从细节看美国的民主（Seeing American Democracy from the Details）
This is a travel note (in Chinese) after I came back from the U.S.A., talking about how (street) details present American Democracy. Some ideas are from the book Tocqueville’s «Democracy in America». This note has been translated into English by machine learning but seems not that reliable. I will improve it when I have time. (The English version is below the Chinese version)
— in Chinese — (前注：文中省略了大量的“我觉得”)
有趣的是，美国人民不仅爱自己的国家，也爱自己的州。从麻省到纽约的大巴，会经过康涅狄格州。在高速休息区的小商店，能够买到真正本地生产的小纪念品。这些纪念品会标有“made with pride in the U.S.A.”（美国制造，带着骄傲）。由于紧邻的纽约足够有名，所以这里会有两种不同属地的冰箱贴售卖，分别表示着“康涅狄格州”和“纽约州”。购买了“纽约州”纪念品的我，毫无疑问的收获了售货美国大妈的吐槽：“come on! This is Connecticut!”（我晕，这里可是康涅狄格啊），一通教育。他们爱自己的州，一定程度上因为各州的相对独立。
到了纽约，要看自由女神像，而坐上小型邮轮从水面上的各个角度观看是一个非常好的选择。坐在船上，你会发现，关于纽约的歌曲从来没有中断过，而且都是朗朗上口的流行风格。网络上也有关于纽约的最佳10首歌曲的总结（Top 10 Songs About New York City）。纽约（New York City，NYC）也是一个非常流行的元素，以至于经常会被印制在帽子和T恤上。现在人人都知道纽约是个梦中的美好大都市。
最后，管中窥豹，回到我的领域来看看中西方。从人权的角度出发，欧洲在2018年出台了《通用数据保护条例》（General Data Protection Regulation），并因此使进入欧洲的企业面临了关于用户数据处理的难题。美国也于最近两年频频出台法案控制大数据应用的发展。与此同时的中国，则建立了最强大的天网监控系统。对于数据隐私，两方貌似冲着相反的方向前进。此时我想起邓小平曾经的翻译——张维为针对此问题的一个观点“要先发展，有问题再治理”。这是一种非常相信政府及政府力量的观点。事实上，欧美的这些限制数据应用的法案，确实在一定程度上减缓了IT技术的产业应用。这是精英治理和全民治理的较量，是中华文化和西方文化的较量。
— in Enligsh — (Previous note: I have omitted a lot of “I think” in the text)
As a person from the field of data privacy, the first impression that the United States gave me was that the surveillance cameras on American streets are really few. In May 2019, San Francisco became the first city in the United States to pass legislation prohibiting local police and other municipalities from using surveillance technology/face recognition technology. Then, the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, and the city of Oakland, California, also joined the ranks of disabled face recognition technology. Like all democracies, the United States also values human rights.
Democracy and human rights are keywords in the United States. The history of the United States was not long. It was only in the mid-18th century that the countries of Western Europe invaded and established colonies. Before this, North America had only the primitive social civilization of Indians. For various reasons, in just over 200 years, the modern civilization produced in this land of the United States has surpassed Europe and constitutes a superpower that is currently leading in all fields. What is the power that makes the United States so good? One way to get a glimpse of it is to return to the time when the United States was just established. The French thinker Tocqueville completed his book “Democracy in America “ from 1840 to 1850. He regarded “democracy” as the key to American success. And this “democracy” is the product of the integration of the middle class and the frustrated of the original European immigrants with the indigenous people. The United States abandoned the class and chose to establish a society of democracy and equality. Compared to the United States, Europe, at that time, was a noble class society.
As a travel note, this article does not talk about the analysis of the emergence of American democracy (“Analysis of American Democracy” is very thorough) but will talk about what is happening from the tour, talk about interesting things, and try to talk about it. These things are related to various kinds of American society.
Let’s go back to the streets of the United States. Instead of surveillance cameras, there are a lot of American flags. These flags are not only found in scenic spots and landmark buildings but everywhere. Even at a common T-junction in Massachusetts, you can see four American flags inserted in the corner of less than a few square meters. The national flag on the streets of the United States, the perception even exceeds the streets of Vietnam (some of the street lights on the streets of Vietnam, often inserted a flag). The national flag symbolizes the country, and a large number of national flags on the streets are enough to show that the United States values the importance of patriotic education.
Interestingly, the American people love not only their own country but also their own state. The bus from Massachusetts to New York will pass through Connecticut. In the small shops in the high-speed lounge area, you can buy small souvenirs that are truly locally produced. These souvenirs will be marked “made with pride in the U.S.A.” (made in the U.S.A., with pride). Because the neighboring New York is famous enough, there are two different types of refrigerators for sale, which represent “Connecticut” and “New York State”. I bought the “New York State” souvenir, and undoubtedly harvested the American aunt’s spit: “come on! This is Connecticut!” (I am dizzy, here is Connecticut), an education. They love their own state, to some extent, because of the relative independence of the states.
The United States is a federal state, and this is also the development of its democratic system. Every state in the United States is highly autonomous. This kind of autonomy also spreads down to towns, which is why, as at the beginning of the text, different cities in different states can separately disable face recognition technology through law. Different states have different commodity tax rates so that tourists’ tax rebates become difficulty. Hotels in different states will also be subject to state laws. In order to achieve state autonomy, the federal government is only responsible for formulating the most basic laws and handing over other details to the states to control. The federal government does not exercise administrative centralization, and states enjoy full administrative freedom. But at the same time, according to Tocqueville’s research (he is also a French jurist), it cannot be underestimated that the federal government still has a high degree of government centralization. This government’s centralization is even stronger than all other countries (in the 18th century). The government has strong rights, but the details of the administration are delegated to the states. Each city enjoys administrative freedom under the states.
