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《世界邮报》:战胜知识精英的资本集团能领导美国吗?

更新时间:2017-01-29 15:48:57  |  来源: 世界邮报

【本文原发表于《世界邮报》(THEWORLDPOST),作者为尚道社会研究所所长寒竹、研究员魏迪英,以下为该文的中英版本】

众所周知,精英与大众的分裂是2016年美国大选的一个前所未有的特点,不同政治立场的资本精英、知识精英、媒体精英和政治精英凝聚在希拉里周围,形成了一个广泛的“反特朗普联盟”,而特朗普则依托大众的力量,击败了希拉里的精英联盟。
 
美国共和党总统候选人特朗普赢得大选被美国主流媒体视为民粹主义的胜利和精英主义的失败,将在2017年1月宣誓就职美国总统。特朗普入主白宫,究竟意味着什么?从美国到中国,截止到目前,主流观点认为这是民粹主义对美国精英政治的冲击。而在中国,当特朗普赢得大选后,主流观点也在呼应美国国内对民粹主义的批评,认为特朗普当选代表着民粹主义对美国政治的冲击。
 
但是,如果仅仅把2016年美国大选看成是民粹主义与精英主义的对垒,把特朗普看成是民粹主义的代表,就有些简单化了。其实,民粹主义的标签很难准确概括特朗普现象,也很难完全解释他当选后透露的政策倾向。特别是,特朗普打破美国的政治传统,大量提名亿万富翁加入内阁。与其说特朗普当选代表了民粹主义对精英政治的冲击,不如说是在民粹主义浪潮下,美国精英集团内部发生了分裂,即传统的政治和知识精英在竞选中被击败,而资本精英走到权力中心。这是对两千多年西方精英统治传统的颠覆。
 
在西方历史上,有一个长期以来的传统,就是掌握政治权力的精英,和掌握知识的精英基本上是合一的。在古希腊时期,苏格拉底就提出既然鞋子需要鞋匠来做,那么国家有什么理由不让有智慧的治国者来治理呢?后来,柏拉图在《理想国》系统地阐述了精英治国的思想,在一个理想的王国,要么哲学家成为国王,要么国王成为哲学家。
 
古希腊精英治国的思想一直延续到现代。在中世纪时期,掌握古典知识的教士阶层,不仅掌握了精神领域的权威,在政治地位上也高于封建贵族;近代以后,启蒙运动中的知识分子,推翻了教士在精神领域的权威,为市场经济和世俗社会的发展开辟了道路。但与此同时,知识分子,特别是人文知识分子,又重新继承并发扬了中世纪教士的精神领袖传统,在精神和政治领域继续扮演引领者的角色;工业化和城市化兴起后,知识分子通过对资本主义引发的各种社会问题的激烈批判,推动各种进步主义的思潮和政策,不仅再次确立了知识分子的精神领导地位,深刻塑造了现代西方政治。
 
在美国,从1883年《彭德尔顿法》(The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act)建立文官制度起,美国政府就迅速专业化。美国政府的日常运转,都离不开大量受过良好教育和训练的专家。在当代社会,知识分子的权威体现在很多领域,既有专家权威型的知识分子,如经常在媒体发表意见的经济学家和历史学家,还有精神权威型的知识分子,比如推动平权、环保,呼吁社会正义的激进人士。这些知识分子有一个共同点,就是批判市场经济带来的消极后果,主张实施必要的社会政策来纠正,以减少分化,促进社会正义。因此,在政治上,这就要求由知识精英而不是资本精英,来引导政府政策。
 
从广义上看,西方世界的知识精英和资本精英是合流的,但内部分歧仍然存在。在西方国家,资本精英能对政治发挥巨大影响,但知识精英一直没有放弃对资本精英的批评。在某种意义上,知识精英继承了苏格拉底的思想,认为肆虐的欲望会伤害正义,而唯有知识分子作为“知识”的代表,最接近正义的化身。因此,知识精英认为自己有责任扮演社会“守夜人”的角色,坚持认为政府和社会应该由更能代表社会正义的知识精英管理。
 
经过近代以来的反复博弈,当代美国社会的资本精英和知识精英就形成了某种平衡,尽管资本精英对政治的影响很大,但仍然不能直接控制政府,而只能通过委托知识精英管理政府;而知识精英在进入政府后,也需要和资本精英合作,来推动政策实施。这一过程就体现为20世纪,特别是二战后西方国家大规模的进步主义思潮和政策。这种知识精英对资本精英的制衡,可以说是对柏拉图“哲人王”思想的现代呼应。在这一时期,西方国家在各方面缓和了社会冲突,促进了社会共同体内部的平等与和谐。
 
但特朗普的当选,很大程度上打破了这种资本精英和知识精英的平衡。在奥巴马政府时期,政策受知识精英影响比较大,注重各种社会政策,表现为中间偏左的政策立场。特朗普利用了普通民众对经济复苏乏力的不满,煽动民粹主义,打败共和党和民主党的建制派,成功当选。特朗普上台后,大量选拔资本精英进入内阁,和建制派有密切联系的知识精英被排挤,特朗普直接用资本精英来治国,这导致他与美国知识精英的关系不能缓和,在反映知识精英立场的传统媒体上,至今仍然是批评和质疑特朗普的声音占据主流。
 
