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我们离法西斯主义还有多远

Is This the West’s Weimar Moment?
我们离法西斯主义还有多远

Hamburg, Germany — WE Germans can never escape the trauma of our recent history. That has rarely been clearer than today, as we look around our Continent and across the Atlantic. There are almost too many differences to mention between what happened in the 1930s over here and what is going on today. And it goes without saying that Donald J. Trump and Austria’s Norbert Hofer are not Adolf Hitler. Still, Germany’s slide into a popular embrace of authoritarianism in the 1930s offers a frame for understanding how liberal democracies can suddenly turn toward anti-liberalism.

德国汉堡——我们德国人永远也无法摆脱近代历史的创伤。而在今天,当我们放眼欧洲大陆和大西洋对岸,这一点变得比任何时候都更加清楚了。上世纪30年代在这里发生的事,和今天有着太多不同。唐纳德·J·特朗普(Donald J. Trump)和奥地利的诺伯特·霍费尔(Norbert Hofer),无疑也不是阿道夫·希特勒(Adolf Hitler)。然而,30年代德国堕入全民拥戴威权的经历,为我们理解自由民主如何突然转向反自由主义提供了一个参照。

Setting aside debate about whether the rise of Nazism was built into the German DNA, there were four trends that led the country to reject its post-World War I constitutional, parliamentary democracy, known as the Weimar Republic: economic depression, loss of trust in institutions, social humiliation and political blunder. To a certain degree, these trends can be found across the West today.

且不说德国是否生来有纳粹主义基因,这个国家是在四个趋势的带动下,开始否定一战后的宪政议会制民主政体——即所谓魏玛共和国的,它们分别是:经济萧条,对制度失去信心,社会羞辱和政治失误。这些趋势一定程度上在今天的西方也可以看到。

First, the history. The Black Friday stock-market collapse of 1929 set off a global depression. As bad as things were in America, they were even worse in Germany, where industrial production shrank by half in the following three years. Stocks lost two-thirds of their value. Inflation and unemployment skyrocketed. The Weimar government, already held in low esteem by many Germans, seemed to have no clue about what to do.

先看历史。1929年的“黑色星期五”股灾引发全球经济萧条。美国当时情况很糟,然而德国更糟,接下来三年工业生产萎缩了一半。股票失去三分之二的价值。通胀和失业率飙升。在许多德国人眼里评价已经很低的魏玛政府,似乎完全不知道如何应对。

All this happened as traditional ways of life and values were being shaken by the modernization of the 1920s. Women suddenly went to work, to vote, to party and to sleep with whomever they wanted. This produced a widening cultural gap between the tradition-oriented working and middle classes and the cosmopolitan avant-garde — in politics, business and the arts — that reached a peak just when economic disaster struck. The elites were blamed for the resulting chaos, and the masses were ripe for a strongman to return order to society.

与此同时,20年代的现代化正在动摇传统的生活方式和价值观。女性突然开始去工作,投票,参加派对,随心所欲地跟人睡觉。这就在以传统为导向的劳动及中产阶级和有国际视野的先进人士之间形成了隔阂,这道政治、商业和艺术的隔阂越来越大,在经济灾难来临之际达到极致。人们认为这些混乱是精英阶层造成的,大众已经准备好让一个铁腕人物来恢复社会秩序。

Some people today imagine that Hitler sneaked up on Germany, that too few people understood the threat. In fact, many mainstream politicians recognized the danger but they failed to stop him. Some didn’t want to: The conservative parties and the nobility believed the little hothead could serve as their useful idiot, that as chancellor he would be contained by a squad of reasonable ministers. Franz von Papen, a nobleman who was Hitler’s first vice chancellor, said of the new leader, “We’ve hired him.”

今天的一些人以为希特勒是偷偷窃取德国的,当时很少有人意识到他的威胁。事实上,许多主流政治人士看到了危险,但是没能阻止他。有的是不愿意:保守派政党和贵族阶层认为,这个傻乎乎的愣头青可以为他们所用,由他作总理,会有一群明事理的部长看着他。希特勒的首任副总理弗朗茨·冯·帕彭(Franz von Papen)——一个贵族——在谈到这位新领袖时说:“他是我们雇来的。”

At the same time, even the imminent threat of a fascist dictatorship couldn’t persuade the left-wing parties to join forces. Instead of being conciliatory for the sake of the national interest, Ernst Thälmann, the head of the German Communist Party, branded the center-left Social Democrats the “moderate wing of fascism.” No wonder Hitler had an easy time uniting broad sections of the German public.

