翻译摘要:底层与知识分子的民粹主义

20世纪的中国,民粹主义一直是游荡在历史夹缝里的挥之不去的幽灵。民粹主义最核心的表现就是极端地推崇底层道德与文化的价值,认定大众保存了文化传统革新与社会进步的真正力量,与此同时,民粹主义强烈地弥漫着反精英文化、反知识分子倾向。

底层与知识分子的民粹主义

作者:唐小兵 来源:《南风窗》杂志 日期:2008-02-07 

  20世纪的中国,民粹主义一直是游荡在历史夹缝里的挥之不去的幽灵。民粹主义最核心的表现就是极端地推崇底层道德与文化的价值,认定大众保存了文化传统革新与社会进步的真正力量,与此同时,民粹主义强烈地弥漫着反精英文化、反知识分子倾向。

底层与知识分子的民粹主义

作者:唐小兵 来源:《南风窗》杂志

  在20世纪的中国,民粹主义一直是游荡在历史夹缝里的挥之不去的幽灵。民粹主义最核心的表现就是极端地推崇底层道德与文化的价值,认定大众保存了文化传统革新与社会进步的真正力量,与此同时,民粹主义强烈地弥漫着反精英文化、反知识分子倾向。

  中国的民粹主义有着两个重要来源,一是20世纪初期从俄罗斯引入的车尔尼雪夫斯基等人提倡的“到民间去”的社会思潮,相信民间代表一个纯真的有道德感的底层社会,可以从中取得社会变革的动力与资源;另外一个来源是传统中国一直存在的“绝圣去智”的反智论传统,简言之就是对知识、文化等价值系统鄙视、否定,扩展到对代表此价值系统的知识分子进行全盘否定的历史“潜流”。

  民粹主义是20世纪中国一股强大的社会思潮,其影响自然覆盖到中国社会诸多阶层。让人更感兴趣的是知识分子阶层自身的“民粹化”倾向。这种倾向至少曾经在三个历史时期有着强劲的历史表达。

  五四时期,在林毓生所谓的“全盘反传统主义”的浪潮里,主流知识分子在高喊“科学”与“民主”等口号引进西学,他们在全面攻击传统的精英文化的同时,将寻找民族文化自新的眼光也转向了“民间”和“底层”。鲁迅、周作人等搜集、编辑地方歌谣、顾颉刚等寻访民俗文化遗存,更有当时很多大学生组织团体深入民间,寻求民间知识、信仰与智慧,形成了强大的到民间去的思潮。这个时期也正好是强调无产阶级地位的马克思主义迅速从当时百花齐放的各种社会思潮里脱颖而出,成为后来主导中国历史的思想形态的关键时期。1930年代,生活在上海的受共产党政治文化影响的左翼作家,在《申报》等各类报刊上发表了大量文字,号召到民间去,到底层去,与普罗大众相结合,呼吁改造五四时期形成的白话文,攻击它太过于精英,应该直接用民众口语作为书面语言的来源,创作为人民喜闻乐见的大众文学,同时,他们批评学者、文人、知识分子等所谓高等华人是一个道德腐败而为专制统治服务的既得利益阶层,他们认为被压迫和剥削的底层才代表着真正的良知与智慧。

  反右时期、上山下乡运动时期和“文化大革命”期间,这种民粹主义发展到巅峰,知识分子纷纷接受“洗脑”,从灵魂深处爆发革命,全盘否定自己的知识体系与文化思想,在公共场合检讨脱离了人民,成为资产阶级和帝国主义的帮忙和帮闲,中国农民和工人被认为是最有知识、最有道德和最有实际能力的群体,知识分子都成了被讽刺为牛鬼蛇神的政治贱民,应该到五七干校、牛棚、夹皮沟等地去接受工农兵的再教育以便脱胎换骨重新做人。

  由此可见,中国知识分子的民粹主义产生之后,更多的时候,却是被政治文化操控,改造成“四体不勤五谷不分”以及“知识越多越反动”的知识分子原罪概念,成为对知识分子进行思想改造的“良心压迫机制”,打掉知识分子的自由精神、身份意识与文化尊严感,从而纳入整齐划一的革命机器里做一颗驯服的螺丝钉。

  

