Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Founders recipe for reaching immigrant communities: translate into their language

On the whole, the Spanish Translation of George Washington's Fifth Annual Address here, that I was involved with creating, has been met with positive response both online as well as personally. But I do think that among quite a few that there has been a bit of either a miscommunication, or perhaps even outright resistance. There really isn't any need for that, and I hope that I can either clear things up for some, or for others, persuade them that this is not only a good thing to pursue but the right course of action.(one among many, naturally)

Firstly, I would like to start here: I believe very strongly in the following ideal:

There's no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit

For those who recognize it, yes, that's a Reaganism. He even had this quote on his desk. This is why there are no names directly associated with the translation, and it is not on my YouTube pages. I purposely did not want credit, it's been my hope that people within the larger Tea Party/912 movement would look at this and seek to follow the example, as well as being able to say that 'this is what our movement is capable of doing' and I am in the process of pursuing this further. If I can make that happen, those too will not bear anybody's name. I won't work with someone who's overly credit-seeking.

Secondly, as to my post headline. I'm referring chiefly to the efforts of Benjamin Franklin, but Benjamin Rush's work also applies, I think. The story of Franklin's newspaper, the "Philadelphische Zeitung" carries the message poignantly, and Franklin's own words regarding German immigrants best lays the foundation for the question in my mind:

With regard to the Germans, I think Methods of great tenderness should be used, and nothing that looks like a hardship be imposed. Their fondness for their own Language and Manners is natural: It is not a Crime.

So then if Franklin and Rush reached the colonial German population through their own Germanic language, why would we not follow the same formula with regard to today's Spanish speaking population? For those who followed the sources back as best as possible(I encourage this) you probably noticed that Franklin's paper was short lived and put out of business by a competitor. That did not stop Franklin. He would go on to support reaching German immigrants through education:

In private correspondence Franklin embraced proposals to establish free English schools in German communities, to require that all legal documents be written in English, and to require that all public officials be competent speakers of English.

As I noted in the earlier blog posting, this is the exact opposite of how progressives use the school systems today. But besides that, it occurs to me that two of Franklin's proposals are actively pursued by many people around me. That is, English only for (for example) electoral ballots. I'm certainly on board with proposals like this, but that too is beside the point.

All of the above. Why not do all of the above? John Quincy Adams was another avid translator, though he may not have had the specific purposes that Franklin and Rush had, it still shows how previous generations were generous with their translation duties.

It's interesting to note that over 70% of the hispanic population view bigger government paternally, if even as the very source of prosperity. But why is this? It's not a racial thing at all, it's a cultural thing. Hugo Chavez and his hero Simon Bolivar provide an easy example. Who is the anti-Hugo Chavez? Who is the anti-Simon Bolivar? Particularly Bolivar, because he is the historical figure in the equation. Cultural/history is hard to overcome, which is why for centuries we have seen revolutionaries do book burn sessions.

With pre-American English History we can point to great icons like Adam Smith and John Locke among many, many others as liberty-minded historical figures. This of course powerfully helped to shape early American history, and when we look to the history of the creation of America, we have an entire movement of men who used their energies to limit their own power(as well as the King's). Any one of the Founders could have potentially proclaimed themselves king, but instead what they created was, according to Gladstone:

The American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.

Reagan words this better than anybody: (audio)

Our Founding Fathers, here in this country, brought about the only true revolution that has ever taken place in man's history. Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another set of rulers. But only here did that little band of men so advanced beyond their time that the world has never seen their like since, evolve the idea that you and I have within ourselves the God-given right and the ability to determine our own destiny. But freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if we fight for it, protect it, defend it and then hand it to them with the well thought lessons of how they in their lifetime must do the same. And if you and I don't do this, then you and I may well spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.

This is 100% true, and terrifyingly so. But why is it true? Because tyranny is the natural state of man. Liberty is learned behavior. In the animal world, many animals from birth never know their parents(such as some born from eggs) and thus are born independent. Some animals are born and can practically walk at birth. But humans are born into dependence. For all practical purposes, you could say that 100% of children are born socialists, with parents redistributing their wealth to their children until they can go out on their own. This is not an easy thing to overcome, particularly when you think that American history is totally unique in all of the world. There is no "America" in the Spanish world, Russian world, Chinese, African, or any other. I'm sure at least one of you could point to an anti-Simon Bolivar. Yeah, ok. Think you could point to 56 of them? Living in the same era? (AFAIK there were 56 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, if this is wrong, let me know and I'll fix it)

So you want to reach the Hispanic community, or any other for that matter? Then you might want to consider translating, as Franklin did. There are plenty who would listen. The politicians want to pander, which will never work. Translating the Founders isn't pandering, it's reaching out with right reason. Sure, it's a lot of hard work. I can attest to that first hand, especially since I don't even speak the language. But the easy way isn't the right way, the hard way usually is. In the description of the Washington Translation, this is written:

what we decided to do with this is reach out to a new audience. Not to pander, but to reach out with the truth and with right reason.

And again:

when we see barriers we do not see a place to stop, we see a challenge to overcome.

It may be a mistake to admit this, but those words are of my own hand; but I do not want to quote myself without being honest about it. It may not be so bad, I have not hid my involvement from the beginning.

If we want Hispanics to stop coming to this country seeking tyranny, and instead, if we want them to start seeking Liberty, then someone has to teach them. We have to teach them.

Nobody else can.

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