仁、孝、忠、义、信、礼 侍/术 色 空


Some Americans are getting as mad as hell

Illustration by KAL

IN ONE of his short stories, “The Quantity Theory of Insanity”, Will Self suggests that there is a fixed amount of craziness in the world. If one person becomes a bit saner, another will become that bit madder; if one group starts to act normally, another will start freaking out.  

威尔•塞尔夫在他的短篇小说《疯狂数量理论》(”The Quantity Theory of Insanity”)中提出–在这个世界上,疯狂的总量是既定的。如果一个人变得清醒一些,就会有另一人失去等量的理智;一个群体开始行事正常,另一群体的行为就会趋于怪异。

Mr Self’s theory can be applied to all sorts of mental affliction. Children like to think they are less bigoted than their parents, for example. In fact, they are simply bigoted about different things: fatties, smokers and people who drive Humvees, rather than blacks or homosexuals.


But the most dramatic example of the quantity theory at the moment is anger. Many people hoped that Barack Obama would usher in an era of good feeling after the foam-flecked Bush years. He talked endlessly about bipartisanship and national unity. He was also a living symbol of racial reconciliation. America greeted his inauguration with a frenzy of flag-waving and well-wishing. But anger is back in a big way, redistributed but also revitalised. John McCain is angry about earmarks in the budget. (”If it seems like I’m angry, it’s because I am.”) Ben Bernanke is angry about bailing out AIG. (”If there is a single episode in this entire 18 months that has made
me more angry, I can’t think of one.”) And everybody is angry about the state of the economy.

但眼下最生动的例子要数愤怒了。怨声载道的布什任期之后,很多人希望巴拉克•奥巴马(Barack Obama)能够开创民众对政府充满好感的新时代。他一直呼吁两党合作以及全美团结,而他自身也是种族融合活生生的象征,美国以一片狂热的爱国主义和美好 愿景迎接他的就职。但愤怒也随之袭来–愤怒在重新分配之后再次燃起。约翰•麦凯恩(John McCain)对预算中一些专项拨款[3]怒气冲冲。(”我看上去有些气愤?那是因为我真的气愤。”)本•伯南克(Ben Bernanke)也对政府救助AIG(美国国际集团,American International Group)大发雷霆。(”我真想不出来整整18个月以来还有哪件事比这件事更令我愤怒。”)每个人都因经济状况而愤怒。

The most popular targets of public anger are the greedheads and incompetents who plunged the country into economic meltdown. Hardly a day passes without a new culprit to throw stones at: CEOs who fly to Washington in private jets to beg for a handout, financial titans who were paid hundreds of millions to ruin their banks. And the anger has become politicised. This year’s meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 26th-28th attracted some 9,000 activists, the most ever. Taxpayer tea parties (a celebration of the Boston event back in 1773) have sprung up across the country, drawing anything from a few hundred protesters in New York to 2,000 in Greenville, South Carolina. RedState, a conservative blog, is calling on conservatives to “save the country by helping Obama to fail”.

而公众愤怒的焦点则指向那些致使国家经济陷入崩溃的贪婪者和无能者。过去的每天几乎都会产生一位新罪人,成为众矢之的–乘坐私人飞机前往华盛顿乞求 救济的CEO们,领取亿元高薪却毁掉银行的金融界巨人们。愤怒渐趋政治化,今年的保守派政治行动会议(Conservative Political Action Conference,CPAC)于2月26号至28号举行,吸引了约9000名活跃分子前来参加,人数之多为史上之最。纳税人茶会(纪念1773年的波 士顿倾茶事件 )[1]在全国范围内如雨后春笋般出现,从纽约的数百名抗议者到南卡罗来纳州格林维尔的2000名市民,茶会活动获得了强烈反响。保守派博客 –RedState正在号召保守派人士”以加速奥巴马的失败来挽救国家”。

The biggest cause of anger is Mr Obama’s willingness to bail out everyone with a tin cup, from bankrupt bankers to incompetent carmakers to over-their-ears mortgage-holders. People who have borrowed prudently and lived within their means are livid that they are being asked to bail out neighbours who splurged on McMansions and giant televisions. Rick Santelli, a previously obscure TV journalist, became a folk hero when he complained that Americans were being made to “subsidise the losers’ mortgages”.

