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追忆孟德斯鸠:如何在社交媒体时代守护自由

追忆孟德斯鸠:如何在社交媒体时代守护自由


告各位道友

公号英文排版的问题,向微信官方反馈了,但修复可能还需要一段时间。Patience……制作了PDF版本,不存在排版问题,可以安心地学、放心地读。公众号内回复关键词【孟德斯鸠】,获取本文PDF版本下载链接🐸


我们翻译这篇文章的理由


我们说,一项高瞻远瞩的政策可以管五十年、一百年,是独属大政治家的手笔。但对大思想家来说,五十年、一百年都太短了。思想的巨人们的步子总是这么大,能一步跨越数个、数十个世纪,能让思想随时从故纸堆中复活,来到你所生活的世界——而这种神奇的体验,也正是我们翻译完这篇文章的感受。

——伍豪


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致社交媒介危机的自由主义药方


作者:ANDREAS AKTOUDIANAKIS

译者:崔颖

校对:周伍豪

策划:唐萧 & 崔颖


The liberal answer to the crisis in social media

致社交媒介危机的自由主义药方


“IT MATTERS not whether individuals reason well or ill…Truth arises from the collision,” said Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu. Judging from the flame wars on Twitter, the nastiness of Facebook comments and the vitriol on Reddit, there are certainly a lot of collisions in the digital public sphere. It is less clear that they produce much truth. 

夏尔·德·塞孔达,拉布雷特暨孟德斯鸠男爵曾说“当人们据理力争时,个人观点本身的优劣并没那么重要……碰撞能够产生真理。”你看推特(Twitter)上弥漫着的“熊熊战火”、脸书(Facebook)上的恶意留言、红迪(Reddit)上尖酸刻薄的评论便可知晓,社交媒体上的碰撞简直不胜枚举, 但这类碰撞却不见得能产生多少真理。 

vitriol / ˈvɪtrɪəl; ˋvɪtrɪəl/ n [U] 

  • (dated 旧) sulphuric acid or any of its salts 硫酸; 硫酸盐; 矾: blue vitriol,ie copper sulphate 胆矾(五水硫酸铜). 

  • (fig 比喻) savagely hostile comments or criticism 深怀敌意的评语或批评: His attack on the government was pure vitriol. 他纯粹出於恶意抨击政府.


Montesquieu, a French political philosopher of the early 1700s, is best known for the “separation of powers”: the idea that a government divided into three branches—executive, legislative and judicial—works best, because power is not concentrated. But the context of his times is crucial. In the early Enlightenment, Montesquieu and other thinkers were regularly composing pamphlets and treatises, an explosion of information similar to today’s digital-media deluge.

孟德斯鸠是法国18世纪初的政治哲学家,他“分权而治”的思想广为人知,即:行政、立法和司法三权分立的政府形式最优,由于权力不集中于一方,因此可以互相制约。而他所处的时代背景也值得重视。启蒙运动初期,孟德斯鸠和其他思想家经常印发宣传小册、撰写论文,彼时信息的“井喷”和当今数字媒体带来的“信息爆炸”十分相似。

pamphlet /ˈpæmflɪt; ˋpæmflɪt/ n small book with a paper cover, usu containing information on a subject of public interest or expressing a political opinion 小册子(通常指有关时事或政治见解的).

deluge /ˈdeljuːdʒ; ˋdɛljudʒ/ n  (fig 比喻) great quantity of sth that comes all at once 同时涌来的大量事物


The central debate was over “luxuries”. That is, whether the nascent economic system, capitalism, was a praiseworthy expression of human freedom that produced material plenty, or a wicked system that corrupted values of patriotism and piousness and created inequality. Montesquieu, ever the moderate, espoused a middle view: he embraced the modern but with reasonable constraints. His thinking is relevant today, as society debates the good and ills of social media.

辩论的焦点围绕着“享受”展开,也就是说,对于资本主义这一新兴的经济体制,是该为它带来的物质丰盈而称颂其为人类自由的“代言”,还是因其腐化人们的爱国精神与虔敬的信仰、带来不平等,而将其视为一种邪恶的制度?温和派的孟德斯鸠拥护着中道的观点: 他欣然接受这种现代的体制,但需对其有合理的约束。当前社会正激烈地讨论着社交媒体的善与恶,而他当年的思想,仍与我们今天的时代紧密相连。 


Montesquieu believed that “political liberty in a citizen is that tranquillity of spirit which comes from the opinion each one has of his security, and in order for him to have this liberty the government must be such that one citizen cannot fear another citizen” (“Spirit of the Laws”, book 11, chapter 6). For Montesquieu, liberty is an opinion and formed based on facts. For citizens to defend their liberty from abuse, they need to have access to reliable information to identify possible threats.

