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Showing posts from April, 2018

Immigration Fallacy #1: Immigrants are dangerous (Part 1)

Immigrants are not dangerous, in any general sense.

An argument for stricter immigration policy invariably depends on the explicit statement that the immigrants in question are dangerous. They may be depicted as criminals, terrorists, invaders, or simply uncouth. And the statement is simply wrong. It is not that immigrants are categorically un-dangerous, because any human could be dangerous. But generally speaking, immigrants do not present any significant danger or threat, just like most random people you pass on the road or sidewalk are not dangerous.

One objection, of course, is that some immigrants actually are dangerous. Terrorists, drug traffickers, gang members, felons, and human traffickers present a threat wherever they are. But it is illegitimate to argue for stricter immigration controls based on those highly specific categories. It is illegitimate, first, because those groups already exist everywhere, whether they come as immigrants or not. (By way of example, the vast major…

(Fairly Universal) Myths About Immigration and Immigrants

Myths, Fallacies, Misconceptions
Whichever term one prefers for its nuances (or lack thereof), myths, fallacies and misconceptions plague discussion of any major policy issue, particularly personal ones. Immigration is an especially personal and therefore emotional topic because it deals directly with human bodies and lives. Even other hotly debated topics such as privacy, health care, and policing are not as immediately personal as immigration because they do not necessarily have an immediate impact on the entirety of a person’s life. Immigration relates directly to who one is, where one is from, what one does, and even what language(s) one speaks.

The difficulty in addressing immigration rights can be observed around the world. The misconceptions that I want to address come up regularly and provoke heated debate in and between the following regions and countries, to name a few of the most prominent. I have tried to indicate in which direction immigration primarily occurs by putting th…

Today in Language: Jean de la Fontaine

The world fabulist of French origins Jean de la Fontaine died on April 13, 1695. His childrens fables have been translated or at least recast in most major cultural and linguistic traditions, which is not to say they did not already come to some extent from a variety of cultural and linguistic traditions.

La Fontaine is known today for his children’s fables, but in his own day he was known for his racier and morally transgressive “adult” fables. La Fontaine was a powerful storyteller, well worthy of his appointment to the Académie Française.

His tomb can be visited in the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris.


The Game of Life: DACA Edition - SNL

Communication: Definition 5

My favorite definition of communication actually comes from Wikipedia, a great source which I will not allow my students to cite but which I urge them to make good use of. And I will cite it myself here:

Communication (from Latin commūnicāre, meaning “to share”) is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules.”

1. This definition, unlike all of the others shared here, references both intention and meaning. These are essential aspects of communication to which any definition must refer directly or indirectly. This definition gets a bonus for combining the two concepts into one, intended meanings!
2. With the words “mutually understood,” this definition recognizes the personal nature of communication, as opposed to the frequently used mechanical terminology (process, code).
3. In short, this is one of the simplest and best definitions of communication that I have seen.