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View Diary: "Native languages in 'a state of emergency'" (256 comments)

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  •  There's Locke again, with your appeal to (0+ / 0-)

    universal human rights and your disregard of communal rights.  You're arguing from authority without citing your source.

    •  You need to read up on "argument from authority" (0+ / 0-)

      You use the term without understanding it.

      You present no counter argument.

      Finally, you join the chorus avoiding addressing the substantive questions in any way.

      Are they really so scary to consider?

      Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

      by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 08:41:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Focusing on individual rights and an individual's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dharmafarmer

        right to choose which language he or she would like to learn is an argument from authority -- namely, Locke's authority, in this case, though you don't name him.  If you want to ask questions or make a logical argument based on a presumption of the role of individual choice and treating all humans equally, I think you should acknowledge that you are drawing not on empirically established fact but on Locke and other Enlightenment thinkers, and that you share the general assumptions of Western European culture, including particular and specific definitions of such notions as liberty and property.

        Meanwhile, what of a community's right to perpetuate its own language, to set its own educational standards?  

        •  What of it? (0+ / 0-)

          I neither focused on individual rights nor dismissed community rights.

          I asked what place individual freedom to choose has and/or should have in such a discussion.

          Which, as I have noted, is central to the question with regard to many of the most heated controversies regarding cultural preservation around the world.

          Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

          by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 09:13:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay, cool. Now, since no one here is suggesting (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza, dharmafarmer

            that anyone should be prevented from learning any languages, or that any Indigenous person must speak an Indigenous language to the exclusion of any other languages, I guess the discussion has reached a resolution.

            •  The discussion went nowhere (0+ / 0-)

              no new light was shed, no constructive suggestions made, no reference to questions unaddressed.

              Only a bunch of gratuitous personal assaults, ugly prejudicial assumptions, divisive "with us or against us" thinking.

              If you think the status quo is an achievement, you just reinforce my observation that the dominant culture on Daily Kos is conservatism and fear of change.

              How do you recommend translating all that empty proclamation of good will into actual, practical policy that will result in the survival of endangered Native American languages?

              Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

              by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 11:26:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, good teachers know how to ask questions (0+ / 0-)

                that will lead somewhere -- not trivial, moot, intentionally provocative questions about efforts to sustain culture that somehow curtail individual freedom.  

                •  Clearly, the choice to gratuitously insult (0+ / 0-)

                  is the fault of the insulted.

                  The contortions which folks will undergo to avoid taking any responsibility for their own words are remarkable. You now suggest that intemperate, inappropriate outbursts are not the fault of the person uttering them.

                  I reposted my original comment in full, along with the first response to it, which invoked a "Final Solution". A comment you rec'd, right off the bat.  

                  The rest of the group-think hysteria is on the record for all to see.

                  Your comment is, frankly, laughable, and if you had a bit of perspective, you'd be embarrassed to be making it.

                  Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:25:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Look, you started with gratuitous insults by (3+ / 0-)

                    predicting knee-jerk responses by self-labeled liberals.  You can't simply retreat to a less-insulting-than-thou attitude now.

                    The idea that a comment about individual rights in a diary focused on an Indigenous community's right to sustain its language would not provoke strong reactions is laughable.  Winter Rabbit correctly recognized your comment as a typical rationalization for cultural genocide.  Meanwhile, you choose to disregard (or remain ignorant of) a highly relevant history that you term "ancient."  The past is past, let's move on, is that what you're saying?  I don't believe you have responded fully to my characterization of your ideological motives, nor to my correction of your claim that the Dawes Act is no longer in effect.

                    •  There is a critical distinction (0+ / 0-)

                      between insulting a set of responses by those holding a common attitude, and personally and directly insulting an individual.

                      If you don't understand the distinction between one saying to another, "conservatives are anti-poor" and saying, "you hate poor people", then there is little I can do to raise your consciousness.

                      The idea that a comment about individual rights in a diary focused on an Indigenous community's right to sustain its language would not provoke strong reactions is laughable.  

                      Why? Given that the tension between individual and community rights is at the heart of virtually all ongoing cultural conflicts in the world today - including conflicts involving First Nation children in Canadian schools, among other examples I provided, why would it be "laughable"?