孟德斯鸠认为“公民所享受的政治自由是一种平静从容的精神状态,这种状态,源自于每位公民都认为自身是安全的这个看法。为了保证公民享有这份自由,政府必须让其治下的公民不会恐惧彼此“(《论法的精神》,11卷,第6章)。对孟德斯鸠来说,自由是一种基于事实而形成的观念。 若公民要捍卫他们的自由不被践踏,他们须有可靠的信息来源以辨识潜在的威胁。

译者注:怎么把文章作者本段中对孟德斯鸠的援引翻译精准简洁,更贴合孟德斯鸠的原意,但同时要考虑到读者读起来不会过于拗口,确实让我一度特别着急。尤其是对opinion的理解,我在初译时译成“源自于每位公民对自身安全的看法”。校对的前辈点出对“自身对安全的看法”可以是positive的,也可以是negative的,并不能很好的表达原意,多次修改后才有了上面的版本。


In this light, misinformation online prevents citizens from enjoying their liberties. Authoritarian governments, populists and far-right parties use social media to shape public opinion using false or divisive messages. Instead of tackling social and political problems with thoughtful policies, they point the finger of blame at perceived threats such as refugees, immigrants and minorities. Through misleading information and scapegoating, they undermine democratic debate, civil liberties and human rights.

因此,网络上的错误信息让公民无法享受他们的自由。威权政府、民粹主义者、极右政党利用社交媒体,通过虚假的、容易挑起纷争的信息来塑造民意。他们不用体恤百姓的政策化解社会和政治问题,反将责任推给他们武断认定的问题群体,例如难民、移民和少数族裔。通过找替罪羊和释放误导性信息,他们正腐蚀着民主辩论、公民自由和人权。 


Montesquieu, instead of siding with conservative or libertarian voices in the debates of his day, took a centrist position. “I say it, and it seems to me that I have written this work only to prove it: the spirit of moderation should be that of the legislator; the political good, like the moral good, is always found between two limits” (“Spirit”, book 29, chapter 1).

在他的时代,当保守派和自由派激烈论战时,孟德斯鸠没有选边站队,而是秉持中间立场。“于我而言,似乎我写这部著作只是为了证明:立法者应有中道的精神。政治上的善,如同道德上的善一样,总是处于两种极端之间。“(《论法的精神》,29卷,第1章)。 

译者注:对于本段中道还是中庸的选词,我和校对的前辈讨论了很久。看似是两个同义词,但其中文语境、渊源有着很大差别,在查证中文用词及贴合英文文本表意背景的考量后,选择了中道。


Montesquieu would certainly argue that the digital revolution could enlarge the scope for democratic debate and public deliberation, so long as our democracies bridged the gap between innovation and under-regulation.

孟德斯鸠一定会尽力论证,数字革命有能力拓宽民主辩论和公众审议的边界,但若要愿景成真,仍需我们的民主制度能够消弭创新与监管不足之间的沟壑。


Judging by his response to the debates over the political economy in his own day, the French philosopher would argue that policymakers should create rules to ensure rights on social media to things like “the protection of personal data”, “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and “freedom of expression and information”. Consider how his arguments dovetail with the points set out in articles 8, 10 and 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (EUCFR)*.

从他对当时政治经济学论战的回应便可判断,这位法国哲学家定会力争让立法者制定相关法规以保障公民在社交媒体上的各项权利,比如“保护个人数据”,“思想、良心和宗教信仰的自由“、“言论与信息的自由”。 想想这和他在《欧洲联盟基本权利宪章》*(EUCFR)第8条、第10条和第11条的陈述是多么吻合。

《欧洲联盟基本权利宪章》*为一份规范着各种被认为是至高无上的、对许多非欧盟国家而言也是极为先进的人民基本权利的文件。本宪章的内文最初在欧盟理事会通过后,被并入《欧盟宪法》的草案之中。然而这个草案在法国以及荷兰的公投中遭到反对,所以没有通过。


First, data. Montesquieu would surely argue that policymakers must affirm citizens’ “right of access to data which has been collected concerning him or her, and the right to have it rectified” (EUCFR, article 8, paragraph 2). By effectively enforcing this right, “each citizen would have his own will and would value his independence according to his taste”, Montesquieu would say (“Spirit”, book 19, chapter 27).