奥巴马希望从破产的银行家、无能的汽车制造商到束手无策的抵押权人,人人都能分得政府救助的一杯羹,这是愤怒的最大诱因。有的人平时借债谨慎、量入 为出,他们的邻居却一贯大手大脚,掷重金购置麦克豪宅[2]和超大屏幕电视机,现在却要求他们救助这些邻居,自然怒从心头起。从前名不见经传的电视节目主 持人里克•桑塔利(Rick Santelli)因为指责美国正在”帮助那些败类偿还抵押贷款”而声名大噪,成为民间英雄。

There is also mounting fury, among centrists as well as conservatives, about Mr Obama’s budget, with its mixture of tax hikes for the wealthy and ambitious plans for regulating greenhouse gases and extending the government’s role in health care. Larry Kudlow, a television journalist who is contemplating challenging Chris Dodd for his Connecticut Senate seat, says that Mr Obama is “declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations and private equity and venture-capital funds”. Many former supporters worry that Mr Obama is treating the economic crisis rather as George Bush treated September 11th-as a convenient excuse for pursuing a long-held ideological agenda.

在中间派之中,也和保守派一样,奥巴马先生的预算案以及预算案所融合的针对富人的大幅增税计划,管制温室气体的雄心大计,以及拟加强政府在公共医疗 保健领域的职能所引起的愤怒也逐渐升级。正打算取代柯瑞斯•多德(Chris Dodd)成为康乃狄克州参议员的拉里•库德洛(Larry Kudlow)说,奥巴马先生”正在向投资者、企业家、小公司、大企业、私募股权、风投基金宣战。”很多从前的支持者担心奥巴马先生对待金融危机将一如乔 治•布什(George Bush)对待911事件–它们只不过是合时宜的借口,可以用来推进长期的意识形态日程。

Anger seethes about the fact that so many big-government Democrats mysteriously lose their appetite for taxes when it comes to paying them themselves. This week saw the revelation that yet another of Mr Obama’s nominees, Ron Kirk, the would-be trade representative, underpaid his taxes in 2005-07. But above all, people are angry that Mr Obama led them down the garden path. Bipartisanship? He is proposing one of the most liberal budgets in decades. Abolishing earmarks ? The budget contains 8,570 of them. Honesty? The finance, property and insurance industries (all getting huge bail-outs) were the largest source of campaign contributions to Mr Obama after lawyers. Transcending racism? Eric Holder, the attorney-general, has accused Americans of being cowards when it comes to discussing race.

很多主张”大政府”(big-government)的民主党人以往对税收津津乐道,但等”纳税”落到自己头上时,这种兴趣却神秘地消失了,民众自 然是怒火中烧。Ron Kirk(罗南•科克),这位被奥巴马先生提名的准贸易代表本周被揭露曾于2005至07年间并未缴纳足额税款。但是人们最为愤怒的则是奥巴马先生将他们 带入歧途。两党合作?他提出了几十年来最具自由主义色彩的预算案。取消专项拨款?预算案中包含8570项专项拨款。正直?在律师之后,金融业、房地产业、 保险业(无一未得到巨额救助)是奥巴马竞选资金的最主要来源。逾越种族偏见?司法部长埃里克•霍尔德(Eric Holder)曾谴责了美国人在讨论种族问题时所表现出的懦弱。

Backlash time 愤怒时代

All this poses dangers for Mr Obama. The tea-party protesters who hold up signs that read “Obama…commander and thief” are clearly preaching to the converted. But those who hold up signs saying “Screw up, move up” or “Honk if you’re paying my mortgage” may strike a chord with the wider public. Almost 60% of Americans tell pollsters that they are opposed to giving money to carmakers and banks that are in danger of collapsing. One of the lessons from both the Carter years and the first Clinton term is that new Democratic administrations are vulnerable to a populist backlash from the establishment-bashing,hypocrisy-smashing,small-business-defending right.