  民粹主义浮出水面

  延续前两个历史阶段,今日的中国,在知识分子阶层中,民粹主义又开始重新“浮出水面”。其表现形式多种多样,最典型的是这些年新左派学者的部分文字里汹涌澎湃的“民粹主义”,其极致表达就是控诉知识精英都已经被市场经济和利益集团“收编”,尤其对主张市场经济的自由派知识分子有着强烈的不信任、抵触与憎恶心态。萧功秦认为:“他们对知识分子主流表现出极度蔑视的同时,却把民众视为天生纯洁的,优秀的,没有受到污染的。民众是天生具有革命精神的。”这个群体认为只有他们才真正地与底层人民站在一起,代表底层人民的利益与需求。

  在《天涯》、《上海文学》等报刊上持续几年之久的知识分子关于“底层”与“底层文学”的讨论也折射了这一问题。论战一方认为我们的社会存在一个纯真的原生态的充满多样性的“失语的底层”,它根本无法被自以为是的知识分子“代言”,任何知识分子对底层的言说都是一种歪曲与利用,另一方认为口口声声地似乎在严肃思考如何让底层浮出水面的知识分子,其实是在道貌岸然地抢注“底层代言人”这个道德商标,从而在繁复而精致的话语游戏(这种游戏根本不为人民所愿意理解!)里完成为底层代言而拔高自身的道德形象。“底层”问题不仅仅是一个关于底层如何被文学性地表述的“学术问题”,也不仅仅是关于知识分子如何公共化进而为底层代言的“道德问题”,它也是一个关于当代中国知识分子如何处理自身在道德与政治的夹缝中的困境的问题。

  更让人拍案惊奇的是民粹主义的势力范围在继续攻城略地,甚至这股“野火”也已经烧到了一向被归置在自由派阵营的知识分子身上。旅美学者薛涌在最近发表于《南方周末》上的长文《从中国文化的失败看孔子的价值》(同时发表于广州《随笔》2008年第1期)里,公开声称“知识分子代表了中国文化传统中最丑恶的成分”,认为知识分子“本质上都是韩非理想中的法术之士,自以为掌握着某种国家理性,总想着获得超越共同体自治的权力、干预老百姓的生活”,鲁迅《阿Q正传》等反思国民性的作品在薛涌看来代表了知识精英“冷血”的“现代中国专制主义意识形态”,是对底层的妖魔化论述。他认为复兴中国文化之路不在这些知识分子身上,而在于向保存着中国文化最质朴精神的小共同体里的“最基层的小民百姓学习”。在这篇文章里,知识分子与底层民众的关系已经几近水火不容,底层所寄身的共同体被寄托了实现宪政的希望。

  为了论证小民百姓保存了他所言的共同体美德,薛涌列举了几年前一件矿难事故里,一个遇难矿工遇难之前将帽子交给身边的同事,幸存的同事转交给其妻子,帽子里的一张纸条写着:“孝敬父母,带好孩子,还张主任200块钱……”另外一个例证是湖南老汉李绍为为了不让老乡客死他乡,千里背尸回湘的“义举”。薛涌感慨这种文化精神在知识分子阶层早已荡然无存,应该到底层去寻找、发掘与培育。今日中国的共同体建设,在薛涌看来,也不需要知识分子阶层的“指手画脚”,除非后者愿意被“雇佣”。简言之,作者认为“启蒙”是知识分子的自欺欺人的玩意儿,底层完全应该抛弃或拒绝“启蒙知识分子”隔靴搔痒的“宏大叙事”。

  民粹主义最广泛的表达是在互联网上,人民成了不能被批评的敏感词汇,因为人民是改革进程的利益受损者和道德沦丧的社会里的唯一美德保存者,每当发生贫富阶层或个体之间的社会冲突,不管谁是有道理者,互联网的往往以青年学生为主体的“民意”总是自然地压倒性地倾向于弱势者一方,对于强调理性讨论的知识分子的发言总是不屑一顾,或者口诛笔伐。经济学家茅于轼《为富人说话,为穷人办事》、学者许纪霖反思研究生教育的《考研为何重蹈高考覆辙》以及让人啼笑皆非的所谓“雅阁女事件”等文字、视频都在网络上遭受了强烈的反弹。知识精英已经被普遍地预设成为体制服务的既得利益阶层,而遭受广泛的道德质疑与挑战,而被侮辱被损害的人民被想象成道德复兴与伦理实践的历史主体。

  

