Always good to see some well thought out points.
First of all, about the immigrants issue - this is hardly limited to just immigrants. In China, there has been a recent upsurge in buzz about India. Formerly an impoverished neighbour to be pitied and condescended to and so on, India has risen overnight to become a major formidable competitor. And people have become acutely aware of India's advantages - despite starting late, India already boasts an English-speaking intelligentsia. China is facing the fate of becoming the world's manufacturing plant while India becomes the world's research center.
In the meantime, nearly all the channels on TV are airing English teaching programs. "Natural English", "crazy English", "easy English ABC", "happy English hour",... people figuring out that "dropping in" means a visit and "coming up" means what's next. And 1.3 billion people are all trying to figure this out together.
This is annoying, to say the least. So - in this globalized world, language learning isn't merely a problem confined to immigrants, it plagues entire nations
, at a degree unimaginable in North America.
Diversity itself, of course, is important and crucial. Biological diversity, cultural diversity, diversity in methods of government, economic mechanisms, ways of thinking, all of these are important, because in a tight fix, having many choices is better than having one.
But linguistic diversity? How relevant is it exactly to the above?
Does linguistic diversity really contribute that much to cultural diversity? Dropping by at the local theatre (in China), I can choose from Charlie's Angels 2, Finding Nemo, the Matrix 2, that new Jackie Chan movie, and so on, all dubbed of course. Going to the local pirated DVD store offers an even greater of choice of Hollywood movies, some of them appearing before their debut in America. And I can do this exact same thing in Shanghai (Shanghainese-speaking), Wuhan (southwestern Mandarin), Xi'an (northwestern Mandarin), Guangzhou (Cantonese), or Fuzhou (east Min). And I do not doubt at all that you can also do this in Tehran, Santiago or Bangalore.
How exactly has lingustic diversity stopped this infusion of culture? How exactly does lingustic diversity even begin to affect, even begin to touch this infusion of culture?
Finally, about sentimentality: h.w. made a nice point earlier. As an ephemeral presence in the history of the universe, human beings do tend to want to grab hold of a little of that unattainable immortality. It's not like we have too much else to leave behind. And I am not immune to sentimentality either.
I just wonder, though, how much humanity must sacrifice for this idealism.