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Wednesday, April 12, 20061144863600

The Manifest Destiny of the American Nation

Christ's words, "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.," don't just help explain why his political revolution swept the Roman Empire. They also explain why, from the perspective of power, America must unite with Mexico.


To expand the English language and empower the American Nation, admit the 31 Mexican United States to our Union. To expand the Spanish language and weaken the American Nation, keep the status quo. Or better yet, support an "enforcement only" immigration bill.

The context for Christ's words was a discussion on epistemology that is found in the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. His students are asking why he speaks analogically, instead of logically. Jesus responds that the human mind is not optimized for logical reasoning, and that analogies are a better method of communication.

The human brain, being a complex adaptive network, works on the "rich get richer method that Jesus described. For instance, take two neurons in the brain: one with three incoming paths, the other with one. The neuron with three incoming pathways will become even more popular, and will increase its influence. The one with a single pathways, however, may be shunned and even die.

Similar dynamics exist in many systems. When I was a student at the University of South Dakota, my colleague Doug Jennewin looked at popular ant paths becoming superhighways while the roads less travelled fall into disuse.. Prokaryoyes with no neighbors die, while more popular prokaryotes divide and thrive. Lock a dog in a room and the canine's body will shut down, the same way as a prisoner's in solitary confinement well. Give them a group to belong too, however, and their health goes up. Protectionist states, like late Qing China or late Tokugawa Japan, fade while merchant states, such as Britain or America, thrive.

Over and over again, in any integrated system of competition, the most popular choice wins and the least popular choice loses. It's very unfair and very predictable.

Integrated Mexico with America, and you will begin an death spiral for the Spanish Language on the North American continent. Give Mexicans the right to live where they can, work where they can, and play where they can, and the same complex, adaptive processes which rewards popular neurons and popular ant paths will reward the popular North American language, English. The language of Beowulf, Shakespeare, Locke, and Lincoln will reign from Alaska to Oaxaca.

At every stage, Christ's "rich get richer" words will tip the balance from Spanish to English. Children, hearing English as their language centers are forming, will build the neural nets that allow proficient English usage later in life. Playing with English-speaking friends as their social centers are forming, they will build the neural nets that allow proficient English socialization later in life. Working for money, they will see that English gives them the most opportunities. Intermarrying with Americans, they bring English into the home.

Over and over this process has displaced minority languages with majority ones. Throughout the British Isles it is English that is commonly spoken, not Gaelic. Throughout France is is French, and none of the languages of oc.

This is not just some idealistic enterprise: it would increase the power of every American. The power of networks is a function of the square of its numbers of users. The difference in power of a net of 300 million (the current USA population) and of 400 million (USA + MUS) is astronomical.

Indeed, as national identity is closed tied to language, this rise of English in North America will directly correspond to the rise in power of the American Nation.

Want to know how to screw this up? Want to know how to weaken the American Nation. Here's a clue:


If you wanted to sabotage America, prevent any sort of expanded union with Mexico that would encourage Mexicans to come here and mingle with ordinary Americans. That would involve making their labor illegal, to ghettoize them and take away many of the incentives of learning the language of business. it certainly would involve preventing Americans from owning property and moving down there for the same reason. Of course, you want to keep Mexico under a Constitution separate from ours, to impede general business growth.

In other words, if you wanted to prevent American power from spreading into Mexico and even lose American power in the southwestern United States, the Frist-Tancredo plan is just fine.

The worst of the coffee house lunes are hoping we do just that. Every picture we dislike from the rallies -- all those BS placards by rich college kids -- are calls for apartheid and separateness. Their grand ideal is on the same moral level as al Qaeda. And as with al Qaeda, if we integrate them first, we win.

If you want a middle of the road policy, then keep things the way they are. Don't enjoy anti-American pictures like this? Then annex Mexico.

Unless you prefer la reconquista.


Instead of an outright union, just the expansion of internationalism and more open borders would just about do the trick.

Is that particular photo you link to really anti-American? I must be missing some context.

Posted by: Adam | Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I'm not sure what you mean by "internationalism," so I'll hold off on commenting on that. Open borders is part of the solution, but it's not everything. For instance, if crossing the border is still a major life choice (as it would be if voting rights or government job availability) you minimize cross-flow, and impeded the continent from acting as one complex adaptive system ("one nation").

Regarding the picture, perhaps I should have reused the one of flags [1]. I'm trusting Malkin for accurate context on that photo.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/03/29/drawing-north-america.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Over and over this process has displaced minority languages with majority ones. Throughout the British Isles it is English that is commonly spoken, not Gaelic. Throughout France is is French, and none of the languages of oc."

Except that the first sentence is patently false. English and French have not been spread in the U.K. and France through peaceful socialization and assimilation, but through conquest, governmental suppression of minority, and popular prejudice. You might ask a Breton, a Corsican, or a Strasbourg German their opinions of Parisian cultural imperialism, or a Welshman or Irishman their opinions of the analogous actions of London.

Posted by: John "Akatsukami" Braue | Friday, April 14, 2006


Using just the example set you use, it's easy to show that it is assimilation, not conquest, that spreads a language.

