关于爱德蒙·伯克的笔记

一、

最近,我在读2000年美国的畅销书《布波族:一个社会新阶层的崛起》。书中提到了十八世纪英国政治家爱德蒙·伯克(Edmund Burke,1727-1797)的一段话:

在尊重人的地方成长;从出生开始,眼中就无低下和卑贱的事物;被教导自重;习惯于社会眼光的检视;及早留意公众意见;能够站在高处观望,对整个社会复杂多变的人事有更透彻的认识;有闲暇时间阅读、反思、交谈;不论身在何处,都能得到智者学者的重视和肯定;习惯于令下必从的军旅生活;被教导在追寻荣誉和责任时藐视危险;在有过必罚,极小的错误就会招致极度毁灭的环境中,培养出最高程度的警觉性、远见和审慎;能够被引导在行为上有所规范;要把自己当成是大众在重要议题上的典范;做上帝和世人之间的调停者;受雇为执法人员和司法人员,因此能最先造福世人;成为高等科学、文科和高等艺术的教授;成为富有的商人,而且可以从他们的成功当中得到敏锐的理解力,还能习得勤勉不息、井井有条和行为有常的美德;能培养仗义执言的习惯。[①]

伯克讲的是,他心目中的贵族应该是什么样的。

我很喜欢这段话,觉得理想的人格就是这个样子。我因此对爱德蒙·伯克发生了兴趣。此后的一个星期里,读了大量他的介绍和一些原著。

1729年,伯克生于爱尔兰的都柏林,21岁时被父亲送到伦敦学法律。他没兴趣当律师,不久就退学到欧洲大陆游历去了。("告诉我应该如何行事的不是法律,而是人性、理性和正义。"[②])此后的15年中,他先是发表了一些政论作品,后来当上了英国爱尔兰事务大臣的私人秘书,再后来是英国首相的私人秘书。就这样,逐步介入了英国政坛。

1765年,他36岁的那一年,开始了长达30多年的辉煌的政治家生涯。

在议会中,他强烈反对任何不受限制的权力,认为任何时候都应该有一个讲原则的反对党存在,并且这个反对党必须有能力防止独裁,以及政府中某些派系的为所欲为。

他提出,选民选出的官员和议员不应该只是狭隘地为自己委托人的利益服务。在1774年的一次对选民的演讲中,他说出了下面这段光辉的发言:

"议会并非是一个来自不同国家、代表着不同利益的大使的集会,每个人既是代理人又是提倡者,坚持维护自己的利益,坚决反对其他人;不是的,议会应该是一个国家整体的协商会议,它只为一个利益服务,那就是整个国家的利益;在议会里,作为指导原则的不应该是局部的利益,而应该是从全局考虑的整体利益。你们确实选出了一个代表,但是一旦你们选择了他,那么他就不再是你们的成员,而是英国议会的成员了。......你们的代表用来对你们负责的,不仅仅是他的忠于职守,还有他的判断力;如果他为了你们的意见,放弃了他自己的判断,那么他就不是在为你们服务,而是背叛你们了。"[③]

伯克的立场一贯是要用宪法限制王权,所以他对北美殖民地反抗英王的斗争抱同情态度,同时也支持印度和爱尔兰人民的民主权力。

不过也要看到另一方面,伯克属于辉格党,当时执政的是托利党,辉格党处在反对党的地位。总的来说,托利党是保皇党,辉格党是自由党。所以,伯克之所以强烈的反对王权,与他的反对党身份也不无关系。

1789年,法国大革命爆发。7月14日,法国人民成功地攻下巴士底狱。

由于伯克支持美国革命和反对特权,人们普遍预期他会赞同法国大革命。但是,1790年当伯克发表他的《对法国大革命的反思》(Reflections on the Revolution in France)一书时,人们才发现自己错了。伯克强烈地批评法国大革命,他是英国最早、也是最严厉的法国大革命的反对者之一。

