Observations on a recent Essay by 梁文道

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梁文道's recent Essay on 人民民主--prompted, as it is, by the CE's comparing extreme democracy to the Cultural Revolution--is no doubt an interesting exercise in political philosophy, taking as its object the rehabilitation of a notion that is destined to have no market in HK. The thrust of the Essay is to unsettle our dominant tendency "對任何其他種類的民主理念都嗤之以鼻,覺得它們都是掛羊頭賣狗肉的假民主,比如說中華人民共和國一度標榜的「人民民主」"; but to unsettle is not yet to overthrow, which would require a much stronger case as to why that other notion be indeed superior.

It is a grave error, I believe, to think and speak of democracy in modern polities paying well-nigh exclusive attention to what happens or does not happen most spectacularly in the legislature, even though there be where media visibility tends to concentrate. Courts, the Monetary Authorities, and many other technocratic-administrative bodies which are needed to support the well-functioning of modern social life, and which often cannot fulfill their mission without a certain degree of independence from the vagaries of popular sentiments, pose, in their totality, a deep question as to whether the time-honored discourses on democracy might not as well be time-bound to their historical contexts.

If political philosophers and legal philosophers are ready to face the challenge put to notions of democracy by technocratic-administrative bodies and courts, economists, in their more philosophical moments, are equally delighted to point out, that commentators in favor of more direct forms of democracy routinely pass over the un-democratic nature of monetary policy-making which, so far as the average citizen's pocket is concerned, is no less consequential than changes in the tax schedule. Few commentators, even enthusiastic supporters for more direct forms of democracy, would be so rash as to demand that monetary policy be subject to popular control. Yet any change in the interest rate, if we give it a little more thought, will affect the distribution of wealth in very concrete and immediate ways, between the debtor class and the creditor class, between those who are burdended by home-mortgages and those who are holders of interest-paying bonds. If it be suggested, that good and effective monetary policy-making requires so long a horizon into the future as rarely to be had if the people are in control of it, the same argument--no doubt a well-rehearsed one in its general form--seems equally applicable to matters of taxation, of adjudication, etc. The vagaries of popular sentiments are, in all these areas, properly to be distrusted.

Ignorace and Inconsistency seem, then, to be two major causes why the people is to be feared. Both causes are admittedly relative: ignorance is relative to the amount of information and experience required for good judgment; inconsistency, to the degree of precision and stability required for a certain sort of policy to be effectively carried out. But developments in modern social life tend to cry up the demand for all four: more information, more experience, more precision, more stability. Now of course there is a typical answer to these demands: more education on the part of the citizenry. The question set up this way, however, the desirability of more direct forms of democracy will no more be a matter of legitimacy or such-like, but a relative and empirical matter, dependent upon how likely the citizenry, composed of ordinary people, might win the race. In the domain of monetary policy, the outcome is for the most part a foregone conclusion.

There are a few remarks in 梁文道's Essay that I think are not entirely correct or palatable. Of which let me take three to task.

1. Rousseau. "法國大革命的思想導師盧騷就很反對代議民主,他覺得選一幫專業政治人代表全民執政議政根本不足以體現人民的意志,頂多只是「加總式的意志」(will of all)而非更民主的「全體意志」(general will)。" I am not sure from what writing of Rousseau's has the writer derived such a proposition. Rousseau spoke of the general will--which, as a notion, has more a genealogy in the Roman republican tradition of the common good--but he also conceded, more than once, that in practice the general will was mostly to be known by counting heads in the legislature, which of course was what he (sometimes contemptuously) meant by the will of all. Many subsequent political writers rejected the general will as too metaphysical, if not outright totalitarian. In fact, the general will, in Rousseau's scheme of things, can, in the ultimate, over-rule the will of all; which is to say, he who is said to have discerned the general will--the common good--is allowed, in fact required, to regard the majority of the people as in ignorance of what is best for them. This is, for some, patently the highest form of contempt of the people. In brief, the distinction between the general will and the will of all is not, as 梁文道 would have us believe, about the relative merits of representative and direct democracy--that is never Rousseau's real concern; but about, in a deep sense, the tension between knowledge and politics--a tension which archeologists of knowledge might delightfully trace back to Plato's Republic and Laws.

