Sunday, May 21, 2006

If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me.

Honestly, I think this* is a mistake: the US is evidently some ways along towards enshrining English as its official language.

The whole idea of an official language is stupid. Government should communicate with people in whatever language makes local sense. This is simply a question of practicality: once there are "enough" Language X'ers in a given place, they should be able to communicate however they want. Naturally as a libertarian I think there oughtta be an awful lot LESS communicating with government than is currently required, but the principle holds.

I am not trying to suggest that if you speak Esperanto or one of those African Click languages (or for that matter French, English, Russian, or C++) that you have a "right" to communicate with the government in that language. You have a right to be left alone by the State. Everything else is just about practicality.

The big problem with having an official language (apart from the fact that the whole idea is stupid--why do a plurality of my neighbours get to decide what the "official language" is? Based on what right? Other than the Rule Of The Mob, of course, which I grant you is all the "right" that pretty much anyone requires, these days...) is this: once you establish an official language, there will be pressure to add others. Surely some group of Spanish speakers will in some area form a majority in some southern state, and they will pass a law that says Spanish is their local official language. Then the federal gov't will get into a big constitutional battle over it, which by rights it should lose because of States Rights. And then what do you have? You have Quebec separatism, Albuquerque style.

Typical nativistic crap. In Canada this has evolved into the CR(*spit*)TC and the sponsorship scandal, which we should not forget arose out a plan to bribe Quebecers to love Canada. Is that what the US wants? I guarantee you: if this official language b.s. goes through in the US, it will come attached to the usual bit of legislation that always accompanies social engineering: The Law of Unintended Consequences.

[*Link thanks to Hit & Run, new Associate Professor at the University of N=1]

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