  社会根源

  当前部分知识分子阶层民粹化有着其深刻的社会根源,仔细分析和挖掘其社会根源也许才是找到理性对待民粹主义的方法的合理途径之一。最直接的社会原因是当前中国日益扩大的贫富两极分化,阶层之间越来越充满隔阂和敌意,财富阶层基本上被认为是依靠权力寻租与官商勾结等违法手段获得本来属于广大人民的资源,仇富心理成为典型的社会心理,草根或者底层虽然生活艰苦,但被肯定为是依靠自身努力而“干净地生活在这个世界”。知识分子处身这个社会背景,自然受其潜移默化之影响。

  与此同时,1990年代以来,与市场经济社会形成几乎同步的是大学、科研院所的迅速体制化,甚至产业化倾向,学院知识分子被课题、项目、评估等各种日常事务缠绕,生活越来越学院化与精英化,与此同时发生的是知识分子与现实社会变动的隔膜日益扩大,民工、农村、下岗工人都似乎被隔离在精致的象牙塔之外,而事实上秉持中国文化传统的知识分子是不可能真正地“躲进小楼成一统”,放弃其天然的关怀现实人生的情怀,疏离感、负疚感在部分知识分子心灵深处潜伏,而学院不断地揭露的学界腐败,以及学术不断行政化、官僚化之后造成的“异己感”,这些因素融汇在一起造成了知识分子的身份认同危机,“尊德性”的道德实践和参与社会变革比较起“道问学”(为学术而学术的学者生涯)似乎更具有精神的感召力,更能消除其内心的空虚感与无力感。这种倾向自然助长对知识分子阶层自身的离心倾向,与对工农大众的热情向往甚至激情想象。

  我们注意到比较具有民粹倾向的知识分子有很大一部分出身于草根阶层,或许经历过诸多底层挫折,对底层社会感同身受,当他们进入学院以后,发现知识精英完全不是他们所想象的那样,而都是为稻粱谋的利益集团,就容易幻灭而形成怨恨心理。正如萧功秦所指出的那样,“被主流社会歧视的边缘人经历,底层的生活经历与挫折感使他们产生对占有社会稀缺资源的精英阶层有一种强烈的抵制、怀疑乃到憎恶情绪,当他们看到某种社会不公现象时,就会把个人遭遇到的挫折与他所看到的社会不公平联系起来,并自认为是‘底层民众利益的代表者’,产生一种‘为民请命’的使命感。”这种创伤性记忆与悲情意识,会发酵成一种狂热的理想主义激情,为他们的言辞灌注一股道德理想主义的悲天悯人的特质。

  或许,还有一个深层的根由也值得指出,正如阿伦特在《论革命》里对比法国大革命与美国革命时所指出的,前者囿于贫困等社会问题而导致道德激情四处弥漫到公共广场,最后以同情和怜悯为出发点的大革命却走向了雅各宾专政的残暴,而美国革命始终坚持将政治自由问题优先于社会问题来处置,因而探索出一条社会代价相对较低的社会进步道路。今天的中国自然是更关注贫富分化等社会问题,这也容易强化社会平等问题的尖锐性,成为世俗社会的道德神经,时刻刺激知识分子的良心,而误把有大体一致目标的知识分子阶层与底层人为对立起来。

  在政治文化没有被“刮骨疗毒”的时候,在公民权利没有“实至名归”的时候,在公民社会没有“稳如磐石”的时候,在阿伦特所谓“平庸的邪恶”到处弥漫,而反思的精神寥若晨星的时候,一味地寄希望于势单力薄的乡村小共同体,以及无限地美化“底层”的道德精神与文化质素,而鄙视乃至否定具有理智力量的知识分子阶层,只能是寻求民族自新之途的知识分子的“一帘幽梦”而已。

  事实上,于建嵘对湘南农村的农民维权行动的田野调查结果、厦门抵制PX项目的环保运动、上海市民抗议磁悬浮的散步行动等,都证实了知识分子与民众(包括底层),并非对抗关系,而是有着合作的可能与实践。研究20世纪中国政治文化卓有成就的美国芝加哥大学华裔学者邹谠生前说过的一番话,也许值得所有的有着民粹化倾向和关注此问题的读者寻味:“狂热的理想主义和激进的犬儒主义都是一回事:对它们自己以外的一切人物与实体都不负责任。狂热的理想主义者只对他们自己的理想负责,激进的犬儒主义者只对他们狭隘的自我利益负责。”

The Populism of the Lower Social Strata and the Intellectuals

By Tang Xiaobing 唐小兵

南风窗 4/2008 issue

http://www.nfcmag.com/view-582.html

Tang Xiaobing  唐小兵 a scholar at Shanghai’s East China Normal University 

(http://college.usc.edu/faculty/faculty1008212.html ) in a recent issue of Nanfeng Chuan outlined the development of populism in China during the Twentieth Century.