                      Also, given the historical failure of various well-intentioned efforts to address historical iniquities, many of which failed because of ignoring individual preferences and behavior, why would it be "laughable"?

                      Finally, given that I talked about a "balance" between individual and community rights, and questioned what the best balance would be in this case, why would it be "laughable", and why would the presumption be that I was "rationalizing cultural genocide?"

                      Finally, where did I say "the past is past, let's move on"? I asked questions I have thought about, and that I think are worth thinking about - is the need to preserve older cultures universal? Is cultural shift always a matter of losing value, or is new value created - and is this new value worth "preserving"? What are the criteria by which we decide which cultures we should devote taxpayer's resources to help preserve, and which are lower on the list? What is the value proposition behind preserving a language?

                      I finally got a substantive comment on that last question, which illustrated the value by reference to Gaelic culture in Ireland.

                      Why are these either laughable or hostile questions to ask?

                      Why is any asking of a question more dangerous than assuming an answer?

                      Isn't challenging assumptions and asking question a fundamental liberal value?

                      Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                      by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 12:48:25 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The United States is obligated to sustain Native (0+ / 0-)

                        languages under the terms of the federal trust relationship, generally, and under the terms of the Native American Languages Act (NALA) of 1990, specifically:

                        The Congress finds that--

                        (1) the status of the cultures and languages of Native Americans is unique and the United States has the responsibility to act together with Native Americans to ensure the survival of these unique cultures and languages;

                        (2) special status is accorded Native Americans in the United States, a status that recognizes distinct cultural and political rights, including the right to continue separate identities;

                         A careful reading of NALA (it's not a long document) should adequately address many of your questions.

                        The reason that asking pointedly about individual rights would raise red flags in this context is that the goal of so much previous policy has been to kill the Indian, and save the man:

                        to release these people from their tribal relations and to bring them individually into the capacity and freedom of citizens.

                        I hope it's not too much of a stretch to see that those who are familiar with the history see strident talk of individual-freedom-as-a-universal-good as dangerously close to advocating the termination of tribes, killing Indians as Indians, cultural genocide.  Freedom to learn a language is one thing.  Provocative talk of freedom from tribes is another thing entirely.

                        I have to sign off again for a while, but before I go, one more request: please provide evidence and cite your sources for your claim that

                        [many] well-intentioned efforts to address historical iniquities... failed because of ignoring individual preferences and behavior

                        keeping in mind that the word "many" makes your claim a quantitative one.

                        •  When you can respond without straw men (0+ / 0-)

                          and hyperbole, we'll continue the conversation.

                          I hope it's not too much of a stretch to see that those who are familiar with the history see strident talk of individual-freedom-as-a-universal-good as dangerously close to advocating the termination of tribes, killing Indians as Indians, cultural genocide.  Freedom to learn a language is one thing.  Provocative talk of freedom from tribes is another thing entirely.

                          "Strident talk".

                          "individual-freedom-as-a-universal-good"

                          "dangerously close to advocating the termination...killing, genocide"

                          "provocative talk of freedom from tribes"

                          This is your description of a comment that stated:

                          Like most issues, this is more complex than ideological narrative tend to allow for.

                          In a free society, is the individual right to decide what language they want to speak taken into account? Even if that language happens not to be the one their ancestors spoke, or one that linguists deem worth preserving?

                          When does cultural preservation become counterproductive on the individual level?

                          From long experience here, I know this comment will be responded to mostly in knee-jerk fashion, according to the ideological lens of the respondent - which is unfortunate, because only by engaging in thoughtful dialog about these issues, with a humanistic emphasis on the balance between individual rights and collective interests, are effective solutions found.

                          To which the first response - from the diarist - was

                          Thank you for citing for us perfect rationalizations of why the dominant culture thinks it is OK to finish the work of the Final Solution.  

                          A comment you rec'd right off the bat.

                          You'll note the utter absence from my comment of any of the things you accuse me of stating or even implying.

                          You manifest no interest in participating in a discussion forum. You demonstrate no inherent respect for other people. Your behavior suggests an intent to exploit this platform to vent your hostility, and then try to cover up your inappropriate behavior with dishonest mischaracterizations, rather than own up to your own intemperate bullshit.

