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沒有1776,人類就是《1984》!祝美國生日快樂!




七月四日:選擇做美國人

曹長青

七月四日,是美國國慶日。在美國居住二十多年,每年看美國的國慶日慶祝活動,都相當感慨,它至少有兩個特色:

首先,美國各地的慶祝活動,不是官方為了宣傳國家強大、執政黨偉大光榮正確而組織的,而主要是由民間團體或私人公司舉辦的。像紐約每年的國慶焰火,都是由梅西(Macys)百貨公司舉辦的。焰火相當絢麗多彩,據說要幾百萬美元。而首都華盛頓的焰火,以及各地的慶祝遊行活動等等,幾乎都是私人團體舉辦的。而不像共產國家那樣,從來都是傾國家之力,做政府一手操縱的宣傳。

美國國慶紀念活動的第二個特色是,它雖然是紀念國家的建立,但主要是讚美這個國家保障了每個人的自由,給個人提供了發展的機會,也就是這個國家剛剛建立時發表的《獨立宣言》所確立的那些原則。美國人不說國慶日,而是把七月四日稱為“獨立日”,不僅是紀念美國當年從英國統治下爭取到獨立,建立了一個新的國家,更是傳遞《獨立宣言》所確立的美國立國精神。這個精神,就是強調人的權利。《獨立宣言》譯成中文才二千三百字,其中最重要的內容,是強調人有自由的權利、生命的權利和追求幸福的權利。這三大權利,都是指個人,而不是指國家或政府。而政府的存在,都是為了保護個人的這三大權利,如果違背了這個原則,人民就有權推翻這個政府。

今天這個只有短短二百多年歷史的國家,所以成為世界上唯一的超強,並不是因為它的幅員,人口和資源豐富,而是《獨立宣言》所確定的這種保護個人的精神。縱觀美國文化、歷史和政治,有一個英文詞被最多地強調,那就是Individualism,中文把它譯成“個人主義”並不妥,因為它容易和中文媔S意的自私自利的“個人主義”連在一起,根本就背離Individualism的本意;因此把它譯成“個體主義”比較準確。保護“個體主義”,可以說是美國的立國之本。因為無論法西斯主義,共產主義,還是形形色色色的集權主義,從本質上說,都是“集體主義”的變種,最后都是以“群體的名義”奴役個人,剝奪自由。而個體主義,正是對抗集體主義,對抗集權的最主要武器,也是人之所以能有自由、尊嚴的保障。

整個一部美國的歷史,其實就是高揚個體主義,追求個人自由,對抗集體主義和極權的歷史。美國所以成為自由世界的領袖,正是因為高舉了個人自由的偉大旗幟。例如連寫信這種小事,美國人都是先寫人名(凸顯個人的重要),然后是城市,最后才是國家。中國則是:先國家,再地方,最后才是個人;國家、集體永遠高于個人。而美國人,即使姓名,也是把自己的名字排在前面,父姓在后,而不是中文人名的父姓在先(父權、家族社會的表現之一)。這也是強調,你自己的名字是獨有的,最個人化的,你這個“個體”才是最重要的。這些都體現美國人對“個體主義”價值的推崇。

在美國國慶日前夕,俄亥俄州阿什蘭德(Ashland)大學政治學教授、匈牙利移民施拉姆(Peter Schramm)寫了篇文章,題目是“選擇做美國人”。他說,五十年前,他還不到十歲,隨父親逃離匈牙利。當他聽到要逃往美國時,問父親“為什麽是美國?”他父親說,“因為,兒子啊,我們是美國人,但生錯了地方。”

施拉姆說,他用了過去大部份的時間琢磨這句話的含意,最后更清晰了,“我父親用他的方式,說明他嚮往的美國不僅是個地方,更是一種價值。”施拉姆認為,“做一個美國公民跟當其他國家的公民不同,我們美國人不以血緣或歷史當作成為公民的連接;相反,把我們連在一起的是一個共同認同的原則。這種認同——正如林肯在提到《獨立宣言》時所指的‘電纜’——將我們跟簽署宣言的先賢們像‘血中血,肉中肉’般地緊密連結在一起。”

從這個意義上說,“美國人”這個定義,已超越了具體是哪國國民的界限,它代表著對自由、生命和追求幸福這三大個人權利的信奉和堅持,代表“自由人”!


