转篇有意思的 安兰德是怎么毁我童年的

2013-03-17 看过

外网上看的。一直觉得非常有趣。后附本人渣翻 How Ayn Rand ruined my childhood BY ALYSSA BEREZNAK My parents split up when I was 4. My father, a lawyer, wrote the divorce papers himself and included one specific rule: My mother was forbidden to raise my brother and me religiously. She agreed, dissolving Sunday church and Bible study with one swift signature. Mom didn’t mind; she was agnostic and knew we didn’t need religion to be good people. But a disdain for faith wasn’t the only reason he wrote God out of my childhood. There was simply no room in our household for both Jesus Christ and my father’s one true love: Ayn Rand. You might be familiar with Rand from a high school reading assignment. Perhaps a Tea Partyer acquaintance name-dropped her in a debate on individual rights. Or maybe you’ve heard the film adaptation of her magnum opus “Atlas Shrugged” is due out April 15. In short, she is a Russian-born American novelist who championed her self-taught philosophy of objectivism through her many works of fiction. Conservatives are known to praise her for her support of laissez-faire economics and meritocracy. Liberals tend to criticize her for being too simplistic. I know her more intimately as the woman whose philosophy dictates my father’s every decision. What is objectivism? If you’d asked me that question as a child, I could have trotted to the foyer of my father’s home and referenced a framed quote by Rand that hung there like a cross. It read: “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” As a little kid I interpreted this to mean: Love yourself. Nowadays, Rand’s bit is best summed up by the rapper Drake, who sang: “Imma do me.” Dad wasn’t always a Rand zealot. He was raised in a Catholic family and went to church every week. After he and my mother got married in 1982, they shopped around for a church. He was looking for something to live by, but he couldn’t find it in traditional organized religion. Then he discovered objectivism. I don’t know exactly why he sparked to Rand. He claimed the philosophy appealed to him because it’s based solely on logic. It also conveniently quenched his lawyer’s thirst to always be right. It’s not uncommon for people to seek out belief systems, whether political or spiritual, that make them feel good about how they already live their lives. Ultimately, I suspect Dad was drawn to objectivism because, unlike so many altruistic faiths, it made him feel good about being selfish. Needless to say, Dad’s newfound obsession with the individual didn’t pan out so well with the woman he married. He was always controlling, but he became even more so. In the end, my mother moved out, but objectivism stayed. My brother and I switched off living at each parent’s house once a week. It was odd growing up, at least part-time, in an objectivist house. My father reserved long weekends to attend Ayn Rand Institute conferences held in Orange County, California. He would return with a tan and a pile of new reading material for my brother and me. While other kids my age were going to Bible study, I took evening classes from the institute via phone. (I half-listened while clicking through lolcat photos.) Our objectivist education, however, was not confined to lectures and books. One time, at dinner, I complained that my brother was hogging all the food. “He’s being selfish!” I whined to my father. “Being selfish is a good thing,” he said. “To be selfless is to deny one’s self. To be selfish is to embrace the self, and accept your wants and needs.” It was my dad’s classic response — a grandiose philosophical answer to a simple real-world problem. But who cared about logic? All I wanted was another serving of mashed