I'm writing my chapter on urban disillusionment and the massive migration to suburbia in the 1950s, and the "close our bo[a]rders" argument shares a key common trait. As many critics of suburbia argued, it was, in no small part, a statement that the white middle class had no interest in revitalizing cities, especially as Southern blacks and hispanics were migrating in vast numbers. Rather than figure out both how to live together and solve many infrastructure problems, whites just abandoned the problem and started up new segregated communities outside the cities and let them rot away for decades. The xenophobia over Muslims (or Mexicans in the US) shares a belief that the problem either can't be solved or they plain don't want to solve it if it requires some level of sacrifice or behaviour modification, so, fuck it, let's go for physical separation. Yeah, that'll take care of the problem! The ardent postwar liberal Arthur Schlesinger Jr recognized it as a fundamental conservative response—if it requires changing habits and beliefs, bury your head and pretend the problem doesn't exist (like most intellectuals of the period, he hated suburbia). Living in the modern world, Schlesinger said, meant accepting great complexity and responsibility, to face it head on rather than retreat in fear. Modernity offered much opportunity for individuals, but so much anxiety. Chickening out from a problem was admitting you couldn't hack what the modern world had to offer. Something to consider whenever someone offers a solution that rests on segregation.
Endut! Hoch Hech!
I feel that, had he lived, John Lennon would have loved Donkey Kong.