似失控的通货膨胀,政权集中至普恩加莱的手上,后来秩序恢复了。能展现如此能力的第二个民主政权是英国的政权。1931年,面对可能一触即溃的局面,英国人集中权力,控制住了险情。第三个民主政权则是我们自己的政权,过去几周里它证明了自己的能力。

把1926年法国、1931年英国和1933年美国的国家集权视为席卷亚欧独裁大潮的一部分,这样的观点完全是误解。上述三国所发生的情况和有些国家恰恰相反,三个国家的统治阶层并没有崩溃、变为独裁。法国、英国还有我们国家能强化民主,因为民主政权一直以来非常牢固。被法西斯推翻的民主政权,则一向脆弱不堪。

所以,我们理应相信,只要在一个民族传统里,民主根深蒂固,其政府可能是众多政府形式中最稳固,最能久经考验的一种。我们一代人的经历似乎从根本上证明了:民主政府的建立很不容易,要不断地去经历、去吸取经验,一旦民主政府建立,它将能够承受暴风骤雨。

 

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