使民主崇高

自从民主在古代雅典出现以后,那些坚信人性的最高目的是道德而不是自由的人就对它心存疑惑。在《理想国》第八章中,柏拉图竟然随意地将政治领袖定义为“那些剥夺富人的财产并分给平民,同时竭力将其中的更大部分留与自己的人。”当然,尽管柏拉图对民主的蔑视流露在字里行间,但他有一个观点是合理的:毕竟,当民主选举成了对自私自利和最低道德标准的奖赏时,又如何能确保崇高的道德标准呢?

当今自由社会的公民(几乎都)是信念、传统和习惯浸淫出来的民主主义者。只有极少数人表现出民粹主义倾向,即他们一朝掌权就可能领导社会从民主走向独裁。不过,当今的民主公民大都在公共领域缺乏信心,并且对他们自己的经济和政治精英们缺少信任。的确,这种现象在年轻选民中甚为突出,他们的投票率正大幅下滑。

在欧洲,这种冷漠通常被认为是对战后那一场似乎不会终止的经济繁荣最终减速的回应。但这其实只是事实的一部分。当然,如果我们能够保证快速而普遍的经济增长,民主的其他弱点很可能被淡忘。但我们不能。相反,我们所看到的只是由一轮接一轮的削减国家开支所构成的空洞的公众利益。这也就难怪当今的民主公民们越来越关注他们国家精英们的低道德标准了。

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/sgTv3Xw/zh;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now