2. The Cultural Revolution. "再回到「文革」的問題,沒人可以輕易否認它出自於毛澤東奪權鬥爭的個人目的,更沒有人能夠否定「十年浩劫」帶來的災難和痛苦。但是單純地在文革和獨裁之間畫上等號,就太過輕視當時受鼓動的百姓的自由意志了。直到今天為止,都還有部分內地「新左派」的學者和外國的激進思想家如巴迪烏(Alain Badiou)以為文革在早期確實是場「真正的革命」、「民主的實驗」。你可以說毛澤東講的「大民主」只是煽動人心的說詞,但是你不能說那些佔領學校的學生和衝進政府單位奪公章的人全都不是「人民民主」的真誠信徒。對不少當時的參與者而言,文革真正是從根本改造人性,徹底打倒官僚體制,達成「沒有黨派也不再有國家機器」之革命理想的「偉大鬥爭」,是「人民民主」這個理念的終極落實。" It is not clear whether the conclusion the writer drew from his description of the Cultural Revolution is meant to further his case for "people's democracy" or in fact to destroy it. It is certainly true, that many people who were attracted to the Revolution and hence mobilized for its alleged goals did, at least in the beginning, entertain a certain ideal which might, even in hindsight, be called noble. But that ideal, as the writer himself conceded, was purely utopian, sustained throughout by the belief that modern social life could be had in a state of nature, so to speak; in, that is, a state of constant mobilization, accompanied by a constant resistance to entering the state of civil society, where things must needs be cooled down. It is this cult of the permanent revolution, this desire to keep going back to square one, that is, not anti-modern (for some would say that this cult and this desire, born no later than in the French Revolution, are precisely what distinguish the modern view of politics from the ancient--again a Western genealogy, I admit), but truly anti-civilizational, if civilization be taken to mean the attempt and need, collectively, normatively, and practically to settle down.

3. The Genealogy of Democracy. "說了這麼半天,我的意圖絕非是要平反文革的惡名,也不是要替中共的極權體制塗脂抹粉,更不是想為曾蔭權開脫錯誤;恰恰相反,我是要提供一個現代中國官方民主概念的系譜,循此才能看到曾蔭權的真正問題。" This large claim is I think largely illusionary. The CE's spectacular remark has little to do with views of democracy, direct or otherwise, in the Mainland; nor do we need to learn those views in order to make sense, or fun, of the said remark. It is rather with the effort, among certain social activists--or, as some would call them, new leftists--to promote more direct forms of democracy in HK, that certain intellectual responses to the remark have to do. This time the writer has refrained from discoursing on de-colonialization; but he could well have linked that sort of discourse to direct democracy, Alain Badiou, and all that. He could even have subsumed the two discourses under the same grand rubric: Empowerment . Of the people, of course, this empowerment, which will indeed be a very honest translation of the word democracy. But all this, I repeat, would be quite independent from the so-called genealogy of democracy in the Mainland. The fear of the people, be it found in HK, in the Mainland, in the United States or in the Euroland, has its origin in the same sort of intellectual and practical concerns, in the context of modern polities and in the history of power distribution therein. To explain it simply in terms of a distrust of the people, without further explaining why, and when, the people are, and are to be, distrusted, is to end a long fugue on a very trivial coda; but the coda is just too sonorous for 梁文道 not to repeat it as such.

HK Mingpao. Oct 25, 2007.