Most of the buildings in the United States are extremely streamlined. In the western United States, such as California, many buildings are khaki-colored exterior walls, and the shape is square. The entire building is evenly distributed with uniform windows as if it were a square box with many simple rectangular holes. Rarely see any other exterior decoration. European architecture, such as the United Kingdom and Italy, is often more refined in appearance. Only windows, including the upper edge decoration, and the side column form. These buildings in the United States, even if compared to German architecture (Germany prefers square, very neat buildings), can not see more details. This simple architectural design style can also reflect the tonality of American democracy. They do not have the exquisite temperament left by the European nobility, do not prefer the delicate and thoughtful design, but pay more attention to the practicality of the building.
This pragmatic preference is immersed in the way they look at art and craft. The American refrigerator sticker is also the roughest and ugliest I have ever seen. Like large models like pickup trucks, they also like to design large models of refrigerator stickers. Higher prices do not mean more refined designs but mean larger sizes. The most expensive refrigerator sticker you can see is a half-size A4 paper tile. The entire tile is drawn in a hundred dollars or 1dollar dollars, and Trump is printed in the middle of the dollar. This design, although not beautiful, can be said to be very American.
Of course, there are exceptions to the architectural style, such as the architecture of the big cities in the eastern United States - New York. The buildings here are very grand, Times Square, Wall Street, and other places, if you are in it, you can often find a very landmark and creative buildings. The significance of these buildings is to complement the mediocre architecture. American democracy makes individuals weak; their buildings tend to be equal, and they will be normal, but these people will instead expect to make the building of the big gatherings magnificent. These buildings remind people to remember greatness. American democracy has made Americans build mediocre buildings and build magnificent buildings.
The avenues used in New York City have no name, but Arabic numerals. Arabic numerals are easy to read for anyone from any culture or nation. This can reflect the United States’ love of general ideas as a democratic country, that is, the generally accepted concept. In contrast to New York, London is also one of the largest cosmopolitan cities. Both cities have populations from all regions and nations of the world. In the streets of London, you will not see them change the streets into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd streets in their lifetimes. This is too unconventional for the British people.
In the dense commercial streets of New York, every 3-5 streets have a grand church that complements American democracy. As one of the countries with the highest proportion of Christian faith, the United States believes that only relying on religion can moralize the democratic system. The practicality of democracy will lead people to pursue more material enjoyment, the creed of spiritual purification in religion, the turn of the mind to non-material pleasure, and the release of lust and self-interest. In this way, the government can use religion to regulate democracy. Another issue at this time is the influence of religion on politics. When clergy can control the behavior of believers through faith, problems such as the “Tai Ping Heavenly Kingdom” and the combination of theology and politics may arise. As Thorville’s point of view, the way to control religion is that the government should greet religion to control religion and not cross the border. The establishment of a large number of churches by the government can be seen as one of the methods.
America’s love for practicality is also reflected in science. The United States likes applied science because it is more practical. Those who can make research results can turn it into economic output faster. As the country’s number one technology, the United States does not have a particle collider. The study of physical particle scales can lead the technological revolution across the ages (as an example: to get the gravitational force, humans may be able to create anti-gravity spacecraft, light speed spacecraft). But this research is too expensive and too far from industrial applications. As a place of idealism, Europe has the most powerful particle collider in the world. These old aristocratic societies like theoretical science and are also pursuing spiritual enjoyment. Western modern philosophers are also mostly from Europe. There are not many philosophers from the superpowers of the United States.
Relying on the combination of technology and industry, and the opportunities of World War I and World War II, the United States has global technology hegemony and based on this, it has dollar hegemony, military hegemony, and cultural hegemony. Among them, cultural hegemony can be said to be the least difficult to discover, but it has the greatest impact on our civilian population.
When you arrive in New York, you have to look at the Statue of Liberty, and it is a very good choice to sit on a small cruise from all angles on the water. Sitting on the boat, you will find that the songs about New York have never been interrupted, and they are all popular styles. There is also a summary of the top 10 songs about New York on the Internet (Top 10 Songs About New York City). New York City (N.Y.C.) is also a very popular element so that it is often printed on hats and T-shirts. Everyone knows that New York is a beautiful metropolis in a dream.
The cultural propaganda in Hollywood has given the United States a cultural hegemony. In Avengers 4, the captain of the United States, as an ordinary hormonal human, led the superheroes and eventually picked up the Quake, and was not questioned by many viewers. You can imagine what it would be like to change to the Chinese captain or any other captain.
Finally, take a look at the leopard and return to my field to see the Chinese and Western. From a human rights perspective, Europe introduced the General Data Protection Regulation in 2018, which has made it difficult for companies entering Europe to deal with user data. In the past two years, the United States has also introduced laws to control the development of big data applications. At the same time, China has established the most powerful Skynet monitoring system. For data privacy, the two sides seem to be heading in the opposite direction. At this time, I think of Deng Xiaoping’s previous translation. Zhang Wei’s point of view on this issue is “to develop first, to have problems and then to govern.” This is a view that strongly believes in government and government power. In fact, these bills restricting data applications in Europe and the United States have indeed slowed down the industrial application of I.T. technology to some extent. This is a contest between elite governance and universal governance. It is a contest between Chinese culture and Western culture.
The Yangglu Saxons made the first industrial revolution in Britain and the second and third industrial revolutions in the United States. Lets see who can be the maker of the fourth industrial revolution.