Chris Van Es

让思想市场变得文明

美国剑桥—“当人们意识到时间扰乱了许多互相斗争的信仰时,”美国最高法院法官霍尔姆斯(Oliver Wendell Holmes)在其1919年的著名反对意见中写道,“他们开始相信……要追求至善,最好还是通过思想的自由交流来实现至善——即,真理的最佳检验乃是让思想接受市场竞争看其是否能被接受,而真理是人们的愿望可以安全实现的唯一土壤。”

但是,与所有市场一样,思想市场需要监管:特别是,思想市场参与者必须受诚信、谦卑和礼貌规范的约束。此外,每一位思想交流者都应该遵守这些原则。

当然,各时期的政客们用污言秽语污染着思想市场。但令人惊奇的是,美国政坛在这方面颇有进步。安能伯格公共政策中心(Annenberg Public Policy Center)的一份研究指出,近几年来国会中的失礼情况要好于20世纪90年代或40年代。共和党参议员科鲁兹(Ted Cruz)因为在1月时猛烈质疑即将履新的国防部长哈格尔(Chuck Hagel)而饱受抨击。但在麦卡锡时代蔚然成风的从爱国角度攻击被提名者的做法现如今早已不再是常态。

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