推薦《美國人權記錄》

雖然我一直不喜歡中共政權(同樣,我也不喜歡任何政府),但是他們每年發佈的美國人權報告質量還真不錯。值得一提的是,該報告的英文版比中文版容易理解多了。

首先,其對美國社會政治的評價(例如司法流弊,貧富分化,槍支暴力),除了第一段、最後一段以及網絡自由部份之外,都和美國主流媒體(New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New Yorer)大體一致,只不過總結了一下,不算春秋筆法。

其次,該報告所有的數據及案例都來自權威來源,基本上沒有斷章取義的成分。

再次,今時今日說美國政府好話的太多了,對立的有水準的審視則很少。

我對美國整體評價正面,但對這個政府的官僚們則極度反感。雖然這個報告的初衷是愚蠢可笑的,但產品本身質量尚可接受。所以,我覺得這個報告各位不應該一笑了之,可以花點時間讀一讀。

2011年美國的人權記錄: 中文版    英文版

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廷龍政經閱讀 (20120527):謊言

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of May 27, 2012

據英國科學家統計——你沒看錯,是永遠的英國科學家——男性平均每天撒六次謊,女性三次。人為什麼有意無意地撒謊?WSJ本週的Saturday Essay值得一讀。

另外一篇,是龍應台教授的舊文了。龍教授近三十年前的吶喊,現在讀起來依然有趣。例如她的論斷「台北是我所見最缺乏氣質、最醜陋、最雜亂的都市」,最近在大陸因為一篇極度火爆的帖子《美麗富饒的台北》 天涯),再次被人提起。希望龍教授點起的野火,在所有華人聚居的地區再次燃起。

Dan Ariely: Why We Lie (Wall Street Journal)

We want to install locks to stop the next Bernie Madoff, the next Enron, the next steroid-enhanced all-star, the next serial plagiarist, the next self-dealing political miscreant. But locking our doors against the dishonest monsters will not keep them out; they will always cheat their way in. It is the woman down the hallway—the sweet one who could not even carry away your flat-screen TV if she wanted to—who needs to be reminded constantly that, even if the door is open, she cannot just walk in and “borrow” a cup of sugar without asking.

龍應台:生氣,沒有用嗎?(野火集

最近碰到一位來臺開學術會議的歐洲學者。他自1960年起,大概每5年來台灣考察或開會一次。台灣的繁榮蒸蒸日上,他說,可是台北,一年比一年難看。我微笑——你要我說什麼?我住過美國的紐約、西德的慕尼黑,到過歐洲的羅馬、雅典、歐亞交界的伊斯坦堡、非洲的卡薩布蘭卡、埃及的開羅、日本的東京;我知道:台北是我所見最缺乏氣質、最醜陋、最雜亂的都市。當我站在十字路口,看見紅燈未滅就在烏煙瘴氣中衝過街去的一張張殺氣騰騰的臉,我覺得驚駭:是什麼,使這個城市充滿著暴戾與怨氣?

廷龍政經閱讀 (20120520):大學之道

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of May 20, 2012

為什麼人人熱衷於談論大學?大學的魅力和真義究竟何在?香港八所風格及水平迥異的大學都有同樣的校監,此等荒謬絕倫的制度,何以甚少有人鞭撻?大學的任務是否如同很多人說的那樣,在於傳授思考方法而非知識?本週末又逢北美的畢業典禮的時刻,有幾篇輕鬆的文字供各位消遣。

Bret Stephens: To the Class of 2012 (Wall Street Journal)

Many of you have been reared on the cliché that the purpose of education isn’t to stuff your head with facts but to teach you how to think. Wrong. I routinely interview college students, mostly from top schools, and I notice that their brains are like old maps, with lots of blank spaces for the uncharted terrain. It’s not that they lack for motivation or IQ. It’s that they can’t connect the dots when they don’t know where the dots are in the first place.

Ken Auletta: Get Rich U. (The New Yorker)

Stanford University is so startlingly paradisial, so fragrant and sunny, it’s as if you could eat from the trees and live happily forever. Students ride their bikes through manicured quads, past blooming flowers and statues by Rodin, to buildings named for benefactors like Gates, Hewlett, and Packard. Everyone seems happy, though there is a well-known phenomenon called the “Stanford duck syndrome”: students seem cheerful, but all the while they are furiously paddling their legs to stay afloat.

