“The fact is a wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation.”
Said Nancy Pelosi, the newly elected speaker of the US House of Representatives, regarding President Trump’s renewed efforts to fund a wall on America’s Southern border.
Putting aside Pelosi’s vested electoral interests in wilfully sabotaging President Trump’s agenda, and ensuring America’s continued demographic transformation, we can proceed to an interesting inquiry: are walls and the forcible barring of peoples necessarily immoral?
In short, no.
In making this case foundational to any nationalist worldview, consider the definition of a wall: “thing regarded as a protective or restrictive barrier.”
However, while literal walls are useful, this post shall broadly outline the benefits of both physical walls, and metaphorical walls– other legal barriers to mass entry.
Now, to the substance.
Given walls are restrictive barriers, they act to keep people out; as President Trump intends to do at America’s Southern border. But it is precisely this exclusionary nature that makes walls moral. Walls help individuals protect the fruits of their own labour; and groups in protecting the longevity of goods, services, communities and infrastructure they’ve paid for and worked towards their entire lives. At the very least, walls ensure a controlled human inflow–those who’ve contributed more to their nations, countries and communities–can decide who comes to their lands and on what terms.
In this respect, President Trump’s analogy between wealthy politicians’ purported right to create barriers, and America’s suggested lack thereof to do something similar, hits at a glaring moral contradiction. Americans have no right to protect the countries they’ve lived and worked in their entire lives? Then Nancy Pelosi has no right to exclude an ex-Klansman from living in her residence. Needless to say, imposing any such principle upon Pelosi or the American people, would be profoundly unjust.
Yet while the civilisational contributions of living Americans, Australians and other Indigenous peoples are significant; the work of those who came beforehand was greater. Comes the axiomatic challenge– walls are immoral because they protect (mostly) unearned wealth; people shouldn’t have a divine right to things they haven’t worked for. Nonetheless, that which we inherited was deliberately created for us, and in Burke’s all-enduring words, “civilisation is a pact between the living, dead and the yet unborn.” As is the case with everything else, countries don’t exist in a vacuum. Thus because our countries were explicitly created for Western people, walls ensure we don’t give away what we don’t possess the right to.
Stridently delineated boundaries also increase feelings of belonging, by defining communities along various salient sources of identity. While other identities certainly matter (religious, cultural, moral, national), communities which are more racially homogenous tend to have higher levels of altruism, trust and cooperation. Should it therefore come as no surprise that Kaunianen, Finland was recently crowned the happiest town in the world; as opposed to Detroit, Michigan?
Walls also make better neighbours. They ensure each people (where practical), is allowed a territory to express their own cultural, religious and physiological mores free from interference. This manifestation in of itself promotes peace, and when said prerogative is not respected–as in Mexico’s ongoing Reconquista of America–this leads to animosity between sovereign states. Likewise, when each people (again, where practical) have their own territory, this averts the hatred, segregation, and bloodshed that consistently plagues multi-racial societies.
Walls are not immoral; the myriad of benefits which flow from their construction, means they are indeed moral creations.