私が翻訳した本に『野望の中国近現代史 帝国は復活する』（オーヴィル・シェル、ジョン・デルリー著、ビジネス社、２０１４年）があります。これは、アヘン戦争以降の歴史を中国の近代化に貢献した人々を各省で１人ずつ取り上げたもの（列伝）です。この本の背骨（バックボーン）となるテーマは、「中国はアヘン戦争以降、恥辱の世紀（a century of humiliation）を過ごしてきた（これ以降、中国は外国に侵略され、富を奪われていきました）。近代化に貢献した人々（改革者）は、この恥辱をそそぎ、富強（wealth and power）の復活を目指してきた（アヘン戦争直前まで中国は力を落としつつありましたが世界最大の経済大国でした）」というものです。
トランプを支持した人々は、トランプの掲げた「アメリカを再び偉大に（Make America Great Again）」こそが、自分たちの主張そのものだと感じ、トランプを支持しました。逆に言うと、トランプが時代の「空気」を的確につかむことに成功しました。この「昔偉大だった我が国は今凋落している。それを再び偉大にするのだ」という思考は、中国近現代史と相通じるものがあります。
TRUMP AND OBAMA: A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
By Adam Gopnik , SEPTEMBER 12, 2015
Once, and only once, in 2011, have I attended the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington, D.C., on the grounds, as I explained then, that Voltaire is said to have cited when he declined a second invitation to an orgy: once a philosopher, twice a pervert. Luckily for the philosopher in me, it turned out to be an auspicious night. Not only, as we did not know then, was President Obama in the midst of the operation that would lead shortly to Osama bin Laden’s killing; it was also the night when, despite that preoccupation, the President took apart Donald Trump, plastic piece by orange part, and then refused to put him back together again.
Trump was then at the height of his unimaginably ugly marketing of birther fantasies, and, just days before, the state of Hawaii had, at the President’s request, released Obama’s long-form birth certificate in order to end, or try to end, the nonsense. Having referred to that act, he then gently but acutely mocked Trump’s Presidential ambitions: “I know that he’s taken some flack lately—no one is prouder to put this birth-certificate matter to rest than the Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to the issues that matter, like: did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And—where are Biggie and Tupac?” The President went on, “We all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example—no, seriously—just recently, in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice”—there was laughter at the mention of the program’s name. Obama explained that, when a team did not impress, Trump “didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf—you fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night.”
What was really memorable about the event, though, was Trump’s response. Seated a few tables away from us magazine scribes, Trump’s humiliation was as absolute, and as visible, as any I have ever seen: his head set in place, like a man in a pillory, he barely moved or altered his expression as wave after wave of laughter struck him. There was not a trace of feigning good humor about him, not an ounce of the normal politician’s, or American regular guy’s “Hey, good one on me!” attitude—that thick-skinned cheerfulness that almost all American public people learn, however painfully, to cultivate. No head bobbing or hand-clapping or chin-shaking or sheepish grinning—he sat perfectly still, chin tight, in locked, unmovable rage. If he had not just embarked on so ugly an exercise in pure racism, one might almost have felt sorry for him.
Some day someone may well write a kind of micro-history of that night, as historians now are wont to do, as a pivot in American life, both a triumph of Obama’s own particular and enveloping form of cool and as harbinger of—well, of what exactly? A lot depends on what happens next with the Donald and his followers. Certainly, the notion that Trump’s rise, however long it lasts, is a product of a special skill, or circumstance, or a new national “mood,” is absurd. Trumpism is a permanent part of American life—in one form or another, with one voice or another blaring it out. At any moment in our modern history, some form of populist nationalism has always held some significant share—whether five or ten per cent – of the population. Among embittered white men, Trump’s “base,” it has often held a share much larger than that. Trump is not offering anything that was not offered before him, often in identical language and with a similarly incoherent political program, by Pat Buchanan or Ross Perot, by George Wallace or Barry Goldwater, or way back when by Father Coughlin or Huey Long. Populist nationalism is not an eruptive response to a new condition of 2015—it is a perennial ideological position, deeply rooted in the nature of modernity: a social class sees its perceived displacement as the result of a double conspiracy of outsiders and élitists. The outsiders are swamping us, and the insiders are mocking us—this ideology alters its local color as circumstances change, but the essential core is always there. They look down on us and they have no right to look down on us. Indeed, the politics of Trump, far from being in any way new, are exactly the politics of Huck Finn’s drunken father in “Huckleberry Finn”: “Call this a govment! Just look at it and see what it’s like . . . . A man can’t get his rights in a govment like this.” Widespread dissatisfaction with all professional politicians, a certainty of having been “sold out,” a feeling of complete alienation from both political parties—“Not a dime’s worth of difference between them” was George Wallace’s formulation, a half century ago—these are permanent intuitions of the American aggrieved. The feelings may be somewhat aggravated by bad times, or alleviated by good ones, but at the height of the prosperous fifties a significant proportion of Americans were persuaded that the entire government was in the hands of saboteurs and traitors at the pay of a foreign power, while in the still more prosperous nineties a similar faction was persuaded that the liberal President was actually a coke dealer who had murdered a friend.
Nor is it at all surprising to find a billionaire businessman representing this ideology, because it is not really members of the economic élite who are its villains—it is the educated élite, and the uneducated outsiders, who are. It is, on the historical record, much more a response to the ceaseless anxieties of modern life than to any financial angst of the moment. Probably the best student of this modern ideology is the conservative historian John Lukacs, whose 2005 book “Democracy And Populism: Fear and Hatred” makes clear how different the nationalist formula is from patriotism properly so called: it rests not on a sense of pride in place or background but in an intense sense of victimization. The cry of the genuine patriot is “Leave us alone to be the people we have always been.” The populist nationalist cries, “We have been cheated of our birthright, and the Leader will give it back.”
The ideology is always available; it just changes its agents from time to time.
And this is where memories of the President’s performance come into play and take on a potency that one might not have understood at the time. For the politics of populist nationalism are almost entirely the politics of felt humiliation—the politics of shame. And one can’t help but suspect that, on that night, Trump’s own sense of public humiliation became so overwhelming that he decided, perhaps at first unconsciously, that he would, somehow, get his own back—perhaps even pursue the Presidency after all, no matter how nihilistically or absurdly, and redeem himself. Though he gave up the hunt for office in that campaign, it does not seem too far-fetched to imagine that the rage—Lukacs’s fear and hatred—implanted in him that night has fuelled him ever since. It was already easy to sense at the time that something very strange had happened – that the usual American ritual of the “roast” and the roasted had been weirdly and uniquely disrupted. But the consequences were hard to imagine. The micro-history of that night yet to be written might be devoted largely to the double life of Barack Obama as cool comedian and quiet commander—or it might be devoted to the moment when new life was fed into an old ideology, when Trump’s ambitions suddenly turned over to the potent politics of shame and vengeance. His even partial triumph in the primary still seems unlikely—but stranger jokes have been played on American philosophers over the centuries.