[Translator’s note:I originally translated the term mincuizhuyi as national chauvinism, since populism does shade over into national chauvinism and it seemed to fit better there, rather than the conventional translation of mincuizhuyi as populism. Now I changed it because Tang Xiaobing, who knows English well, told me he prefers and meant populism. I am reminded of my old French professor who told us one day that translation is like imposing two screen with whole of different dimensions on each other. Nothing really quite matches. And of the French expression “traduire, c’est trahir” – to translate is to betray. End note]

Summary translation follows:

Chinese populism flows from two sources. The first came to China from Russia in the early 20th century from the writings of [Note: the 19th century utopian socialist and inspiration to Lenin] Nikolai Chernyshevsky and others who called on intellectuals to go out amongst the people for it is among them that all that is pure, noble and worthwhile is to be found. The other root of Chinese populism comes for the radically anti-traditional current in Chinese tradition “discard the sages and cast aside all wisdom” 绝圣去智慧

Populism has been extremely influential on Chinese society at all levels during the 20th century. Especially interesting is how populism got such a strong hold on Chinese intellectuals. We can divide this story into three parts.

First, there is radically anti-traditional May 4, 1919 movement that called for the wholesale importation of western ways. Slogans calling for Democracy and Science were common. While totaling rejecting the elite Chinese culture of the day, the May 4 movement looked for inspiration among the folk culture of the lower strata in Chinese society. In Shanghai, the Left Wing Writers’ Group, which was under the political and social influence of the Chinese Communist Party, in publications such as Shenbao, came a great wave of writings, calling for people to go down to live with the people and to become one with them all the way criticizing cultural elites for being very corrupt and being mere servants of the authoritarian rulers of traditional society. True goodness and truth was to be found among the oppressed and exploited people at the bottom of society.

Later, during the anti-rightist period [Note: Great Leap Forward of 1957 and later] , the movement to sent young educated people to the countryside, and the Cultural Revolution, this kind of populism reached a peak and many intellectuals were “brainwashed”, so there they would experience in the depths of their souls a revolution would break out as they renounced their previous system of thought and cultural values. At the time, China’s workers and peasants were regarded as the people who were the most moral and were the most able members of society. Intellectuals were likened to devils and snakes as the worst kind of political criminals.

From this we can see that after populism appeared amongst Chinese intellectuals, it has been used mostly as a means of political and cultural control.

Today, after there first two stages, we see populism appearing once again among Chinese intellectuals in China today. It most extreme expression is in accusations that China’s intellectual elites have been all deceived by the market and interest groups. Intellectuals who urge liberal economic reforms are particularly distrusted or even hated. People who think that way believe that only they themselves stand with the lower strata in society and represent their needs and interests.

For the past several years in periodicals such as Tianwa and Shanghai Wenxue (Shanghai Literature) intellectuals have been discussing the “lower strata” 底层and “lower strata literature” . In the controversies that break out, one side says that there is a pure, natural and diverse “voiceless lower strata” , they cannot be spoken for by intellectuals, since any intellectual trying to speaking for them is just a distortion and a selfish use of them. The other side seems to be deliberating just how to give the lower strata their own voice and some even seen themselves as the spokespersons for the lower strata. The problem of the lower strata is not simply an “academic problem” of how to describe them in literature or how the intellectuals can represent the lower strata in addressing issues of “virtue”. It is a matter of how intellectuals handle problems in the space between morals and politics.

