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分类:考研辅导 日期:2017-08-21 分享到



  If Donald Trump is the world’s most colourfulpolitician, Angela Merkel is probably the least. She isresolutely tedious even by the standards of Germanpolitics. The new German verb merkeln means “to donothing, make no decisions or statement”. Shenever talks about a “German dream”, and you will notsee her campaign under the slogan, “MakeGermany great again”.

  如果说唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)是世界上最多彩纷呈的政治人士,那么安格拉•默克尔(Angela Merkel)很可能就是最单调乏味的那个。即使按照德国政坛的标准,她也是绝对乏味的。德文新动词“merkeln”的意思是“什么也不做、什么决定也不作出、什么声明也不发表”。她从不谈论“德国梦”,你也不会看到她的竞选活动喊出“让德国再次伟大起来”的口号。

  Even when she suddenly opened Germany’s borders to more than one million people lastsummer, she phrased this quixotic act in pragmatic language: “Wir schaffen das,” “We can dothis.” Germany’s centre has largely held since, despite big advances for the anti-immigrantAlternative für Deutschland in last Sunday’s regional elections. Even amid the migrant crisis,most mainstream German politicians have remained boring pragmatists. Their aim: very slowlyimprove most people’s lives a little, while averting disaster.

  即使是在去年夏天她突然向100多万人开放德国国境的时候,她谈及这种唐吉坷德式行为所用的语言也是务实的:“我们可以做这个”(Wir schaffen das)。自那以来德国的中间立场主流大体上保持下来,尽管反移民的德国新选择党(Alternative für Deutschland)在最近的地区选举中取得重大进展。即使是在移民危机期间,大多数主流德国政治人士也依然是乏味的务实者。他们的目标是:非常缓慢地渐渐改善大多数人的生活,同时避免灾难。

  That distinguishes Germany from other large countries. In the US, France and Russia, politics iscouched in the language of dreams, greatness, heroes and utopia. There are pragmatic politicalcultures and utopian ones, and, oddly, it’s the pragmatists who get closer to utopia.


  Utopian politicians raise high expectations that they can only disappoint. Every Americanpresident campaigns as a great leader who will restore the American dream but then governs inprose. Pretty soon people start complaining that he hasn’t delivered the American dream, butof course he hasn’t: by definition, dreams are not reality.


  Utopians rarely improve people’s lives a little. That’s partly because they are guided by hallowedold documents rather than by modern best practice. A daft old document such as theCommunist Manifesto is particularly damaging but even a wise one such as the Americanconstitution often misleads. For instance, the main reason the US has more than 30,000 gundeaths a year is the second amendment, adopted in 1791.

  乌托邦主义者鲜少能让人们的生活得到渐渐改善。部分原因是他们以被推上神坛的古老文献为指导,而不是依据现代的最佳实践。像《共产党宣言》(Communist Manifesto)这样愚蠢的陈旧文献的破坏性尤其大,但即使是像《美国宪法》这样的明智文献,往往也会误导人。比如,美国每年死于枪支的人超过3万,其主要原因就是1791年生效的第二修正案。

  French politics, too, is packed with misleading old verities. One — derived from the FrenchRevolution — is that “the people” should always be mounting the barricades to thwart thegovernment. Another verity, treasured by the French left, is that “the workers” (imagined asfigures in a socialist realist statue) must fight anything proposed by “the bosses” (imagined astop-hatted capitalists in a 19th-century cartoon).


  Most utopians don’t even strive to improve people’s lives. They aim for something greater.Russia annexed the Crimea to regain imperial greatness, and no matter that westernsanctions then made Russian lives worse.


  In Germany, by contrast, dreams of greatness have been taboo since 1945. The first postwarchancellor Konrad Adenauer campaigned under the slogan: “No Experiments”. A latersuccessor, Helmut Schmidt, famously advised: “Anyone who has visions should go to thedoctor.”

  相比之下,在德国,关于伟大的梦想在1945年以后一直是禁忌。战后的第一任德国总理康拉德•阿登纳(Konrad Adenauer)的竞选口号是:“不做实验”。后来的继任者赫尔穆特•施密特(Helmut Schmidt)给出了著名的建议:“有想象力的人都应该去看医生。”

  Merkel got an additional anti-utopian inoculation: she spent her first 35 years in a failedutopia, East Germany. She rarely tells her own story, perhaps for fear of sounding inspirational,but she graduated from Karl Marx University in Leipzig, and later, for her physics PhD, had towrite an additional “Marxist-Leninist” thesis. Her topic: the farmer-worker relationship in thefarmer-worker state. She got a bad grade for overemphasising the farmers.

