Having read America – The Grim Truth I am amazed by the article and the responses to it…all 150+ of them. In the first place, I was under the impression that this was an expat site and not a political site. People become expats for any number of reasons and politics and/or economic theories are but two general categories of reasons. Few wish to renounce their citizenship or become citizens (solely) of another nation-state. Most wish to enjoy, participate in and live different life-styles and levels than are open to them in the USA.
Mr Freeman seems to have some deeply and seriously held beliefs – to which I feel he is entitled – but with his conclusions I could take issue, as some others did. The responses ranged from the “Yeah, what he said!” sort to the equally unconsidered “Love it or leave it” type. In between were some rational and rationalized responses, however, they seemed to be concerned with and become bogged down in the percentages of GDP spent on various governmental programs and functions , as well as whether one sort of health care system or another was better. All delightful topics , well worth exploring. But, on another type/sort of site.
Diet, health care, post 9/11 governmental paranoia, food additives, prescription drugs and their side effects, cost of education, job/employment opportunities (or the lack thereof) all of these and more issues as well are reasons why some become expats. However, these aren’t the only or even the most common , or to my mind the most compelling reasons for doing so. Actual quality of life and enjoyment of living are to me much more the reasons I became an expat. Love of my country – not its current state of governance, is what caused me to return and endure the (to me) ridiculous costs of that love. Unlike most I do not confuse love of country with endorsement of a current political state or regime. I do believe that the USA could use some basic changes in many of the areas Mr. Freeman remarked on.
As to America being the free-est or least free country on earth: well, again, I shall have to say that these designations show a decided lack of understanding of the differences between freedom and liberty and the nature of this site. As well, the nature of expat status and the considerations that bring one to it.
The USA does have the largest slave population (percentage wise) of any country on earth. This is an acknowledged fact. These slaves are no longer (sine the 1960’s) called slaves but prisoners. However, slaves of the state they do remain. The invasions of personal liberty and reductions in recognized freedoms at the Federal level have , and continue to, escalate to an alarming degree. The ease with which persons may be convicted and imprisoned, have their property confiscated or condemned ,the no-fly and watch lists of the state…one could go on. However, this is not the place or forum for that. This is the place and the forum for discussing where and how to live and live well
in countries other than the USA. The reason(s) why a particular person might choose to become an expat are their own business and none of anyone else’s ,imo. In so far as Mr. Freeman, or anyone else, may wish to inform us of the delights of being in/under another form of governance – great. However, it is more the lifestyle and living that interests me…perhaps you as well?
Having lived in and visited many countries over a long period of time I will say that the only country that I have familiarity with whose form of governance I would say has some superior features and whose functioning I hold to be something the USA should consider is Switzerland. However, its form and function require more than Americans are willing to engage in fulfilling. Personal responsibility, education, voting, and the review of and decision on actual laws and programs by the populace itself and not just through representatives. As I say: Too much effort and not enough touch-downs/base-hits and Wally-World. So, imo, there you have it. Lets get back to how and where as well as the joys of being able to be an expat and leave the political theories and calls to action to other sites and the mylanta/milk-of-magnesia crowd, shall we?
Just to touch on some of Mr. Freeman’s comments I will say:
The future of the USA and the average inhabitant thereof does not look rosey.
Jobs are becoming scarcer and scarcer. Non-skilled workers aren’t any longer the only victims of job/industry loss.
Out-sourcing of industries is so common as to need no discussion or explication…however, its results are devastating.
Factory farms , modern day latifundia, are the way of the future in agriculture, or so it seems from ADM’s increasing ownership and control of USA agri-land.
Energy becomes more expensive and as the base-cost of everything else it causes the price of all else to rise.
Education and its availability by its affordability needs no discussion to anyone who has had to deal with it. Guaranteed student loans are guaranteed to do one thing very well – to keep anyone who has had to get them from having time to rock the boat.
Socio-economic pool of cannon fodder: Of course. How else does a government acquire the needful troops to fight wars/police-actions that no one understands for the length of time required ? Mercenaries? Rome tried that and my goodness the results. By the bye: One now needs a good credit rating to join the Marines. Hmmm, I pause in amazement.
“Fences and Borders”: Ah yes, Also passports to leave the country, no-fly and watch-lists: Ah yes, all things that in my youth (some time ago) we, in the USA, used to ridicule and condemn the Russians, the Nazi’s, the Chinese Communists , et alia about and claim that “It could never happen here!” Yes well,…enough said on those subjects, eh?
Again, let’s return to the joys of living and being delighted by the places and activities which we are able to enjoy by being expats and leave all this to those interested in busying themselves with them. I, for one, enjoy sitting on the shore of Lake Lugano (Switzerland) underneath palm trees and looking over my shoulder at the Massif and seeing snow. The Western Ghatts of India with their almost Appalachian form and height but tropical climate – ah, delightful. And Mangalorian cuisine ? I do miss it and intend to return and partake of it again. The museums and palaces of Europe. Especially those of Bavaria – God love the Ludwigs (!!). With all of the above stated I will reiterate: I am and will remain an American citizen …but a dedicated, continuing expat of the highest order.