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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 1, 2010 / 19 Sivan 5770

The English Language and Freedom

By Paul Johnson





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While playing a tiny part in Britain's recent election, I noted one aspect of it with concern: Some of the people to whom we'd given the right to vote spoke little or no English. As the electoral arguments, especially the televised debates between the party leaders, were conducted entirely in English, how could these voters know what they were voting for?

It's my view that Britain and the U.S. do not do enough to promote the spread of English, which thereby decelerates or even reverses the spread of democratic freedom. There's little doubt, for instance, that the hostility of the Muslim world toward the West is promoted by the failure of Muslim countries to develop democratic institutions, which, in turn, has been brought about by a resistance to the spread of English. Even among educated Muslims few have read the writings of British philosophers John Locke and Edmund Burke, not to mention those of America's Founding Fathers, which has lead directly to a lack of understanding of what the West is about.

This problem will intensify as China moves massively and confidently onto the world scene. Very few mainland Chinese speak English nor do they have any conception of the liberal tradition that the language enshrines. It's alarming to realize that the Chinese government is spending massive amounts of money and deploying large numbers of people (by one calculation more than 1 million) to spread its notions and influence in Africa--cultural and political ideas that differ greatly from the West's.

Fortunately it's a different story in India, and the responsibility for this rests largely with one man, the historian Thomas Babington Macaulay. In 1834 Macaulay was sent to India as an administrator, and the next year he found himself president of the Committee of Public Instruction for Bengal. As such, Macaulay made up his mind that Indians--there were then fewer than 250 million--must be taught English and be exposed to Western culture because it would, as he put it, give them the key "to all the vast intellectual wealth, which all the wisest nations of the Earth have created and hoarded in the course of 90 generations."

Macaulay's policy was adopted, and as a result large numbers of Indians, especially those in the ruling, intellectual and clerical classes, began to learn English. In the process they began to absorb cultural and political ideas from the West, especially the need to uphold and establish the rule of law and to set up representative institutions.

Since India gained its independence in 1947 English has continued to spread, and India--now with a population exceeding 1 billion--has maintained democratic structures and methods and free courts of law, despite what was once a situation of overwhelming pover-ty and many difficulties. The contrast with China is fundamental.

Moreover, because India remained attached to the English language umbilical cord, ideas, methods and technology flowed into its educated and commercial classes on a scale and in ways that China, especially since its years of Communist totalitarian rule, has been denied. This gave India the advantage of being able to bypass an updated version of the Industrial Revolution and embark straightaway upon the communications and Internet revolution.

But China--once its government relinquished total control of every aspect of the economy and made a bid to create consumer institutions and raise living standards rapidly--had no choice but to begin with old-style smokestack industrialization. With its ultracheap workforce, China has become good at building conventional mills and factories and exporting low-priced goods globally. It is accumulating huge currency reserves and is financing the expansion of its armed forces. But these advantages will not necessarily last, and China is in danger of landing itself with a prematurely outdated economy, mass unemployment and huge problems regarding pollution and industrial waste.

Insurance Policy

As the century progresses India has a good chance of moving to the head of the innovatory field. It has both the freedom and the language to be receptive to new ideas and is in a position to produce technologies of its own that may become global winners.

India is about to overtake China in terms of population and will also outdistance it economically and financially well before the end of the 21st century. Where India will stand in relation to the U.S. I don't know. But America, with its own soundly based democratic institutions and traditions of intellectual and economic freedom, will be well placed to remain in the front ranks. I predict this will be a neck-and-neck race, with China running a poor third and Russia and Europe limping in as also-rans.

In the meantime we must make a much more concerted and determined effort to repeat the Macaulay initiative, pushing to have English spoken and read in large portions of the world, especially in western Asia, Africa and Latin America.

International finance and commerce, investment and travel are to some extent furthering this aim. But government policy could do much to help. It's important that the Obama Administration and Britain's new government take this point. I would like to see all of their agents--from diplomats to administrators of aid programs to commanders in the armed forces--say to themselves: "Am I doing enough to help the spread of English and Western ideas?"

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Previously:

04/20/10: Listening and Telling the Truth
02/28/10: There Is No Keynesian Miracle
10/20/09: A Job Waiting for a Woman?
07/21/09: Obama Has to Be World Sheriff
03/24/09: Short works of genius that cheer up the writing profession
02/11/09: What would Darwin do?
01/27/09: Are you sophisticated? Here's how to find out
01/06/09: What did they talk about in the Ice Age? The weather, of course
09/09/08: Time, and our appalling ignorance of it
08/19/08: Eye-stopping glimpses of an exotic and forbidden world
06/30/08: How to fill a lecture hall, and how to empty it
06/23/08: Americans should count their blessings
05/20/08: Pajamas for Presidents
05/13/08: Literary woodlice boring needless holes in biographical bedposts
04/01/08: When markets come crashing down, send for the man with the big red nose
04/01/08: Quality for dinner. Pass the Fairy Liquid, Old Boy
03/25/08: In search of an American President with brains and guts
03/18/08: Technological warfare against mice won't work. Try cats
03/11/08: What is a genius? We use the word frequently but surely, to guard its meaning, we should bestow it seldom
03/03/08: Fiction as a crutch to get one through life
02/26/08: Impatience + Greed = Trouble
02/13/08: Shakespeare, Neo-Platonism and Princess Diana
02/07/08: Where Industry Has Failed Us
12/19/07: People who put their trust in human power delude themselves
12/12/07: What is aggression?
12/04/07: Pursuing success is not enough
11/07/07: Are famous writers accident-prone?
10/31/07: Courage needed to disarm Iran
09/20/07: Who Will Say ‘I Promise to Lay Off’?
07/24/07: Greed is safer than power-seeking
04/02/07: Benefactors must be hardheaded
03/07/07: American idealism and realpolitik
11/28/06: Space: Our ticket to survival
10/24/06: Envy is bad economics
10/11/06: Better to Borrow or Lend? Rethinking conventional wisdom
08/22/06: Don't practice legal terrorism
08/08/06: A summer rhapsody for a pedal-bike
08/03/06: Why is there no workable philosophy of music?
07/11/06: Historically speaking, energy crisis is America's opportunity
07/06/06: The misleading dimensions of persons and lives
06/06/06: First editions are not gold
05/23/06: A downright ugly man need never despair of attracting women, even pretty ones
04/25/06: Was Washington right about political parties?
04/12/06: Let's Have More Babies!
04/05/06: For the love of trains
03/29/06: Lincoln and the Compensation Culture
03/22/06: Bottle-beauties and the globalised blond beast
03/15/06: Europe's utopian hangover
03/08/06: Kindly write on only one side of the paper
02/28/06: Creators versus critics
02/21/06: The Rhino Principle

© 2009, Paul Johnson

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