Monday, February 3, 2014

Just put me down on the "doggone . . . road to perdition"

If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing “American the Beautiful” in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come — doggone we are on the road to perdition. This was a truly disturbing commercial for me, what say you?
Let's parse this--and in the process provide an example of Libertarian thought applicable to Delaware.

First, the idea of ascribing social inferiority based on language, and the idea of using the power of the government to try to restrict or channel the languages that people can speak (the allusion to TR) is pretty much anathema to libertarians.

Then I note that those who argue that neither businesses nor the government should have to treat with people who don't speak English are allowing their jingoism to get in the way of perfectly good (and profitable) free-market solutions to their "problem."  As Dr. Vince Schaller (former owner of Hockessin Walk-In) told me, it cost him only a couple bucks a day to have an on-call, multi-language translation service available by telephone during his business hours.  Those few dollars were more than recovered by the fact that Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese-speaking individuals made his their medical aid unit of choice, and brought him their business.

I also would remind former Congressman West and his followers that it is ideas and ideals, not language that makes up American culture.  The French-speaking immigrants to Louisiana gave us the rich Creole culture; the German Moravians and other similar immigrants joined in creating the whole ethic of self-reliance; many elderly Italian, German, Polish, Hungarian, and Russian immigrants came to America in the early part of the 20th Century and never learned very much English, but were among the staunchest American patriots our nation has ever known.

More amusing, perhaps, is Congressman West's casual acceptance of the Coca Cola transnational corporation as being "a company as American as they come."  What a hoot, Alan.  Have you ever examined the multinational holdings of your favorite company?
The Company manufactures, markets and sells Leao / Matte Leao teas in Brazil through a joint venture with its bottling partners. During 2011, the Company introduced a variety of brands, brand extensions and beverage products: the Latin America group launched Frugos Sabores Caseros; in the Pacific group, Fanta, a fruit-flavored sparkling beverage, was relaunched in Singapore and Malaysia; Real Leaf, a green tea-based beverage, launched two varieties in Vietnam; and in South Korea it introduced three flavor variants of the Georgia Emerald Mountain Blend ready-to-drink coffee beverage and Burn Intense, an energy drink; the Europe group launched Powerade ION4 in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and France, France launched Powerade Zero; in the Eurasia and Africa group, Turkey launched Cappy Pulpy, and India launched Fanta Powder, an orange-flavored powder formulation; Schweppes Novida, a sparkling malt drink, was launched in Kenya and Uganda; and in Uganda Coca-Cola Zero was launched; in Egypt, it launched Cappy Fruitbite; and Schweppes Gold, a sparkling flavored malt drink, and in Ghana, it launched Schweppes Malt, a dark malt drink. During 2011, the Company sold approximately 26.7 billion unit cases of its products.
 If you want to find something offensive about Coca Cola's overtly cute "America the Beautiful" ad, then consider the unlovely aspects of the company itself, or its monopolistic business practices, or its political contributions to Congressman John Carney, Senator Tom Carper, Senator Chris Coons, and . . . yes . . . . former Congressman Alan West.


tom said...

Individuals and businesses should be free to discriminate in any way they see fit. In a free market the loss of profits will punish discrimination.

Governments, on the other hand, because of their coercive and monopolistic nature should not. By no means would I advocate translating our entire body of law and regulations into other languages at taxpayer expense, or even requiring government employees to be multi-lingual. But whenever a non-native speaker is forced to deal with any representative of government, a competent translator should be available upon request.

Steven H. Newton said...

The problem, Tom, is that free markets as you describe right now do not exist. So to argue that, in government-rigged and supported markets, "individuals and businesses should be free to discriminate in any way they see fit" is effectively a non-sequiteur.

tom said...

You are correct that free markets (as I describe) do not actually exist. but that does not invalidate my point.

Even the sort-of, slightly free market we have now is not rigged, Jim Crow style, against people who don't speak English. And that is probably why Dr. Schaller's willingness to innovate and re-invent his practice allowed him to last longer as an independent clinic than any of his competitors.

Unknown said...

Hmmm! a language translator in Miami had told me that this is really a good commercial that gives American dream's message to all over the world. Well I agree with him, we shouldn't be limited to North America only.