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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Oh Say, Can You. . .

... explain why, with all that's going on in the world, conservatives are worrying about people singing the national anthem in Spanish? What is it about the national anthem anyway? It's a song. About a flag.


Anonymous said...


But the Spanish "National Anthem" (apparently titled "Nuestro Himno" [Our Anthem]) is not the same as the Star-Spangled Banner. I couldn't find the original Spanish lyrics, but there's this supposed translation:


Note the "we are equal, we are brothers" which is not quite in the spirit of the original. OTOH, the ending "it's time to break the chains" would be good for everybody to hear.


Sheldon Richman said...

The original is a description of the "broad stripes and bright stars" against the "rocket's red glare" (set to an old drinking song). In other words, the spirit is triumph in war. On the other hand, there is an important sense of equality that is perfectly libertarian. See Roderick Long's article here.

Anonymous said...

I found the Spanish lyrics and another translation at NPR: A Spanish Version of 'The Star-Spangled Banner'. Since it says "la libertad, somos iguales" ("Liberty, we are equal") it reminds one of "all men are created equal" ("todos los hombres son creados iguales"), so it makes more sense (although NPR translated "we are the same" which has a somewhat different connotation). The next line of the NPR translation, "Somos hermanos. Es nuestro himno" as "We are brothers in our anthem." is incorrect. It should be "We are brothers. It's our anthem."

It's interesting to compare it to the Argentine National Anthem, which says:

Libertad, libertad, libertad!
Oid el ruido de rotas cadenas:
Ved en trono a la noble Igualdad


Liberty, liberty, liberty
Hear the sound (noise) of broken chains
See noble Equality on its throne

Nuestro Himno has "(Ya es tiempo de romper las cadenas.)", that is "It's time to break the chains", which is nowhere in the full original Star-Spangled Banner.