  默克尔本人还得到了一剂额外的反乌托邦主义预防针:她人生的头35年是在东德,也就是一个失败的乌托邦里度过的。她很少诉说自己的生平故事,可能是担心听起来引人遐想,但她从莱比锡卡尔马克思大学(Karl MarxUniversity)毕业,之后为了自己的物理学博士学位,她还不得不额外撰写一篇“马列主义”论文。她的论文题目是“工农国家的工农关系”。因为过于强调农民,她的得分很低。

  Freedom for Merkel means freedom from ideology, explains her German biographer StefanKornelius. She is the politician as wonk: facts and analyses rather than stirring rhetoric.Asked once on TV what the word “Germany” inspired in her, she replied: “Pretty, airtightwindows.”

  默克尔的德文传记作者斯蒂凡•柯内琉斯(Stefan Kornelius)解释称,对默克尔来说,自由意味着不受意识形态桎梏的自由。她是关注政策细节类型的政治人士:比起令人心潮澎湃的言论,她更看重事实和分析。有一次,默克尔在电视节目上被问及“德国”这个词会让她想起什么,她回答:“精美、挡风的窗户。”

  Most northern European political cultures are similarly boring. I grew up in the Netherlands inthe 1980s under another Christian Democratic leader, Ruud Lubbers, of whom it was said thatwhen he read from the Bible at party meetings it sounded like a cookbook. After 10 years inoffice he boasted: “I have made the Netherlands duller.”

  类似的,欧洲北部多数国家的政治文化都很乏味。我在上世纪80年代的荷兰长大,当时另一位基督教民主党人鲁德•吕贝尔斯(Ruud Lubbers)任荷兰首相。据说,这位领袖在党内会议上朗读《圣经》的时候,听起来就像在读一本烹饪书。在任10年后他自豪地说:“我让荷兰更乏味了。”

  Britain has shuffled towards this boring pragmatic tradition. Quietly and gradually, the countryhas dropped “Great” from its name. Even Brexit campaigners aren’t selling imperial dreams;instead, they depict a plucky little England signing trade deals alone. Luckily, the UK has anescape valve that American politics lacks: all British fairytale fantasies can be projected on tothe royals. That allows the prime minister to be just a functionary.


  Boring pragmatic functionaries often make people’s lives better. Northern European countrieslead the world’s happiness rankings. Germany has cut unemployment to a historic low of 6.2per cent without trashing its welfare state.


  But the pragmatists’ greatest achievement goes unseen: averting disaster. In John le Carré’snovel A Small Town in Germany, a British diplomat calls this his lifetime mission. He says, “Every night, as I go to sleep, I say to myself: another day achieved. Another day added to theunnatural life of a world on its deathbed. And if I never relax, if I never lift my eye, we may runon for another hundred years.”

  但人们还忽略了务实者的最大成就:避祸。在约翰•勒卡雷(John Le Carre)的小说《德国小镇》(A SmallTown in Germany)中,一名英国外交官把这称为他毕生的使命。他说,“每天夜里,在我入睡之前,我对自己说:我又完成了一天。为这个迈向灭亡的世界违背自然的寿命延长了一天。如果我永远不放松,永远不抬起双眼,我们可能继续存续100年。”

  Germans understand the sentiment. They experienced complete collapse in 1945, and thenagain under Merkel’s eyes in East Germany in 1989. She once said she possessed“competence in the early detection of collapsing systems”. When it looked as if the eurowould collapse she told Bulgaria’s prime minister Boyko Borisov that the “Maya and othercivilisations” had disappeared. In other words, today’s Europe could too. Her heroic task: keeppolitics boring.

  德国人理解这样的情感。他们在1945年经历了彻底崩溃,在1989年的东德又经历了一次,后一次是默克尔本人亲眼所见。她曾说,她拥有“在早期发现系统崩溃的胜任能力”。在欧元区看起来即将解体的时候,她曾告诉保加利亚总理博伊科•鲍里索夫(Boyko Borisov),“玛雅和其他文明”消失了。换句话说,今天的欧洲也可能重蹈覆辙。她的英雄使命:让政治继续乏味下去。