Resolved: Republicans think you're dumb
I do want to especially highlight John Derbyshire, however, who wrote that "The cold fact is that absent exceptional circumstances — the most common of which is, total immersion at a receptive age — not many human beings can learn another language."
Does Derbyshire just believe, then, that Americans are stupid compared to Europeans? After all, half of Europeans are fully bilingual.
Smintheus says this is a sign that Republicans have become "Know-Nothing Republicans." I think he* has it wrong, though. These people are actually "Think-You-Know-Nothing Republicans." They think their constituents are too stupid to see through their petty charades. They think that you--like their standard-bearer, John McCain--don't know how to use "a Google."
Because if you didn't know how to do that, you wouldn't be able to find Senate Resolution 28, from 2005. That resolution, put forward and passed unanimously when the Senate was controlled by Republicans, said this (pdf link):
RESOLUTIONIn other words, Republican senators unanimously believed that learning foreign languages was vital for our national security, our children's cognitive abilities and our economic competitiveness three years ago, but today not so much.
Designating the year 2005 as the ‘‘Year of Foreign
Whereas according to the 2000 decennial census of the population, 9.3 percent of Americans speak both their native language and another language fluently;
Whereas according to the European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture, 52.7 percent of Europeans speak both their native language and another
Whereas the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 names foreign language study as part of a core curriculum that includes English, mathematics, science,
civics, economics, arts, history, and geography;
Whereas according to the Joint Center for International Language, foreign language study increases a student’s cognitive and critical thinking abilities;
Whereas according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, foreign language study increases a student’s ability to compare and contrast cultural concepts;
Whereas according to a 1992 report by the College Entrance Examination Board, students with 4 or more years in foreign language study scored higher on the verbal section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) than students who did not;
Whereas the Higher Education Act of 1965 labels foreign language study as vital to secure the future economic welfare of the United States in a growing international
Whereas the Higher Education Act of 1965 recommends encouraging businesses and foreign language study programs to work in a mutually productive relationship
which benefits the Nation’s future economic interest;
Whereas according to the Centers for International Business Education and Research program, foreign language study provides the ability both to gain a comprehensive understanding of and to interact with the cultures of United States trading partners, and thus establishes a solid foundation for successful economic relationships;
Whereas Report 107–592 of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives concludes that American multinational corporations and nongovernmental organizations do not have the people with the foreign language abilities and cultural exposure that are needed;
Whereas the 2001 Hart-Rudman Report on National Security in the 21st Century names foreign language study and requisite knowledge in languages as vital for the Federal Government to meet 21st century security challenges properly and effectively;
Whereas the American intelligence community stresses that individuals with proper foreign language expertise are greatly needed to work on important national security
and foreign policy issues, especially in light of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001;
Whereas a 1998 study conducted by the National Foreign Language Center concludes that inadequate resources existed for the development, publication, distribution, and teaching of critical foreign languages (such as Arabic, Vietnamese, and Thai) because of low student enrollment in the United States; and
Whereas a shortfall of experts in foreign languages has seriously hampered information gathering and analysis within the American intelligence community as demonstrated by the 2000 Cox Commission noting shortfalls in Chinese proficiency, and the National Intelligence Council citing deficiencies in Central Eurasian, East Asian, and Middle Eastern languages: Now, therefore, be it
1 Resolved, That—
2 (1) it is the sense of the Senate that foreign
3 language study makes important contributions to a
4 student’s cognitive development, our national econ-
5 omy, and our national security;
1 (2) the Senate—
2 (A) designates the year 2005 as the ‘‘Year
3 of Foreign Language Study’’, during which for-
4 eign language study is promoted and expanded
5 in elementary schools, secondary schools, insti-
6 tutions of higher learning, businesses, and gov-
7 ernment programs; and
8 (B) requests that the President issue a
9 proclamation calling upon the people of the
10 United States to—
11 (i) encourage and support initiatives
12 to promote and expand the study of for-
13 eign languages; and
14 (ii) observe the ‘‘Year of Foreign Lan-
15 guage Study’’ with appropriate ceremonies,
16 programs, and other activities.
Smintheus could be right, I guess. They'd have to be stupid to think people are so stupid.
* I have no idea about Smintheus' gender, but assumed only a man would take as his pseudonym one of the more interesting secondary names of the god Apollo.