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没有1776,人类就是《1984》!祝美国生日快乐!




七月四日∶选择做美国人

曹长青

七月四日,是美国国庆日。在美国居住二十多年,每年看美国的国庆日庆祝活动,都相当感慨,它至少有两个特色∶

首先,美国各地的庆祝活动,不是官方为了宣传国家强大、执政党伟大光荣正确而组织的,而主要是由民间团体或私人公司举办的。像纽约每年的国庆焰火,都是由梅西(Macys)百货公司举办的。焰火相当绚丽多彩,据说要几百万美元。而首都华盛顿的焰火,以及各地的庆祝游行活动等等,几乎都是私人团体举办的。而不像共产国家那样,从来都是倾国家之力,做政府一手操纵的宣传。

美国国庆纪念活动的第二个特色是,它虽然是纪念国家的建立,但主要是赞美这个国家保障了每个人的自由,给个人提供了发展的机会,也就是这个国家刚刚建立时发表的《独立宣言》所确立的那些原则。美国人不说国庆日,而是把七月四日称为“独立日”,不仅是纪念美国当年从英国统治下争取到独立,建立了一个新的国家,更是传递《独立宣言》所确立的美国立国精神。这个精神,就是强调人的权利。《独立宣言》译成中文才二千三百字,其中最重要的内容,是强调人有自由的权利、生命的权利和追求幸福的权利。这三大权利,都是指个人,而不是指国家或政府。而政府的存在,都是为了保护个人的这三大权利,如果违背了这个原则,人民就有权推翻这个政府。

今天这个只有短短二百多年历史的国家,所以成为世界上唯一的超强,并不是因为它的幅员,人口和资源丰富,而是《独立宣言》所确定的这种保护个人的精神。纵观美国文化、历史和政治,有一个英文词被最多地强调,那就是Individualism,中文把它译成“个人主义”并不妥,因为它容易和中文里贬意的自私自利的“个人主义”连在一起,根本就背离Individualism的本意;因此把它译成“个体主义”比较准确。保护“个体主义”,可以说是美国的立国之本。因为无论法西斯主义,共产主义,还是形形色色色的集权主义,从本质上说,都是“集体主义”的变种,最后都是以“群体的名义”奴役个人,剥夺自由。而个体主义,正是对抗集体主义,对抗集权的最主要武器,也是人之所以能有自由、尊严的保障。

整个一部美国的历史,其实就是高扬个体主义,追求个人自由,对抗集体主义和极权的历史。美国所以成为自由世界的领袖,正是因为高举了个人自由的伟大旗帜。例如连写信这种小事,美国人都是先写人名(凸显个人的重要),然后是城市,最后才是国家。中国则是∶先国家,再地方,最后才是个人;国家、集体永远高于个人。而美国人,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(父权、家族社会的表现之一)。这也是强调,你自己的名字是独有的,最个人化的,你这个“个体”才是最重要的。这些都体现美国人对“个体主义”价值的推崇。

在美国国庆日前夕,俄亥俄州阿什兰德(Ashland)大学政治学教授、匈牙利移民施拉姆(Peter Schramm)写了篇文章,题目是“选择做美国人”。他说,五十年前,他还不到十岁,随父亲逃离匈牙利。当他听到要逃往美国时,问父亲“为什麽是美国?”他父亲说,“因为,儿子啊,我们是美国人,但生错了地方。”

施拉姆说,他用了过去大部份的时间琢磨这句话的含意,最后更清晰了,“我父亲用他的方式,说明他向往的美国不仅是个地方,更是一种价值。”施拉姆认为,“做一个美国公民跟当其他国家的公民不同,我们美国人不以血缘或历史当作成为公民的连接;相反,把我们连在一起的是一个共同认同的原则。这种认同——正如林肯在提到《独立宣言》时所指的‘电缆’——将我们跟签署宣言的先贤们像‘血中血,肉中肉’般地紧密连结在一起。”

从这个意义上说,“美国人”这个定义,已超越了具体是哪国国民的界限,它代表著对自由、生命和追求幸福这三大个人权利的信奉和坚持,代表“自由人”!


下面是施拉姆教授的那篇“选择做美国人”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.

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

2013-07-04

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