One of the rationales suggested for going to Mars is that given all the vagaries of the universe, human culture would have a better chance of surviving far into the future if humans settled on two (or more) planets. In the abstract, this statement seems axiomatic.
Before accepting this proposal, however, it might be worthwhile to ask where else we might use resources devoted to establishing a permanent human colony on Mars. First, let's examine the logic behind the "two planets" idea.
The logic is simple. If humans have established cultures on two planets, the separation between the planets will generally keep a major catastrophe including an extinction event on Earth—say, a highly lethal pandemic or the eruption of several supervolcanoes—from affecting the other planet. In the case of Mars the separation at its closest is about 34 million miles. At its farthest, the separation is 250 million miles. It is this isolation which offers protection.
So, the question arises then whether something approximating this isolation might be achieved right here on Earth. The answer is that it has already been tried, and it works. The isolation of peoples across the globe was a longstanding fact in prehistory and even in historical times until relatively recently.