Populism is well represented on the internet. The “people” has become a sensitive word that cannot be criticized, because the people are the one repository of moral goodness that has been harmed by the interests pushing reforms. Whenever there is a conflict between the rich and the poor, no matter who is in the right, the students and other people on the web in their vast majority stand on the side of the weaker one. They are very critical of intellectuals who want to look at an issue dispassionately. Writings by economist Mao Yushi “Speaking for the Wealthy, Handling Affairs for the Poor” “ 为富人说话,为穷人办事” and scholar Xu Jilin’s reflection on graduate student education “Why are graduate school entrance examinations just like university entrance examinations?” and the overreaction to the foolish Elegant Club Woman Affair 雅阁女事件 [Note: In mid 2006 a self styled “Elegant club woman” declared that anyone who makes less than RMB 3000 per month is lower strata set off a firestorm of millions of angry responses] are vigorously attacked online. Elite intellectuals are dismissed as mere servants to interest groups and are challenged at all turns about their morals and actions, while the oppressed and insulted are considered the seed bearers for a moral renaissance.

There are social reasons behind the attractiveness of populism to intellectuals today. Perhaps considering the social sources of populism and can gives us methods for dealing with this populism rationally. The most fundamental social reason for the rise of populism is the growing gap between rich and poor in Chinese society today. There an increasing feeling of a divide and of enmity between people on the two sides of the divide. People of the properties strata are seen as using illegal means such as relying on power to harvest economic rents or special deals between officials and businesspeople to capture resources that originally belonged to all the people. Hating the rich has become a common attitude in society. The people at the grassroots or the lower strata are characterized as “living cleanly in this world.” Intellectuals with this social background are affected by it in subtle ways.

Moreover, ever since the 1990s, universities and scientific institutions rapidly institutionalizes in step with the rapid expansion of the market economy society. Commercialization and commercial pressures have come too to the academies have faced more pressure for evaluations, organization of projects, and society became more and more elitist. At the same time the gap between society and the intellectuals grew with migrant workers, laid off workers and villagers are locked outside the ivory tower of academia. Among some intellectuals there is a feeling of distancing and unease since they believe that intellectuals living up to Chinese tradition cannot allow themselves to be “a group set apart”, giving up the duty of human concern for real people. Meanwhile from academe itself come report after report of corruption, academic work becomes more routinized by administration and bureaucracy, resulting in feelings of alienation and identity crisis for some intellectuals. As a result some intellectuals feel they want to leave their own intellectual circles and become very passionate about the masses of the workers and the peasants.

A large proportion of intellectuals with chauvinist tendencies come from grassroots backgrounds and faced themselves frustrations as a member of the lower strata and so have come to feel great sympathy for them. When they enter academia, they find that the intellectual elites are completely different from what they had expected. They see scheming interest groups in academia and so their punctured illusions are transformed to hate. These memories of past wounds and sadness can breed a raging, idealist passion and imbue their speech with a sanctimonious quality.

In these days when the ills of the political cultures have not been remedied, when the rights of citizens are not “realized in practice”, and civil society has not become rock solid, when what Hannah Arendt called “the banality of evil” spreads far and widemany intellectuals put their trust in the small, isolated communities like rural villages. They idealize the beauty and excellent characters of the lower strata without any reserve. They despise the rational thinking of the intellectual strata of society. They can only entertain fantasies about intellectuals who search for a new national path.

But in actual fact,  scholars with real ties to the masses such as Yu Jianrong 于建嵘 [Note: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences scholar] has done field studies of the peasant rights protection movement in Hunan Province, the environmental protection movement that stopped the PX project in Xiamen, and demonstrations in Shanghai against the high speed maglev train, demonstrate the non-oppositional nature of relations between intellectuals and the masses (including the lower strata) demonstrate both the possibility and practice of cooperation between the masses and the intellectuals. Zou Dang 邹谠, the late distinguished scholar of Chinese 20th century political culture at the University of Chicago, who is of Chinese descent, said something that everyone concerned about the trend towards populism should consider: “Extreme idealism and extreme cynicism are the same: they take no responsibility for anything or anyone other than themselves. Extreme idealists take responsibility only for their own ideals, extreme cynics only take responsibility for their own narrow interests.”

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One Response to 翻译摘要:底层与知识分子的民粹主义

  1. auroramin says:

    文章很老也很好,2010年后,这类文章不被“和谐”实属传奇。我这样的人,沦落到只能看看10年前的书籍和社论,主流媒体的东西简直…FXXX~
    By the way,很好奇,如果现在老外的语言功底都好成这样,(包括我认识的)为什么仍钟情于“大山,大川,大人,大牛,大伟, etc.”这类恶俗到底的中文名?难不成是拿自己黑色幽默?
    @_@ 如果是,老外的恶搞境界不仅非一般的高,而且还是international的 -_-!!!

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