伯克并不把法国大革命看成是民主革命,他认为它是一场反对传统、反对权威的暴力动乱,是人类社会的一次脱离现实的实验,最终只会导致灾难。伯克的这种态度,使得很多早先他的很多崇敬者认为他背叛了,成了民主的敌人。不过,后来的事实证明伯克的判断是准确的,至少表面上法国大革命不像是一种民主,反而更像是一种恐怖,并且最终以拿破仑建立法兰西第一帝国而结束。

围绕对待法国大革命的态度,使得辉格党发生了分裂。所以,1791年伯克发表了《新辉格党对旧辉格党的呼吁》一文。在这篇文章中,他进一步发展了他的思想,批评任何激进式的革命方法,攻击那些支持法国大革命的辉格党人。他的态度逐渐影响了议会中大多数辉格党成员,使得他们投票通过了1793年英国对法国的革命政府宣战。

从出版之日起,《对法国大革命的反思》就是非常有争议的一本书。它的语言很不严谨,事实也不准确,一开始使得很多读者认为伯克丧失判断力了。但是,法国以后发生的暴力事件和混乱,使得他们又不得不回过头来重视伯克的论述。这本书现在已经是伯克最重要和最有影响力的著作了。

如今,人们公认伯克是现代保守主义的先驱之一。伯克提倡一种"民主保守主义"(democratic conservatism),反对激进式的变革,提倡渐进式的变革。他的主张完全不同与"专制保守主义"(autocratic conservatism),虽然两者都反对法国大革命。伯克的保守主义本质上是不保守的,他依然要求变革。

邱吉尔曾这样评价伯克:

"一方面,(他)是'自由'坚定的传道者,另一方面,他又是'权威'无比的拥护者。但是,任何对这种政治上的不协调的指控都是微不足道的。他这样做的原因和驱使他的力量,可是毫不费力的从历史中看出来。他所面临的复杂易变的政治局面,会使任何具有同样深度和信念的灵魂都得出同样矛盾的看法。他的灵魂反抗暴政,不管这种暴政的表现是极权的君主、腐败的法庭和议会系统,还是一个表面上喊着自由的口号、实际上禁止自由的政府。这样的灵魂也使他反抗残忍的暴民和邪恶的教派。无论是支持自由的伯克,还是支持权威的伯克,我们从中读到都是追求同样的目标、同样的理想社会、同样的理想政府的同一个人。他坚持自己的信念,反驳攻击,一会从一个极端,一会又从另一个极端。[④]"

我认为,伯克谈论的激进式民主还是渐进式民主的问题,归根结底就是选择"突变"还是"渐变",尤其是当"突变"会带来很大的社会代价的时候。

说实话,我并不一味认同伯克,认为"渐变"就一定比"突变"好。社会"突变"对旧势力的打击和破坏作用,是"渐变"无论如何都起不到的。另一方面,社会渐进性的变革有时需要漫长的时间,人的生命有限,对于具体的个体来说,等待的代价是难以承受的。

在法国大革命前,第三等级忍受的痛苦虽然不彰显,但是比起路易十六人头落地、雅各宾派的恐怖专政,谁又能说前者的程度一定不如后者呢?如果不是革命到来,底层的痛苦还要忍受到何时呢?

革命还是改良?这是一个整个20世纪都困扰着中国的问题,现在依然也是。很多人在谈论如果光绪的百日维新成功了,如果国民党政府1945年同意民主改革,那么中国的命运会如何如何。但是这种假设没有意义,历史的选择很清楚,那就是革命。

对我来说,如果改良受到巨大的阻碍,停滞不前,尤其是制度上无法保证改良能够符合大多数人的利益顺利推进的时候,那么革命并不是不可以接受的,哪怕它会有巨大的社会代价。(其实准确地说,革命只是改变了社会代价在人群中的分布。)

而且,我相信如果伯克看到中国的现实,看到统治势力的凶残与强大,他一定会同意我的观点。要知道,世界上并没有天生的革命者,他们都是被现实打破幻想的。

伯克的演说和著作中,有大量发人深省、激动人心的句子。他一向是被广泛引用的作者。下面是一些很打动我的引语,按首字母序排列。我特别喜欢的句子,都用黑体标出来了。

1.

