Miedo de Lenguajes


Young Shawn Matlock’s Friday post was the self-referentially titled From the Realm of the Absurd, a mild rant about the Spanish-language nutritional information sticker covering the English-language nutritional information on the label of his favorite beans, which he describes as “very good for Mexican dishes.”

The trivial case of the bean label is not, of course, a big deal. Shawn is making a metaphor out of a molehill:

Nine months ago I was in Russia. No English ANYTHING. Why? They assume if you are in their country, you will either speak their language or learn to adapt or do without. It’s like that everywhere else in the world, but here. Why? This is not “Small town, Southern Conservative Republican” talking. This is someone from America. We are running the risk of losing all of our traditions and culture so that we can appease others.

Why don’t they label things in English in Russia? Because not a lot of people emigrate from English-speaking countries to Russia, and it’s like that everywhere else in the world. If you want simplicity and homogeneity in your country, there are more than 150 better places to live than the United States.

There were Spanish-Speakers living here a generation before English-speakers landed. Our common language is merely a matter of convenience — having one language is more convenient than having many. Any immigrant who doesn’t speak English and isn’t trying to learn is a damn fool, but that’s not your problem.

You don’t have to fear change. Change can be good. Our culture in 2007 is not the same as our culture was in 1776. Survival of the fittest applies to cultures and ideas; that’s why we’re not wearing wigs, writing with goose quills, and relieving ourselves in outhouses. It is also why we speak English, believe in free enterprise, and have the right to freely exercise our religions. Government intervention was not necessary to preserve any of these ideas; in fact, the history of our freedoms is a history of opposition to government intervention.
This is not complicated: if you don’t want Ranch Style to label its beans in Spanish, don’t buy Spanish-labeled beans. Let the free market work, and leave the impotent diatribes in favor of a single language to northern liberals who think that Congress should be in the business of making them less “uncomfortable.”

More importantly, though, any Texas criminal-defense lawyer who doesn’t speak Spanish and isn’t trying to learn is a damn fool too. Even if the principle isn’t important enough to cause you to vote with your wallet, your potential clients will be voting with theirs.


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