Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nationalist Principle #1 - English Only (first of a series)

The first principle of a Nationalist who would propose a set of values that make a Nation or culture is to examine what determines a nation or culture in the first place.

For most nations on earth, those binding ties can be reduced to three - ethnicity, religion, and most importantly, language.

For the United States, which is a nation based on a set of ideas which don't necessarily include ethnicity or religion, the search for "unifying principles" which are more than mere abstractions can be uniquely problematic. But, ONE strong unifying principle - probably the most important of all - stands out -

To The Thinking Nationalist, that unifying language is English.

Why English? one might ask. Aren't we a mosaic of distinct cultures? Aren't other languages the cultural equivalent of English? Doesn't this go against our national multicultural ethic?

The one word answer: NO. Here's why:
  • English is the language of our Founding Fathers, all of our historically significant documents, and all of our laws;
  • English has been adopted as "the official language" of 45 of the fifty states;
  • English is spoken by over 95% of all of the residents of this country (immigrant and non-immigrant), and is the ONLY language of 80% of the population;
  • The SINGLE most important factor in determining whether or not immigrants assimilate is command of the English language;
  • Lack of fluency in ENGLISH is the single biggest reason for immigrant failure to progess up the American ladder of opportunity.
Want more reasons? Here are some:
  • Of the 177 nations on Earth that have an Official Language, English is AN official language or THE official language in 112 of them;
  • The mandatory international language of civil aviation and shipping - English;
  • The predominant international language of commerce and contracts - English;
  • The predominant international language of diplomacy - English.
It should stand to reason then, that if you want to get ahead in an increasingly interconnected world, fluency in English is mandatory.

Now, we should be careful here - "English Only"
does not mean a ban on speaking a foreign language at home. Nor does it mean that a business cannot advertise in a foreign language, or that one cannot speak or write publicly in a foreign tongue. But it does mean that for all official transactions, in education, voting, and the legal system, there should be only one language - English. Any exceptions should be carefully limited and geared towards assisting the Non-English speaker toward eventual fluency.

In the next post in this series, we will examine why official languages unify nations, and why if that official language is English, why it unifies best of all.

- The Thinking Nationalist.

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