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梭罗和他的《公民不服从》 – 译学馆
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梭罗和他的《公民不服从》

Thoreau and Civil Disobedience

政治学理论
POLITICAL THEORY
梭罗和他的《公民不服从》
Thoreau and Civil Disobedience
1845年3月 美国有了一位新总统——詹姆斯·诺克斯·波尔克——
In March 1845, the United States acquired a new president – James K. Polk –
这匹强硬有力的政治黑马意图强化美国
a forceful, aggressive political outsider intent on strengthening his country
并宣称美国对其他世界大国尤其是墨西哥和英国的先导地位
and asserting its pre-eminence in front of other world powers, especially Mexico and Great Britain.
他上任不到一年 就因德克萨斯边境争端对墨西哥
Within a year of his inauguration, he had declared full-scale war on Mexico
全面宣战
because of squabbles over the Texan border,
并且很快因俄勒冈的主权问题对英国磨刀霍霍
and was soon rattling his sabre at Britain over the ownership of Oregon.
还需要了解的是 波尔克是一位坚定的奴隶制拥护者
To complete the picture, Polk was a vigorous defender of slavery,
他对废奴主义主张嗤之以鼻 认为他们很幼稚、感情用事
who dismissed the arguments of abolitionists as naive and sentimental.
波尔克是是一位很受欢迎的总统 很多人欣赏他的狂热风格
Polk was a popular president, admired by many for his gung-ho manner,
但也有相当一部分少数派极度厌恶他
but a sizeable minority of the citizenry disliked him intensely.
其中一位坚定的反对者是来自麻省的作家亨利·大卫·梭罗
One especially committed opponent was a writer from Massachusetts called Henry David Thoreau.
梭罗是美国权威文学人物
Thoreau is now a canonical American literary figure,
美国所有中学都要学他那部深沉抒情的杰作——《瓦尔登湖》
studied in every high school for his lyrical masterpiece, Walden.
但通常不为人知的是 梭罗也有
But there is another, more political side to Thoreau,
更加政治的一面
now usually air-brushed out of the story,
他因与总统的关系开始崭露头角
which came to the fore in relation to the President.
梭罗很快发现自己反对波尔克所有的立场:
Thoreau quickly realised he was opposed to everything Polk stood for:
他痛恨美墨战争
he hated what became the Mexican-American war,
本能地与失败的墨西哥站在一方
instinctively siding with the losing Mexican side,
他对波尔克与英国的争端持谨慎态度
he was wary of Polk’s squabbles with Britain
对当局追捕奴隶
and was appalled by the administration’s policy of hunting down
并将奴隶交还南方奴隶主的政策惊骇不已
and returning runaway slaves to their masters in the South.
梭罗在其1849年发表的一篇随笔中 将他对总统的愤怒化为激情的文字
Thoreau’s anger against his President found its impassioned expression in an essay he published in 1849,
它就是大家现在所知道的《公民不服从》
now known as Civil Disobedience.
这篇随笔的中心思想是关于一个诚实的公民
At the heart of the essay is the question of what an honest citizen should do
对他/她全力反对的总统应该做的事
about a president he or she wholeheartedly opposes.
当时普遍的看法是 波尔克以绝对多数优势赢得选举
The prevailing view was that because Polk had won a majority,
那些反对他的人就该从此闭嘴
those who were against him should now fall silent.
人们也常说 一个良民的职责应该是收起他们的反对意见
It should – it was often said – be the duty of a good citizen to fold away their objections
然后尊重大多数人的意愿
and just respect the will of the majority.
但这恰恰是梭罗想要探讨与改变的一点
But this was precisely the point Thoreau wished to probe and upturn.
他认为真正的爱国者并非那些盲目接受领导的人
He suggested that true patriots were not those who blindly followed their administration.
而是那些遵从自己良知
They were those who followed their own consciences
尤其是遵从理性原则的人
and in particular, the principles of reason.
梭罗希望重新对独立思想正名而非追捧狭隘的服从
Thoreau wished to redistribute prestige away from blinkered obedience towards independent thought.
他认为 一名合众国的高贵公民 一个真正的美国人
What marked out a noble citizen of the republic, a real American,
并不是那些乖乖闭上嘴的人
