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[经济学人] [United States] Found(er)ing Fathers 陷入泥潭的国父们

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发表于 2010-4-28 21:42 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
United States
美国


Found(er)ing Fathers
陷入泥潭的国父们


Nov 13th 2009
From The World in 2010 print edition
By Andreas Kluth, LOS ANGELES


Californians will discover that voting for a new constitution is easier than drafting one
加州人会发现支持一部新宪法要比起草一部容易



The constitution stymies even the Terminator
宪法问题连终结者都一筹莫展


In November 2010 Californians will vote in a pair of ballot measures to call a constitutional convention. If polls are right, their approval of these measures is all but assured. Californians are fed up with the dysfunctional governance that periodically turns their state into a laughing stock. They want a new constitution.

加州居民将于2010年11月通过投票要求召开制宪会议。按目前的民调结果,投票通过几成定局。本州的管理混乱已经数次沦为笑柄,加州人受够了,他们要一部新宪法。


Their disdain for the existing one is well deserved. It is among the most convoluted such texts in the world, ranking with Alabama’s and India’s as one of the longest. It contrasts starkly with the minimalist elegance of America’s constitution, adopted in 1787, or Alaska’s, ratified in 1956.

现在这部宪法所受的鄙弃实属活该。该法的繁杂盘错堪比阿拉巴马州宪法,其冗长又可与印度宪法比肩,两项都堪称世界之最。这与1787年通过的美国宪法和1956年通过的阿拉斯加州宪法的简约典雅形成了鲜明的对比。


California’s first constitutional convention took place in 1849, before California was even admitted to the Union. A second convention in 1879 tried to right every possible wrong and produced a tome. To this was added, during the Progressive era of the early 20th century, direct democracy—with referendums, recalls and voter initiatives. Such initiatives have since produced more than 500 constitutional amendments. America’s constitution, a century older, has been amended 27 times.

加州的首次制宪会议召开于1849年,那时该州还未加入联邦。第二次是在1879年,那次会议试图纠正每个可能的错误并将法条印制成书。在20世纪初的进步时代,加州宪法中进一步加入了如全民投票、罢免制度、立法提案权等一些直接民主制的要素。从此,形形色色的立法提案已产生了500多个宪法修正案。而早1个世纪诞生的美国宪法仅被修正27次。


Among the quirks in California’s current document are: 1) a requirement, from 1933, for two-thirds majorities in both houses of the legislature to pass a budget; and 2) the same two-thirds requirement, added by voters in the infamous Proposition 13 of 1978, to increase any tax. Two other states (Rhode Island and Arkansas) have this requirement for budgets and several others have it for raising taxes, but only California has it for both.

现行加州宪法的乖僻之处不少,如自1933年起,州议会两院必须要三分之二多数支持才能通过财政预算。又如那个臭名昭著的1978年第13号议案之规定,加税也同样需要这一条件。有两个州(罗得岛和阿肯色)有前者之规定,还有几个州规定了后者,但只有加州兼具其二。


California’s legislature contained moderates, normal fiscal management might still be imaginable. But the moderates have left. Californian elections, as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has frequently complained, are won or lost in the party primaries of gerrymandered districts that encourage extremism. Democrats may be in the majority, but nay-saying Republicans can block any budget and habitually do.

在加州议会中有温和派时,或许还可保证正常的财政运转。但现在温和派已不在。正如施瓦辛格州长一再抱怨的那样,州内选举的胜败完全取决于以党争为目的划分的一些选区,那里极端主义横行。结果是民主党人可能会占多数,但共和党人的阻挠会使任何议案都难以通过,事实也通常如此。


The element of direct democracy exacerbates the situation by ensuring that the inmates—ie, the voters—run much of the asylum. Voters pass, for example, “tough on crime” sentencing laws with nary a thought about paying for more prisons. When their elected representatives subsequently cannot muster two-thirds to raise taxes or cut another part of the budget, voters then profess shock at their incompetence.

直接民主的元素使情况进一步恶化,这就如同让囚犯(如选民)自己管理收容所一样。比如,选民们通过一项旨在“严厉打击犯罪”的刑法,却根本没想过投钱去建更多的监狱。当他们支持的议员们随后因未拉到三分之二的票数,导致増税案未能通过,或是削减了别的预算时,选民们便会对议员们的不称职感到震惊。



Thus the state lurches from one fiscal crisis to the next. Last summer, California even had to issue IOUs in lieu of cheques to its creditors. The appeal of starting afresh, with a clean constitution, is obvious.

