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你们没有自以为的那么聪明

更新时间:2018-5-31 21:02:23 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Liberals, You’re Not as Smart as You Think
你们没有自以为的那么聪明

I know many liberals, and two of them really are my best friends. Liberals make good movies and television shows. Their idealism has been an inspiration for me and many others. Many liberals are very smart. But they are not as smart, or as persuasive, as they think.

我认识很多自由派人士,我最好的朋友其实就是其中的两位。自由派人士拍很棒的电影、制作很好的电视节目。他们的理想主义激励着我和许多其他人。许多自由派人士都非常聪明。但他们不像他们自认的那样聪明、或那么有说服力。

And a backlash against liberals — a backlash that most liberals don’t seem to realize they’re causing — is going to get President Trump re-elected.

对自由派人士的强烈反弹——大多数自由派人士似乎并没有意识到他们在引起这种反弹——将让特朗普再次当选。

People often vote against things instead of voting for them: against ideas, candidates and parties. Democrats, like Republicans, appreciate this whenever they portray their opponents as negatively as possible. But members of political tribes seem to have trouble recognizing that they, too, can push people away and energize them to vote for the other side. Nowhere is this more on display today than in liberal control of the commanding heights of American culture.

人们常常投票反对、而不是支持什么:反对某种意见、某个候选人或某个政党。民主党人和共和党人一样,每当他们对竞选对手进行尽可能负面的描绘时,他们都领会这点。但是,政治部落的成员在认识到他们可能引起人们反感、激发人们为另一方投票上有困难。这种情况如今在自由派控制美国文化制高点上有再清楚不过的表现。

Take the past few weeks. At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington, the comedian Michelle Wolf landed some punch lines that were funny and some that weren’t. But people reacted less to her talent and more to the liberal politics that she personified. For every viewer who loved her Trump bashing, there seemed to be at least one other put off by the one-sidedness of her routine. Then, when Kanye West publicly rethought his ideological commitments, prominent liberals criticized him for speaking on the topic at all. Maxine Waters, a Democratic congresswoman from California, remarked that “sometimes Kanye West talks out of turn” and should “maybe not have so much to say.”

以过去几周发生的事情为例。在华盛顿举行的白宫记者协会晚宴上,喜剧演员米歇尔·沃尔夫(Michelle Wolf)的有些妙语令人捧腹,有些则不然。但人们的反应主要针对的是她体现的自由派政治,而不是她的才华。每有一个喜欢她的抨击特朗普笑话的观众,似乎至少就有另一个对她的片面表演反感的人。后来,当坎耶·维斯特(Kanye West)对自己投身的意识形态进行公开重新思考时,著名的自由派人士批评他不该就这个话题发言。来自加州的民主党众议员玛克欣·沃特斯(Maxine Waters)说:“有时坎耶·韦斯特说话出格”,“也许不(该)说得这么多。”

Liberals dominate the entertainment industry, many of the most influential news sources and America’s universities. This means that people with progressive leanings are everywhere in the public eye — and are also on the college campuses attended by many people’s children or grandkids. These platforms come with a lot of power to express values, confer credibility and celebrity and start national conversations that others really can’t ignore.

自由派人士主导着娱乐业、许多最具影响力的新闻媒体,以及美国的大学。这意味着,有进步倾向的人在公众视野中随处可见,也在许多人的孩子或孙子辈上的大学校园里随处可见。这些平台为表达价值观、授予可信度和知名度,以及开启其他人的确无法忽视的全国性对话提供了强有力的渠道。

But this makes liberals feel more powerful than they are. Or, more accurately, this kind of power is double-edged. Liberals often don’t realize how provocative or inflammatory they can be. In exercising their power, they regularly not only persuade and attract but also annoy and repel.