A man full of warm, speculative benevolence may wish his society otherwise constituted than he finds it, but a good patriot and a true politician always considers how he shall make the most of the existing materials of his country. A disposition to preserve and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman.

一个充满热忱的、周密的爱心的人,也许会希望他的社会比现实更好,但一个好的爱国者和真正的政治家总是考虑如何利用好他的国家中大部分已经存在的现实。一种保持稳定的安排和一种改进现状的能力,这两者合在一起,就是我对优秀政治家的标准。

2.

A State without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.

一个不懂如何变革的国家,也就不懂如何保存。

3.

All government-- indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act-- is founded on compromise and barter.

所有的政府----实际上,还包括所有人类的利益、享受、美德和所有慎重的行为----都是建立在妥协和交易的基础上的。

4.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

邪恶获得胜利的唯一条件,就是善良的人们保持沉默。(这句话其实不是伯克说的,而是根据伯克的意思引申的。此话最初的创造人已不可考了。)

5.

An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to be silent.

有些事情发生了,很难对它发表意见,但是不可能对它保持沉默。

6.

Applaud us when we run, console us when we fall, cheer us when we recover.

当我们奔跑的时候,请给我们鼓励;当我们跌倒的时候,请给我们安慰;当我们又站起来的时候,请给我们欢呼。

7.

Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones.

掌声是高贵灵魂的激励,虚弱灵魂的目的和终点。

8.

Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.

坏的法律是最坏的暴政。

9.

Beauty is the promise of happiness.

美好是幸福的保证。

10.

Better be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by too confident security.

被过度的忧虑压倒,也好于在盲目自信中毁灭。

11.

But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

没有智慧和美德的自由会怎样?那将是最大的不幸;因为它完全是愚蠢、罪恶和疯狂,且没有督导和限制。

12.

Early and provident fear is the mother of safety.

及早和有预见性的恐惧,是安全之母。

13.

Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver.

谄媚同时腐蚀接受者和给予者。

14.

Good order is the foundation of all things.

良好的次序是所有事物的基础。

15.

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

和我们搏斗的人锻炼了我们的勇气,磨练了我们的技能。我们的对手是我们的帮手。

16.

It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.

一个很常见的错误是,认为人群中声音最响亮的抱怨者是受害最深的。

17.

It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact.

不精确是所有伟大事物的特点。

18.

Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.

正义本身就是公民社会的基本政策,无论在什么条件下,显著背离这一点,都是值得怀疑根本不存在任何政策的。

19.

Laws, like houses, lean on one another.

法律像房子一样,倒下去都是成片的。

20.

Manners are of more importance than laws... Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in.

道德习俗比法律更重要......它们好像我们呼吸的空气一样,以一种潜移默化的方式,或折磨或安慰,或腐蚀或纯洁,或提升或贬低,或野蛮化或升华,我们的灵魂。

21.

Never despair; but if you do, work on in despair.

永远不要绝望;如果你真的绝望了,那么请在绝望中继续工作。

22.

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.

没有其他感情像恐惧那样,剥夺我们行动和思考的能力。

23.

Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference.

对宗教来说,没有东西比漠不关心更致命了。

24.

Our patience will achieve more than our force.

我们的耐心比我们的力量成就更大。

25.

People crushed by laws, have no hope but to evade power. If the laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to the law; and those who have most to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous.

那些被法律挤压的人们,怀有的唯一希望就是躲开权力。如果法律有敌人的话,他们就将是法律的敌人;不抱希望、又没有什么可以失去的人永远是危险的。

26.

People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.

不对后代存着期望的人,也不会考虑他的祖先。

27.

Society is indeed a contract. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.

社会其实是一种合约关系。它是一所所有科学、艺术、美德和美好事物的合伙制企业。这种合伙关系不可能是几代人就能培养出来的,所以它不仅仅是所有生者的合伙,还是所有生者、死者、未出生的人们的合伙。

28.

The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.

人类最早的和最简单的感情,就是好奇心。

29.

The march of the human mind is slow.

人类思想前进的步伐是缓慢的。

30.

