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特朗普+社交媒体=民主社会的灾难

更新时间:2017-6-23 11:49:32 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Where Did ‘We the People’ Go?
特朗普+社交媒体=民主社会的灾难

A few days ago I was at a conference in Montreal, and a Canadian gentleman, trying to grasp what’s happening to America, asked me a simple question: “What do you fear most these days?”

几天前,我在蒙特利尔参加一个会议,一位加拿大男士想搞明白美国到底发生了什么,于是问了我一个简单的问题:你现在最担心的是什么?

I paused for a second, like a spectator waiting to see what would come out of my own mouth. Two things came out: “I fear we’re seeing the end of ‘truth’ — that we simply can’t agree any more on basic facts. And I fear that we’re becoming Sunnis and Shiites — we call them ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans,’ but the sectarianism that has destroyed nation-states in the Middle East is now infecting us.”

我停顿了一秒,就像一位旁观者等着看我嘴里会冒出来些什么。然后我说了两点:“我担心我们以后不会再有‘事实’——我们压根不能再就基本的事实达成一致。我担心我们在变成逊尼派和什叶派——我称他们是‘民主党人’和‘共和党人’,但毁掉中东民族国家的宗派主义现在正在对我们产生影响。”

It used to be that people didn’t want their kids to marry one of “them,” referring to someone of a different religion or race (bad enough). Now the “them” is someone of a different party.

以前是人们不想让孩子与一个不同的宗教或种族的人结婚时(这已经够糟糕了),才会把那些人称为“他们”。现在,“他们”成了一个不同政党的成员。

When a liberal comedian poses with a mock severed head of Donald Trump, when the president’s own son, Eric Trump, says of his father’s Democratic opponents, “To me, they’re not even people,” you know that you are heading to a dark place.

当一名自由派喜剧演员手提唐纳德·特朗普的头颅模型拍照,当总统的儿子埃里克·特朗普(Eric Trump)在谈到父亲的民主党对手时表示,“对我来说,他们根本不算人”,你知道自己在走向一个黑暗的地方。

So when I got home, I called my teacher and friend Dov Seidman, author of the book “How” and C.E.O. of LRN, which helps companies and leaders build ethical cultures, and asked him what he thought was happening to us.

所以,回家之后,我给对我而言亦师亦友的多夫·塞德曼(Dov Seidman)打了个电话,问他认为我们正在经历什么。塞德曼是帮助企业和领导层培养道德文化的LRN公司的首席执行官,著有《怎样》(How)一书。

“What we’re experiencing is an assault on the very foundations of our society and democracy — the twin pillars of truth and trust,” Seidman responded. “What makes us Americans is that we signed up to have a relationship with ideals that are greater than us and with truths that we agreed were so self-evident they would be the foundation of our shared journey toward a more perfect union — and of respectful disagreement along the way. We also agreed that the source of legitimate authority to govern would come from ‘We the people.’”

“我们正在经历的是对我们的社会与民主政体根基的攻击,也就是事实与信任这两大支柱,”塞德曼回应道。“我们之所以成为美国人,是因为我们同意达成一种关系,其中包含比我们自身更重要的理想,包含我们认为显而易见的事实——因此认为它们将是我们一起迈向一个更好的国度的基础,也是在这一路上尊重反对观点的基础。我们也一致认为,正当统治的权威来自‘我们人民’。”

But when there is no “we” anymore, because “we” no longer share basic truths, Seidman argued, “then there is no legitimate authority and no unifying basis for our continued association.”

但是塞德曼认为,当“我们”不再存在——因为“我们”不再有共认的事实——“也就不再有正当的权威,不再有我们的联合继续存在的统一基础。”

We’ve had breakdowns in truth and trust before in our history, but this feels particularly dangerous because it is being exacerbated by technology and Trump.

在历史上,我们有过事实与信任遭遇障碍的时候,但这次感觉尤其危险,因为这种情况在被科技和特朗普恶化。

Social networks and cyberhacking are helping extremists to spread vitriol and fake news at a speed and breadth we have never seen before. “Today, we’re not just deeply divided, as we’ve been before, we’re being actively divided — by cheap tools that make it so easy to broadcast one’s own ‘truths’ and to undermine real ones,” Seidman argued.

有了社交网络和黑客袭击,极端分子能以我们不曾见过的速度与广度传播恶毒言论和虚假新闻。“如今,我们不仅像过去那样极为分裂,而且在被一些廉价的工具积极地分裂开来,这些工具让一个人传播自己的‘事实’变得十分容易,因而破坏了真正的事实,”塞德曼称。

This anger industry is now “either sending us into comfortable echo chambers where we don’t see the other or arousing such moral outrage in us toward the other that we can no longer see their humanity, let alone embrace them as fellow Americans with whom we share values.”