害怕人民
- 梁文道

特首曾蔭權把文化大革命說成是種民主,以此警告香港市民,民主步伐不可操之過急,結果引來強烈反彈,逼得他第二天急急道歉。看來他果然是說錯話了,然而他到底錯在什麼地方呢?各方的意見卻頗見混淆。例如有人發現內地沒有一家傳媒轉載和報道香港行政長官的這番言論,以此證明他的錯誤有多嚴重。這種錯是一種不懂內地政治氛圍的錯,不明白「文革」二字至今仍是官場禁忌,等閒不能訴之於口。更多人則指他侮辱了民主,因為「文革」恰恰是獨裁專政的結果,完全站在民主的對立面,可見曾蔭權的國史常識非常糟。

但是曾蔭權真的錯了嗎?也有人持不同的看法,馬家輝兄就是眾口一詞中的諤諤一士,他在〈他沒有全錯,你們也沒有全對——曾蔭權最需要的不是國情教育〉(《明報》2007年10月23日)一文中指出﹕「文革是濫權,民主是限權」。意思是曾蔭權並非不知道「文革」那種「誰跑得快,誰先到,先到公章搶到手,權就是誰的了」的真相,他只是不懂民主絕非盲目地追求權力濫用權力罷了。純粹為了討論,我們還可以進一步追問﹕為什麼人人鬥快搶公章,人人爭先奪權就不是民主呢?

我們今天常常掛在嘴上的民主其實只是民主的一種類型,也就是那種由百姓選出一群代表議政決策的代議式民主。而馬家輝兄所說的「民主是限權」則隱含了另一重大家對現代政治的理解,亦即行政、立法與司法等三權的各自獨立和相互制衡。由於這一切都已成了常識,因此使得我們很容易對任何其他種類的民主理念都嗤之以鼻,覺得它們都是掛羊頭賣狗肉的假民主,比如說中華人民共和國一度標榜的「人民民主」。

從字面上看,「人民民主」裏的「人民」是多餘的,既有「民主」又何必再加一個「人民」前綴呢?但是在政治思想史的脈絡和政治實踐的經驗裏頭,「人民民主」則是意有所指的。首先,它要在實踐上和蘇聯模式的「無產階級民主」有所區分,強調一種跨階級跨界別包含了全體人民在內的民主政治。其次,「人民民主」就是要和歐美主流的代議式民主對著幹,以避免代議民主走向「資產階級民主」的錯誤道路,而這種思路是有其哲學根源的。

法國大革命的思想導師盧騷就很反對代議民主,他覺得選一幫專業政治人代表全民執政議政根本不足以體現人民的意志,頂多只是「加總式的意志」(will of all)而非更民主的「全體意志」(general will)。後來的馬克思主義傳統也繼承了盧騷的想法,認為人民選出的代表久而久之會淪為一群脫離群眾的專業政客,使得政治成了一幫有錢又有勢的資產階級的玩物,竊取了人民的授權,尋求自己的利益,最後反過來奴役大眾。最明顯的例子莫過於英國前首相貝理雅可以在主流民意反對的情形下斷然出兵伊拉克,和美國政壇習以為常的游說政治使一些有利於大商家的政策得以順利通過。

至於馬家輝兄談到的「限權」和一般常被拿來和民主配套的「三權分立」,我們更應該注意在現代民主政治的實踐史上,它們往往不是民主理念的邏輯結果,而是制約民主的設計。最著名的例子是美國的建國諸父在「費城制憲會議」時的經典論戰,當時有不少人反對「三權分立」的構想,就是因為它限制了人民的權力。所以有代表提出大法官不該是終身制,甚至主張把法院放在議會之下。今天回顧那段為人稱頌的美國建國史,我們不難發現除了民主之外,對「多數暴政」和「過度民主」的恐懼與提防也是它的重要主題。

那麼中華人民共和國有什麼方法可以避免代議民主的弊端?又該怎樣落實「人民民主」的理念呢?舉其大者,「人民代表大會」是也。「全國人大」在體制上是全國最高權力來源,不論行政、立法還是司法,最終都要歸在人大之下。很多人批評這種體制容不下司法獨立的空間,可是贊成它的人則會反駁憑什麼讓非民選的法官凌駕在人民的權力之上呢?再說代表的身分,也有許多人主張人大代表應該專職化,就像西方國家的民意代表一樣。不過人大的原初設計理念正是要反對專職,讓人大開完會之後回到原來的工作崗位,不致脫離群眾蛻變為專業政客。

