On my way home from work a few days ago, I pulled up behind a white pickup truck full of tools on the outskirts of Aurora, Colorado. It purported to be a work truck, although by the look of its immaculate paint and the pristine tools it was carrying, it was hard to imagine that the occupants did much actual work. What really caught my attention, however, was the sticker placed conspicuously an upper corner of the rear windshield. It read: "You’re in America Now; Speak English or Get Out!" The sticker struck me as particularly apposite at the time, since I happened to be on the phone with one of my good friends, and we were speaking to one another in – God forbid! – Spanish.
These trite stickers, and myriad others like them, have become extremely popular ever since the Bush-Greenspan-Paulson-Obama-Bernanke-Geitner gang managed to all but annihilate the American job market. For the man who has lost his job and has no education in economics, it is extremely tempting to heap curses and blame for much of his plight on the so-called "illegal" immigrants he sees working all around him. He sees foreigners mowing lawns all over town, cooking meals in virtually every restaurant he patronizes, and installing every roof in his borough, and he reasons that his current plight is due primarily to the fact that these foreigners "steal" jobs that otherwise would be his for the taking. The biggest insult of all, to his mind, however, is the fact that these foreigners don’t have the courtesy to speak his language when they immigrate to the United States, and yet they still manage to find and "steal" jobs from English-speaking Americans like him!
Now, it would be one thing if these xenophobic, bitter, envious, and economically ignorant men confined their vitriol to simply announcing to the world that they hate foreigners working in America – especially non-English-speaking foreigners – and left those of us who are not raging racists or ignorant protectionists alone. We could then ignore their ill-mannered rants and pity them for their inability to understand the economics of the labor market, or to compete in the economy against uneducated and non-English-speaking foreigners. (It is truly astounding that these men can’t compete against half-literate immigrants who don’t even speak English, a fact that reflects rather badly on the public "schools" these men wasted years of their lives in.) Men have a right to believe in whatever idiotic ideas they can pack their brains with, and I have no right to try to force these men to learn about the economics of labor markets. It is quite another thing, however, for these men to run to Big Brother to beg him to smash all of the businesses who employ "illegal" immigrants, and it is completely intolerable for these men to run around town telling us what language we can speak!