Sunday, May 01, 2005

Borders, Language, Culture

It's been said that borders, language, and culture are the essential elements of nationhood.

Borders define the physical space a nation lives in the same way the property line around our homes or the walls of our apartments define the space that is ours. Within this space, we define and enforce the standards and conditions of our lives. We may still care about those who exist outside our space, and we may try to help others in need, but at the end of the day we go home. We don't tolerate uninvited guests, including those who haven't built the same kinds of lives and homes and who feel that we must share ours.

Language defines a nation in many critical ways. We use it to talk and write to each other on every aspect of life. It's the medium of expression for everything from business to philosophy, and one standard language is essential to our ability to function. Successful polyglot countries are rare. Switzerland is one example with multiple accepted languages, but even there it's expected that almost everyone will speak one or at most two of the most common. The many failed countries of Africa are more instructive. In most of these countries, the languages of their former colonial powers provide a basis for educated, literate expression, but they are undermined by a bewildering array of tribal and regional tongues.

Culture, finally, is what we are and what we expect of find around us. It's our art, literature, schools, recreation, entertainment, history, traditions, and customs. It provides the basis for our sense of personal and national identity. And yes, religion is an integral part of it. America happens to be founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and even if our individual beliefs vary from that tradition, we all swim in the same cultural sea. A common religious tradition, notwithstanding variations in individual beliefs, creates a culture conducive to peaceful existence. The co-existence of two or more major religions in one culture usually creates conflict and often results in violence.

None of this means that immigrants are never allowed to enter our borders, any more than we never invite guests into our homes. We don't have to have an official language, even though we have the right to expect that those around us speak our language and that it will be taught in our schools. And while we can and should appreciate and even promote cultural diversity, we must retain the right to defend against pernicious influences and outright attacks on the cultural standards that define who we are as a people.

Protection of the borders, language, and culture of its people is an essential function of government. Over the years successive federal administrations, often abetted by state and local governments, have to one degree or another failed to perform this essential function. We have the right to expect more, and we must demand it.

4 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Forbush said...

Tom,

No one can control language. The French have an official department to protect the French language and at times conservative governments had made it illegal to broadcast foreign languages on the radio or TV. However, music and movies crept into France and foreign words continue to corrupt the French language.

No one can control culture. Look at how sex and drugs and Rock-n-Roll corrupted the American Culture in the 1960s. Some conservatives are still upset about this. It's too bad, America is not going to give up popular culture even if it is against the law. (That would be the drugs part of the 1960s)

And, finally if the businesses in the US still offer under minimum wage jobs that no American will take there will still be reasons for people to come into this country for jobs, even if it is illegal.

5:48 PM, May 02, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Doc, you may have taken me a little too literally.

I don't want an official language, or even a controlled language. American English is rich in foreign words, and I like it that way. But it's still English, and it's the language of our nation.

Same with culture. The boundaries of our culture are wide, and it survived drugs, sex, and rock and roll. It will also survive the abominations of gangsta rap and the hip-hop silliness. Still, it has unique qualities that define it and are worth defending.

Ah, that old one about illegal immigrants doing jobs Americans don't want at less than minimum wage. Posh and tiffle. If they weren't available, we'd pretty quickly invent machines to do some of the work, and the rest of the work would be done by non-criminals at market wages. Would some prices go up? Yes, but not that much. It's called economic reality.

8:06 PM, May 05, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one thing everyone seems to overlook is the growing industry of identity thieves selling your identity to the new illegal immigrants.

I work in government, and see every day where some new born child’s Social Security number has been stolen and sold to those who are here illegally.

It will be years before they realize what has happened to them, and by then it becomes a nightmare.

Credit cards are taken out in these children’s social security ID number every day.

Loans, bank accounts, and even criminal records are recorded by social security number. Unless a in-depth records search is done, it will never be discovered until it is too late.

11 million illegal people have to have a social security number to work in most places. That's 11 million other people's lives who is going to get messed up!

It is a good idea to check on your credit rating several times per year to ensure your identity has not been stollen and used by someone else.

2:56 PM, May 26, 2006  
Blogger Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa

1:11 AM, November 28, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home