America’s past takes the credibility out of its current liberal attitudes. Nations do change, and modern Swedes, for example, are nothing like their lance-toting ancestors of four centuries ago. But not even two centuries have passed since the Trail of Tears, and Oklahoma land grabs and re-settlements are only 140 years behind us. The expulsion of Mexicans from California during the Great Depression and the instigation of a civil war in Afghanistan in the 1980s leave no doubt that distaste for aliens is endemic to Americans, just as in all peoples, and only glossed over by political correctness. Thus the forced assimilation and Christianization of Native Indians. It was only in 1993 that the Native American Free Exercise of Religion Act legalized their religious practices.

Americans have not become tolerant toward aliens. They objected to even a temporary influx of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, and imagine what their reaction would be to an influx of gypsies today. Rather, blacks and Mexicans have become Americanized, and thus provoke less resentment.

It is a fundamental human right to be left alone. There is no point in arguing whether national differences are cultural or genetic. Suffice that all people view others as different. The lines between “we” and “they” are certainly arbitrary and rarely justified, but they are lines nonetheless. People are entitled to have opinions, even mistaken opinions. But make no mistake: the fact that aliens strive to enter America suggests their admiration for American ways and their desire to join the ranks of the American people. The aliens want to transform themselves into Americans, and thus recognize the cultural difference between America and their own communities. The divide is even stronger in Israel, where Jews and Arabs sensibly detest each other, and Jews and Ethiopians have little in common apart from both being two-legged.

Governments tend to admit aliens for a profound ideological reason. In nation-states, there are no groups or nationalities, just the state-forming nation. All citizens of France, regardless of their origin, are of the French nation. By allowing immigration, nation-states assert their definition of nationality as congruent with citizenship. For them, closing immigration would be tantamount to the admission that citizenship does not confer nationality, and that implies a very dangerous conclusion: their existing citizens belong to different national groups, and are not alike. Once the homogeneity of voters is thus destroyed, democracy is falls apart; how can a majority decide matters for qualitatively different minorities? Obviously, the minorities will be always discriminated against. On other hand, why should the majority give way to insignificant minorities with contrarian interests? In culturally heterogenous societies, democracy becomes inoperative. A similar case can be made for economically heterogenous societies, but in free-market economies wealth is fluid, and a person of modest means can meaningfully hope to become rich. Cultural differences are less fluid because the state-imposed equality of all citizens removes incentives to adopt the majority’s culture.

The free market solves the problem of immigration. In a free society, employers would be free to refuse employment on whatever grounds, including ethnic or cultural. Jewish consumers would be able to boycott Arab suppliers, schools—all of them private—could shut their doors to underperforming aliens, and private communities would be free not to rent housing units to them. Immigrants wouldn’t be able to enjoy welfare that neither they northeir ancestors had funded. Faced with high costs of living and enforced community standards regarding housing, public appearance and behavior, and education, immigrants just wouldn’t be able to survive. The situation would be even better if all the infrastructure were private: city buses not subsidized, city roads all toll roads, government services outsourced and payable. Economically and culturally different aliens would stay clear of such a society.

The US supreme court rejected “separate but equal” based on the technical difficulty of ensuring equal quality of education. In other areas, especially those which do not require public funding, the “separate but equal” idea remains sound.

Shouldn’t we “love a stranger?” Not at all. No one can love a stranger; that’s why he is called a stranger. The Torah speaks about ger, a de facto convert who has embraced our ways. It is highly questionable whether the requirement to love means supporting him or just not oppressing him, but a more important consideration is whether he can embrace our ways. One immigrant among a sea of locals would surely assimilate. The situation changes when they are many. In such cases, they interact among themselves and resist assimilation. The situation is simpler in the United States, a cultural blank slate of a society. Immigrants are easily Americanized within two or three generations because Americanization is empty: they just shed their old culture without acquiring any new one. The Israeli situation is much more difficult because immigrants must acquire Jewish culture, ethics, religion, and work ethics—a complex mix. It was not for nothing that rabbis said that we banned conversions at the time of King Solomon and will ban them again once messianic development creates a proper Jewish state.

Sizes matters. A large country like America is a land monopoly, and monopolies cannot arbitrarily reject consumers—citizens, in this case. Small Israel is another matter. She can refuse cultural and religious aliens like the Vatican does without meaningfully infringing on their rights. In a world of competing jurisdictions, every jurisdiction has a right to exclude any group, just as individuals can exclude any guests from their homes. Public land belongs to people like a house to its owners, and they can close their country to newcomers just as a house can be closed to trespassers.