Let us join with Mr. Peabody and Sherman in their Way Back Machine and take a trip into the past. Our destination is the very first civilization established by mankind—the ancient kingdom of Sumer, which emerged around 4000 B.C. between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. We have been engaged by the Sumerian ruler Shu-Sin to advise on the problem he was having with the Amorites, a tribe of nomadic warriors who had been attacking the kingdom, especially the Sumerite city of Ur.
“It’s simple,” we all declared. “Build a wall that will keep out the invaders.”
Shu-Sin took our advice and built a rampart a hundred miles long between the Tigris and Euphrates. It worked—for few years anyway. The problem was that it was not long enough and eventually the Amorites figured out that they could simply walk around either end. By the reign of Shu-Sin’s successor, Ibbi-Sin, Sumer found itself under attack from both the Amorites and the neighboring Elamites. After the destruction of the city of Ur around 2000 B.C., Sumerian culture began to vanish from history.
Thus, since the beginning of civilization, walls have been one of the primary means of protecting the citizens of a kingdom, a nation, or a state from incursions by unwanted others. Some walls were better at this task than other walls. The success or failure of a wall depended on the resolve of the government building the wall to protect its people living inside its shelter.
In March 2016 Greg Johnson wrote an article on this website that expressed the hope of white people that (then-candidate) Trump, if elected President, would build the wall between the US and Mexico.
Although Trump is not a White Nationalist, he can still help our cause. By building a wall and deporting millions of illegal aliens, Trump might be able to postpone for decades white America’s decline into minority status. That would give White Nationalists more time to get our act together, which makes it more likely that we will have a White Republic in North America some day. If Donald Trump can persuade non-whites to help that happen, well, that would be just one of the ironies from which history is made.
What has happened to the erstwhile wall since Donald Trump has been sworn in as the President? From the beginning of his term, Trump announced that he would build the wall and that Mexico would pay for its construction. Of course, we all knew that Mexico would not be cutting a check to the US, but Trump had other creative ways to accomplish this result. One of these was a proposal to add a small percentage fee on money sent by individuals in the United States to recipients in Mexico, which receives approximately $24 billion a year in remittances from Mexican nationals working in the United States. The majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens.
By anybody’s accounting practice, that is a huge sum of money. I haven’t noticed very many taco stands on street corners, so the vast amount of illegal immigrants must be employed by medium to large businesses that are violating the immigration registration laws. But that is another issue.
Trump has been President now for thirteen months, and little real progress has been made on the wall.
Politically, Trump needs to make good on his campaign promise before he begins stumping for Republican candidates this fall, not to mention when he runs for re-election in 2020. In each case, Democrats are likely to attack him for squandering taxpayers’ money on a needless border wall.
At the outset, there was an enormous pushback by Democrats (for obvious reasons) and liberals, including some in the Republican Party. The rationale given was varied and weak, many were hilarious. David Bier put forth the most serious opposition in the May 2017 issue of Reason magazine in an article titled Why the Wall Won’t Work. The article is a naysayer’s cornucopia of the myriad reasons, both legal and practical, of why the wall will not accomplish its intended purpose—to keep out illegal immigrants from Mexico.
In summary, Bier says that the reasons are due to environmental restrictions, Native American Indians who oppose the wall, ownership of some of the land by individuals, the Bureau of Land Management’s foot-dragging, Mexico’s water rights to the Rio Grande, immigrants could still build tunnels, lack of agreement of the type of wall (solid or fencing), and the Border Patrol’s opposition to a solid, opaque wall in some places. (You can read the long piece in the link in the previous paragraph.)
Moreover, I am certain that on some sandy ground along the 1,000-mile venue, environmental groups will find a protected species of twenty lizards whose continued existence is paramount for the survival of civilization.
Bier, however, reveals his true colors at the end of this tedious fulmination by opposing any measure to stem illegal immigration. What about hiring more Border Patrol agents? No, says Bier, because:
No wall has ever arrested, robbed, battered, or murdered nonviolent people, as immigration enforcement has. A wall will not create an interest group to lobby for itself, endorse nationalist presidential candidates, and demand more power and funding, as the Border Patrol union does.
So, has Bier changed his mind at the end of all the quibbling about a wall? Of course not.
Even if the wall fails to reduce illegal entries significantly overall, one byproduct of making it harder to enter is that people will choose to cross in increasingly dangerous points along the border (the president’s “natural barriers”).
For Bier and his magic dirt true believers, the wall is a “symbol,” a “giant red herring,” “harmful,” “wasteful,” “offensive,” and will not be effective in stopping illegal immigration.
Yeah, that should cover it.
Let’s take a deep breath here and consider some of what has taken place in the world since Sumer built their wall.
The Roman Emperor Hadrian around 122 A.D. ordered the construction of a stone wall to protect Rome’s client state Britain from barbarian tribes that inhabited northern England and Scotland. History has deemed it “Hadrian’s Wall ,” a 73-mile rampart that stretched from the Solway Firth on the west coast to the mouth of the River Tyne in the east. The wall was roughly 10 feet wide and 15 feet tall and was dotted with forts manned by frontier troops. Gates spaced one mile apart allowed the garrison to control movement in the region. Towers and ditches along the wall also added protection against raids by barbarians from the north. The wall did its job for 300 years until Rome withdrew from Britain in the early 5th century A.D.
