As someone who is an avid C / C++ fan, but works a LOT in Python, Java and other languages, I would like to say that a solid understand of C (and the concept of constructors and destructors in C++) will take you a LONG way. Understanding how memory works, what pointers are (and what references AREN'T) can help you pick up other languages REALLY quickly. Having to train people in programming and software development, I find that the people who do well not matter WHAT gets thrown at them have the concepts of scope, memory management, construction / destruction firmly in their head get more work done faster and understand things better.
That being said, it takes both effort and time to get to a level comfortable with some of the craziness of pointers and all that. What is your main purpose to learn programming? The OP doesn't state "game programming" explicitly. If you are interested in just learning some basic programming, the vast majority of scripting languages are just fine -- Perl, Python, Ruby, any of those give you the ability to rapidly produce results with minimal fuss. the core concepts of "programming" are in all languages.
Too often, people get into the "Language Wars." Languages are like the paints and paintbrushes to an artist, or the tools in a toolbox to a craftsman. Each language has its strengths and weaknesses -- pick the right tool for the job, but most importantly is to know WHICH tool is right for which job.
Edited by IkarusDowned, 28 February 2013 - 01:54 AM.