potatoes. Still, Rand’s philosophy was well-suited for the self-absorbed tween I was becoming. Her books were packed with riveting plot twists and sexy architects — easy reading as long as you skimmed over the occasional four-page, didactic rant. Around the time I began exploring Rand’s literature, my parents began an epic legal battle over child support. I felt isolated by the conflict and found solace in Rand’s message: You must rely on yourself for happiness. Just as many use faith as a reason to continue during hard times, objectivism helped me stay strong throughout my parents’ legal battle. I got a part-time job, played field hockey, ran for student government and joined the yearbook staff. I argued with a Birkenstock-clad substitute teacher the day he showed Michael Moore’s classic underdog-bites-back documentary “Roger and Me” in government class. He looked at me in disbelief as I, a skinny blond girl with braces, insisted that General Motors CEO Roger Smith had every right to ruin the lives of Flint, Mich., citizens. On weekends I argued with my friends that global warming didn’t exist. I hoarded my accomplishments at school, convinced I’d earned them all on my own. Meanwhile, my mother quietly packed my lunch every day. Soon, however, I began to question whether my father’s philosophical beliefs were simply a justification of his own needs. As soon as the legal drama erupted, he refused to pay for even the smallest things, declaring, “Your mother is suing me,” in defensive sound bites, as though it explained everything. Can I buy new shoes? A couple bucks for the movies? Your mother is suing me. Twenty dollars for a class field trip? Your mother is suing me. From what I understood of his favorite capitalist champion, any form of altruism was evil. But how could that kind of blanket self-interest extend to his own children, the people he was legally and morally bound to take care of? What was I supposed to do, fend for myself? The answer to my question came on an autumn weekend during my sophomore year in high school. I was hosting a Harry Potter-themed float party in our driveway, a normal ritual to prepare decorations for my high school quad the week of homecoming. As I was painting a cardboard owl, my father asked me to come inside the house. He and his new wife sat me down at the dinner table with grave faces. “We were wondering if you would petition to be emancipated,” he said in his lawyer voice. “What does that mean?” I asked, picking at the mauve paint on my hands. I later discovered that for most kids, declaring emancipation is an extreme measure — something you do if your parents are crack addicts or deadbeats. “You would need to become financially independent,” he said. “You could work for me at my law firm and pay rent to live here.” This was my moment of truth as an objectivist. If I believed in the glory of the individual, I would’ve signed the petition papers then and there. But as much as Rand’s novels had taught me to believe in meritocracy, they had not prepared me to go it alone financially and emotionally. I began to cry and refused. Hardcore objectivists often criticize liberals for basing decisions on emotion, rather than reason. My father saw our family politics no differently. In his mind, it was reasonable to ask that I emancipate myself and work for a living. To me, it felt like he was asking me to sacrifice my childhood so he didn’t have to pay child support. To me, it felt like abandonment. Nearly a year after that conversation, my parents’ legal battle came to an end. In Santa Clara County’s record room, the typical family law case occupies the space of a small manila folder. My parents’ case filled several