再回到「文革」的問題,沒人可以輕易否認它出自於毛澤東奪權鬥爭的個人目的,更沒有人能夠否定「十年浩劫」帶來的災難和痛苦。但是單純地在文革和獨裁之間畫上等號,就太過輕視當時受鼓動的百姓的自由意志了。直到今天為止,都還有部分內地「新左派」的學者和外國的激進思想家如巴迪烏(Alain Badiou)以為文革在早期確實是場「真正的革命」、「民主的實驗」。你可以說毛澤東講的「大民主」只是煽動人心的說詞,但是你不能說那些佔領學校的學生和衝進政府單位奪公章的人全都不是「人民民主」的真誠信徒。對不少當時的參與者而言,文革真正是從根本改造人性,徹底打倒官僚體制,達成「沒有黨派也不再有國家機器」之革命理想的「偉大鬥爭」,是「人民民主」這個理念的終極落實。

說了這麼半天,我的意圖絕非是要平反文革的惡名,也不是要替中共的極權體制塗脂抹粉,更不是想為曾蔭權開脫錯誤;恰恰相反,我是要提供一個現代中國官方民主概念的系譜,循此才能看到曾蔭權的真正問題。

首先,我們要注意曾蔭權的言論其實是有所本的。曾有學者專門做過研究,指出自從鄧小平上台執政之後,「人民民主」這個說法出現的頻率就急劇減少了,政府甚至連「民主」二字都不大願談,直到最近幾年才有改變。與此同時,「穩定」和「發展」成了新的關鍵詞,「革命」則逐步讓位予「改革」。鄧小平不喜多言「民主」不是因為他獨裁(不要忘記講民主講得最多的正是大獨裁者毛澤東),而是因為他把「民主」(更準確地說,是「人民民主」)和文化大革命放在了一起了。其實這也不是他一個人的想法,在很多重新出山的老幹部眼中,文革裏的打砸搶,十年浩劫的種種亂象就是一種最極端的民主,「把權力交給人民」的最可怕結果;簡單地說,暴民政治。

從這個角度上看,曾蔭權甚至相當熟悉國情﹝也有可能是誤打誤撞﹞。問題是一個生長在英國殖民地,曾在哈佛攻讀公共行政的香港仔怎麼會接受如此一種非西方主流的民主觀?怎麼會認同「文革等於徹底民主」這種後文革老幹部的看法呢?我想這就是曾蔭權那種殖民地政務官的基本意識形態在發揮作用了。大家不妨比對一下他的言論和葉劉淑儀也要為之認錯的「希特拉也是民主產生」那番話。這兩位前高級公務員,一個說文革是徹底的民主,一個說民主也會選出暴君,表達出來的難道不是同一種心態嗎?對這群經歷了重重考驗,晉身殖民管治機器高層的精英來講,人民是盲從的,人民是愚蠢的。只要給他們權力,他們要不是肆無忌憚地挑戰建制,就是挑出一個懂得煽惑人心的可怕惡魔。民主因此絕對有可能危害管治,破壞穩定。所以人民是要小心提防的,只有一群精英才懂得怎樣駕馭他們,把穩定帶給社會,在「穩定中謀求發展」。

換句話說,殖民地官僚的想法,和後文革時期那種「少談政治多講經濟,少談民主多講穩定」的意識形態是親和的。他們都很害怕人民;他們都以為只要一不小心,民主就會滑向民粹。這才是曾蔭權的真正問題,他一方面鼓吹更多的公民參與,但另一方面卻打從骨子裏不信任人民。

1 留言:

刃岸 說...

他到底想說系譜還是光譜...我讀不出任何跟系譜有關的意味。