我们需要什么样的共识 – What kind of consensus do we need?

毫无疑问,建立共识之于眼下的中国,已经是一个刻不容缓的问题了。
前者,凤凰卫视节目主持人邱震海先生在《天天有报读》节目中说:中国社会急需要达成共识,这个共识就是要在市场经济的框架内解决市场经济的问题,不要用计划经济时代的思维方式去处理市场经济的问题。邱先生还引用“总设计师”的话说:“要防止左,也要防止右,但主要是防止左”。显而易见,矛头直指眼下的“重庆模式”。
必须承认,邱先生的观点很是“中庸”,甚至于中庸得过了头,显得有些“乡愿”了。这就好比给人介绍了一个画在纸上的美女当老婆,尽管完美得很,但就是难以拜堂成亲。
或曰:难道在市场经济的框架内解决市场经济的问题有错吗?当然没错。不过,通过我最近遇见的一件小事,就可以发现,这样的说法是何其的空洞。我和一个朋友偶然聊到了转基因作物的种植及食品安全问题。这位朋友斩钉截铁地说,转基因食品以及转基因作物的种植绝无问题!我说:“你我都不是这方面的专家,怎么能够对此下如此斩钉截铁的结论?即使是这方面的专家,这专家又怎么会明白转基因食品输入问题背后所隐藏的政治和经济问题”?但这位朋友并没有被说服,仍然拼死捍卫其立场,后来我们才知道,他之所以拼死捍卫其立场,乃是因为其儿子就就职于转基因食品行业,与其说他所捍卫的是“转基因食品无问题”这个观点,不如说捍卫的是儿子的饭碗。我想:倘若就这个问题在参加聚会的几个朋友中进行投票的话,支持转基因食品的票很可能会多些。为什么?因为反对者眼下所能拿出的反对转基因食品的理由比起转基因食品行业提供的就业机会来,未免乏力。
还有一次,我与另一位朋友谈到了对付通货膨胀的问题,那位朋友强烈建议收藏红木家具。我说:“你知道如果热衷于收藏红木家具的人过多将意味着什么吗?这将意味着为了满足我们的收藏癖好、多少热带雨林将面临着灭顶之灾,而那些远在非洲、东南亚的森林的祸福并非与我们的未来生活毫不相关”。我的观点自然被朋友认为是迂腐之论而加以嘲笑。在他看来,保护地球环境、资源这些个话题较之眼下我们所需要的投资保值,简直是大而无当。
从这两个小小的事例中,我实在看不到“在市场经济的框架内解决市场经济的问题”的现实可能性。人是自私自利的动物。人的自私最终在危害到自身的私利的时候,人会自然选择抑制自己的私欲;人的私欲在危害到公共的利益的时候,公共利益自然会遏制私欲。这就是所谓“在市场经济的框架内解决市场经济的问题”的前提假设。然而在活生生的现实中,我们更多的看到的是即使人类已经为自己的私欲付出了惨痛的代价,人也不会抑制自己的私欲!人们会因为日益严重的堵车而放弃开车吗?不会。因为开私家车之于人已经不仅是使用交通工具,而是一种与某种身份认同联系在一起的不可抗拒的生存态度了;人们会因为日益严重的社会及自然环境恶化而放弃逐利吗?不会。因为资本主义生活方式及其价值观已然成了一种集体性的强迫症,这种强迫症不把人们最终赶进重大的社会/经济危机的“焚尸炉”,它是不会罢手的!
因此上,如邱震海先生所说的建立在“在市场经济的框架内解决市场经济的问题”基础之上的“共识”,是一种没有灵魂的、缺失了价值尺度的“共识”、因此上只不过是一种为资产阶级以及小资产阶级所需要生活方式以及价值观提供辩护的“共识”。这种“共识”的本质就是要让资本主义生活方式及其价值观延续下去、哪怕他最终带来的是毁灭。
当然,反对资产阶级以及小资产阶级所需要的“共识”,不等于认同过去计划经济时代那种让国家意志无限扩张乃至于吞没个体生命的自由与尊严的“共识”。其实,任何建立在形而下的、工具理性层面的共识都是靠不住的。人必然会因为其处境的不同而抱有不同的价值观与生存态度、必然会自觉地把自己归于某一阶级并自觉地对其他阶级抱以轻蔑或敌视的态度。那么,存不存在一种超阶级的共识呢?
如果有的话,那就是建立在人的良知的基础之上的人道主义共识。
人的生命价值与尊严是不可干犯的,这是我们唯一可以在超阶级的层面上去建立的共识。或许有人说:这并无新意,不就是“以人为本”的那个“主旋律”吗?是的,就共识的提出而言,并无新意。只是,我想说的是:没有被有效的捍卫的共识,那就不叫共识。我们可能从宣传机器那里听够了所谓的“以人为本”。但“以人为本”的价值观在现实生活中仍然处处被践踏着。面对那些践踏共识的人和事,我们有没有一套有效的追究机制、并借此确立我们所捍卫的共识,这才是问题的关键。比如:某些被明确认定为践踏了“以人为本”的共识的人和事是否终于被“名正典刑”,这才是判断我们的社会有没有共识的根本标志!毫无疑问,血汗/污染工厂践踏了这个共识,我们的社会是否因为它是利税大户就放他一马?毫无疑问,暴力拆迁践踏了这个共识,我们的社会是否因为它加快了城市化的进程,就对它网开一面?毫无疑问,一切假借“经济建设”的名义所推行的对人类最基本的文化/道德价值的摧毁行为践踏了这一共识,我们是否因为它正在圆我们的强国梦,就对它视而不见?
所以,我们其实并不需要在“以人为本”之外去另外建立一个更加左倾或更加右倾的共识。我们只需要一个被真正捍卫着的“以人为本”的共识。有时候,没有你死我活的斗争,就没有捍卫。而不被捍卫的共识,就不叫共识。

Undoubtedly; building consensus has become an urgent problem in China.

