Doctor Long, Heal Thyself

Roderick Long reports,

At Geno’s Steakhouse in Philadelphia, a sign with a big American eagle says:

This Is AMERICA
Please WHEN ORDERING
“SPEAK ENGLISH”

Why is “SPEAK ENGLISH” in quotation marks?

Perhaps Vento’s grasp of correct English usage isn’t as strong as he supposes – which suggests he may not be ideally positioned to be lecturing others on correct linguistic behaviour.

Behaviour? Behaviour?!? Roderick, are you secretly a royalist, doing your best (worst?) to undermine the sovereignty of this great nation, the U.S. of A? Dammit, Rod, this is AMERICA! They can take our lives, but they will never take our Americanized spelling. Yeeearrrrgh!

 

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Punctuation

The issue seems to be punctuation, not spelling. I wouldn't call using quotes for emphasis "Americanized". On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of calling people "bigots" at the drop of a hat.

Edit - I totally missed what you were pointing out. So, never mind sentences 1 and 2.

Appropriate

And look at what happened

And look what happened to the natives. Do we English speakers want the same thing to happen to us that happened to the natives when we arrived? The cartoon not only does not address the real concerns of those who are concerned, it actually rubs people's noses in the concern. People are afraid of things like being marginalized, and having society balkanized into mutually hostile sub-populations.

Calling people bigots and nationalists and implying that they are moral cretins is merely self-congratulatory. Ha ha, let us laugh and sneer at other people and feel superior.

Language is a catallactic

Language is a catallactic product, saying : this is america speak english is stupid, people will speak whatever language is most convenient. Adaptation goes both way, the immigrant learns to speak english because he can get by more easily, the shopkeeper to speak other languages to increase his customer bases.

This restaurant owner is of  course free to insist on his customers to speak english, but he is doing so in a particulary rude manner. I am fluent in French Spanish English, I am picking up Portuguese and Russian and yes I look down to this kind of guy, who will vote at the first occasion to force english down the throat of immigrants by means of the state.

Calling people stupid doesn't help

I am fluent in French Spanish English, I am picking up Portuguese and Russian

Looks like self-congratulation.

yes I look down to this kind of guy, who will vote at the first
occasion to force english down the throat of immigrants by means of the
state

Virtually everybody is ready to vote to force some evil or other down the throat of others. That is to say, there are very few libertarians.

What might people do in a libertarian blog (or other libertarian publication)? Some possibilities:

1) Discuss topics unfamiliar or controversial among libertarians. The intended audience is libertarians.

2) Seriously answer the best arguments of non-libertarians. The ultimate intended audience is non-libertarians.

3) Say that non-libertarians are reprehensible, contemptible, etc.

Why yes it is

Why yes it is self-congratulation so? It may not be outstanding but I am proud of it, and I believe it's relevant to oppose it to someone like the restaurant owner who takes pride in his own ignorance.

(side note: the most widely spoken language in America is spanish, USA != America)

Again I don't see what's wrong with judging non-libertarian for their moral qualities. There is a modern trend of opposition to moral judgment, principally stemming from moral relativism, I see no reason to jump on that bandwagon. 

There is no best-argument for the "they-oughta-speak-english" line. It is purely based on the will to control other people choices for one's benefit. French was a  lingua-franca for centuries, it hasn't been for decades, yet a similar why-don't-they-speak-french mentality is still alive and kicking. It is despisable and retarded.

You're well within your

You're well within your rights to be self-congratulatory.

"Within my right", coming from

"Within my right", coming from a libertarian is a scary understatement, but I'll take it as support :)

 

Too much moral censure

Contrary to what lefties may say about the obsolesence of moral judgment, it is their favorite form of argument. And it is the least worthwhile.  If a leftie tells me that I am a heartless son of a bitch because of my support for capitalism, that is about the least effective thing he could say. Its only  value is as self-congratulaton. The same goes the other way.

I think you don't care about

I think you don't care about the leftist argument not because you don't care about moral judgments in general but because you think his specific judgment is wrong, clouded... If moral judgment is about self-congratulation and we strive to be moral in order to enjoy congratulating ourselves, then long live moral judgment.

I do think it has become a bit obsolete though, there's a very interesting bit on that matter in The Diamond Age (some obscure novel), google "hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices" for the relevant part.

 

 

 

 

 

I'm positive you two are

I'm positive you two are arguing about something, but for the life of me I can't figure out what. 

I remember and was made uncomfortable by that bit of The Diamond Age.  Stephenson verges a little close to blatantly commenting on politics, a sin which he otherwise, apparently consciously, avoids.  I forgive him though, as what he said was interesting: hypocrisy is immaterial to the quality of a moral claim, as often the best moral principles are hard to live up to.

That's the point

I think you don't care about the leftist argument not because you don't
care about moral judgments in general but because you think his
specific judgment is wrong, clouded...

Yes, but that's the point. I think his judgment is wrong. The same, as I said, applies in reverse. The mere statement of a moral judgment does not enlighten the other person. Either he already agrees with you, in which case you are preaching to the choir, or else he doesn't, in which case you're not going to convince him that way, i.e., by putting him down as a person for having the views he does. People are not likely won over by being called moral reprobates; more likely their views are hardened, and they dismiss you more readily.

If moral judgment is about self-congratulation and we strive to be
moral in order to enjoy congratulating ourselves, then long live moral
judgment.

Okay, if you will not be moral unless you can congratulate yourself for it in public, then the rest of us have little choice but to either indulge you or jail you. But, aside from your need to indulge in holier-than-thou rhetoric in order to avoid a life of crime, it has relatively little value, and if your point is to spread your ideas to others, it can be counterproductive. That's why the term "holier-than-thou" has a sharply negative connotation.

 

 

Yes, but that's the point. I

Yes, but that's the point. I think his judgment is wrong. The
same, as I said, applies in reverse. The mere statement of a moral
judgment does not enlighten the other person.

I would tend to think you know his judgment is wrong. The mere statement of a moral judgment does not englighten the other person, but an explanation of the said moral judgment can. Believe it or not, I was mostly shamed into libertarianism. When I was exposed to otherwise obvious moral judgments I had never thought of before.

Imagine telling someone advocating taxes "thief !" and the guy saying, "oh my god you are right, I'll be an ancap from now on". Probably rare, but possible.

Holier-than-thism may be perceived negatively, but sometimes, it's just so much fun, you ought to try it.

Here you go

You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices,” Finkle-McGraw said. “It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticise others-after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism? … Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others’ shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever as to the correctness of his views or the morality of his behaviour-you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy.

We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy,” Finkle-McGraw continued. “In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception-he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it’s a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing.”

“That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code,” Major Napier said, working it through, “does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code.”

“Of course not,” Finkle-McGraw said. “It’s perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved-the missteps we make along the way-are what make it interesting. The internal, and eternal, struggle, between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human. It is how we conduct ourselves in that struggle that determines how we may in time be judged by a higher power.”

The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

I stumbled across this one a few weeks ago. It's nearly topical and quite amusing.

The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

Quotes defend spelling now?

Also, if anyone's upset by Geno's sign (which they have every right to put up), then just go to Pat's Steak right across the street.