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老美看美国: 民主制度为何选择糟糕的政策

热度 5已有 2068 次阅读2012-1-25 21:29 |个人分类:老美看美国|系统分类:杂谈分享到微信

 

老美看美国: 民主制度为何选择糟糕的政策

 

/他爹,翻译/他娘

 

2012125

 

由于我前面写的许多文章揭露美国社会问题,有些读者认为我“反美”。我不同意。强烈反对!

 

要做一个好美国人,我的看法是,需要提出问题,事情为什么这样而不是那样。指出不公平之处,向所有的公民问一个问题“我们可以做的更好吗?”正是因为提出这样的问题,奴隶制被禁止了。正是这类问题,带来了民权。正是此类问题,把欧洲从纳粹德国蹂躏中解救出来,正是这样的问题,帮助中国打败了大日本帝国。

 

能够质疑是重要的。但是,了解你要问的问题更重要。这让你可以问而有据。

 

所有这些,让我想讨论一下民主制度维为何能够并已经选择了糟糕的政策。

 

思考一下这个问题--美国大约有两亿合格的选民。在上次的大选中,大概只有一个亿投票了。这是很可怕的。伊拉克数年前第一次选举投票人数比这个数字比例高很多。也许美国帮助别人发展民主制度比帮自己发展民主制度做的更好。

 

然而,我们选举时的低投票率真是一件坏事吗?也许不是。考虑到也许那一亿没有投票的人并不在乎投票,原因是或许他们意识到自己对很多议题或候选人并不了解,所以决定不去投票。这样的话,我倒认为是件好事。

 

我在观看当前剩下的共和党内总统候选人提名辩论会时发现,很明显每一个人都在迎合眼前绝大多数人的随心所欲。这就是民主制度做出糟糕决定程序的开始。

 

研究表明,我亦曾亲眼目睹,多数选民是如何选择总统的。候选人只要在一两个问题上与选民利益一致,比如堕胎或移民,就可以获得他们的选票。

 

不是还有更多比流产和移民问题更深远和更重要得多的影响着其它所有美国人日常生活的问题吗?我说是。但选民并不是根据这些来投票。一个典型的例子就是羅姆尼是怎样为了获得共和党初选选民的整体青睐而不懈努力的。为什么会这样?第一个初选州的基督教福音派投票是非常重要的。羅姆尼是许多福音派基督教认为邪教的摩门教,他在社会问题上的立场被视为是温和派 —— 如同性恋婚姻或工会、 卫生保健、 国家安全或移民事务。

 

候选人里获得众多基督徒选票的是里克 · 桑托伦、 金里奇 (尽管到目前为止他已有过三任妻子) 和目前的非候选人里克 · 佩里。他们收到的选票总和大于羅姆尼。如果他们是一个有共识的候选人,而不是两个甚至三个候选人,他们将打败羅姆尼,共和党将选出他们非常保守的候选人。

 

但问题是,这个国家面临的问题远比他们那些喋喋不休并且毫无解决之道的议题更为紧迫---堕胎和移民不会立马解决的。然而,这些问题又是人们津津乐道,争论不休的这就是文化战争。

 

所以,此类过程,即民主过程,允许公民把和他们一样相信那些问题的人放在权力位置(堕胎和/或移民),也许那个人在其他方面,作为这个世界上最强大的国家里最强大的人来说绝对不称职。

 

不知情的选民还可以把国家推向"流行观点"变得疯狂的方向。国家采取行动制定政策是感情用事,而不是基于深思熟虑的事实。伊拉克战争就是一个很好的例子。我并不是反对战争   我只是反对愚蠢的战争。


有很多糟糕的政策是被大众需求制定的。基本上,群众都是带着感情色彩呼喊着要做某件事。然后,要做正确的事情你就要对这件事有所了解。如果你不懂,那就去搞懂,或者干脆不投票。你不会不试驾就买车吧。那么为啥要给一个你都没有研究了解过的人投票呢?你可能会因为某个观点比如移民跟你观点一致而投他的票,但是你忘记了他要增加你的税收,损害你的权力,拿走你的福利,或者把你的孩子或者你自己送到愚蠢的战场上去。

 

有句老话“理性的投票人”现在可以说是一个神话了。大多数投票人是无知的。只要有一两个议题是他们的挚爱(堕胎,移民,好的基督徒,等等),那他们就向那些在这个方面与他们志趣相投的人投票

 

知情的公民”是民主社会的理想。但是,普通公民无意成为知情者,然而特殊利益者却已有图谋。大多数人都在忙于生计,而不是忙政治。但是,特殊利益群体 (支持生命,反对或支持移民,军队制造商军工复合体等等) 就有其明确的利益。

 