                          Shame on you - not for acting like a thoughtless idiot when you are clearly capable of more, but for not having the integrity to admit it.

                          Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                          by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 11:10:15 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I stand by my recommendation of that comment and (0+ / 0-)

                            note your continuing unwillingness to consider answers to your inquiries.

                          •  What answers? (0+ / 0-)

                            I have seen no answers to the question of whether and how individual rights should be balanced with community interests.

                            I have seen no answers to the question of whether all endangered languages are equally worthy of preservation, and why - and, if not, what criteria should we choose to judge which languages we should focus to preserve.

                            I have seen no answers to the question of whether cultural change, which has occurred throughout human history, inevitably involves loss of value and the replacement of good by bad, or whether there may be any value to new cultures and/or the values they espouse.

                            In my experience, one of the most useful and productive questions to ask when one is presented with a proposed solution to a stated problem is to ask, "why?"

                            Checking our assumptions is a way of ensuring that we are choosing the most effective path, one that will actually make a difference.

                            Examining the efficacy or failure of previous attempts to solve similar solutions is another proven technique to increase the odds of success.

                            In my experience, ignoring individual preferences and tendencies in promulgating policy is a guaranteed path to failure.

                            Good intentions do not make good policy. Strong convictions do not make good policy. Most of all, rage-driven reactionary behavior does not lead to good policy.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 09:59:58 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  To reiterate the responses you have already (0+ / 0-)

                            received:

                            I have seen no answers to the question of whether and how individual rights should be balanced with community interests.

                            A moot question. No one is insisting that any individual must learn a language or that they cannot learn any particular languages. The point is to revitalize and sustain language and culture -- there is no conflict between individual rights and community interests in such an endeavor.

                            I have seen no answers to the question of whether all endangered languages are equally worthy of preservation, and why - and, if not, what criteria should we choose to judge which languages we should focus to preserve.

                            Moot question.  Read NALA.  The United States has a federal trust responsibility to Native American tribes and a statutory responsibility to help revitalize Native American languages. If you feel this is somehow inequitable or that these languages are unworthy of "preservation" (a word that misses the mark -- I prefer revitalization), then you are welcome to work to repeal over two hundred years of settled law and policy.

                            I have seen no answers to the question of whether cultural change, which has occurred throughout human history, inevitably involves loss of value and the replacement of good by bad, or whether there may be any value to new cultures and/or the values they espouse.

                            Moot question.  Revitalizing a language does not involve an either/or choice between the old and the new.

                            In my experience, ignoring individual preferences and tendencies in promulgating policy is a guaranteed path to failure.

                             You have deleted the word "many" from this claim and backtracked to cite only your experience, but I am still waiting for your quantitative evidence to support the claim.

                          •  There are endangered cultures and languages (0+ / 0-)

                            all over the world. There are success stories - such as Gaelic, as already noted here by another - and failures.

                            You are still intent on proving ill intent on my part. You are still interested in "exposing" a supposed advocate of "cultural genocide", "murdering Indians" and a "Final Solution".

                            I feel sad for someone so caught up in hatred, rage - and their own ego - that they care only about "winning" an argument on the Internet, not about engaging in thoughtful discussions about how to develop effective policies, on a site that is all about effective politics and policies.

                            All the things you call "moot questions" are moot only to one utterly disinterested in working with others to achieve actual progress, and obsessively interested in opposition and protest.

                            I already noted several examples where well-intentioned liberal programs went awry. Anyone living in a big city can see the concrete cellblocks that were supposed to pass for "welfare apartments", that neglected the human need to feel pride of ownership - which helps ensure that residents maintain collective property - the need for expressions of individuality that distinguish one family's home from another, the freedom to develop some greens and gardens to bring some humanity to oceans of concrete, and many more design disasters that have resulted in many of these hulking monstrosities becoming abandoned cesspools of criminal activity.

                            Much of the reason Native American cultures are in such distress is the result of well-intentioned policies, meant to address past iniquities, which only exacerbated the situation, because they failed to build in affordances for simple things, the kind of things discussion of which you consider "moot questions".

                            I have not backtracked on anything, but I am not the subject of this discussion - at least, I shouldn't be.