The Norman Kings spoke French. Then they learned English.

Another famous example are the Manchus barbarians who invaded China and rapidly... became Chinese.

Conquerors that had open economic systems and allowed assimilation -- such as the Romans and the Arabs -- melted others into them. Those that didn't, such as the Normans (whether in England, Normandy, Sicily, or Palestine) became who they conquered.

Tancredo wants us to be like the Normans. I'd rather keep those old Anglo-Saxon songs.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, April 14, 2006

I don't see how the issue of Mexican immigration has anything at all to due with Mathew 25:29... Ironic that an atheist would recognize specific quotes from scripture, but my road to blasphemy was paved with many a childhood Sunday service in the Southern Bible Belt.

Posted by: Jing | Saturday, April 15, 2006


Matthew 25:29 refer to the operations of a complex adaptive system. In the context of Union with Mexico, they refer to the triumpoh of English over Spanish. This post was written to address such a union would not be sufficiently in America's national interests.

I believe that Howard Bloom, who emphasized this quote in his book, is an atheist as welll.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, April 17, 2006

"The Norman Kings spoke French. Then they learned English."

No, the Normans spoke Norman. Then Anglo-Saxon became very, very Normanic, which is basically the birth of Middle English and the art of Chaucer. By this example, if you integrate Mexico, American English will absorb an enormous amount of Spanish, and vice versa. American English will go extinct and a new hybrid, Amerimex, will arise.

Of course, the idea that a language, especially English, has any kind of purity in the first place is absurd. And American English is inconsistent as well, from the California hella to the New England wicked, from the Texan fixin' to the urban bling. You assume that people will have a black and white choice: American English or Mexican Spanish. Historically and linguisitically this is a non-existent choice; people will mix vocabulary and grammar individually to create their own lexicons and expressions.

"Death spiral", indeed. You loco, essa.

P.S. You're forgetting the Spanish language in North America would have an extended "network" of Latin America, Spain, the Carribbean and assorted diaspora. So the Spanish speakers of North America would have long distance support, by your "theory".

Posted by: davesgonechina | Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm sure Dan recognizes that a merger with Mexico would effect the continual development of English.

Of course, I can think of a couple really easy examples of conquest spreading a language - like how Spanish got to North America in the first place.

Posted by: Adam | Thursday, April 20, 2006


The national aspirations of the Norman people aside, both Norman and French are langue d'oil.

Adam mentioned in the spread of Spanish by conquest, but in areas where they segregated themselves from the native population Spanish still has yet to win. In spite of numerous, crushing defeats at the hands of Spanish-speaking powers, for instance, the most popular language in Paraguay is Guarani [1]. Spanish has been in contact with Guarani for half a millennium, but the Spanish-speaker's insularity has prevented the national population from adopting the language as part of a complex adaptive learning.

Spanish is going to influence English, and English is going to influence Spanish. Yet now we have an opportunity to absorb it.

As 3/4ths of a USA-MUS Union would be English speakers, and the richest 3/4ths at this, fears of a "Amerimix" hybrid are overblown. Languages are learned based on utility. People may mix "vocabulary and grammar," but the language they speak is the one that increases their social network utility. And the language that would best maximize that is English. Our English.

Ultimately, English will absorb the amount of Spanish that is useful. Yet it is Spanish that will be displaced.

Spanish in the present United States has a real chance because of a large Spanish-speaking country that we share a huge and populated border with. But if we adopt the Mexican states under our Constitution, that disappears. Spanish then finds itself in the position that German did a century ago -- part of a large network -- that's far away.

Electronic media is importing for making a language useful, but it through interacting with people we adopt our real language. And it is by heavily increasing two-way cross-border flows from San Diego to Brownsville that we increase the bilingual churn. And in that church, English wins.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaran%C3%AD_language

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, April 20, 2006

I find your proposal to still be problematic. What exactly would it mean to "absorb" Mexican Spanish? While increased interaction (which I agree isn't a bad idea) would definitely add to the number of English speakers in Mexico, I don't believe this would displace Spanish. If I take your position on the power of networks, what about Puerto Rico? There's an open flow between the US and Puerto Rico, yet Puerto Ricans still speak Spanish. To increase the use of English locally, you'd have to switch the education system over to English, not a bilingual system like PR. I guess in a network context, this is how you initially configure a node - english, spanish or bilingual language foundation. Simply increasing mobility wouldn't necessarily lead to a binary choice between languages.

My point with the Normans is that the English language more than doubled in size after the Norman conquest, and Old English vanished. To say that one language or the other replaced the others seems an oversimplification. English didn't displace Norman French - it got busy with it, and Latin, and produced a mutt.

Posted by: davesgonechina | Monday, April 24, 2006

The Puerto Rican example shows how a Commonwealth-style arrangement with the Mexican states would not work. By not subjecting Puerto Rico to federal taxes, including income taxes, the federal government subsidizing non-movement and preventing the acquisition of English by Puerto Ricans.

You don't need monolingual education to make a popularion monlingual. You just have to make the target language one that doesn't open any more doors. This happened with Provencal. While the population of the region was bilingual in both French and Provencal, only Provencal provided added opportunities to common people, so the ability of citizens to speak Provencal declined dramatically.

