Angelina Jolie is a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In her speech “Refugee system breaking down”, she says:
“Isolationism is not strength, fragmentation is not the answer. Strength lies in being unafraid in working with others and living up to our highest ideals. We must not change who we are, because we face a crisis.”
Why should isolationism not be strength? I mean, to me, it is. Daniel Suelo, who has quit money and lives in a cave is certainly strong. How many of us can do what he has done?
Of course, it's not as if he lives in isolation; he is a part of society. How many people can live like monks, plus providing for themselves from the wild like Suelo? I'd say that much isolationism, standing on one's own, would be inhuman. After all, as Donne said about four centuries ago, no man is an island.
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, written in 1624
with Donne's original spelling and punctuation:
No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee
or in the modern form:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
Of course Jolie is talking about countries and governments here. Isolationism in that sense can only be achieved by banning the internet (or at least some access to it) as in China and North Korea, with huge infringements of personal liberties. What's more, no country can stand isolated forever. As seen in North Korea, you need to open up as you need hard currency if you want any progress in both technical terms and in standards of living.
However, I agree: “Strength lies in being unafraid in working with others and living up to our highest ideals.”
PS: Please read the full version of the analysis of this speech.