Friday, June 24, 2005

The importance of being English

...just kidding, though I would definitely argue that it is important to *speak* English in the United States. I made this fairly uncontroversial (I thought) observation with the following paragraph:

Which is one reason why, as annoying as it might be for Mexican immigrants, it really is important to have one basic language that everyone in the community can understand. By default, that language in the U.S. is American English.

Strangely enough, this was questioned on Libertarian grounds, to which I responded:

Is it the libertarian position that the government must provide services in every possible language? If not, what would be the cutoff? IMO, the property of "limited government" would suggest the smaller the number of necessary languages (for things like Constitutions, laws, legal forms, ballots, etc), the better. I didn't suggest that people should *only* use English (or whatever the primary language of a country is), or that shopkeepers and private citizens should be forced to use it, only that it is important that citizens should be able to communicate with the government, which requires a language understandable by everyone.

If you disagree, I'd be interested in how many different languages you feel the U.S. should use in government communication. If this number is greater than one, please show how supporting multiple languages would be an example of "limited government."


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