而就在法西斯独裁政权渐渐逼近的同时,左翼政党却依然不愿联合起来。德国共产党(German Communist Party)领袖恩斯特·台尔曼(Ernst Thälmann)非但没有以国家利益为重出面调停,反而称中左派的社会民主党(Social Democrats)是“法西斯的温和派”。难怪希特勒可以轻松实现德国社会各阶层的大一统。

Are we at another Weimar moment now?

那么,我们正在经历又一个魏玛时刻吗?

The 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent global recession were nowhere nearly as painful as the Great Depression. But the effects are similar. The heady growth of the 2000s led Europeans and Americans to believe they were on firm economic ground; the shattering of banks, real estate markets and governments in the wake of the crash left tens of millions of people at sea, angry at the institutions that had failed them, above all the politicians who claimed to be in charge. 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

2008年金融危机以及随后的全球衰退,远远不及“大萧条”的苦难。然而它们有着类似的效果。21世纪最初10年的高速增长,令欧洲和美国人以为他们有着坚实的经济基础;崩溃之后,银行、房地产市场和政府的垮塌让数以千万计的人受灾,他们对辜负了他们的制度怒不可遏,尤其是那些号称在掌控这一切的政客。

Why, voters ask, did the government allow so many bankers to behave like criminals in the first place? Why did it then bail out banks while letting car factories go under? Why is it welcoming millions of immigrants? Are there separate rules for the elites, defined by a hypermodern liberal worldview that ridicules the working class — and their traditional values — as yokels?

选民问,为什么政府一开始会容许这么多像罪犯一样行事的银行家存在呢?为什么去救银行,却任由汽车厂倒下去呢?为什么要接纳数以百万计的移民呢?这些依据超现代自由主义世界观界定出来的精英阶层,是不是有自己的一套规则,而劳动阶级——及其传统价值观——则被鄙为乡巴佬?

In America and Europe, the rise of anti-establishment movements is a symptom of a cultural shock against globalized postmodernity, similar to the 1930s’ rejection of modernity. The common accusation by the “masses” is that liberal democracy has somehow gone too far, that it has become an ideology for an elite at the expense of everyone else. Marine Le Pen, chief of the French National Front, calls these normal folk “les invisibles et les oubliés,” the invisible and the forgotten.

反建制运动在美国和欧洲的兴起,是全球化后现代性带来的文化冲击的一个症状,这和上世纪30年代对现代性的排斥是相似的。“大众”常发出的一个指责是,出于某种原因,自由民主已经过头了,成为一种损害其他人的利益的精英阶层意识形态。法国国民阵线(National Front)领袖马琳·勒庞(Marine Le Pen)称这些普通百姓是“les invisibles et les oubliés”,被无视、被遗忘的人。

Of course this isn’t 1933. Democratic institutions are much more stable today. But the power of nostalgia doesn’t depend on the times you live in. This is why, for all the differences, we are indeed witnessing another 1930s moment across the West.

这当然不是1933。今天的民主制度要稳固的多。但念旧的力量与你生活在什么时代是无关的。这就是为什么,虽然有诸多的差别,我们的确在整个西方世界目睹着又一个1930年代的到来。

It’s easy to say that people need to accept the new realities and work toward feasible reforms — however true that is. And yet most mainstream parties haven’t done even this, at least not in a compelling way. Instead, they fight among themselves, and see the rise of demagogues as a solution to their problems, not a threat to their nations. Mr. Trump is no Hitler, but that’s not the point. Today, as in the 1930s, we are seeing the failure of the liberal mainstream to respond to serious challenges, even those that threaten its very existence.

人们需要接受新的现实,努力展开切实可行的改革,这话说起来容易——虽然的确就是这样。然而,多数主流政党连这一点都没做到,至少没有令人信服地做到。他们反而打作一团,认为蛊惑人心的政客的抬头非但不是对国家的威胁,还是一种解决问题的办法。特朗普不是希特勒,但这无关紧要。和1930年代一样,我们今天看到,自由派主流没能对严峻的挑战给予回应,尽管这已经是事关他们存亡的重大威胁。

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