A policy of open borders that also benefits America is a fantasy pushed by those who won’t face truth about human nature. With lax security, promises of amnesty, threats of terrorism, drug cartel violence and open arms of a welfare state, what could go wrong? Co-author of our Constitution James Madison observed, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” The same is true for a country’s sovereignty and border security; they’re not necessary if all illegal immigrants were angels.
Keep in mind, there was no welfare state burdening taxpayers in the early 1900s. No immigrants relaxing comfortably on a golden safety net. No dirty bombs, Islamic terrorism, drug cartel invasion or defiance to assimilate to American culture and language. Back then, strict controls prevailed. Open borders didn’t mean unvetted immigrants; it meant all were welcome to qualify to be citizens. America vetted the heath and skill sets of all Ellis Island immigrants. For those who didn’t qualify, it served to answer the question, how can we better protect American citizens and economy?
If an airplane loses pressure during a flight, we are taught to first put the oxygen mask over our own face so that we may better help those in greater need. A strong economy affords more capacity for charity not less. We must keep our own interests in mind, asking that same compassionate question: How can we better protect American citizens and economy? Reality may be harsh, but fantasies are often more dangerous. A root canal is painful, but an abscess can be far worse. Whenever we turn away from obvious truth and defy reality, we live a lie and risk stumbling into catastrophe.
What about dreams? To be achieved dreams must inspire us, not be our downfall. Dreams and truth are allies. For example, our Constitution is a dream, a bridge to what is possible. Dreams allow us to hold a goal in mind, steer toward a distant harbor through effort, expertise and “content of character.” Fantasies bring disaster; their promises are unattainable because they are based on lies. Dreams keep our mind sane; fantasies make it sick.
Robert Frost’s beautiful poem “Mending Wall” illustrates this dichotomy between fantasy and reality, between false narratives and real-world wisdom. The narrator begins idealistically, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall …” He soon learns a lesson while helping his wise neighbor mend holes in a fence between them. The poet wonders: If we have no cows, why do we need a wall? We both have only trees on our land. Frost puts it this way:
“He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'”
The short answer to the poet’s question– why have a wall – is that having none may invite preventable problems or calamity.
Our Constitution has walls for the same reason, limits placed on government’s power, which protect us from tyranny. The ocean has shores that prevent flooding. Our stomach has barriers to insulate our bloodstream from bacteria. Every blood vessel has walls that help deliver oxygen to cells. There are thousands more examples.
Here are three reasons good fences make good neighbors.
1. As a guest, it’s neighborly to respect the property and laws of your host
Do you want to be a good guest? Honor your host. Bring them a gift if possible. Help them in some way without expectation of benefit. Tell them how much you appreciate them. Relational problems have one common denominator: lack of respect. Try saying please, thank you, you’re welcome, Sir and Ma’am for one day. Try giving legitimate praise to a stranger. Watch their psychological walls come crashing down. If I get exceptional service at a restaurant, I sometimes look the server in the eye and say, “I appreciate your service. You are wonderful.” The person’s face often freezes in sincere appreciation.
This is why the American Revolution has made America so successful, why so many from other countries dream of being an American citizen. The Founding Fathers codified into law: respect of individual privacy, equal protection under the law, property rights, religious freedom, gun rights, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and many others.
2. Good fences prevent disputes
I was the manager of a Woolworth store in my 20s when the company was in the Dow 30. I learned that a clean, organized and well stocked store prevents shrinkage, the retail term for theft. The same is true for a country’s border security. Well publicized cases of prosecution of voter fraud, deportations and crackdowns on illegal hiring practices goes a long way to prevent problems. Peace through strength is also an effective deterrent in averting domestic problems.
3. Good fences preserve a country’s culture and religious ethos
Unvetted immigration is creating havoc in Europe. Why? It’s not because of who is coming in but what is coming in, namely the ethos of some. Remedial classes actually exist to teach refugees that rape is wrong. Two ways to handle this problem: Allow unvetted immigrants in and create no-go areas (where police refuse to enter) to reduce violence or worse against citizens. Another option is to vet immigrants before they are allowed into your country. Take your pick. Fantasy or reality.
If you choose to poke a stick in the eye of reality, remember the words of Jim Rohn, “We all must suffer one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”