2014年7月16日 星期三

紀念 James MacGregor Burns 和 WILLIAM SAFIRE



20世紀下半葉 (1978),政治學家James MacGregor Burns 出版一本領先時代的名著:《領導》(Leadership1978, Harper Collins 北京:中國社會科學出版社先後有2次譯本)。他在書中說一段剴切的話:


「今日領導階層面臨的危機,是許多掌權者都屬平庸之輩,或屬不負責任之士,然而,我們很少看到這些領袖去學習領導力。他們素質低落主要在於知識層面。我們仔細端視這批人,就會發現他們對於領導力所知甚少。我們並未掌握現代領導力的精華。我們甚至對於績效等的衡量、用人之道、去蕪存菁的標準都莫衷一是。

故筆友William Safire 是美國著名的文膽,數十年前就名列簡明大英百科。他在發行近170萬份的紐約時報周日雜誌有一專欄:《語言天地》(On Language)。數十年如一日,每周都有論述。我曾請教他美國國務院在2006年採用的 “transformative diplomacy”一字用詞上似乎有點問題。我當時認為或可考慮用 transformable diplomacy,因為全球的政治界和管理學界已有名著討論「轉型式領導 vs 交易式領導」("transformable vs transactional" leadership)


Safire 先生在 2006611的專欄寫一外交詞令 (Diplolingo)來回答我(Hanching Chung)。…..作者很厲害還找到James MacGregor Burns,請他出來在文章上亮相並請Burns先生建議用字。 James 建議採用 TRANSFORMING 。英文真妙。動詞加上 ”+ing”,就可以成為好的行容詞,譬如說Learning Organization (學習型組織transforming organization/diplomacy (轉型中的組織/外教等等。由這一案例,可以顯示英文是相當困難的,我當時還沒想過 "transforming" 可能是更好的選擇。 (2013年才注意到Burns 先生寫過Transforming Leadership: A New Pursuit of Happiness, published with Atlantic Monthly Press in 2003 (ISBN 0-87113-866-2).

當年,2006,他出版過一本談美總統的領導力危機的書:

Running Alone Publisher: Basic Books (September 1, 2006)

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
中國在2012年出版中譯:《總統領導力》北京:中國人民大學出版社,2012

書名:"Running Alone"是關鍵字,是書中研究過去50年美國總統(從甘迺迪到小布希)的危機:似乎除了雷根之外,這些總統都背離其全國同黨同志和全國人民,想以自己的小組織統治美國,無法與全國人民共治.......



我的大名,竟然出現在 紐約時報雜誌上:談外交術語

By WILLIAM SAFIRE
Published: June 11, 2006
After inflicting heavy casualties on Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Virginia defending Richmond in early 1862, Gen. George B. McClellan failed to press the strength of his Army of the Potomac. To President Lincoln's dismay, following the Seven Days Battles, McClellan withdrew. He refused to use the word withdraw or retreat in his dispatches; instead, the Army's beloved "Little Mac" announced he had undertaken a retrograde movement. That term meant "going backward" but connoted a tactical maneuver, part of a strategic plan.
The painful problem of finding a synonym for withdrawal re-emerged this year. Palestinians voted inHamas, an organization judged by the United States to support terror attacks, and one that refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist. The government of Israel, having successfully withdrawn — the preferred word was resettled — 8,000 Israelis from settlements among about a million Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip, was faced with the need for a descriptive name for a plan to redraw its boundaries without a Palestinian negotiating partner. The newly elected prime minister, Ehud Olmert, proposes to move dozens of West Bank villages built by some 90,000 Israelis into three main blocs that can be made secure behind the antiterrorist fence now under construction.
What to call the plan that would not be associated with "retreat" or "abandonment" but that would connote the consolidation of the Israeli populace into one area? The Hebrew word that Olmert chose during his election campaign late last year was hitkansut, which means "coming together." That word is an apt and sensitive choice in Hebrew: its root is kns, meaning "to gather in one place," and it shares a root with Knesset, the Israeli Parliament.
But that was only half the battle. The word hitkansut (unlike the Hebrew-based maven or brouhaha) is not readily adopted into English; its sound could invite derision as a combination of hit-and-run and cloak-and-suit. The challenge: What word in English connotes withdrawal without weakness, and sensible rearrangement without imperious finality, that would gain international support?
Convergence was the first translation floated out: all the pioneering settlers would converge, with Israelis now fencing off suicidal intruders. But that word struck Israeli commentators as vaguely geometric and requiring further explanation. Some American old-timers recalled convergence as the word used by extreme détenteniks in the 1960's to mean that the communist and capitalist ideologies would, in some happy future, meet in the middle.
"Goodbye 'Convergence' Hello 'Consolidation"' was the headline in The Jerusalem Post, privy to the "semantic struggle." But consolidation struck some as all too industrial, and other entries likeretrenchment and disengagement were military terms too close to McClellan's retrograde movement. The editor David Horovitz dismissed the synonyms ingathering and rebordering as "not actually words at all."
Under a Washington Times headline, "Olmert Asks for a Word With Bush: Aides Settle on'Realignment,"' Joshua Mitnick reported from Tel Aviv about preparations for a White House meeting that took place last month: "After weeks of discussing and polling, Mr. Olmert and his aides have settled on that word to describe his ambitious withdrawal plan." Though one Israeli muttered that " realignment sounds like work on your car," another held that it was a better translation of what Olmert was trying to accomplish: "Realignment speaks to shifting the lines."
By adjusting the line of separation without seeking to establish a formal border, Israel's purpose is to minimize friction while retaining its historic claim to the land in dispute. The chosen translation ofhitkansut signals neither retreat nor annexation but is a bid to gain international support for a secure dividing line now, without closing the door to negotiation someday with a neighbor no longer dedicated to its destruction. Realignment was well received in the White House; sometimes "diplolingo" works.
Transformation Nation
"What is the difference," Hanching Chung of Taipei e-mails, "between transformational diplomacyand transformational leadership?" This query was stimulated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's speech at Georgetown University in January, in which she called for "a diplomacy that not only reports about the world as it is, but seeks to change the world itself." She added, "I and others have called this mission transformational diplomacy."
As my Taiwanese correspondent notes, the phrase (successor to dollar diplomacy, gunboat diplomacy, Ping-Pong diplomacy and shuttle diplomacy) was bottomed on transformational leadership. That term was in the 1978 book "Leadership" by the historian James MacGregorBurns, who tells me: "I was responding to the excessively transactional leadership of the time." (Transactional deals with competent means, transformational with great ends, usually with a moral overtone.) When I asked whether he had considered transformative, Professor Burns replied, "Transforming would have been shorter and stronger."
The handful of deep-structure grammarians who read this column with amused detachment are now probably Chompskying at the bit: what about their revered transformational grammar, progenitor of all this voguish transformationalism? That system of analyzing language set forth by Noam Chomsky a half century ago, also called generative grammar, holds that a fixed set of rules generate every sentence we speak or write, transforming abstract structures deep in the brain into understandable sentences when they reach the surface of speech. (If I were angling for a foreign policy job in a Clinton Restoration, I'd start fiddling with the phrase generative diplomacy.)