一个典型的例子,这是糖价。糖有两种价格--“世界价格”和“美国价格”。猜猜哪一个更贵。猜猜较贵的东西里谁有利益?当然是美国糖种植者。猜猜哪一个团体有超过 90%的人对此无知当然是美国公众。

 

是我们把自己陷入这等境地的,因为我们对我们的民选官员不知情,因为,总的来说,我们对他们的真实政策以及思想方式在他们被选举之前并不知情。为什么国会的支持率只有12%?然而,下一次大选,他们中80%的人又会重新当选。你知道这是为什么吗?因为他会有样学样,其他政客怎么做,他也怎么做。并且指责所有的一团糟都是别人的错。因为,普通选民从来不会去看他们的参众议员们实际上对议题是如何投票的。他们会听到电视上蜻蜓点水般的评论,说他们的参众议员们仍然在反对堕胎,反对移民。然后,他们就继续投票给他。

 

所以,我恳请大家都去投票但是,要一个知情的投票者。行驶你的权利!

 

 “拒绝参与政治的一个惩罚便是你最终会被比你差的人所统治”----柏拉图

 

我同意这个观点。但是,如果参与,就要知情---这样,你就变成一个理想的公民一个知情的参与者。

 

 “意见是介于知识和无知之间的中间部分”。

(原文)

WHY DEMOCRACIES CHOOSE

BAD POLICIES

 

It’s been brought to my attention by the posts of some readers that they believe I am “anti USA”. I disagree. STRONGLY.

The key to being a good American, in my opinion, is to raise questions about why things are the way they are, to point out injustices, to ask the question of all citizens “can we do better”? It’s the kind of question that banned slavery. It’s the kind of question brought about civil rights. It’s the kind of question that saved Europe from Nazi Germany and the kind of question that assisted China and drove back and defeated Imperial Japan.

Asking questions is important. Being knowledgeable about issues is more important – it then allows you to ask the right questions.

All of that brings me to the point of discussing how democracies can and do choose bad policies.

Consider this – there are approximately 200 million eligible voters in the USA. In the last election only about 100 million voted. That’s terrible. Iraq had a higher percentage of voter turnout in their first election several years ago. Perhaps the USA is better at developing democracies for others than it is practicing democracy itself.

But, is low voter turnout in our elections really a bad thing? Maybe not. Consider that perhaps the 100 million people who didn’t vote but could have just didn’t care enough to vote, or realized that they were so uninformed about the issues or candidates that they made the decision to just not vote. I would say that’s a good thing.

As I watch the current debates among the remaining Republican candidates for the Presidential nomination it is very apparent that each of them plays to the overwhelming whim of the group they are in front of. And that is how democracies begin the process of making bad choices.

Studies have shown, and I have personally witnessed, how a majority of voters make a choice for President on only one or two issues that that candidate is favorable for that is the same as the voter, such as abortion or immigration.

Aren’t there many more far ranging and significantly more important issues that effect every day life of all Americans other than abortion and immigration?  I say yes. But that’s not how people vote. A case in point is how Mitt Romney continually struggles to be the overall favorite among GOP primary voters. Why? The evangelical Christian vote is very important in the first primary states to vote. Romney is a Mormon which many evangelical Christians consider a cult and his stance on social issues is perceived as moderate – such as gay marriage or unions, health care, national security or immigration.

The candidates who have gotten the heavy Christian vote are Rick Santorum, Newt Gingerich ( despite having 3 wives, so far ), and the now non-candidate Rick Perry. The total vote they receive in sum is greater than that of Romney.  If there was a concensus candidate instead of 2 or 3 of them they would beat Romney and the Republicans would get their very conservative candidate.

But, the point is that there are much more pressing issues this country is facing than to keep fighting about issues that won’t get resolved – abortion and immigration – anytime soon. But, these are the type of issues that makes people excited to fight about and talk about – cultural wars.

So, this type of process, the democratic process, allows the citizens to put a person in power who believes in those issues just as they do ( abortion and/or immigration ) but that person may be absolutely inadequate in all the other area’s to effectively be the most powerful person in the most powerful country in the world.

Uninformed voters can also push the country in a direction where “popular opinon” goes crazy and the nation takes action or makes policy based on emotion rather than well thought out facts. The Iraq war is a great example of this. I’m not anti war – I’m just anti stupid war.

A lot of bad policies are made by popular demand. Basically the masses yelling for something to be done in an emotional issue. However, to do the right thing you have to know something. And if you don’t know – then either find out or don’t vote. You wouldn’t buy a car without driving it – so why vote for someone or something that you haven’t studied? You may vote for someone because you agree with their immigration policy but you missed the part about raising your taxes, impairing your rights, taking away your benefits or perhaps sending your child or you to a stupid war.