Previously, Phoenix TV presenter Mr Qiu Zhenhai said in his program ‘a newspaper for every day’: Chinese society urgently needs to reach a consensus, and this consensus is that the issues of a market economy should be addressed within a market economy framework, you can’t solve the issues of a market economy using the ways of thinking of the planned economy era. Mr Qiu also quoted the ‘chief architect’ saying: ‘We must hinder the left, we must also hinder the right, but the most important is to hinder the left’. Obviously, this is directed at the current ‘Chongching model’.

We must admit that Mr Qiu’s views are very ‘moderate’, so moderate that they’re even getting a bit hypocritical. This is like presenting someone with a painting of a beautiful woman to be their wife – and although she doesn’t lack in perfection, actually marrying her is the difficulty.

Or we can say: is there anything wrong with saying that we must solve the issues of a market economy within a market economy framework? Of course, there isn’t. However, a little fact I came across recently made me discover that this is an empty argument. I occasionally talk with a friend about genetically modified crops and food security issues. This friend said very firmly: there’s no problem with genetically modified crops and genetically modified food! I said: “You and I are not experts in that field, how could we come with such a clear-cut conclusion? And even the experts in that field, how could they understand the political and economic issues that lie behind the question of genetically modified food?” But this friend was still not convinced, and remained desperate to defend his position. But later we learnt that the reason he’d been so desperate to defend his position was that his son works in the genetically modified foods industry, and he defended the view that ‘there is no problem with genetically modified foods’ in order to defend his son’s job. I thought: if I invited a few friends to vote on this issue, the number supporting genetically modified foods is likely to be higher. Why? Because the reasons given by opponents of genetically modified foods are too weak in confront to the job opportunities offered by the genetically modified food industry.

Another time, I discussed the problem of inflation with another friend, and that friend strongly recommended collecting mahogany furniture. I said: ‘Do you know what it will mean if many more people become keen collectors of mahogany furniture? It means that, in order to satisfy our hobby, large numbers of rainforests will disappear, and the fate of those far away forests in Africa and South East Asia is not unrelated to our own future lives”. My friend naturally thought my view was pedantic and ridiculous. In his view, the question of protecting the environment and saving resources were just white elephants in comparison to the current necessity to invest in order to hedge against inflation.

From these two small anecdotes, I cannot see any real possibility to ‘solve the problems of a market economy within a market economy framework’. People are selfish animals. When human selfishness will ultimately jeopardize their own self-interest, people will naturally choose to suppress their own desires; when people’s desires will harm the public interest, the public interest will curb people’s desires. These are the assumptions of the so-called principle of ‘solving the issues of a market economy within a market economy framework’. However, in the reality of life, what we see much more is that, even if people pay a terrible price for their own selfish desires, yet they will not curb their desires! Will people give up driving when exposed to increasingly terrible traffic jams? They won’t. Because driving a car is no longer just a mode of transportation for people, but it has become irremediably combined with the preservation of some sort of identity. Will people give up the pursuit of fame and fortune because of increasing degradation in the social and natural environment? They won’t. Because the capitalist way of life and its values has already become a collective form of obsession, and this kind of obsessive compulsive disorder will end up herding up people in the ‘crematory’ of a major social or economic crisis, and it’s not going to stop.

Therefore, a consensus according to what Mr Qiu Zhenhai said, based on the principle of ‘solving the problems of a market economy within a market economy framework’, is a soulless consensus, lacking in a measure of value, and therefore, is only a consensus that will defend the lifestyle and values of the bourgeois and petty bourgeois. The essence of this consensus is just to continue the capitalist way of life and its values, and who cares if it only brings destruction in the end.

Of course, the ‘consensus’ needed against the bourgeois and petty bourgeois is not the past consensus of the planned economy period, which allowed for unlimited expansion of the State power, drowning individual freedom and the dignity of human life. In fact, any consensus built at the level of physical and instrumental rationality is unreliable. Inevitably, because people live in different situations and hold different values, they will consciously put themselves in a certain class, and feel contempt or hostility towards other classes. And so, is there anything like a higher order consensus?

If there is one, it is a humanistic consensus built on the basis of human consciousness.

You cannot negate the value and dignity of human life, this is the only thing we can establish as a higher level consensus. Some people may say: this is nothing new, is this not what the topic of ‘people orientation’ is all about? True, the consensus on the proposed terms is nothing new. But what I would like to say is this: a consensus that is not defended is not called a consensus. We might have heard enough about the so-called ‘people orientation’ from the propaganda machine. But in real life, the values of ‘people orientation’ are still trampled underfoot everywhere. When we face these people and events that trample on the consensus, do we have effective accountability mechanisms, and a way to defend our consensus: this is the crux of the problem. For instance: whether some clearly identified people or events which trample down the ‘people orientation’ receive the ‘final canonical punishment’, this is the only fundamental judgement about the existence of a consensus in our society! Undoubtedly, sweatshops and polluting factories have trampled this consensus, but will our society let them get away with it because they generate profits? Undoubtedly, violent destructions of buildings have trampled this consensus, but will our society spare them because they speed up the process of urbanisation? Undoubtedly, the destruction of the most basic human and moral values in the name of ‘economic development’ tramples the consensus, but will we turn a blind eye because it nurtures our dream of living in a powerful country?

And so, we do not actually need to build a different consensus from that of ‘people orientation’, more to the left or more to the right. We just need a consensus that truly defends ‘people orientation’. Sometimes, without a life and death struggle, there is nothing to defend. But a consensus undefended, would not be called a consensus.

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