was not – in Thoreau’s view – that they respectfully shut up,
而是那些每天都自发思考关于国家管理问题的人
but that they thought for themselves every day of an administration’s life.
就是基于这种独立思想 梭罗将自己与波尔克的立场彻底对立开来
On the basis of just this kind of independent thinking, Thoreau signalled a radical opposition to Polk’s term.
他对美墨战争、遣返奴隶政策
He denounced the Mexican-American war, the repatriation of slaves
以及政府的执政方式进行更普遍的抨击
and the outlook of the government more generally.
为了强调其反对立场 梭罗还拒绝缴税
And so as to underline his opposition, Thoreau held back payment of his taxes.
1846年7月 梭罗去麻省的康科特镇找人修鞋
In July 1846, he walked into Concord, Massachusetts to get his shoes repaired
然后他在那里被捕 进了镇监狱
and was arrested and thrown into the town’s jail.
梭罗并不觉得蹲过监狱有什么不体面的 他写到:
Thoreau saw nothing undignified about spending some time behind bars. As he wrote:
‘在非正义监禁任何公民的政府统治下, 正义之士的真正去处也就是监狱.’
‘Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is a prison.’
梭罗也承认 “一切机器都会产生摩擦”
‘All machines have their friction,’ Thoreau admitted,
但是当不公已如此严重 我们就应该“以生命为反摩擦力来刹住这台机器”
but when injustice is too great, you should ‘let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine.’
梭罗并没有鼓吹把不纳税变成常规
Thoreau didn’t advocate the non-payment of taxes as a rule,
实际上 一位好心的姑姑很快替他买了单
and in fact, a well-meaning aunt soon paid his bill.
不交税只是许多非暴力手段中的一种
The non-payment was just one example of the many non-violent ways
是当民主选举政府的行为变得暴力无理时
that a democratically elected government could and must be resisted
公民不得不采取的抵抗手段
when its actions veer into aggression and unreason.
选举可以解决谁当总统的问题
An election may settles who the president might be,
但是它无法保证总统所做的一切都是正确的
but it doesn’t determine that everything that president does is right
或者人们在下次选举之前就该什么都不用做了
or that one should simply do nothing until the next election.
总之 梭罗痛恨政治被动性
Above all, Thoreau hated political passivity.
他讽刺说:
Sarcastically he wrote:
“成千上万的人都反对奴隶制和战争
‘There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war,
但他们行动上却没有为终结奴隶制和战争做任何努力
who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them;
他们自诩是华盛顿和富兰克林的子孙
who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin,
却两手揣兜里安坐着
sit down with their hands in their pockets,
说他们不知道怎么做 然后就真的什么都不做”
and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing.’
但梭罗不想这样:
This would not be Thoreau’s his way:
“面对今日之美国政府, 如何行事方为俊杰?
‘How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today?
我的回答是, 与政府关联而不致蒙羞者无”
I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.’
梭罗认为 公民永远不应将自己的良知屈从于立法
Thoreau argued that the citizen must never just ‘resign his conscience to the legislation’
也不应“效忠于一些寡廉鲜耻的当权者”
and put himself ‘at the service of some unscrupulous man in power.’
他嘲弄“大多立法者、政客、律师、部长及官员们
Thoreau mocked that ‘most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders…
想都不想就能把魔鬼当上帝一样服务”
are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God.”
而梭罗不想当这样一个奴仆
Thoreau would not be such a servant.
这个最能代表美国的作家清楚知道他应服务于谁:
This most American of writers knew exactly whom it was right for him to serve:
他自己的思想和良知
his own mind and conscience.

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梭罗认为公民不应盲目遵从统治者的领导,而是应该有独立思想和良知。尤其当政府行为变得暴力无理时,公民有义务抵抗不服从,并时刻准备以"以生命做刹住这台机器的反摩擦力"。

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【MO】哒

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gugnXTN6-D4

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