Before civilization would know the world, there was no slavery, there was barely any property, and the most destructive form of war was a simple, aggressive feud. Before organized society was born on this planet, life was simple, there was no authority, no authority to abuse, and the land was the common property of all living creatures. Once men organized themselves into hierarchies, giving certain occupations, giving certain authorities, requiring obedience, punishing dissent, then the flame of cruelty would begin to burn in the hearts of men, as it would end in scorching the lives of the innocent. Before mankind decided to turn family into society, to turn villages into cities, to turn government into empire, all of the world was the property of all men and all creatures. When it came to movement, there was no restrictions, no embargos. The imaginary lines we call borders today would only be able to exist in the nightmare of primitive man. There was no obstruction, no limitations. When a person decided to travel south to the warmth, or north to the temperate, or west to the ocean, or east to the forest, there were no impositions. There were no walls. These men and women of the primitive world never had to fear for customs checks, never had to worry about search and seizures. There was no authority, there was no fear. The world was owned by every man, and this was the greatest comfort to every individual.
As society grew and civilization took root in the history of mankind, borders would be arranged by both law and custom. Individuals would be prohibited from traveling to certain spots. In some cases, it was the land the individual left that would hold them back. In others, it was the land the individual was entering that put up walls. For a law to designate one region from another was not enough. Fences would be erected, and in place of these fences, soon walls would rise, and watchtowers would be created, with the aid of soldiers patrolling and scowering. All of this would be created by the authorities of the world, enforced by the greatest armies and the most threatening warriors. It almost seemed as though people would be boxed in, forced to stand in area of land and refused to go anywhere. When we listen to our great demagogues and rabblerousers, our most thoughtful lecturers and speakers, we discover always a love of liberty. There is always a praise of freedom: that a man can do what he wants, what he desires, without obstruction from an outer source, so long as he harms no other person. It has been this ethic, this creed, that has been woven in the fabric of every revolution aiming to overturn an injustice. Without this love of liberty, society would be a dreary and thoughtless musing.
With this love of liberty, there is no doubt that we want to be able to walk where we may, or to travel to whatever lands that capture our heart's desire. The fact of the prehistory man, that all of the world is the common property of mankind, this is the ethic that we wish to uphold. When we find ourselves surrounded with borders, threatened with punishment if we should violate one of these borders, we feel that liberty is needed, that the people must be allowed to have freedom. When we read the history of the Soviet Union, we are appalled. We find that people were not allowed to emigrate. Similarly, when we read the history of the United States, we are also appalled. We find that people were not allowed to immigrate. It almost seems as though a gross, unjust restriction is necessary to any government. Why should people be held, chained, shackled, by their governments? It will only create a state of oppressed versus oppressor.
Why would a man, or a woman, ever desire to move about? Above all things, there is the desire to test the limits of freedom. We have read poetry by great individuals, who talked about the struggle they championed for their rights. We have heard music, with lyrics that discussed hardship and unity. We have solemnly reread those poems in our head, quietly hummed the tune of those songs, and have always held those authors, those poets, those musicians, those creators and cultivators in adoration. We wanted to test this freedom! I want to be able to climb any mountain, as high as I can. I want to be dance in prairies, sing songs in caves, sleep on the beach, write poetry on a grassy hill! These people, truly the best citizens of the world, who have desired to travel to test the limits of freedom -- what do you think would happen if they came to a "No Trespassing!" sing? What would do you think would have happened if they came to fence with barbed wire? Or, what if they came to a towering wall, armed with violent guards and soldiers, who have been taught all their life that you are a part of the criminal element? The only humane and logical answer is this: you would think that a great breach of justice had been committed.
We are not discussing here the right to read what you want, or the right to think as you may, or the right to say what is troubling your mind. This is not a matter of censorship of opinions. It is not a matter of gun control, or abortion, or leftist versus rightist ideology in economics. No. This is a simple matter of freedom. Among these great freedoms, it is the freedom to walk and go anywhere that you please, and to do so with that admirable thought in your heart, that this world belongs to you as much as it does to any other person. To go forth, to that magical land that pulls your heart, with the ideal that everything you see is the common property of mankind and the world's animals. I must confess... I can honestly think of no other action that is more indicative of freedom than this.
Among the desire to test the liberty of will, there are so many other reasons. One might be attracted to the ideal of traveling either by economic opportunity, family and friends living at a distance, or in hopes to escape political or religious persecution. If you were to meet a man of another country desiring to enter yours, for the sake of living a life with his family with a higher quality of life, would you honestly tell him no? If he had been living in a nation where to be a child meant to be homeless, where the crime rate and the unemployment rate were enormous, where the constant cry for the hunger pains echoed through the ghettos, would you say to him, that you cannot let him into this country, and then plead with us that you had defended justice? Perhaps he speaks another language, perhaps his skin tone is lighter or darker, perhaps he worships a different god. As a tolerant people, we would reject all of these things as elements that could make us regard this man differently. He is a human being, with passions, and desires, and hopes, and emotions, like any of us. It would be for the sake of justice, not any emotionalism, that we were to let him into our nation. If our own economic policy was effective, then it must be accepted that this man would create his own wealth, and add to the riches of everyone else.
Think of what mankind has done in order to keep these borders alive. There are politicians who exist right now that are bent on making sure these borders are recognized. They want to see a certain and unflinching duty in the guards who patrol these borders. They want these soldiers to believe that poverty was caused by something besides borders and Capitalism. Aside from the soldiers, they want to see every person in another country look to these borders and feel fear, sense pain... Our politicians would have it so that our nation was completely locked up from the rest of the world if their will was unchecked power. As children are starving to death in foreign nations, as men and women are still burned at the stake for religious persecution, as disease infects and destroys these already crumbling bodies of children, as the vices of mankind spread at a rate equal to war, the first words of the politician will be, "Innocent or guilty, just or unjust, those people cannot come in to our country." Whether looking for the long lost touch of their family, their lovers, their friends, or whether seeking to escape eminent persecution for ideals, there are some cases where a person will accept the status of "refugee" when it means escaping.
We look to the freedom to explore ideas, thoughts, and philosophies as perhaps one of the greatest of all freedoms. It is the liberty that stands as the greatest guardian against tyranny. To deny it would be to advance arguments on behalf of every unjust government. And yet, while this right is upheld by Civil Rights groups and active citizen meetings, the freedom to explore the world is hindered. We find borders, lined with armed towers and walls, circulating guards; and the man who is trying to escape the persecution of his own land comes only to find this. As I said earlier, the world was once the common property of mankind. In that era, one that almost reached complete bliss, there was never a war spawned from property conflicts, never an argument based on borders or imaginary lines. Everything belonged to everyone, and as this idea flowed through the minds of these early tribesmen, they would never think for a moment that their ancestors would forget. They did not have the vision to imagine great towers and great walls; they never saw their kin murdering each other, the victimizer motivated by a paycheck and threats from superiors, the victim motivated at an honest chance of life. The early tribesmen never saw this, their shamen conjuring up unreliable spirits and mystical beings could not predict anything like this.
It was called a crime by the United States government when the Soviets put up the Berlin Wall and separated families and friends. Many of them died trying to reach their children, their lovers, their brethren. They were gunned down by the soldiers of a Totalitarian regime. If it is true that the Soviet government committed a crime in separating an entire city, then we must all agree that the United States government is equally guilty of committing a crime. Nay, we are more guilty! The Soviets divided a city, we divide a continent! Whatever the amount of East Berliners that have been shot down by their own soldiers, I imagine that American soldiers are guilty for having shot down ten times as many! It is a crime, and these walls, these barriers, these borders all must come down...