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The historian James MacGregor Burns at his home in Williamstown, Mass., in 2007.CreditNathaniel Brooks/Associated Press

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James MacGregor Burns, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and political scientist who wrote voluminously about the nature of leadership in general and the presidency in particular, died on Tuesday at his home in Williamstown, Mass. He was 95.
The historian Michael Beschloss, a friend and former student, confirmed the death.
Mr. Burns, who taught at Williams College for most of the last half of the 20th century, was the author of more than 20 books, most notably “Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom” (1970), a major study of PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt’s stewardship of the country through World War II. It was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
An informal adviser to presidents, Mr. Burns was a liberal Democrat who once ran for Congress from the westernmost district of Massachusetts. Though he sometimes wrote prescriptively from — or for — the left, over all he managed the neat trick of neither hiding his political viewpoint in his work nor funneling his work through it. His work was often critical of American government and its system of checks and balances, which in his view had become an obstacle to visionary progress, particularly when used by a divided or oppositional Congress as a rein on the presidency. In works like “The Deadlock of Democracy” (1963) and “Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court” (2009), he argued for systemic changes, calling for a population-based Senate, term limits for Supreme Court justices and an end to midterm elections.
The nature of leadership was his fundamental theme throughout his career. In his biographies of Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy, among others, and in his works of political theory — including “Leadership,” a seminal 1978 work melding historical analysis and contemporary observation that became a foundation text for an academic discipline — Mr. Burns focused on parsing the relationship between the personalities of the powerful and the historical events they helped engender.
His award-winning Roosevelt biography, for example, was frank in its admiration of its subject. But the book nonetheless distilled, with equal frankness, Roosevelt’s failings and character flaws; it faulted him for not seizing the moment and cementing the good relations between the United States and the Soviet Union when war had made them allies. This lack of foresight, Mr. Burns argued, was a primary cause of the two nations’ drift into the Cold War.
Roosevelt “was a deeply divided man,” he wrote, “divided between the man of principle, of ideals, of faith, crusading for a distant vision, on the one hand; and, on the other, the man of Realpolitik, of prudence, of narrow, manageable, short-run goals, intent always on protecting his power and authority in a world of shifting moods and capricious fortune.”
This was typical of Mr. Burns, who wrote audaciously, for a historian, with an almost therapistlike interpretation of the historical characters under his scrutiny and saw conflict but no contradiction in the conflicting and sometimes contradictory impulses of great men. He could admire a president for his politics and his leadership skills, yet report on his inherent shortcomings, as he did with Roosevelt; or to spot a lack of political courage that undermined a promising presidency, as he did with President Bill Clinton and his vice president, Al Gore, in “Dead Center: Clinton-Gore Leadership and the Perils of Moderation,” written with Georgia Jones Sorenson. In the book, he chastised both men for yielding their liberal instincts too easily.
In “The Crisis of the Presidency,” his 1984 book about the dearth of transforming leaders, as opposed to transactional ones, in contemporary America, Mr. Burns was able to decry the outlook of a staunch conservative like President Ronald Reagan but admire him for his instinctive leadership — his understanding of not just how to maneuver the levers of power but also how to muster party unity and effect an attitudinal shift in society.
This distinction between transforming and transactional leadership was central to Mr. Burns’s political theorizing. As he explained it in “Leadership,” the transactional leader is the more conventional politician, a horse trader with his followers, offering jobs for votes, say, or support of important legislation in exchange for campaign contributions.
The transforming leader, on the other hand, “looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower,” Mr. Burns wrote.
“The result of transforming leadership,” he went on, “is a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents.”
