“dearborn Independent” Advocates Tax on Foreign Language Press
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“dearborn Independent” Advocates Tax on Foreign Language Press

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Referring to a report for 1921 that the foreign language publications in the United States number forty-odd tongues from Albanian and Arabic to Ukrainian, Welsh and Yiddish, the “Dearborn Independent” writes, in its issue of December 29:

“Without as much as hinting that these should be prohibited, it is only a matter of self-protection against a strongly disintegrating influence and of furthering the cause of Americanization that their growth should be checked and that measures should be promptly taken to curtail their circulation. This is not a question involving the limitation of free speech. It is entirely proper to contend that every foreign language publication in this country tends, unwittingly, perhaps, but none the less powerfully, to discourage the learning of English, the language of the nation. If the alien prefers not to learn it he is quite within his right not to learn it, but the exercise of that right is of the nature of a luxury for which he should be willing to pay. It has been suggested that this can be accomplished without incurring any noticeable burden, through imposing an insignificant tax, such as one cent on every copy of such a daily, five cents on every copy of such a weekly, and ten cents on every copy of such a monthly, quarterly, pamphlet, book, and so one. Also, it is urged, every public placard or notice in a foreign language should have a government stamp varying from one cent upward, according to the size. It is stated furthermore that such an impost while bringing in a welcome revenue, estimated at from $25,000 to $50,000 a day, would, at the same time, work effective good in a constructive sense, through furthering the solution of that grave national problem, Americanization.”

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