首先,数据。孟德斯鸠定要立法者肯定公民“拥有获取数据的权利,即那些和公民个人相关的、被收集的数据,以及修正它们的权利”(《欧洲联盟基本权利宪章》,第8条,第2段)。通过卓有成效地实施这项权利,“任何公民将遵从个人意愿,并依据其偏好来塑造他的独立性。“(《论法的精神》,19卷,27章)


Next, separation of powers. Montesquieu famously argued that “When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty” (“Spirit”, book 11, chapter 6). Comparably, Montesquieu would probably opine that there can be no effective check on the abuse of freedom of thought in social media, unless the purveyor of user-generated content is separate from the one who establishes its legitimacy (EUCFR, article 10). To achieve this, he would warmly embrace the idea that content on social media be “subject to control by an independent authority” that ensures its “compliance” with the relevant laws (EUCFR, article 8, paragraph 3).

其次,权力分立。孟德斯鸠有一著名论断:“当立法权与行政权都在一人之手,或集中于同一执法机关时,那便毫无自由可言“(《论法的精神》,11卷,第6章)。同样,孟德斯鸠可能会说,如果网络内容的提供者不能独立于相关规则的立法者,那思想自由*在社交媒体上的滥用,便没有行之有效的制约之法(《欧洲联盟基本权利宪章》,第10条)。为实现此举,孟德斯鸠会热切地接受这样的想法,即让独立的权力机关来管控社交媒体上的内容,以确保对相关法律的“遵从”(《欧洲联盟基本权利宪章》,第8条,第3段)。

思想自由*,亦称为“良心自由”或“理念自由”,是个人拥有或思考独立于他人之外的观点、事实、思想之自由。它与言论自由或表达自由的概念不同,不应混淆。(来自维基百科)


Third, free speech. Montesquieu believed that “in order to enjoy liberty, each must be able to say what he thinks” (“Spirit”, book 19, chapter 27). Accordingly, citizens on social media must be able to form their opinions “without interference by public authority and without frontiers” (EUCFR, article 11). Toward this end, Montesquieu would surely argue that policymakers must do more to protect free expression by combating propaganda and state-sponsored trolling. Failing to do so, citizens “would immediately feel that life and goods are no more theirs than their way of thinking and that he who can rob them of the one can more easily take away the other”, Montesquieu would say (“Spirit”, book 29, chapter 27).

第三,言论自由。孟德斯鸠认为,“要享有自由,每个人必须能够畅所欲言”(《论法的精神》,第19卷,27章)。相应地,公民必须要能在 “没有政府介入、没有国别限制(《欧洲联盟基本权利宪章》第11条)“的社交媒体上建立自己的观点。为此孟德斯鸠一定会主张立法者必须加大力度与那些政治宣传和有国家撑腰的网络水军进行抗争,以保护言论自由的实现。若无法对言论自由加以保护,公民“会立即感到,正如被夺走的思维方式一样,公民的生命和财产也不再属于自己。而那些有能力夺走他人思想自由的人,就能同样轻而易举地剥夺他人的生命和财产。”(《论法的精神》,第29卷,27章)


Baron de Montesquieu could not have dreamt of the vast array of media we use to freely communicate our opinions in liberal democracies today. The manipulation of public opinion on social media, and the abuse of privacy by big-data companies, threaten the values that Montesquieu sought to protect.

孟德斯鸠男爵恐怕做梦也不会想到,在当今的自由民主国家,我们有这样大规模的媒介,用来自由地抒发己见。社交媒体上对舆论的操纵、大数据公司滥用个人信息,这些都威胁着孟德斯鸠一直力图保护的那些价值。


In our time, the price of defending our minds and liberties depends largely on whether policymakers develop rules to protect people on social media. Montesquieu has much to offer. In his view, today’s tech giants must be ready to “sacrifice” their “ease”, and policymakers must let “small interests cede to greater ones” to protect our democracies from abuse— “like hands rescuing the body”, as Montesquieu put it.

当今时代,捍卫我们观点和自由的难度,多数情况下取决于立法者是否能够健全法律法规来保护使用社交媒体的公民。孟德斯鸠可以教给我们很多。他认为,当今的科技巨头必须准备好 “牺牲” 他们那份 “便利” ,而立法者也必须允许 “为更大的利益而舍弃小利” 从而更好的保护我们的民主不被科技公司滥用。 正如孟德斯鸠所言 “就像左右双手合力,双管齐下,以解体制之危” 。

译者注:“like hands rescuing the body”,这一小句援引自:

“As these parties are made up of free men,” Montesquieu describes, “if one party gained too much, the effect of liberty would be to lower it while the citizens would come and raise the other party like hands rescuing the body.


追忆孟德斯鸠:如何在社交媒体时代守护自由

  • 本文原载于 The Economist

  • 原文链接:https://www.economist.com/open-future/2019/01/31/the-liberal-answer-to-the-crisis-in-social-media


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