但这让自由派人士觉得,他们有比他们实际拥有的、大得多的力量。或者更准确地说,这种力量是一把双刃剑。自由派人士常常没有意识到,他们的言论激起多大的争端、或让多少人发怒。他们在行使自己权力的时候,不仅常常在说服和吸引、而且也常常惹恼和排斥听众。

In fact, liberals may be more effective at causing resentment than in getting people to come their way. I’m not talking about the possibility that jokes at the 2011 correspondents’ association dinner may have pushed Mr. Trump to run for president to begin with. I mean that the “army of comedy” that Michael Moore thought would bring Mr. Trump down will instead be what builds him up in the minds of millions of voters.

实际上,相比说服别人支持他们,自由派可能更擅长引起怨恨。有人认为,最初可能是2011年记者协会晚宴上的笑话促使特朗普竞选总统的。但我说的不是这种可能性。我的意思是,迈克尔·摩尔(Michael Moore)认为会让特朗普下台的“幽默大军”,反而会提升他在数千万选民心目中的形象。

Consider some ways liberals have used their cultural prominence in recent years. They have rightly become more sensitive to racism and sexism in American society. News reports, academic commentary and movies now regularly relate accounts of racism in American history and condemn racial bigotry. These exercises in consciousness-raising and criticism have surely nudged some Americans to rethink their views, and to reflect more deeply on the status and experience of women and members of minority groups in this country.

想想近年来自由派是如何利用自己在文化领域的名望。他们对美国社会中的种族主义和性别歧视更加敏感,这是理所应当。现在的新闻报道、学术评论和电影常常提到美国历史上的种族主义,并谴责种族偏见。这些提高意识和批评的做法,必然促使一些美国人重新思考他们的观点,并更加深刻地反省这个国家中的女性和少数族裔的地位和经历。

But accusers can paint with very wide brushes. Racist is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone in America today, which means it should be applied firmly and carefully. Yet some people have cavalierly leveled the charge against huge numbers of Americans — specifically, the more than 60 million people who voted for Mr. Trump.

但有时候控诉的范围非常宽泛。种族主义几乎是当今美国对一个人最严厉的指控。这意味着在使用这个标签时,应该做到确凿而谨慎。但一些人随意借此指控大量美国人——准确的说,是逾6000万投票支持特朗普的人。

In their ranks are people who sincerely consider themselves not bigoted, who might be open to reconsidering ways they have done things for years, but who are likely to be put off if they feel smeared before that conversation even takes place.

在这些人中,有人发自内心地认为自己并不狭隘。他们也许愿意重新考虑自己多年来的做事方式,但如果对话还没开始就感到自己遭到了诽谤,他们可能会心生反感。

It doesn’t help that our cultural mores are changing rapidly, and we rarely stop to consider this. Some liberals have gotten far out ahead of their fellow Americans but are nonetheless quick to criticize those who haven’t caught up with them.

更糟糕的是我们的文化习俗正在迅速改变,我们很少停下来去思考这点。一些自由派人士比他们的美国同胞走得更远,但却还是动辄批评那些没有赶上他们的人。

Within just a few years, many liberals went from starting to talk about microaggressions to suggesting that it is racist even to question whether microaggressions are that important. “Gender identity disorder” was considered a form of mental illness until recently, but today anyone hesitant about transgender women using the ladies’ room is labeled a bigot. Liberals denounce “cultural appropriation” without, in many cases, doing the work of persuading people that there is anything wrong with, say, a teenager not of Chinese descent wearing a Chinese-style dress to prom or eating at a burrito cart run by two non-Latino women.

在短短几年之内,许多自由派人士从开始谈论“微侵犯”,发展到连质疑微侵犯的重要性都成了一种歧视。不久前,“性别认同障碍”还被认为是一种精神疾病,可现在,要是谁对跨性别女性使用女厕所这件事还有丝毫迟疑,都会被扣上狭隘的帽子。自由派人士谴责“文化挪用”,许多时候却无法说服他人,比如一个非华人青年穿一件中式的服装参加舞会,或者去非拉丁裔女人的墨西哥卷饼摊买吃的,这有何不妥。

Pressing a political view from the Oscar stage, declaring a conservative campus speaker unacceptable, flatly categorizing huge segments of the country as misguided — these reveal a tremendous intellectual and moral self-confidence that smacks of superiority. It’s one thing to police your own language and a very different one to police other people’s. The former can set an example. The latter is domineering.