因此,特朗普的当选从表面上看是民粹主义的胜利,但实质上是体现了美国社会的双重分裂,既是大众与精英的分裂,也是精英集团内部知识精英与资本精英的分裂。这个双重分裂打破传统上资本精英和知识精英的平衡,资本精英团队直接在特朗普的旗帜下走到了权力中心。这一次特朗普当选,遭受最大打击的莫过于知识精英群体。在未来几年,知识精英的影响力会陷入低潮,很可能会缩回到大学校园,在舆论上继续批判资本垄断社会资源的立场。
 
要而言之,2016年的美国大选在民粹主义的表层下完成了一次精英内部的权力更迭,知识精英被打败,从政界撤退;资本精英大幅扩张,把持政治权力。这个重大变化,不仅是对美国20世纪以来政治潮流的反动,也是对西方两千多年精英治国思想的否定。特朗普的资本团队能否有效治理一个担负全球领导角色的大国?这将是未来几年全世界不得不关心的问题。


 

Trump’s Victory Is The Triumph Of Business Elites Over Intellectual Elites


Michael Wu, Director, Shangdao Institute for Social Research
Diying Wei
Research Fellow, Shangdao Institute for Social Research

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-business-elites_us_588623abe4b0e3a7356a4e83


NANJING, China——During the 2016 U.S. election, elites with diverse political stances from the financial, intellectual, media and political worlds rallied around Hillary Clinton and formed an anti-Donald Trump alliance. But Trump defeated Clinton’s elite alliance with the power of the public. This split between the elite and the people is unprecedented.

Mainstream opinions in both the U.S. and China have shared the viewpoint that Trump’s election is a populist shock to American elite politics. But this is too simplistic. Instead, we are witnessing a split within American elite groups ― the traditional political and intellectual elites were defeated by capital and business elites. The tradition of meritocracy in the West, which has held over a period of centuries, has been subverted.

In the history of the West, there is a long-standing tradition of intellect and meritocracy in politics. In ancient Greece, Socrates once proposed that since shoes are made by shoemakers, countries should also be governed by leaders with wisdom. Plato elaborated in his masterpiece “The Republic,” arguing that in an ideal state, either a philosopher becomes the king or the king becomes a philosopher.

The idea of meritocracy in ancient Greece has been passed down to the modern era. In the Middle Ages, the clerical authority who was in charge of classical knowledge not only controlled the authority of the spiritual domain but also enjoyed a higher political rank over the feudal aristocracy. Enlightenment intellectuals overthrew the clergy’s authority and blazed a trail for the development of a market economy and secular society. Those intellectuals, particularly humanities intellectuals, inherited and developed the clergy’s tradition of spiritual leadership. Especially during the Industrial Revolution, intellectuals reestablished their status of spiritual leadership and profoundly shaped modern Western politics by criticizing various social problems.

The tradition of meritocracy in the West, which has held over a period of centuries, has been subverted.

Intellectual authorities, such as economists and historians, criticize the negative consequences of the market economy and promote human rights and environmental protection. They suggest applying necessary legislative policies that reduce divisions and promote social justice. It is intellectual elites, not capital elites, who have traditionally governed in this way.

In a broad sense, intellectual elites and capital elites have been collaborating with one another. But divisions remain. Capital elites in Western countries can exert great influence on politics but intellectual elites never stop criticizing them. To some extent, intellectual elites act based on Socrates’s belief that rampant desire is harmful and that only intellectuals ― the representatives of “knowledge” ― can achieve justice. Intellectual elites think they are obliged to play the role of the night watchmen of society.

A kind of balance has been maintained between intellectual and capital elites in contemporary American society. Although capital elites have great political influence, they traditionally could not control government in a direct manner, so they entrusted intellectual elites to govern. After entering government, intellectual elites needed to cooperate with capital elites to facilitate the implementation of policies.

Trump has been selecting capital elites for his cabinet and pushing out intellectual elites.

However, Trump’s election breaks this balance between the intellectual elites and the capital elites. Taking advantage of ordinary citizens’ dissatisfaction, Trump defeated the establishment in the Democratic and the Republican parties. Since the election, Trump has been selecting capital elites for his cabinet and has begun pushing out intellectual elites who had close relations with the established parties. This has further divided capital elites from intellectual elites, including those in the media.

Thus, Trump’s election represents a double division: between the public and elites, and between intellectual elites and capital elites. Intellectual elites’ influence will sink in the years to come, and they may withdraw to university campuses and criticize capital’s monopoly on social resources from there.

This significant change is not only a reaction against the U.S. political trend since the 20th century but also a negation of the concept of meritocracy in the West over the past few centuries. Can Trump’s capital group effectively govern a great global power like the U.S.? This question will be the world’s concern for the next few years.