这些对奥巴马先生来说都是危险的信号。茶会抗议者们举着带有”奥巴马……总统和窃贼”(”Obama…commander and thief”[4] )字眼的抗议牌,他们对背叛者提出了明确的告诫。但是举着”干得糟,升得快”(”Screw up, move up” )或”帮我还贷款的人请鸣笛”(”Honk if you’re paying my mortgage”)的抗议者则会激起更多人的共鸣。民意测验显示有六成美国人反对资助濒临破产的汽车制造商和银行。卡特任期和克林顿的第一个任期的共同 教训之一就是新的民主党政府易受到来自右派极具民粹主义色彩的强烈抗议,他们一贯都抨击政府(establishment-bashing)、粉碎伪善 (hypocrisy-smashing)、维护小企业(small-business-defending)。

But this growing anger poses dangers for the right as well. The Republican Party runs the risk of being captured by its most extreme figures. Rush Limbaugh, a talk-show man who billed his talk to CPAC as an “address to the nation”, is now widely regarded as the chief spokesman for the Republican Party, much to the Democrats’ delight. The party also risks being branded as a “party of no” at a time when most Americans favour government activism. And Mr Obama still has an approval rating of over 60%: no longer exceptional, but still pretty good.

但是愈演愈烈的愤怒对右派来说也不是祥兆。共和党面临着落入党内一些极端人物之手的危险。脱口秀主持人拉西•林伯(Rush Limbaugh)曾标榜他在保守派政治行动会议(Conservative Political Action Conference,CPAC)上的讲话是”对国家的致辞”,现在被广泛认为是共和党的头号发言人,深得民主党欢心。在大多数美国人都支持政府积极主义 (”government activism”[5]) 的形势下,共和党还可能被扣上”不许党”(”party of no”[6] )的帽子。奥巴马先生的支持率仍在60%以上–不再是超凡的比例,但仍然维持在一个相当高的水平。

Mr Obama’s most important weapon during the election campaign was his ability to turn anti-Bush anger into pro-American hope. That now seems a world away. The politics of the next few years will be shaped by managing anger rather than transcending it. Mr Obama needs to direct the rising tide of anger at rich Republicans. The Republicans need to direct it at Mr Obama’s new establishment. Either way, hope loses.

奥巴马先生有能力将反布什的愤怒情绪转化为支持美国的信心,这是他在大选期间的杀手锏。但这种能力似乎已成往事。接下来数年的政治进程将取决于如何 管理愤怒,而不是去升华愤怒。奥巴马先生需要把人们不断高涨的怒火导向富有的共和党人,而后者则要把它导向奥巴马先生的新领导班子。如此这样,双方的希望 都将不再。



[2]Cf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMansion
McMansion  由 McDonald’s和mansion两词组成 ,有译麦克豪宅、麦氏豪宅、麦大宅等,意为如麦当劳快餐般,以廉价材料来建造超大面积房屋,以追求炫耀的表面效果,比如高耸的天花板、宽大的扶手楼梯等。


[4]曾经有人用“Hail to the thief, our commander in chief(向窃贼欢呼,我们的大总统)”讽刺布什通过不义手段获得总统位置。(啰嗦一句。。Britpop殿堂级乐队Rediohead曾将其用作自己 的专辑名“Hail to the Thief”)



译者/Bender.Z :http://www.ecocn.org/bbs/viewthread.php?tid=17920&extra=page%3D1

posted on 2009-03-18 14:05 Moise 阅读(195) 评论(0)  编辑 收藏 引用 网摘