英日対訳:T.ビーチャム自叙伝 A Mingled Chime 第35回(1/2) 世の中全体の問題:腰抜け政治家/ゴシップライター







Not so long ago an ingenious and learned author brought out a book entitled The Age of Fable. The purpose of the book, which is moderate in tone and franked by a wealth of instance, is to show that for the last generation or longer the public has never known the real truth about anything, has existed in a thick fog of error, ignorance, and delusion, and that for this appalling condition of things the Press, reinforced in the later years by the Radio, has been mainly responsible. In my country it is next to impossible to run successfully a newspaper that has not a party label of some sort, with the result that in addition to general policy, the presentation of opinions and the juggling of news are influenced and dictated by its political trend. Every time a great national question is raised in our so-called democratic states, instead of an immediate agreement between the various party machines to treat it as something that vitally affects the safety and prosperity of the entire community, it is made a football to be kicked about for their private amusement.  




One would think that the adequate defense of the nation was a self-evident proposition; we protect our private lives and property from accident by insurance, so why not insure the safety of the realm from much greater mishap by making doubly certain that it shall not suddenly be endangered by attack from outside? But in my day not only has this never been accepted as the first axiom of national preservation, but has been the constant subject of irreconcilable dissension among the various political groups.  




The foreign policy of a country like England is not determined by what is best for the interests of the whole of its people, but by the sympathy of one party or the other with those states whose systems of government or ideological creeds bear some resemblance to their own. It is true that the average man likes to take sides; existence would be intolerable without the clash of opposing ideas. But equally he does not want to wrangle the whole day long or see applied the meretricious methods of the forum or the political tub to the management of the affairs of the nation, any more than to the mnning of his own business or home. Also he sometimes likes to hear the other side of the question stated with lucidity (audire alteram partem), and above all he wants to know the truth. But this is precisely what he never does get. He is talked at, lectured, and admonished from morning to night, but enlightened never. I have just been reading a book by an American writer on England, and it is hard for me to understand how such a piece of work came to be written, unless for reasons directly antagonistic to the interests of plain veracity; for the picture drawn of it is unrecognizable by anyone whose eyes are not blinded by illogical prejudice or emotional antipathy. The career of an artist in Great Britain is not one to beget a fanatical worship of everything there, and I have passed a large portion of my life in other countries where I have seen much to admire and respect. But there are certain aspects of English life which remain preeminent, and only a total inability or disinclination to acknowledge their existence can account for denying or ignoring them. For example, the protection of life and property, two not inconsiderable interests, is greater than in any other country of importance. In comparison with another great democratic community, the statistics of crimes of violence are in a proportion of one to eighteen hundred, or allowing for the difference of the two populations, one to six hundred, and no one but a thug or gangster will deny that here we have a slight advantage. Although much of our legal system is cumbersome or obsolete, the actual administration of justice is superior to any other, notably in the criminal courts, whose simplicity, dignity, and celerity are a model to all others. 




The personal liberty of the poor man is greater than elsewhere for he can be oppressed by neither employer nor fellow employee. Recently in a Canadian province a talented musician was fined by his union for giving his services gratis to a war charity, a species of tyranny surpassing anything hnown to the Middle Ages and out of the question in England, where freedom still means die privilege of the individual to do all those things that seem right in his own eyes, provided he do no wrong to his neighbor. If my country could for a few years rid its collective mind of all the political and social shibboleths, isms, and ologies that have been crammed down its throat and rammed into its ears, compose its domestic differences, which after all are very few and trivial, and above everything reject decisively all nostrums and specifics (mostly of foreign origin and completely out of date) for the improvement of human nature, there might be still a chance of its playing a leading part in the affairs of the new world which is now being born. 




Our failures during the past twenty years may be credited to one oveniding cause, stagnation. We have marked time, maintained a negative attitude to every critical event that has taken place elsewhere, and we have not made one practical contribution of the slightest value to the preservation of peace and sanity in the world. On numerous occasions our leadership and counsel have been sought and our decision or action implored, but we have responded with words. Where the exercise of the strong hand was the one thing to prove effective we have preferred to offer the empty platitudes of the party hack. Less than a year before the outbreak of the present war, the distinguished leader of the Conservative party in the House of Lords indicated in a letter to the Times the danger to the entire world of an empire like ours which seemed incapable of ever making up its mind or coming to the point. The evil must be fairly deep rooted when a political mandarin, usually the last person to acknowledge any deficiency in the existing system, can bring himself to issue such a warning.  




The general mist of misrepresentation which envelopes nearly all public transactions covers those of private persons also, especially when they are of the kind that journalists call “news.” It may have been observed that in my foregoing chapters I have made the scantiest references to my personal or intimate life. I cherish the old-fashioned prejudice that every man must have a sanctuary to which he can retire, close the door, pull down the blinds and exclude the world outside. This was the substance of the old doctrine that an Englishman’s house is his castle, once a reality but now a fiction owing to the monstrous ubiquity of the modern press reporter and his accomplice in persecution, the camera pesL Any genuine privacy and seclusion, unless one goes into the heart of the desert, has been rendered impossible by the malign industry of that basest creation of the age, the gossi writer. This slinking, sneaking, worming and reptilian creature passes his time listening at doors, peeping through keyholes, corrupting the servants, and all to discover and retail in print an illiterate jumble of incoherent rabbish about something which no one with the self-respect of a baboon would dream of concerning himself. I once asked the editor of a leading London daily how he came to allow the publication of some nauseating piece of twaddle that had just appeared, and he answered, “We live on garbage.” But if the slightest protest is ever made in any quarter the cry at once goes up to heaven, “the freedom of the Press.” Until a few years back a considerable amount of space in certain London papers was given up to long, lurid, and salacious reports of divorce cases, and the kind of stuff that we used to read every day would, if forming part of a novel or even a scientific treatise, have been banned by the police magistracy. When the incongruity of this preposterous situation at last penetrated the intelligence of the public, there was a demand for the compression of such accounts which after a while was conceded by a rule of the courts. But the resentment of the journals that lived on “garbage” was so loud and strong that if a stranger from another sphere had descended among them he would have concluded that the foundations of justice, society, and the realm itself would totter dangerously if the champions of free speech were deprived of their scavenger’s cart.  






Rossini : William Tell -Overture 

London Philharmonic Orchestra 

Sir Thomas Beecham (1934)