Thursday, June 7, 2007

Make English the official language

Last night the Senate thankfully voted to amend the immigration bill. They adopted Senator Inhofe's amendment to make English the official language 64-33.

Although making English the official language regularly enjoys approval ratings of 85% some people still think its somehow unconstitutional or racist. The fact is that it is simple common sense. If we are going to insist on having the nation state as our societal organization then there must be a common language. A common language is the most basic tool that can be used to gel a society.

The La Raza types who claim that it is racist are way off base. First, first-generation immigrants support official English. They do in polls which show 70+ approval nationwide, and at the polls (in Arizona exit polls showed that a majority of immigrants voted for OE). Secondly, to be racist means to show contempt or hatred. Official English simply codifies a common language. It does not in any way restrict or demean any non-English languages.

The ACLU types that claim official English is unconstitutional are wildly incorrect. The United States has somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 languages spoken within its borders. How many languages are printed? Maybe twenty at any given time. Lets be liberal and say 50. So does that mean that all the people who speak the other 250 languages are being denied basic constitutional rights? No. So if we reduced the number of languages printed to 1 would the people who speak the 49 languages that are currently printed be denied constitutional rights? No. The only area of our society that you are and should be guaranteed the right to interpretation is in the legal system. Past that your on your own.

Some Libertarians may feel as though societal cohesion is not important, but I do. A world devoid of states confined by hard boundaries not likely in the near future. While borders do exist, we must find a way to operate efficiently and somewhat peacefully.

If official English laws in any way restricted peoples right of free expression I would strongly oppose it, but it does not. OE laws instead restrict government, not people. The only problem with currently constructed OE laws is that it does not take away multilingual ballots. How someone can make even a slightly informed choice without knowing the language is beyond me.

Not withstanding the ballot issue, an effective OE law may lessen the welfare state burden by not allowing those who have not learned the language to collect. Although i don't think anyone should be collecting, any restriction of benefits is a net positive. This is not to say that immigrants are "draining" the system. The Bill O'Reilly and Lou Dobb's types perpetuate this lie. Immigrants come here to work. They are also very entrepreneurial which is another plus.

The bottom line is that making English the official language is a good move. Too bad it is attached to the immigration bill which, in my estimation, has very little chance of passing.

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