What is a New Mexican? Does it matter?

The Albquerque Journal at the behest of my favorite columnist Wintrop Quigley engaged in a bit of collectivist self-flagellation in today’s paper. Not surprisingly, given the question, the answers were all over the place. Some focused on educational attainment while others focused on the three cultures (Native, Hispano, and Anglo) that predominate. I just don’t see the point. How is it possible to gather 2 million people under any particular banner?

After all, if you are Black or Asian, are you not a New Mexican? New Mexico has among the highest dropout rates, but also the highest percentage of PHD’s. We have an inordinately large number of government workers as well. But do any of these things make one New Mexican or preclude one from being so? We do have great natural beauty in our state, but if you are not outdoorsy, are you not a New Mexican?

Anyway, coming up with any specific traits for 2 million people is pretty futile, but here’s what I’d like to see: “New Mexico is a state that uniquely embraces freedom, both economic and personal. Regardless of your ethnicity or background, whether you are a traditionalist or an innovator, New Mexico is a place where you can fulfill your personal vision as long as you don’t hinder others from achieving their goals at the same time. And, while New Mexicans care deeply for one another, they rely on the charitable impulse of their neighbors rather than the threat of force to care for each other.”

One can dream, right?