下面是施拉姆教授的那篇“選擇做美國人”的文章∶

American by Choice

We must all learn what it means to be an American.

By Peter W. Schramm

June 28, 2007, The Weekly Standard

THIS WEEK, I am being honored by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as an "Outstanding American by Choice." This strikes me as an interesting name for an award. It is meant, of course, to recognize selected citizens who were not born in America. But the idea of being an American by choice points to an important, and perhaps unintended truth: being American is not simply reducible to the happy accident of birth. Americans, both natural and naturalized, must be trained--they must be made--and much of my time these days is devoted to making Americans out of people who just happened to have been born here.

Over fifty years ago, when I was just shy of my tenth birthday, my family fled Hungary during the failed revolution against the Russian Communists. Our family’s story was like so many of the refugees from communism, complete with relatives arrested, property seized, and a nighttime dash to freedom. The decision to escape was an easy one to make (although not so easy to execute), but the question I had--the one I distinctly recall asking my father--was "where are we going." We could have stayed in Europe--and indeed, the Germans would have welcomed us as Volk deutsche because of our German surname--but this was not my father’s plan. "We are going to America," he said. "Why America?" I prodded. "Because, son. We were born Americans, but in the wrong place."

Born Americans, but in the wrong place? I’ve spent the better part of the last fifty years working to more fully understand these words. Mind you, everyone understood America to be a free and good place where one might prosper unmolested. But in saying that we were "born Americans, but in the wrong place," Dad, in his way, was saying that he understood America to be both a place and an idea at the same time. Fundamentally, it is a place that would embrace us if we could prove that we shared in the idea. We meant to prove it.

Because America is more than just a place, being an American citizen is different than being the citizen of any other country on earth. We Americans do not look to the ties of common blood and history for connection as people the way the citizens of other countries do. Rather, our common bond is a shared principle. This is what Lincoln meant when he referred to the "electric cord" in the Declaration of Independence that links all of us together, as though we were "blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh, of the men who wrote that Declaration."

Because ours is a bond of principle and not of blood, true American citizens are made and not born. This is why, odd as it may seem, we must all learn--those who are born here, and those who come here by choice--what it means to be an American. Regrettably, we are doing a poor job of passing this knowledge on to future generations. Looking to just one practical indicator, the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that 73 percent of twelfth-graders scored below the proficient level in civics, as did 78 percent of eighth-graders, and 76 percent of fourth-graders. To put this into perspective, 72 percent of eighth graders could not explain the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence. This ignorance is tragic not merely because it indicates a deficiency in our educational system, but because with it comes a loss of our national identity. And so, I find it somewhat ironic and yet very fitting that fifty years after coming to this great country, I spend my days at an institution where my job is to teach college students and high school teachers what it means to be an American.

In recent weeks, there has been much talk about immigration, but very little informed discussion about what it means to be an American--about what is necessary to make Americans. Yes, there needs to be a sensible policy for accepting new citizens, and for ensuring that those who come here do so legally. But what happens once they are here? I hear frequent conversations about failures in integration and assimilation, even among recent legal immigrants. This is not new. What is new is that America’s own natural citizens increasingly have forgotten what it means to be American. Some do not know the basics principles of this country, and still others have embraced the ideology of multiculturalism and self-loathing to such a degree that they can no longer recognize, let alone proclaim, that ours is a great nation built on lasting principles. If we no longer understand or believe in that which makes us Americans, then there is nothing substantive to assimilate into. We become many and diverse people who share a common place, rather than E Pluribus Unum.

We cannot forget who we are. We are Americans. This is a great nation. We Americans insist on holding to the connection between freedom and justice, courage and moderation. We think that equality and liberty have ethical and political implications, and, as we have shown time-and-again throughout our history, we are willing to fight and to die to make men free. We need to impart these principles to succeeding generations.

We Americans correctly demand respect for our rights but, in getting that respect, we must continue to demonstrate that we continue to deserve it. We have to exercise our intelligence and develop our civic understanding so that we may preserve our liberty and pass it on, undiminished to the next generation. If government "of the people, by the people and for the people" is to endure, its endurance can only come from the devotion of Americans--born here and away--who have been so made.

Peter W. Schramm is an American who happened to have been born in the wrong place. He is also the executive director of the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs, and the chair of the Masters in American History and Government program at Ashland University.

原載∶http://www.weeklystandard.com/print/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/806epbid.asp

2013-07-04

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