Saturday, June 05, 2010

One world

Once again, Boston honors the 36 valedictorians of the city's high schools.

Almost half were born outside of the United States, in countries as diverse as the Dominican Republic, Haiti, China, Bangladesh, Albania, Ethiopia and Nigeria. The multiracial faces of these smart and dedicated students are more representative of the global population than of America. They will go on to top universities, with substantial scholarships.

It makes me immensely proud of my country and my region.

Even prouder to be a citizen of the world.

I am neither wise enough nor knowledgeable enough to address questions of immigration policy or law enforcement. I will leave that to the politicians. But I do know there is no long-term hope for our species unless we arrive at a place where global citizenship becomes more important than the national, racial and religious differences that divide us.

This is something that has been largely achieved in science, to a greater degree than anywhere else. Pick up any issue of a science journal and the apparent diversity of author names and institutional affiliations is as great as the faces of the Boston valedictorians. I say "apparent" because national citizenship, politics, religion and gender are otherwise invisible. By design.

Why? Because if something approximating objective truth about the world is possible to obtain, it will not depend on accidents of birth.