冼麗婷訪丘成桐:我為何不做港大校長 (蘋果日報 )

徐[立之]不被留任,是港大一百年來聲譽最不好的事情,「港大舊生對醫學院改名氣憤,但對徐校長不獲留任不氣憤,是好奇怪的事情,是不是看不起徐校長?」百年樹仁,學術成就非一日之事,「起大樓容易,要有一個大師好難。中國建很多大樓,但真正學術不是這樣的,香港由做生意的人管事,看不到學問成就在那裏,才有徐立之被壓迫的現象」。

黎智英:鄉愁(壹週刊

這不是因為人窮而要豪氣萬千,擺闊以作補償,只因同是天涯淪落人,能夠聚在一起互相傾訴,甚至哭說鄉愁,彼此抒發愁緒、互相慰藉的機會不多,可是要保持心理平衡,這樣的聚會卻絕不可少。要是沒有一群這樣的好鄰居,孤寂而深沉的黑夜又怎樣過?

Maile Meloy: The Proxy Marriage (The New Yorker)

“If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me.” That was Auden. William had set the poem to music for a pretentious tenor at school. But what did Auden know, padding around in filthy carpet slippers, filling teacups with cigarette butts? Auden, by his nature, was always going to be the more loving one, so he’d tried to make the longing admirable and desirable.

最後的良心

看了余英時院士最新的拒絕中時的文章,激動不已。尤其是這一句:「像中共這樣一個橫暴、下流、腐敗、殘忍的統治集團,是絕不可能獲得穩定的。」

當幾乎整個世界都為邪惡、說謊成性且日漸猖獗的中共癲狂之時,余先生是華人學術界最後的良心和靠山。

以余先生的學識、名聲及人格,連中共都不好意思屏蔽他,牆內到處皆是他的文字。另外一個類似的例子就是錢穆,現在錢穆在大陸已經被捧得很高了,但是很少有人提及一點,錢穆在香港寫的那幾本書歸結成一句話就是——中共乃滅絕中華文化之千古罪人。

期待着最近一兩年內有機會去Princeton拜會余先生。

覆黃國昌先生書                  

余英時

國昌先生:

收到五月二日來信,附來「五四座談」大綱及蔡其達先生大文〈春祭,怎奈得暗黑鉤沉〉,十分感謝。

很多年前,我因為在《中國時報》上發表文字的關係,曾和蔡其達先生通過幾次信,他當時是負責編輯。其達先生學識廣博、專業精當、品德卓越,在我心中留下很深的印象,至今不忘。現在讀到他的大文,看他受到如此不公平的待遇,我感到無比的憤慨。你們決定在五月六日「以座談方式探討『蔡其達事件』對台灣新聞自由與民主發展所蘊涵的意義,以及民間社會應該如何看待後續發展」,我完全贊同並全力支持。

 我在美國遙看台灣這幾年來的政治變化,早已發生一種很深的憂慮。我覺得台灣有一些有勢有錢的政客和商人,出於絕對自利的動機,已下定決心,迎合中共的意旨,對台灣進行無孔不入的滲透;公共媒體的收買不過是其中一個環節而已。你們所發起的「拒絕中時運動」和這次「五四座談」恰好證實了我的憂慮。

台灣好不容易才爭取到今天這一點點民主和自由的成果,體制雖已初具,基礎則尚未穩固。台灣知識人社群必須以維護民主、自由體制並促使它不斷成長,為最大的天職;稍有鬆懈,便必將落進中共的「統戰」謀略之中。「拒絕中時」和「五四座談」都是及時的「救亡」行動,足以將上述那一類商人和政客的原形展示出來,使廣大的台灣人民有普遍的警覺。

稍知中國大陸內部真實情況的人,都不會為中共表面的「經濟繁榮」所惑。從中共「維穩」經費超過國防經費這一點來看,這一政權已在無比的恐懼和慌亂之中,正符合「日暮途窮,倒行逆施」的古話。剛剛發生的薄熙來大案和陳光誠國際事件,都為我們提供了最可靠的事證。這些事件不過是浮在水上的冰山一角,其下層的崩解動向可以想見。像中共這樣一個橫暴、下流、腐敗、殘忍的統治集團,是絕不可能獲得「穩定」的,現在大陸各地群體抗爭事件每年不下一、二十萬次;「星星之火,可以燎原」,說不定什麼時候局面失控,一種不能想像的解體局面便會突然出現。前蘇聯的崩潰並無絲毫外力在起作用,極權體制內部的無數矛盾才是逼使它走上滅亡的力量。

