花了一个月零八天，终于在作者辞世之前，看完了基辛格最后一本回忆录Years of Renewal。他在回忆录里谈到国会、参议院时很少有正面言辞，里面充斥着党派政治、各种委员会，动不动就来一个法案，绑住作为行政者的政府的手脚，而且建制的各领袖言论也经常跟其在政府工作时大相径庭，基辛格非常反感，但其实这正是民主的精髓。民主不是为了效率而建立的，某种意义上说，这种体制目的是为了降低效率，让一个国家能更充分地考虑各方面的利益和角度，防止出现一言堂、大的失误。
Ford achieved all this without histrionics and visible emotional strain largely because he was so unlike the political leaders now brought into prominence by our normal electoral processes. In perhaps no other period has the importance of leadership been more insistently proclaimed. Yet very rarely has it been so difficult to match aspiration with performance. The ultimate task of a leader is to take his society from where it is to where it has never been. But this requires a willingness to travel on the difficult road between a nation’s experience and its destiny. He is bound to be alone at least part of the way until his society’s experience catches up with its possibilities. A leader who travels too much of that journey entirely on his own loses touch with his people and the capacity to shape events—as happened to Woodrow Wilson. A leader unwilling to risk solitary acts will doom himself and his society to stagnation—witness the democratic leaders of Europe between the two world wars. This is why courage is probably the most important single attribute of a successful leader.
In the West, democracy did not result from a single decision but rather from an evolution extending over centuries. The unique features of the Western pluralistic evolution began with the Catholic Church, which, while hardly democratic in its internal organization, did create the basis for it by insisting on its own distinct governance and by defining the moral order as having a claim superior to that of the state.
This separation of authority between God and Caesar amounted to the first step toward political pluralism and the limitation of state power. Centuries later, pluralism became institutionalized when the Reformation broke up the Universal Church by emphasizing the role of the individual conscience. These trends were accelerated by the Enlightenment, which stressed the dominance of reason; by the Age of Discovery, which stretched intellectual horizons; and by capitalism, which rewarded individual autonomy and initiative and enlarged the middle class.
No other culture has produced a similar evolution. In Islamic societies, the separation of mosque and state is complicated because, for the true believers, the words of the Koran must permeate every aspect even of secular life. Inevitably secularization leads to tensions with religion. In most Confucian societies, neither religion nor nongovernmental groups have had the organization, the autonomy, or the doctrine to encourage the emergence of an alternative center of political authority.