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考研英语阅读:后世会责备我们什么?

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2019年09月22日

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What Will Future Generations Condemn Us for?

后世会责备我们什么?

Through the middle of the 19th century, the US and other nations in the Americas approved of plantation slavery. Looking back at such horrors, it is easy to ask: What were people thinking? Yet, the chances are that our own descendants will ask the same question, with the same incomprehension, about some of our practices today. Here are three contenders for future moral condemnation.

直到 19 世纪中期,美国以及美洲其他国家还认可奴隶制。回顾历史上诸如此类的恐怖行径,我们不禁会问:古人他们当时是怎么想的?然而,对于我们当前的一些行为,我们的后代也许会提出同样的质疑,而且同样会令他们感到费解。我们来看看未来可能引发谴责的三件事。

Industrial meat production. Of the more than 90 million cattle in our country, at least 10 million at any time are packed into feedlots, saved from the inevitable diseases of overcrowding only by regular doses of antibiotics, surrounded by piles of their own excrement. In the European Union, many of the most inhumane conditions we allow are already illegal or will be illegal soon.

肉类生产工业化。美国有 9000 多万头牛,至少 1000 万头终年被关在饲养场里。过度拥挤容易引发疾病,于是它们只能靠定期打抗生素来避免疾病。它们身边是成堆的牛粪。在欧盟,许多最不人道的做法已经被视为非法行为,或者即将成为非法行为。

The institutionalized and isolated elderly. Nearly two million of America's elderly are warehoused in nursing homes, out of sight and, to some extent, out of mind. Some 10,000 for-profit facilities have arisen across the country in recent decades to hold them. Other elderly Americans may live independently, but often they are isolated and cut off from their families. Is this what Western modernity amounts to-societies that feel no filial obligations to their inconvenient elders?

养老院里的孤独终老的老人。在美国有将近 2000 万老人生活在养老院里,他们远离了公众的视线,在一定程度上也远离了我们的思绪。美国在过去的几十年里建起了近万所营利性的养老机构。没有被送进养老院的老年人虽然独立生活,但往往受到冷落,很少与家人接触。整个社会都觉得没必要孝敬老人,难道这就是西方的现代社会吗?

The environment. Of course, of these the most obvious candidate for condemnation is our wasteful attitude toward the planet's natural resources and ecology. Desertification, which is primarily the result of destructive land-management practices, threatens a third of the Earth's surface; tens of thousands of Chinese villages have been overrun by sand drifts in the past few decades.

环境问题。毫无疑问,在人类种种行径中,最该受到谴责的就是我们对地球自然资源和生态的浪费。全球有三分之一的陆地面临沙漠化的威胁。几十年间,流沙掩埋了中国的许多村落。

Let's not stop there, though. We will all have our own suspicions about which practices will someday prompt people to ask, in dismay: What were they thinking,even when we don't have a good answer, we'll be better off for anticipating the question.

能列举的事实还远不止这些。我们都应该思量思量,我们哪些行为会令后世子孙沮丧地问:他们都是怎么想的?尽管我们没有最佳答案,但只要把这个问题铭记在心,我们的境况就会有所改善。

 

 

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