VDARE - Señor McCain
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Señor McCain

With Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in the midst of a media fawning frenzy, it's time to remember that there may be physical courage – but there's also moral courage.  VDARE's Arizona candidate for the latter: Bob Park, now a director of English Language Advocates.  Park was founder of the group of grass-roots patriots who got an Official English initiative on the Arizona ballot in 1988, won against the opposition of the entire state establishment, defended it against the inevitable court challenge when Arizona's professional politicians declined to do so and fought all the way through until 1998, when the State Supreme Court finally nullified Arizona voters' democratic decision on the obviously absurd grounds that running the government in English would violate Hispanic employees' freedom of speech.  Throughout, John McCain was emphatically on the wrong side. 

In fact, McCain's pattern of pandering to Hispanic lobby on language is a real vulnerability in his campaign for the Presidency.  He has consistently supported "bilingual education" and in a February 24 1998 speech to something called the "Hispanic Heritage Leadership Breakfast" actually explicitly endorsed its (usually unspoken) agenda:

"Spanish was spoken in Arizona when it was carved from the wilderness, and I am proud that it is spoken there today.  People should not have to abandon the language of their birth to learn the language of their future. They should use and treasure both." [italics added].

Stripped of the glop and translated into American: the purpose of "bilingual education" is language maintenance – the use of government power to impede the normal processes of assimilation in order to create permanent foreign-language enclaves in the U.S.

Foreign-language enclaves will be great for rent-seeking ethnic political entrepreneurs.  And for Anglo politicians looking for a quick and convenient way to bribe a bunch of voters – at least until the enclaves grow big enough to impose their own leaders (but hey, McCain's 63 already).

In the long run, however, foreign language enclaves will impose real costs on the majority language community.   For example, they will require the government increasingly to operate in the foreign language as well as English.  As the history of Canada shows, this institutional bilingualism has powerful public-choice consequences.  It causes a systematic redistribution of power and perquisites toward the minority language group, which as a practical matter is the only one that learns to speak both languages.

McCain is already furthering this process. In 1998, he successfully attached a provision to the Education Savings and School Excellence Act that mandated a "study" of groups in the U.S. that spoke English but also one or more other languages.  McCain's explanation: "Based on this study, we would be able to promote the importance of foreign language skills, while providing a basis for expanding our nation's linguistic abilities."

VDARE'S guess: promoting foreign language skills is going to mean preferential hiring for Hispanics.

McCain's pandering on the language issue is a real vulnerability…but one that George Bush can't exploit.  He has said nothing while the government of El Cenizo, a town in Texas populated by Mexican immigrants, has been declared officially Spanish-only.

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