Argumentum ad linguam

David Broder reviews a conservative think tanks' "admirably well written and well researched" pamphlet about whether "whether America's national identity is eroding under the pressure of population diversity and educational slackness."  Broder, in his oddly positive review of this pamphlet, fails to see the irony in the following two claims.


And so, the Bradley scholars say, "knowing what America stands for is not a genetic inheritance. It must be learned, both by the next generation and by those who come to this country. In this way, a nation founded on an idea is inherently fragile." 


When it comes to the treatment of immigrants, the Bradley team sees a real threat in such things as multilingual ballots and bilingual classes. Such accommodations to the growing diversity of the population could lead to "many Americas, or even no America at all," they maintain. "Historical ignorance, civic neglect and social fragmentation might achieve what a foreign invader could not." 

Seems to me the authors are disturbed by the mechanisms of greater civic knowledge and participation.  Besides, if I remember my history rightly, both of the belligerents in American Civil War spoke English.

4 thoughts on “Argumentum ad linguam”

  1. This reminds me of that little joke:
    – How do you call a person that speaks 2 languages?
    – Bilingual.
    – How do you call a person that only speaks one language?
    – An American.

    Happy 4th of July!

  2. I had seen that–Didn’t seem Goldberg–a fierce advocate for the invasion of Iraq–really got the point.  Hussein, bad as he was, was no Pol Pot.  Gerson’s self-serving historical comparisons didn’t apparently find a welcome audience.

  3. I noticed that too, that Goldberg didn’t really get the point of the story he was relaying. That almost made it more enjoyable.

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