在奥斯卡的舞台上强调政治观点,声称不能接受一个保守派人士在大学演讲,断然将这个国家的一个巨大群体归为被误导者——这些,都透着一种渊博学识加上道德自信之下的优越感。管好自己的语言是一回事,去管别人的语言又是另一回事了。前者可作为榜样,后者却是颐指气使。

This judgmental tendency became stronger during the administration of President Barack Obama, though not necessarily because of anything Mr. Obama did. Feeling increasingly emboldened, liberals were more convinced than ever that conservatives were their intellectual and even moral inferiors. Discourses and theories once confined to academia were transmitted into workaday liberal political thinking, and college campuses — which many take to be what a world run by liberals would look like — seemed increasingly intolerant of free inquiry.

这种高高在上的评判倾向,在贝拉克·奥巴马总统执政期间变得更为强烈,尽管不一定就是奥巴马的所作所为的结果。自由主义者越来越自信,也比以往更相信保守主义者在智力甚至道德方面低他们一等。曾经局限于学术界的话语和理论被传播到普通的自由主义政治思想中,大学校园——许多人认为大学反映了自由主义者主宰的世界的样子——似乎也越来越不能容忍自由质疑。

It was during these years that the University of California included the phrase “America is the land of opportunity” on a list of discouraged microaggressions. Liberal politicians portrayed conservative positions on immigration reform as presumptively racist; Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, once dubiously claimed that she had heard Republicans tell Irish visitors that “if it was you,” then immigration reform “would be easy.”

正是在那些年里,加州大学(University of California)将“美国是一片充满机遇的土地”列入了一个不建议使用的微侵犯用语清单中。自由派政治人士将移民改革的保守立场描绘成一种假定的种族主义。众议院少数党领袖南希·佩洛西(Nancy Pelosi)讲过一个令人生疑的事情,她说她听到共和党人向来访的爱尔兰人表示,“如果是你们的话”,那么移民改革“就简单了”。

When Mr. Obama remarked, behind closed doors, during the presidential campaign in 2008, that Rust Belt voters “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them,” it mattered not so much because he said it but because so many listeners figured that he was only saying what liberals were really thinking.

奥巴马在2008年总统竞选期间私下里表示,“铁锈地带”(Rust Belt)的选民“充满愤怒和仇恨,他们执着于枪支、宗教或对非同类的厌恶”。这句话的重要性不在于它出自奥巴马之口,而是很多听众认为他只不过是说出了自由派的真实想法。

These are the sorts of events conservatives think of when they sometimes say, “Obama caused Trump.” Many liberals might interpret that phrase to mean that America’s first black president brought out the worst in some people. In this view, not only might liberals be unable to avoid provoking bigots, it’s not clear they should even try. After all, should they not have nominated and elected Mr. Obama? Should they regret doing the right thing just because it provoked the worst instincts in some people?

保守派人士有时就是想到这些事件才会说,“是奥巴马造就了特朗普。”许多自由主义者可能认为这句话的意思是,美国的第一位黑人总统激发了某些人身上最恶劣的东西。根据这种观点,自由主义者不仅可能无法避免激怒狭隘的人,他们甚至不确定要不要避免。说到底,难道他们不应该提名并选出奥巴马吗?难道就因为会激发某些人的邪恶本能,他们就该后悔自己做了正确的事吗?

This is a limited view of the situation. Even if liberals think their opponents are backward, they don’t have to gratuitously drive people away, including voters who cast ballots once or even twice for Mr. Obama before supporting Mr. Trump in 2016.