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.

人民决不会放弃自由,但是他们会相信错觉。

31.

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.

真正危险的时候是那些为了权宜之计,将自由逐渐的、小块的蚕食的时候。

32.

The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.

以多数派的名义实施的暴政,是加倍的暴政。

33.

There is but one law for all, namely that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity-- the law of nature and of nations.

其实只有一条法律,其他的法律都服从这条法律,那就是人性、公平和正义的法律。它是我们造物者的法律,是大自然和所有国家的法律。

34.

There is, however, a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

但是,总有一个时刻,忍耐将不再成为美德。

35.

They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.

有些人保卫自己的错误,就好像保卫遗产一样。

36.

They made and recorded a sort of institute and digest of anarchy, called the Rights of Man.

他们组织了一系列无政府主义的机构,制定了一系列无政府主义的法规,然后冠上《人权宣言》的名字。(伯克谈法国大革命中颁布的《人权宣言》。)

37.

To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.

要使我们爱我们的国家,她应该是可爱的。

38.

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.

读书不思考就好像吃饭不消化一样。

39.

We must not always judge of the generality of the opinion by the noise of the acclamation.

我们永远不能根据掌声响亮的程度来判断民意。

40.

What shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart.

只要还存着羞耻,美德就不会完全从内心灭绝。

41.

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

当坏人联合起来的时候,好人也必须联合起来;不然他们会一个接一个的倒下,成为一场卑劣斗争中不足为惜的牺牲品。

42.

Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.

无论何时,只要自由和正义不再结合在一起,在我看来,它们两个就都不安全了。

(完)

[①]摘自伯克的《新辉格党对旧辉格党的呼吁》(An appeal from the new to the old whigs)。译文转引自《布波族》一书的中译本,译者为徐子超。除此段以外,本文中的所有引文都是我翻译的。

原文如下:"To be bred in a place of estimation; To see nothing low and sordid from one's infancy; To be taught to respect one's self; To be habituated to the censorial inspection of the public eye; To look early to public opinion; To stand upon such elevated ground as to be enabled to take a large view of the wide-spread and infinitely diversified combinations of men and affairs in a large society; To have leisure to read, to reflect, to converse; To be enabled to draw the court and attention of the wise and learned wherever they are to be found; To be habituated in armies to command and to obey; To be taught to despise danger in the pursuit of honour and duty; To be formed to the greatest degree of vigilance, foresight, and circumspection, in a state of things in which no fault is committed with impunity, and the slightest mistakes draw on the most ruinous consequences--To be led to a guarded and regulated conduct, from a sense that you are considered as an instructor of your fellow-citizens in their highest concerns, and that you act as a reconciler between God and man--To be employed as an administrator of law and justice, and to be thereby amongst the first benefactors to mankind--To be a professor of high science, or of liberal and ingenuous art--To be amongst rich traders, who from their success are presumed to have sharp and vigorous understandings, and to possess the virtues of diligence, order, constancy, and regularity, and to have cultivated an habitual regard to commutative justice--These are the circumstances of men, that form what I should call a natural aristocracy, without which there is no nation."


[②] It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.


[③] "Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament." And further: "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion." (Speech to the Electors of Bristol, November 3, 1774.)


[④] On the one hand [Burke] is revealed as a foremost apostle of Liberty, on the other as the redoubtable champion of Authority. But a charge of political inconsistency applied to this life appears a mean and petty thing. History easily discerns the reasons and forces which actuated him, and the immense changes in the problems he was facing which evoked from the same profound mind and sincere spirit these entirely contrary manifestations. His soul revolted against tyranny, whether it appeared in the aspect of a domineering Monarch and a corrupt Court and Parliamentary system, or whether, mouthing the watch-words of a non-existent liberty, it towered up against him in the dictation of a brutal mob and wicked sect. No one can read the Burke of Liberty and the Burke of Authority without feeling that here was the same man pursuing the same ends, seeking the same ideals of society and Government, at defending them from assaults, now from one extreme, now from the other.

(阮一峰, 2005.7.18)