                            I introduced some questions that I think interesting, and that in my experience are important in promulgating policy.

                            You, and others, had three choices regarding how to respond:

                            1. if you think all my questions are "moot" and uninteresting, you could simply have chosen not to reply;
                            1. if you weren't sure what my intent was, or the questions confused you, you could have asked - rather than assume bad intent;
                            1. if the questions interested you and you thought them relevant, you could have responded.

                            Instead, you assaulted, and you continue in an ardent effort to discredit me in a logically fallacious attack on the messenger that has nothing to do with the message.

                            Your "moot question" routine is a rather naive approach to policy intended to address complex issues that have failed to respond to previous efforts at solutions.

                            It is also a very parochial approach to broad questions I asked. I didn't ask if a particular Native American tribe's culture was important to preserve; I asked what the general criteria are by which we make such determinations.

                            I didn't suggest that modern American culture is superior to endangered Native American cultures; I asked whether the issue of old culture vs new, in general, were not a little more complex than either-or, and whether there was ever anything positive in the new.

                            In short, I raised what, in a less hysterical, militant and antagonistic forum, would be considered interesting questions that might be helpful in considering policy development.

                            You can continue with the ad hominems until the cows go home. All they demonstrate is that your approach to dialog here is that of a video game addict, obsessed with "defeating" an "opponent", rather than sharing in exploration potentially leading to greater understanding.

                            It is very sad, this inability to let go of the hostility and the mud slinging. It is unproductive, demeaning, hurtful and basically just sad.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 09:41:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, I don't know. I think if I had engaged in an (0+ / 0-)

                            ad hominem argument I might have accused you of being hysterical, egotistical, obsessed with winning, or full of hatred, rage, hostility, militance, or antagonism -- or of being a video game addict.  Instead, I stuck to the issues and pointed out that your questions were irrelevant to the discussion at hand.  I also offered some reasons as to why your questions and comments evoked the responses they have evoked.  My criticisms are focused on the message, not the messenger.

                            And I don't agree with your characterization of my approach as parochial.  You can wonder what general criteria to use to determine which cultures to "preserve" (again, this is the wrong word), but that topic is irrelevant to the topic of the diary -- namely, the responsibility of the United States to take action in collaboration with local communities to prevent the extinction of dozens of Native American languages.

                          •  Oh, and regarding this: (0+ / 0-)

                            In my experience, one of the most useful and productive questions to ask when one is presented with a proposed solution to a stated problem is to ask, "why?"

                            The quality of the reception of a question is highly correlated with how that question is asked.

                          •  There is a certain responsibility (0+ / 0-)

                            yes, individual responsibility, as evil as that word is portrayed here, on the part of respondents.

                            You choose how to respond. You choose to assume ill will. You choose to respond aggressively. You chose to focus on attacking the messenger.

                            You don't avoid responsibility for your response - particularly after I have repeatedly and exhaustively explained that no ill will was intended, and attempted to correct any misconceptions about my alleged support for "cultural genocide", "Final Solutions" and "killing Indians".

                            Really. You are going to defend that kind of behavior by blaming the target of such absurdly over-the-top hyperbole?

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 09:44:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If you are referring to the diarist's response to (0+ / 0-)

                            your initial comment, note that Winter Rabbit thanked you for citing a common rationalization among the dominant culture.  I don't see an assumption of ill will there, nor an allegation of your personal support for cultural genocide.  Previously, I have offered some reasons as to why your words may have raised some red flags with many of your respondents here -- reasons tied to the historical context of colonization and the forced-assimilation policies of the Dawes Act and Indian boarding schools.  These are events not of ancient history but of continuing effects and significance.

                          •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

                            Winter Rabbit thanked you for citing a common rationalization among the dominant culture.  I don't see an assumption of ill will there, nor an allegation of your personal support for cultural genocide.

                            Now we have strayed from the realm of personal opinion and different perspectives, to outright lies and foolish attempts a historical revisionism - foolish, because on the Internet the original content is clearly visible, in sequence, for all to see.

                            We're done.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 11:21:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Very good. (0+ / 0-)

                            In reviewing the entire thread I am pleased with what I have written -- no lies or historical revisionism here.

                            Yes, we are done.

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