现在,这个用愤怒牟利的行业“要么在把我们送入看不到另一面的舒适的回音室,要么促使我们对其他人产生这种道德愤怒,以致于我们再也看不到他们人性的一面,更不用说像拥抱跟我们持同样价值观的美国同胞那样,拥抱他们。

Social networks and hacking also “have enabled us to see, in full color, into the innermost workings of every institution and into the attitudes of those who run them,” noted Seidman, “and that has eroded trust in virtually every institution, and the authority of many leaders, because people don’t like what they see.”

社交网络和黑客袭击也“使我们清清楚楚地看到每个机构深处的运行情况,看到使之运转的人的态度,”塞德曼指出,“它们已经破坏了几乎所有机构和许多领导者的威信,因为人们不喜欢他们看到的东西。”

With shared truth debased and trust in leaders diminished, we now face a full-blown “crisis of authority itself,” argued Seidman, who distinguishes between “formal authority” and “moral authority.”

随着共识遭到贬损,对领导人的信任减少,我们现在面临一场全面的“威信危机”,塞德曼称。他将“形式权威”和“道德权威”进行了区分。

While our system can’t function without leaders with formal authority, what makes it really work, he added, is “when leaders occupying those formal positions — from business to politics to schools to sports — have moral authority. Leaders with moral authority understand what they can demand of others and what they must inspire in them. They also understand that formal authority can be won or seized, but moral authority has to be earned every day by how they lead. And we don’t have enough of these leaders.”

他还表示,没有具备形式权威的领导层,我们的制度就无法运转,但真正让它生效的,是“占据这些正式职位的领导层——不管是商界、政界,还是学校和体育界——具备道德权威。有道德权威的领导明白他们可以向其他人要求什么,以及必须在他们身上激发出什么。他们也知道形式权威可以赢得或夺得,但道德权威必须在日常领导实践中获得。我们没有足够多的此类领导。”

In fact, we have so few we’ve forgotten what they look like. Leaders with moral authority have several things in common, said Seidman: “They trust people with the truth — however bright or dark. They’re animated by values — especially humility — and principles of probity, so they do the right things, especially when they’re difficult or unpopular. And they enlist people in noble purposes and onto journeys worthy of their dedication.”

实际上,这类领导人数非常少,以致我们都忘了他们是什么样。有道德权威的领导有好几个共同点,塞德曼说:“他们凭借事实信赖人——不管是明亮的,还是黑暗的。他们被价值观——尤其是谦逊——和诚实原则激励,所以他们会做正确的事,尤其是在他们处在困境或不受欢迎的时候。他们以高尚的目的延揽人才,把他们带上值得自己奉献的道路上。”

Think how far away Trump is from that definition. In Trump we not only have a president who can’t lead us out of this crisis — because he has formal authority but no moral authority — but a president who is every day through Twitter a one-man accelerator of the erosion of truth and trust eating away at our society.

想想特朗普距离这个定义有多遥远。在特朗普身上,我们看到的不仅是一个无法领导我们度过危机的总统——因为他有形式权威,却没有道德权威——而且他每天在Twitter上的表现,是单枪匹马在加速腐蚀我们社会的事实与信任。

We saw that play out between Trump and James Comey, the F.B.I. director.

我们看到这种情况就发生在了特朗普和联邦调查局局长詹姆斯·科米(James Comey)身上。

There’s an adage, explained Seidman, that says: “Ask for my honesty and I’ll give you my loyalty. Ask for my loyalty and I’ll give you my honesty.” But Trump was not interested in Comey’s honesty. He only wanted Comey’s blind loyalty — delivered free because Trump thought he had the formal authority to demand it. “But true loyalty can’t be commanded; it can only be inspired,” said Seidman.

塞德曼解释说,有这么一句格言:“向我要求诚实,我给你我的忠诚。向我要求忠诚,我会给你诚实。”但特朗普对科米的诚实不感兴趣。他只想让科米无条件地给予盲目的忠诚,因为特朗普认为自己有要求这一点的形式权威。“但真正的忠诚不是要来的;只能是被激发的,”塞德曼说。

Alas, Trump is not going to get any better and the technology is not going to get any slower. It is imperative, in the short run, that some moral leaders emerge in the G.O.P. and actually restrain Trump. But that’s doubtful.

可惜,特朗普是不会改善的,技术的发展也不会放慢。目前最迫切的是,共和党在短期内出现一些有道德权威的领导人物,真正对特朗普进行约束。但这点恐怕很难。

But the upside of today’s political-technology platform is that leaders can come out of anywhere — fast. Look at the new president of France. In the long run, the only thing that will save us is if more people — no matter what age, color, gender or faith — build moral authority in their respective realms and then use it to do big, meaningful things. Use it to run for office, start a company, operate a school, lead a movement or build a community organization. And in so doing you can help put the “We” back in “We the people.”

不过,今天这个政治-技术平台好的一面是,领导者可以从任何地方快速冒出来。看看法国新任总统。从长远看,唯一能拯救我们的是有更多人——不论年龄、肤色、性别或信仰——在自己受尊重的领域培养道德威信,然后用它做一些大的、有意义的事。用它来竞选公职,开创企业,经营学校,领导运动或打造一个社区机构。这样就有助于把“我们”放回到“我们人民”之中。

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