台灣有不少人患著「恐共症」,中共勢力之所以能透過政客與商人而滲透進來,便是由於這一心理因素的作祟。我盼望台灣知識人能在解除「恐共」心理方面,能發揮一點作用。

二O一二年五月四日 余英時

廷龍政經閱讀 (20120506):走向封閉的美國精神

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of May 6, 2012

下週在倫敦開會,本欄再停一週。

本週的媒體熱鬧非凡,可惜沒有任何值得讀兩遍的文章。推薦閱讀Allan Bloom的書The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students(走向封閉的美國精神:高等教育何以導致民主失敗且令莘莘學子心靈窮困)。這本上世紀八十年代在美國位居暢銷書榜首的書,相信很多讀者早已讀過。pdf版本可以在這裡下載。

如下乃是從Bloom的書裡隨機抄來的一些話:

On creativity:

The use of words like “creativity” and “personality” does not mean that those who use them understand the thought that made their use necessary, let alone agree with it. The language has been trivialized. Words that were meant to describe and encourage Beethoven and Goethe are now applied to every schoolchild. It is in the nature of democracy to deny no one access to good things. If those things are really not accessible to all, then the tendency is to deny the fact—simply to proclaim, for example, that what is not art is art. There is in American society a mad rush to distinguish oneself, and, as soon as something has been accepted as distinguishing, to package it in such a way that everyone can feel included. Creativity and personality were intended to be terms of distinction. They were, as a matter of fact, intended to be the distinctions appropriate to egalitarian society, in which all distinction is threatened. The leveling of these distinctions through familiarity merely encourages self-satisfaction. Now that they belong to everyone, they can be said to mean nothing, both in common parlance and in the social science disciplines that use them as “concepts.” They have no specific content, are a kind of opiate of the masses.

On openness:

There are two kinds of openness, the openness of indifference—promoted with the twin purposes of humbling our intellectual pride and letting us be whatever we want to be, just as long as we don’t want to be knowers—and the openness that invites us to the quest for knowledge and certitude, for which history and the various cultures provide a brilliant array of examples for examination. This second kind of openness encourages the desire that animates and makes interesting every serious student—”I want to know what is good for me, what will make me happy”—while the former stunts that desire. Openness, as currently conceived, is a way of making surrender to whatever is most powerful, or worship of vulgar success, look principled. It is historicism’s ruse to remove all resistance to history, which in our day means public opinion, a day when public opinion already rules.

On sexual liberation:

The immediate promise of sexual liberation was, simply, happiness understood as the release of energies that had been stored up over millennia during the dark night of repression, in a great continuous Bacchanalia. However, the lion roaring behind the door of the closet turned out, when the door was opened, to be a little, domesticated cat.

On technical education:

The impression that our general populace is better educated [than in the past] depends on an ambiguity in the meaning of the word education, or a fudging of the distinction between liberal and technical education. A highly trained computer specialist need not have had any more learning about morals, politics or religion than the most ignorant of persons. All to the contrary, his narrow education, with, the prejudices and the pride accompanying it, and its literature which comes to be and passes away in a day and uncritically accepts the premises of current wisdom, can cut him off from the liberal learning that simpler folk used to absorb from a variety of traditional sources.

On music and education:

Education is not sermonizing to children against their instincts and pleasures, but providing a natural continuity between what they feel and what they can and should be. But this is a last art.

On self:

Man … was supposed to long to be all virtue, to break free from the chains of bodily desire. Wholeness would be happiness. … Machiavelli turned things upside down. Happiness is indeed wholeness, so let’s try the wholeness available to us in this life. The tradition viewed man as the incomprehensible and self-contradictory union of two substances, body and soul. Man cannot be conceived as body only. But if the function of whatever is not body in him is to cooperate in the satisfaction of bodily desire, then man’s dividedness is overcome.

On philosophy:

The essence of philosophy is the abandonment of all authority in favor of individual human reason.