In Canada they have two national languages, but that’s one reason Canada often seems silly. They don’t even know what language they dream in. ~Peggy Noonan
With respect to Ms. Noonan, who has been pretty good, especially on immigration, in the last year or so, this is not right. To justify our desire for English language, we should not have to run other nations in the process. Their ways are not our ways, and that is fine. The important point here should not be that every nation must have one and only one language, but that there should be one official and national language that provides a common means of communication and a source of common identity. There are fictitious, meaningless nation-states whose linguistic divisions signal a deeper divide of culture, ethnicity and politics. Take Belgium, for one. There are others that have a common history and a reason for existing as a common, albeit federal, relatively decentralised, polity that are not the products of accidents of European great power politics or the Treaty of Versailles. Canada is such a nation. I understand and appreciate the Quebecois separatist view, but I have long since matured out of the weird American need to belittle the Canadian nation, which, strange as it may sound to American ears, does exist, as if we were so insecure in our own nationality that we needed Canada as our whipping boy to make us feel more American. An American patriot does not need to disdain Canada to be more at home with who he is. Canadians will sort out their internal debate on their own. There is nothing necessarily “silly” about having multiple languages in a polity (it may impractical, but it is not silly–in terms of maintaining the peace, it can be the soul of wisdom in certain situations). What is silly is pretending that a centralised, uniform nation and a mutiplicity of languages can coexist without any difficulty.