“They say ‘a wall is medieval.’ Well, so is a wheel. A wheel is older than a wall. The wheel is older than the wall, you know that? There are some things that work. You know what? A wheel works and a wall works. Nothing like a wall.”
– United States President Donald J. Trump
It’s an open question, really. We don’t actually know when the wheel was invented. The first ones were likely smoothed logs or naturally round stones. They might have helped to move heavy objects over short distances, but until the invention of the axle, and the invention of roads – and the first roads were probably just naturally worn paths along popular routes – they likely weren’t very practical.
The first walls were probably just stacks of branches or stones, and from what we know of simian intelligence, people probably did that at some point for defense before we were even completely human. Same with the domestication of animals. We’ve seen baboons keeping dogs as pets, so we can assume it goes way back with us.
Like the invention of agriculture and the domestication of fire, we have absolutely no idea how far back either walls or wheels go, since by the time written language came along, we already had both of them, and the rudimentary versions would leave no traces for future archaeologists to date. Wood rots. Stones that were used to build a wall would be completely indistinguishable from stones that are just stones, after a couple hundred thousand years.
The point is that building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico will not serve any good purpose, will cost a lot of money, will be bad for property owners along the border, terrible for our relations with Mexico, which is a major trade partner, and bad for the environment.
Whether what he said is technically true or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that it was a rambling, completely irrelevant statement, an indicator that the President of the United States is a stupid person who thinks in stupid terms. Not that we really needed any more indicators.