Demographer Steve Sailer’s been nailing it lately in his book reviews. On Wednesday, I wrote about his review of Spotted Toad’s new book on education. Last week, Sailer reviewed another work, Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick, by David Frye. The key insight of the book: walls make civilization possible (a corollary: barbarians and invaders build bridges).
The book sounds fascinating, and like Spotted Toad’s work, it’s one I intend to purchase and read soon. Sailer hits some of the highlights: walls were, for thousands of years, the thin line between civilized societies and barbarians. Where walls ended, barbarians ruled.
Walls provided effective protection against attacks until the Age of Gunpowder and heavy artillery ended their efficacy. Constantinople withstood conquest for a thousand years before the Turks breached its great walls with the mighty bombard.
The current mania for “building bridges” is at odds with most of human experience. Sailer points out all of the instances in which invaders have used bridges to attack their foes: Persians crossing the Hellespont lashed pontoons together—a feat repeated when the Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453.
Indeed, walls don’t just keep bad guys out; they also protect the freedoms of those within. To quote Sailer (with an embedded quotation from Frye in italics) at length:
Frye pithily sums up:
[Where] there are no border walls, there will be city walls, and where there are no city walls, there will be neighborhood walls….
Of course, where there are no neighborhood walls, there will tend to be walls around yards, often with broken bottles on top.
Granted, in the United States, the Jeffersonian tradition was to defend the country with a strong navy, which allowed, among many other benefits, houses to have open front lawns. But traditional American neighborliness seems racist now, so we’ve undertaken to import millions of people from more clannish and hostile cultures.
Put another way: a strong national defense—bolstered with well-maintained, well-defended barriers—promotes freedom at home. You don’t need a wall around your house when law enforcement protects against criminals, the military protects against foreign invaders, and sound immigration policy keeps out criminal riff-raff.
Hungary’s border wall is nearly 100% effective at keeping “refugees” out. There is nothing un-American or unpatriotic about a wall, and open borders are a moral hazard for citizens and immigrants alike.
History—the sum total of human experience, not the “moral arc” dream-state of progressives—supports President Trump’s border wall. The burden of proof is on the anti-border crowd. History suggests that societies without border barriers cannot long remain free, and will soon become militaristic conquerors devoted fully to warfare. Walls allow the people inside to be safe and free, and to specialize beyond a constant fight for survival.
Let’s hope many more Americans read Frye’s book—or, at the very least, Sailer’s excellent review of it—and come to support the border wall and a strong immigration policy.