[T]he Left continues to cherish the vision of a borderless world as morally superior, a triumph over artificially imposed difference. The truth is that formal borders do not create difference — they reflect it. Elites’ continued attempts to erase borders are both futile and destructive.
More broadly, those who deride borders are unwilling to address why tens of millions of people choose to cross them in the first place, leaving their language fluency and native soil — at great personal risk. The answer is obvious: migration, as it was in the 1960s between mainland China and Hong Kong, as it is now between North and South Korea, is usually a one-way street, from the non-West to the West or its Westernized manifestations. People walk, climb, swim, and fly across borders, secure in the knowledge that boundaries mark different approaches to human experience, with one side perceived as more successful or inviting than the other.
Borders are to distinct countries what fences are to neighbors: means of demarcating that something on one side is different from what lies on the other side. Borders amplify the innate human desire to own and protect property and physical space, which is impossible to do unless it is seen — and can be so understood — as distinct and separate. Clearly delineated borders and their enforcement, either by walls and fences or by security patrols, won’t go away because they go to the heart of the human condition — what jurists from Rome to the Scottish Enlightenment called meum et tuum, mine and yours. Between friends, unfenced borders enhance friendship; among the unfriendly, when fortified, they help keep the peace.