所以,加州在一次次的财政危机中步履蹒跚。去年夏天,加州不得不把应付给债权人的支票换成了白条。重新制定一部新宪法迫在眉睫。


The idea immediately brings to mind Philadelphia in 1787, where 55 of the most august minds ever assembled shuttled between Independence Hall and the City Tavern for four muggy months of secret deliberations. Despite daunting conflicts—who today owns slaves?—they produced the most robust constitution in history. Surely, air-conditioned California can have a go.

这立即使人想起1787年的费城,当时55位威严的智者的齐聚一堂。在闷热潮湿的四个月里,他们穿梭于独立大厦和城市酒馆间进行秘密会谈。抛除那些令人生畏的分歧---今天哪有人蓄奴? 他们最终制定出了历史上最为活力四射的宪法。自然,今天遍地空调的加州也可试试。


Missing Madisons
难觅“麦迪逊”


And yet, who would be California’s “Founding Fathers”? Thomas Jefferson, absent from Philadelphia as minister to France, called the 55 delegates chosen by the states “demi-gods”. These were men such as James Madison, deeply versed in Aristotle, Cicero, Locke and Montesquieu, who preferred the word “republic” to “democracy” for fear that the latter might evoke the chaos of ancient Athens.

可谁来做加州的“开州先贤”? 因出任法国大使而缺席费城制宪会议的托马斯-杰斐逊,将各州推选出的55名代表称为“半神”。这些人,包括詹姆斯-麦迪逊,个个精通亚里士多德、西塞罗、洛克和孟德斯鸠。这些人,倾向“共和”一词甚于“民主”,他们害怕后者会引发古代雅典式的混乱。


If California has intellects of this stature, it certainly has none with Madison’s nonpartisan credibility. Instead, there is a fear that the state’s entrenched interests, from the prison-guards union to party bureaucracies or “Prop 13” fanatics, will take over the process and make it a microcosm of the state’s dystopia.

即使加州人有这样的智力,却肯定没有如麦迪逊般超乎党派的公信力。相反,有人会害怕触动根深蒂固的利益集团,从狱警联盟到党派官僚再到13号议案的疯狂蹙拥。利益瓜分将贯穿制宪过程的始终,成为加州混乱不堪的一道缩影。


Hoping to meet these concerns, the organisation behind the ballot measures, Repair California, proposes a random, jury-like draft of ordinary citizens as delegates. “Average Californians are the only ones who can lead our state out of the quagmire of special interests and partisanship,” argues one adviser.

为了解决这些问题,投票的组织方“修复加州”提出了一份随机的、似陪审团的平民代表名单。“只有普通的加州民众才能带领我们走出党派纷争和小圈子利益的泥潭”,一位顾问如是说。


But can lay people be expected to assume the responsibilities of a Madison? As jurors, citizens deliberate on binary questions of guilt after hearing evidence under the guidance of a judge. In a constitutional convention, the questions will be complex and large. Who would present the evidence, if not the same loonies who cannot agree in the legislature?

但外行人能够担负起麦迪逊一样的责任吗? 作为陪审员,普通人在法官指导下,可以在听取证词后,就“是否有罪”这种非黑即白的问题进行讨论。而在制宪会议上的问题要大而复杂得多,当又一群疯子在议会内意见不一时,谁会来出示证据呢?


The irony that California is preparing to reinforce its populist instincts with yet more direct democracy would surely be too much to bear for Madison, the “republican” founding father.

讽刺的是,加州却准备扩大直接民主来加强天性中的民粹思想。“共和”之父麦迪逊看了,一定绝不会同意
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发表于 2010-4-28 22:17 | 显示全部楼层
个人感觉,老兄翻译的很帅,不过版面需要调整一下(估计是升级造成的)
即使加州人有这样的智力,却肯定没有如麦迪逊般超乎党派的号召力
个人倾向于用“公信力”,个人感觉,这两个词儿是略有不同的,而公信力更能体现出超党派的性质
有号召力的人就比一定有“公信力”了
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发表于 2010-4-28 22:52 | 显示全部楼层
嗯! “公信力”好~  这就改!
好些地方都是很作者想表达什么,一翻出来就别扭了,要不然就是有漏译之嫌,很是愁人!还请多多指点~

重新把空行排出来了 乱得都快没法看了~
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