The city of Constantinople was one of the great marvels in the middle ages and was the center of power in the Byzantine Empire that grew out of the Roman Empire’s move eastward. The wall was originally built by Emperor Constantine but was massively fortified during the reign of Theodosius (378 to 395 A.D.) More than 14 miles of barricades surrounded the city, but the Theodosian Walls blocked armies from advancing from the mainland. They included a moat, a 27-foot outer wall and a massive inner wall that was 40 feet tall and 15 feet thick. Troops stood guard on the ramparts at all times, ready to pour “Greek fire” (probably a type of napalm) on any enemy that dared attack them. The walls succeeded in turning back a host of would-be conquerors including the Avars, the Arabs, the Bulgarians, and even Attila the Hun. The wall repelled all invaders for a thousand years. Finally, the city met its match in 1453, when the Ottoman Empire besieged the city with a frightening new weapon—the cannon. Even then, the wall may have stopped the siege if a Greek soldier had not forgotten to lock one of the wall’s gates.
We will consider only in passing the success of twenty-two medieval cities in Europe and the Middle East that built walls on hills, mountains, plains and into oceans to fortify their safety from invaders.
Coming forward in history, we find the so-called “Wall of Shame”— the Berlin Wall. The wall was erected in 1961 when the Soviet-aligned East German government built a series of concrete partitions separating East and West Berlin. While Communist leaders claimed the barriers were designed to keep out fascists and other enemies of the state, their real function was to prevent East Germans from defecting to the West. It was a maze of 12-foot walls, guard towers, and electrified fences. Ronald Reagan addressed Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev at the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987, in which he famously said, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
It stood for more than 28 years before East German authorities finally opened it on November 9, 1989.
When the Berlin Wall was torn down, there were only 16 countries that had built or were building security walls or fences. Today there are at least 65 walls or fences surrounding countries and cities around the world. These walls are being built to repel migrants for one simple reason—they work! From Israel’s “apartheid wall” to India’s 2,500 mile long barbed-wire fence around Bangladesh, these walls don’t just provide a “sense” of security as the opponents say; the walls provide “real” security.
Migrants and asylum-seekers are supposed to remain in their first country of entry, which land-locked Hungary never would be. But then Hungary had to respond rapidly to the migrant influx which burst upon Europe after Germany’s Angela Merkel announced there was “no limit” on the number of asylum seekers her own country would accept. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban was told by the European Union that he couldn’t put the fence up between his country and Serbia. He proceeded to build it anyway in 2015, and then doubled it in 2017; then sent a bill for half the cost to the EU.
So how has Hungary’s border fence worked? In 2015 before it was erected there were 391,000 border crossings. In 2016 there were 18,236. In 2017 there were barely over a 1,000. Hungary was pleased with the result even if the EU was not. Hungary didn’t care about the EU’s hissy fit—Hungary built another fence alongside its border with Croatia in October 2015.
The new fence between Hungary and Croatia forced the migrants to cross from Croatia into Slovenia, which then built a fence alongside its border with Croatia in November 2015.
In 2015, when Hungary built its wall the world took notice of its success in repelling migrants. Quickly, Austria, Macedonia, and Bulgaria all started construction or announced plans to build their own fences. There is no doubt that these walls and fences worked as the migrants shifted their migratory routes from one country to another. For example, as a result of the large number of migrants traveling through its land border with Turkey, Greece constructed a fence alongside its border with Turkey in December 2012. With the Greece-Turkey land border closed off, illegal border-crossing at the Greek land border with Turkey fell dramatically.
Like a game of falling dominoes, the Greek fence resulted in an immediate displacement from their border to Bulgaria and Turkey’s border. The numbers of migrants apprehended at Bulgaria’s border with Turkey increased from 1,700 in 2012 to 11,158 the following year. Bulgaria responded by starting the construction of a 30-km fence in the border area between the villages of Lesovo and Kraynovo. Before the construction of this fence, there were 8,000 migrants in three months who entered Bulgaria over the Turkish border. After construction of the fence, the number of migrants entering Bulgaria over the Turkish border dropped to just 302 between January and March 2014.
This flurry of wall and fence building effectively closed off the Balkan route to Western Europe. This compelled the migrants to a more dangerous route opening up: the so-called Arctic route. Around 6,000 migrants were detected between October and December 2015. The vast majority originated from Afghanistan and Syria. Norway responded by constructing a fence along its Arctic border with Russia.
One of the few routes left for migrants is from Libya to France, Italy or Malta, known as the Central Mediterranean route. Remember Muammar Gaddafi? He warned the West that if he were removed from power in Libya, Western Europe would be flooded with migrants. He was right.
One of the favored landing spots for migrants in France is in Calais. The French government never intended for this to be a permanent home as they created the area only to provide one meal and a shower per day. As yet, France has not extended any official designation for the area, which is why NGOs are providing the supplies and people to care for the migrants. The migrants never intended to stay in Calais—they thought they would make their way to England. But that was before England took a harder line on the migrant crisis. The makeshift town now has a name—The Jungle. The town now has Mosques, churches, restaurants, healthcare facilities and schools.
So are the migrants in The Jungle living a peaceful multicultural simulacrum of the larger society that the EU wants to impose on all of us? I’m afraid not. They have self-separated by ethnicity and place of origin—Sudanese are the largest group, but there are plenty of Afghani, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Syrian and Somali migrants.
When one of my friends questions the efficacy of a wall, I simply point out that we already have plenty of examples in the US of walls that work—they’re called prisons. They keep the prisoners from escaping, and they keep would-be collaborators from breaking them out.
Walls work. Otherwise, people would not have been building them for recorded history. But in order for such a barrier to exist and do its job, you have to have the political will to make it happen and to put the required resources, especially security guards, into manning and maintaining it — just as Viktor Orban in Hungary has done. That is not a big secret that liberals and libertarians are incapable of understanding. The real reason a wall isn’t being built and working for us on the southern border of the US is not physics, not engineering questions, and not terrain. The reason is Congress.
It is the lack of will.