There's more than one kind of wall that we can build. Building the right kind of wall might even be good for the U.S.
- In times of crisis, we often 'build a wall' that separates the part of our lives that feels out of control from the parts that are more in control.
- This is healthy and can help us maintain perspective.
- Nations, too, build walls during times of crisis. But those walls can't be designed to isolate ourselves from others; rather, they need to delineate what is working and what isn't.
The lack of it can also be a problem.
- Nationalism isn't always a bad thing. When a country doesn't have self-confidence, and a collective sense of identity, that is also a problem.
- The optimal situation, in the case of nationalism, is that a nation's citizens have a healthy amount of it. For instance, as Jared Diamond points out in this video, Finland seems to have a nationalism based in reality — and largely founded on their unique language. It imbues them with an innate pride but doesn't compel them to conquer the world.
- Also, nationalism that is used to be inclusive, rather than exclusive, can help a nation transcend its darkest moments.
Are we witnessing the end of democracy in America?
- Much like in marriage, you also have to have political compromise in a country.
- During the last few decades, American elected representatives and our electorates succeeded in reaching compromise about difficult issues. However, political compromise seems to be breaking down today.
- This breakdown, Diamond posits, is the "most serious" problem the United States faces because it could preciptate the rise of a dictatorship in the country.
Riots may ensue as more poor Americans recognize their "miserable" long-term prospects.
- How bad is wealth inequality in the United States? About 1 percent of Americans hold 80 percent of the money.
- In the United States, the correlation between the income of parents and the income of their children when they grow up is higher than in any other country in the world.
- One of the big underlying reasons for poverty is receiving a crummy education, which in turn leads to crummy jobs. When people recognize their miserable long-term prospects, they are more likely to partake in riots.