I didn't read this Globe op-ed on "linguistic paranoia" until yesterday evening. But when I did, my sympathy for the author's goal was pretty much negated by her deeply questionable reasoning.
Nataly Kelly--"a senior analyst with Common Sense Advisory, a market research firm specializing in business globalization"--thinks Americans should learn more languages. And in advancing her argument, she invokes the Founding Fathers:
Linguistic paranoia seems to have reached unprecedented levels in
recent years, a phenomenon that would probably shock our Founding
Fathers. After all, they intentionally decided not to declare an
official language for America, knowing full well that linguistic
dominance in the world is often in flux, and that doing so could
restrict the country's ability to both compete internationally and
respond to domestic needs [emph. added].
Usually, when people cite the FF's to make a point, they bolster their case with a quote or two. Kelly doesn't.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm guessing that this is because--when the Founding Fathers decision not to make English our official language--they weren't thinking about the ephemeral nature of linguistic dominance, international competitiveness, or domestic exigencies. Instead, they probably took it for granted that everybody in the U.S. would just speak English.
Am I missing something? If not, Kelly seems to be guilty of retroactively importing her own mindset into the FF's. Which is no way to make a completely legitimate point.