While there will still be non-American Spanish speakers after union with Mexico, average Mexicans will be interacting in all ways with their fellow North Americans than with Central or South Americans.

(As an aside, it would be beneficial to have Americans learn Spanish too. This would increase interactions, and thus the advantage of the dominant language, even more.)

Areas where the langue d'oil proved most influential over Anglo-Saxon was in those areas that Anglo-Saxon had undeveloped terms for: art, cooking, governance, science, etc. In areas where Norman did not hold a comparative advantage in these fields (say, Sicily) the Norman influence can hardly be felt.

The language of governance and science in the world is English.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, April 24, 2006

Why is monolingual the goal? So long as everyone if proficient in English, wouldn't multilingualism be perferable, economically at least?

Posted by: Adam | Monday, April 24, 2006

Language is the blood of culture. To have a solid country one needs a solid culture. Having two popular cultures would only lead to conflict (whether political or armed).

Posted by: Catholicgauze | Monday, April 24, 2006

Catholicgauze, I'm guessing you're not Canadian.

Tdaxp, I don't disagree with your last comment. But it doesn't sound the same as "death spiral".

Posted by: davesgonechina | Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Davesgonechina, right you are mate! But look at Canada. You have a giant part of the country that wants to secede and acts like jerks to the rest of the country; forcing French to be the offical state language along with English but then only making French the offical provence language. If a shop owner puts a sign up only in English in Quebec they can be fined.

This situation is hardly desirable.

Posted by: Catholicgauze | Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And yet they live in peace and civilized comfort. Will wonders never cease?

Posted by: davesgonechina | Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I agree with Catholicgauze's view on monolingualism. There is nothing wrong with knowing another language, but multiculturalism/multinationalism is a recipe for state collapse.


I don't see how a categorical value like "civilized" is relevent here, nor do I see the point of your comment. If you are arguing that Canada-style instability is acceptable for the United States, I strongly disagree.


Very solid comment. Thank you.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"multiculturalism/multinationalism is a recipe for state collapse"

"If you are arguing that Canada-style instability is acceptable for the United States, I strongly disagree."

I'm arguing that to consider Canada as having a "recipe for state collapse" overstates the case considerably, much like your prediction of a Spanish "death spiral". While the Quebecois use separation as a political football, Canada is not considered to suffer from "instability". Canada seems to manage its cultural differences in a civilized manner, i.e. it has not prevented Canada from having a thriving economy, successful parliamentary government or peaceful co-existence. Canada is an example of how a bilingual state can be a successful one. Or do you predict the Canada will inevitably tear itself apart?

Posted by: davesgonechina | Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The First Nations, the protection of such languages as Acadian, and other Canadian initiatives seem to argue against the destructive nature of multiculturalism as well. I'm not saying that the Canadian system can or should be replicated elsewhere. I'm simply saying Canada does pretty damn well despite all that multiculturalism.

As for the signs in English, there are definitely problems. But Quebec, and particularly Montreal, has been trending towards less and less strident nationalism while federal policy has helped to eliminate alot of the real marginalization that Quebeckers once faced. Had Canada not adopted the albeit imperfect and flawed bilingual policy it pursued, the conflict between Quebec and the other provinces may have been far nastier than it turned out.

Posted by: davesgonechina | Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"The Puerto Rican example shows how a Commonwealth-style arrangement with the Mexican states would not work. By not subjecting Puerto Rico to federal taxes, including income taxes, the federal government subsidizing non-movement and preventing the acquisition of English by Puerto Ricans."

That's not true. English is taught as a required second language in Puerto Rico starting in kindergarten, a great deal of Puerto Ricans are bilingual and there's enormous circular migration between Puerto Rico and the US (especially Hartford and NYC). And that's despite a near half century of English Only education in Puerto Rico, which failed to displace Spanish. The lack of federal taxes have not prevented either movement or English language acquisition. Cultural identity, open migration and economic opportunities have, but not in any zero-sum way as you suggest would happen with Mexico. Despite the fact that English, for the 1 million Boricua in NYC who split time returning to the island, would obviously open doors as you suggest.

Posted by: davesgonechina | Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Canada is a collection of colonies along the American border that were rapidly thrown together by Britain for her own interests. That Quebec -- a Francophonic State -- finds itself in uneasy union with Manitoba is not a triumph of multiculturalism or bilingualism, but rather a remant of the machinations of the once-great British Empire.

I'm not sure I understand your first sentence. How do Canadian Indians, Acadians, etc, 'argue against the destructive nature of multiculturalism'?

Canada "does pretty damn well" because she has one of the best geographical locations in world history, surrounded entirely by either a benevolent, rich, and strong neighbor, the ocean, and the ice.

On the subject of Puerto Rico, English as a second language certainly helps, but it is not the same thing as assimilation. Limited opportunities for economic integration on Puerto Rico with the united States is the reason for the successful Spanish hold on that island. By contrast, the Puero Rican immigrant community in the united States typically speaks English as a first language. Why? Greater economic opportunities, greater economic integration

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, July 07, 2006