这是对形势的局限性看法。即便自由派认为自己的对手很落后,也没必要这样无端地把人气走,包括那些在2016年支持特朗普之前曾为奥巴马投过一次甚至两次票的选民。

Champions of inclusion can watch what they say and explain what they’re doing without presuming to regulate what words come out of other people’s mouths. Campus activists can allow invited visitors to speak and then, after that event, hold a teach-in discussing what they disagree with. After the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that states had to allow same-sex marriage, the fight, in some quarters, turned to pizza places unwilling to cater such weddings. Maybe don’t pick that fight?

珍视包容的人可以多注意自己的言语,解释自己在做的事情,而不要试图控制别人说什么。校园活动人士应该允许受邀的访问者发言,然后,在活动结束后,举行座谈会,讨论自己的不同意见。2015年,美国最高法院裁定各州必须容许同性婚姻后,在某些地方,这场争斗转向了不愿承办此类婚礼的披萨店。也许没必要挑起这种争斗?

People determined to stand against racism can raise concerns about groups that espouse hate and problems like the racial achievement gap in schools without smearing huge numbers of Americans, many of whom might otherwise be Democrats by temperament.

决心反对种族主义的人,可以表达对那些支持仇恨的群体的不安,可以提请人们注意校园种族成就差距等等问题,但不见得一定要把一大片美国人都骂进去,他们中的许多人,本来从性情上讲可能是民主党人。

Liberals can act as if they’re not so certain — and maybe actually not be so certain — that bigotry motivates people who disagree with them on issues like immigration. Without sacrificing their principles, liberals can come across as more respectful of others. Self-righteousness is rarely attractive, and even more rarely rewarded.

这些人是受狭隘的驱使,所以在移民等问题上有不同看法吗?在这个问题上,自由主义者可以表现不是那么确定——也许的确不是那么确定。自由主义者可以在不牺牲原则的前提下表现得更尊重他人。自以为是很难招人待见,更别说起到什么作用了。

Self-righteousness can also get things wrong. Especially with the possibility of Mr. Trump’s re-election, many liberals seem primed to write off nearly half the country as irredeemable. Admittedly, the president doesn’t make it easy. As a candidate, Mr. Trump made derogatory comments about Mexicans, and as president described some African countries with a vulgar epithet. But it is an unjustified leap to conclude that anyone who supports him in any way is racist, just as it would be a leap to say that anyone who supported Hillary Clinton was racist because she once made veiled references to “superpredators.”

自以为是还可能把事情搞砸。尤其是考虑到特朗普再次当选的可能性,许多自由派人士似乎准备将全国近半数的人视为不可救药。不可否认,总统的所作所为是在火上浇油。特朗普在竞选期间对墨西哥人发表了贬损言论,当选总统后用粗俗的语言称呼某些非洲国家。但是,认为他的所有支持者都是种族主义者是不合理的,就像你不能因为希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)曾隐晦地提到“顶级掠食者”,就认为她的所有支持者都是种族主义者。

Liberals are trapped in a self-reinforcing cycle. When they use their positions in American culture to lecture, judge and disdain, they push more people into an opposing coalition that liberals are increasingly prone to think of as deplorable. That only validates their own worst prejudices about the other America.

自由主义者被困在一个自我强化的循环中。他们在利用自己在美国文化中的地位说教、批评、蔑视别人时,把更多的人推向了与自己对立的联盟当中,自由主义者越来越倾向于认为,那个联盟应该受到谴责。这只会证明他们对其他美国人怀着最糟糕的偏见。

Those prejudices will be validated even more if Mr. Trump wins re-election in 2020, especially if he wins a popular majority. That’s not impossible: The president’s current approval ratings are at 42 percent, up from just a few months ago.

如果特朗普在2020年赢得连任,尤其是如果他赢得了多数票,那么这些偏见会进一步得到证实。这并非不可能:总统目前的支持率为42%,高于几个月前的水平。

Liberals are inadvertently making that outcome more likely. It’s not too late to stop.

自由主义者正无意中增加这个结果的可能性。现在收手还不算晚。

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