shelves. A judge decided my father would have to pay my mother both what he owed in child support and her attorney fees — an amount that totaled about $120,000. Dad’s only choice was to sell our house. I moved to Mom’s and saw him for the occasional restaurant lunch or family holiday. The distance between us grew wider when I went off to college. He’d call me every other month to play 20-minute catch-up before he had to rush back to work. More consistent, however, were his e-mails. Forwarded from the daily objectivist newsletter he subscribed to, each one had a title like “George W. Bush, Genius” or “Obama the Pathetic.” They continue to pile up in my in box, mostly unread. Every once in a while, I’ll click on one, hoping to find a “How are you?” or “What’s new?” to no avail. It’s a hopeless exercise. I learned long ago that an objectivist like my father simply doesn’t care to know. 安·兰德是怎样毁掉我的童年的 By Alyssa Bereznak [在爸爸眼中,客观主义是赖以生活的逻辑哲学,可它却拆散了我的家庭。] 我的父母在我四岁时分手了。我的父亲,一个律师,亲手制定了离婚文件,其中包括这样一条特别准则:妈妈不许对我和弟弟进行宗教教育。她同意了,用一个潦草的签名把教堂礼拜和圣经学习一笔勾销。妈妈不介意。她是不可知论者,认为我们不需要宗教也可以学好。然而,对宗教信仰的蔑视,并不是爸爸把上帝从我的童年赶走的唯一原因。只因我家没有足够的空间,能一并容得下耶稣和爸爸的真爱:安·兰德。 你可能在高中阅读材料里见到过兰德。她也是茶党熟知的名字——在个人权利辩论中常被提起。你还可能听说过将在4月15日上映,改编自兰德代表作《阿特拉斯耸耸肩》的电影。简言之,她是一位出生在俄罗斯的美国小说家,在其诸多著作中宣扬自己发明的客观主义哲学。保守主义者推崇她,因为她支持自由放任经济体制和精英统治。自由主义者批评她,因为她的学说太过简单化。我对她较为熟稔的原因则在于,她的理论支配了我父亲的每个决定。 什么是客观主义?当我还是个孩子的时候,如果你这么问我,我会带你到父亲的门厅里,把一个写有兰德语录,像十字架一样挂在墙上的木框指给你看。上面写着:“我的哲学,在本质上,是把人类当成英雄,以他的幸福作为他生命中的道德目的,以他高尚的行为达成建设性的目标,以理性作为他唯一的原则。”以小孩子的认知水平,我把它解读为:爱自己。现在,这句话可以用说唱歌手Drake的歌词进行最佳概括:“Imma do me.” 爸爸起初并非兰德的信徒。他在天主教家庭长大,每周去教堂礼拜。1982年,和妈妈结婚后,他们四处寻找合适的教堂。他想为生活寻求一种信仰,却没能在传统宗教中找到。 然后,他发现了客观主义。我不太清楚他是怎样迷上兰德的理论的。他声称这种哲学吸引他,因为它完全基于逻辑。而它也正好迎合他身为律师,那种对“真理永远掌握在自己手中”的渴望。这很寻常,人们总是寻找那些支持他们个人生活的政治、精神信仰。最后,我怀疑,爸爸之所以痴迷客观主义,是因为这种理论不同于那些利他主义信条,它能让他对自私自利感觉良好。 毋庸赘言,爸爸对个人主义的新迷恋和他的妻子不怎么合拍。他原本就有很强的控制欲,现在更是变本加厉。终于,妈妈搬了出去,而客观主义留了下来。我和弟弟则每周轮流住在父母两边。 在一个客观主义者家庭里成长,或者说生活,是一件奇怪的事。很多个周末,爸爸都会赶去参加在加州橘子镇举办的安兰德协会会议,然后带着晒黑的皮肤和一大堆给我和弟弟的阅读资料回来。当其他同龄孩子学习圣经时,我却通过电话参加协会的晚班课程(我心不在焉地听,一边浏览着lolcat图片)。 然而,我们的客观主义教育还并不局限于课堂和书本。有一次吃晚饭时,我埋怨弟弟霸占了所有的食物。 “他太自私了!”我向父亲发牢骚。 “自私是件好事。”他说,“无私是否定自我。自私才是拥抱自我,肯定你自己的需求。” 这便是我爸爸的经典答复——对现实世界的简单问题做出宏大的哲学回答。但谁在乎逻辑呢?我只想再要一份土豆泥。 不过,对我,一个即将进入自我陶醉的青春期的孩子来说,兰德的哲学依旧很适用。她的小说充满了迷人的情节转折和性感的建筑师——通俗易懂,只要你跳过不时出现的长达四页的激情说教。在我开始遨游于兰德的文字中时,父母就儿童抚养问题展开了史诗般的法律诉讼。在冲突中倍感孤独的我,从兰德的话里找到了安慰:幸福只有靠你自已。 正如许多在艰难岁月中凭借信念支撑下去的人一样,客观主义让我在父母的离婚诉讼战中保持了坚强。我找到一份兼职,打曲棍球,参选学生会,登上了学校纪念册。我与一个穿着勃肯凉鞋的代课老师辩论。那天他在政治课上播放了麦克·摩尔那部为受压迫者发声的经典纪录片《罗杰和我》。他难以置信地看着我,一个瘦小的金发女孩,坚持认为通用汽车的CEO罗杰·史密斯有权利毁掉密歇根Flint小镇居民的生活。在周末,我和朋友们争执,说全球变暖根本不存在。我把在学校获得的所有成就归为己有,坚信那全是靠我一人之力所得,却忘了我妈每天都悄悄为我把午餐准备好。 可是,很快,我开始怀疑父亲的哲学信条只是在为他自己的需要而辩护。离婚诉讼这场好戏爆发后,没多久他就开始拒绝为哪怕一丁点儿东西付钱,他声辩道:“你妈在告我”,彷佛这句话能解释一切。 我能买新鞋吗?能不能给我几块钱看电影?你妈在告我。 能给我二十块钱课外活动费吗?你妈在告我。 从他最欣赏的资本主义辩护人那里,我了解到,任何利他主义都是邪恶的。可为什么他那份利己主义要扩大到无论在法律还是道德上都和他血脉相连的孩子? 高二那年秋天的一个周末,我的问题得到了解答。当时我在家里的车道上举办一个哈利波特主题派对。按惯例,周末回家后,我为同学们做些准备性的装饰工作。正当我在厚纸板上画猫头鹰时,爸爸叫我进屋去。他和他的新妻子让我在饭桌前坐下,一脸严肃。 “我们想知道你是不是愿意解放自己。”他用律师的口吻说。 “那是什么意思?”我问,抠着手上的淡紫色颜料。后来我发现,对大多数孩子而言,宣布“解放”是一种极端的措施——如果你的父母是瘾君子或不肯抚养你时,你才会这么做。 “你得在经济上独立。”他说,“你可以到我的律师事务所打工,住在那儿要付租金。” 这便是我,一个客观主义者面对的考验时刻。如果我相信个人主义的光辉,就会当场在请愿书上签字。可是,尽管兰德的书教我相信精英统治,却没能让我做好在经济和情感上独立的准备。我哭起来,拒绝了这个提议。 坚定的客观主义者常批评自由主义者根据情感做出选择,而不是理性。父亲恰恰执行着这样的家庭政治。在他眼中,让我解放自己独立谋生十分合理。对我而言,却更像是要我牺牲童年,这样他就不必支付抚养费。我有种被遗弃的感觉。 那次对话将近一年之后,父母间的法律纠纷宣告结束。在圣克拉拉县的档案室里,典型的家庭诉讼案通常只占据一个小小的文件夹。可我爸妈的官司塞满了好几个架子。法官判决爸爸赔偿妈妈他所欠的子女抚养费,还有她的律师费——总数约为十二万美元。 爸爸的唯一选择是卖掉我们的房子。我搬去妈妈那儿住,偶尔在饭店和爸爸吃顿午饭,或是在家庭假期里见他一面。离家上大学后,我们之间的距离变得更加遥远。每隔一个月,他会打电话给我,在他赶去工作前叙叙旧。更为持久的则是他的电子邮件。转发自他定期阅读的客观主义者时事通讯。每一篇都有类似这样的标题:《乔治·W·布什 天才》或者《奥巴马 可怜虫》。这些邮件在我的邮箱里堆积如山,大部分都未曾读过。偶尔我会点击其中一份,希望能发现一句“你过得怎么样?”或是“有什么新鲜事”。然而一切都是徒劳。根本是无用功。我很早以前就知道了。这些事,像我爸爸这样的客观主义者,是不会在乎的。

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