The old saying of the “rational voter” is a myth. Most voters are ignorant. They have 1 or 2 issues that are dear to their heart ( abortion, immigration, being a good Christian, etc ) and they vote for the person who most strongly appeals to their sense in that way.

The “informed citizen” is the ideal of democratic societies. But, the average citizen has no incentive to become informed BUT special interests do. Most people are busy living their lives not politics. But, special interests groups ( pro life, anti or pro immigration, the military industrial complex of manufacturers for the military, etc ) have a distinct interest.

A case in point for this is the price of sugar. There are 2 prices for sugar – the “world price” and the “usa price”. Guess which one is more expensive. Guess who has an interest in it being  more expensive? The American Sugar Growers. Guess which group has over 90% ignorance on this one issue? The American public.

We the people put ourselves into these positions because we are uninformed about our elected officials because overall we are uninformed about their real policies and thought processes before we elect them. Why is it that the approval rating for Congress is only 12%? But, in the next election the probability is that over 80% of them will be reelected !! Do you know why that is? He’ll do what other politicians do and say it’s the other guys fault that everythings a mess”.  But, the average voter will never look to see how their Congressman or Senator actually voted on issues. They will hear one sound bite from tv that their Congressman or Senator is still anti abortion and anti immigration and still vote for him.

So, I implore all to vote – but do so as an informed voter. Exercise your right.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being

 Governed by your inferiors” – PLATO

I agree with that. But, be informed if you participate – then you will have become the ideal citizen – an informed participant.

   “Opinion is the middle part between knowledge and ignorance “.

 

 










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发表评论 评论 (8 个评论)

回复 lfyhao 2012-5-13 20:28
这篇文章看过三遍了。今天有一句吧。我觉得这民主制度有时也会选择糟糕的政策的原因可能是,在两个或者多个政党中,选民们选了一个相对不是那么糟糕的一方。这相对不那么糟糕的一方,也就时常会做出一些相对比较糟糕的政策来了。竞选时所承诺、或者说所宣扬的政策,听起来、看起来、想起来都非常美好,可能里面大多只是竞选时的策略而已。真正实行起来有可能更糟糕。
回复 rubin 2012-1-28 09:50
我认识的不少华人百姓并不是“决定不去投票”,而是没有时间考虑投票这个问题。
很多人六天七天工作,都相信通过自己的辛勤努力,慢慢改善自己的生活,并没有指望通过民选官员和政策的改变来改变自己的生活。这是纽约华人社区比较常见的现实。
还有一些人,从来没有计划加入美国国籍,当然也就不需要考虑投票。
近年来,通过许多侨团的努力推广,所以投票率有所上升,才造就了越来越多的华人民选官员当选。
要让华人百姓参与美国政治,有点不容易。
回复 KQRBNP 2012-1-26 15:12
學習了。謝謝分享!
回复 theLinmingda 2012-1-26 06:23
丹奇: 正是此理!谢谢认同!
谢谢你们辛劳。
回复 丹奇 2012-1-26 01:29
theLinmingda: 爱护性的批评,极其有益。
正是此理!谢谢认同!
回复 theLinmingda 2012-1-26 00:38
爱护性的批评,极其有益。
回复 丹奇 2012-1-25 22:16
礁石: 我认为这里要分开几个方面。
首先,公认的“糟糕的政策”一般都是对外政策。美国之伤在于不断地打仗,当吃力不讨好的世界警察,替日本和别的国家开支军费。大家 ...
谢谢分享你的体会和心得。糟糕的对外政策也能是伤害其他国家的同时也伤害到自己。

对内,每个议员都在为自己的选区争取利益,就能够为自己带来高支持率。资深议员通常能获得更多的机会。这就是为什么在国内要有制约机制进行平衡的原因了。
回复 礁石 2012-1-25 21:56
我认为这里要分开几个方面。
首先,公认的“糟糕的政策”一般都是对外政策。美国之伤在于不断地打仗,当吃力不讨好的世界警察,替日本和别的国家开支军费。大家都知道,国际关系根本没有民主。“民”在哪里都不晓得。枪炮就是“主”。

回到美国国内。民主的投票就是每个人都只管自己的利益。典型的状况是每个人都骂国会(说国会好的只有绝对少数);但每个人都说自己的议员好(说自己议员好的占绝对多数)。怎么会有这种荒唐的统计局面?答案很简单,议员只会为本地的选民的利益着想。我在加州,我的议员总在千方百计地把别的州的拨款搞到加州来。明争暗夺,什么伤天害理的事,只要不违法,都会做得出来。你们纽约的选民自然骂啦。我也一样,纽约的议员如果伤害到加州的利益,照样骂得狗血。

这就是民主。至于是否“糟糕”,得看谁的利益受损害了。

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