There is a real risk of nativist backlash. When we don’t see the progress we have made, we begin to search for scapegoats for the problems that remain. Sometimes it seems that we are willing to try our luck with any demagogue who tells us that he or she has quick, simple solutions to make our nation great again, whether it be nationalizing the economy, blocking foreign imports or throwing the immigrants out. If we think we don’t have anything to lose in doing so, it’s because we have a bad memory.
At this point in time, we must remember the amazing progress that has resulted from the slow, steady, spontaneous development of millions of people who were given the freedom to improve their own lives, and in doing so improved the world. It is a kind of progress that no leader or institution or government can impose from the top down.