If there was any way in which Mr. Burns’s personal views pierced his objectivity as a writer and researcher, it was in his understanding of the human elements of leadership. He had great faith in the potential for human greatness, and though he often scolded presidents, congressmen and party officials for failing to strive for progress and high ends, once could discern in his writing a pleading for great men and women to lead with greatness.
“That people can be lifted into their better selves,” he wrote at the end of “Leadership,” “is the secret of transforming leadership and the moral and practical theme of this work.”
Mr. Burns was born on Aug. 3, 1918, in Melrose, Mass., outside Boston. His father, Robert, a businessman, and his mother, the former Mildred Bunce, came from Republican families, though Mr. Burns described her as holding feminist principles. She largely raised him, in Burlington, Mass., after his parents’ divorce, and it was she, he said, who instilled in him the independence of mind to oppose the political views prevalent in his father’s family.
“I rebelled early,” Mr. Burns told the television interviewer Brian Lamb in 1989. “I got a lot of attention simply because I sat at the dinner table making these outrageous statements that they never heard anybody make face to face.” He added, “There was a lot of very strenuous and sometimes angry debate within the household.”
After graduating from Williams, Mr. Burns went to Washington and worked as a congressional aide. He served as an Army combat historian in the Pacific during World War II, receiving a Bronze Star, and afterward earned a Ph.D. from Harvard. He did postdoctoral work at the London School of Economics. His first book, “Congress on Trial: The Legislative Process and the Administrative State,” a critical appraisal of American lawmaking, was published in 1949.
After his second book, “Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox” (1956), a study of the president’s early years, Mr. Burns ran for Congress in 1958 from a western Massachusetts district that had not elected a Democrat since 1896 — and it did not again. During the campaign he became acquainted with John F. Kennedy, then running for his second term as senator from Massachusetts. After the election, with unrestricted access to Kennedy, his staff and his records, he wrote “Kennedy: A Political Profile,” an assessment of him as a potential president. Though the book was largely favorable, it was not the hagiography the Kennedy family and presidential campaign had anticipated. (“I think you underestimate him,” Jacqueline Kennedy wrote to him after she read it, adding: “Can’t you see he is exceptional?”)
After Kennedy’s assassination, Mr. Burns said frequently that Kennedy had been a great leader and would have been even greater had he lived. But in his book he called Kennedy “a rationalist and an intellectual” and questioned whether he had the character strength to exert what he called “moral leadership.”
“What great idea does Kennedy personify?” he wrote. “In what way is he a leader of thought? How could he supply moral leadership at a time when new paths before the nation need discovering?”
In 1978, after a half-dozen more books, including the second Roosevelt volume and separate studies of the presidency and of state and local governments, Mr. Burns wrote “Leadership,” an amalgamation of a lifetime of thinking about the qualities shared and exemplified by world leaders throughout history. It became a standard academic text in the emerging discipline known as leadership studies, and Mr. Burns’s concept of transforming leadership itself became the subject of hundreds of doctoral theses.
“It inspires our work,” Georgia Sorenson, who founded the Center for Political Leadership at the University of Maryland, said of “Leadership.” She persuaded Mr. Burns, who was on her dissertation committee, to teach there in 1993, and four years later the university renamed the center, which has both undergraduate and graduate programs, in his honor; it is now the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership.
Mr. Burns’s two marriages ended in divorce. He is survived by four children and his companion, Susan Dunn, with whom he collaborated on “The Three Roosevelts” and a biography of George Washington, two of the half-dozen books Mr. Burns wrote or co-wrote after the age of 80. His last book, “Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed the World,” was published in 2013.
Asked to describe Mr. Burns’s passions away from his writing, Ms. Sorenson named skiing, his two golden retrievers, Jefferson and Roosevelt, the blueberry patch in his yard and his students.
“He would never bump a student appointment to meet with someone more important,” Ms. Sorenson said. “I remember Hillary Clinton once inviting him to tea, and he wouldn’t go because he had to meet with a student. And he would never leave his place in Williamstown during blueberry season.”
Correction: July 15, 2014 
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this obituary misidentified Mr. Burns’s last book. It is “Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed the World,” not “Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court.”


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