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SOVEREIGN MAN

Give me liberty or give me boarding pass

I’m in the United States through the end of next week out of necessity… I need to tie up some loose ends (read: taxes!).  Once I get my confession mailed out to Uncle Sam, I’ll be out the door once again.

Whenever I am in the United States, I always think deep thoughts about liberty. This place has changed so much since I was a child that it is hardly recognizable.

When people overseas ask me where I’m from, I always say that I’m an American… which is simply a reflection of my state of mind, not geography.  As my friend Doug Casey says, ‘America’ is an idea, not a country.’  I agree entirely.

America as an idea espoused economic and individual freedom, limited government, entrepreneurial risk-taking, and a market-based economy.  America was the one place in the world where rags-to-riches stories were commonplace, and where wealth was held up in a respectable light.

The United States has drifted a long way from America.  To underscore this point, I’d like to share an email that I just received from a close friend of mine who lives in the Midwest, ‘America’s heartland’:

Dear Simon-

As you know, I have two young children who attend pre-school at a local Montessori school.  The school is completely private and quite expensive… not a single dollar of public funds goes to this school even though I pay out the nose in state taxes to support public schools.

Yesterday, the county health inspector decided to show up and go through the health records of all the students.   Naturally I was immediately bothered that a public official could go through what I consider to be private records.

The truth is, after lengthy conversations with her pediatrician and a lot of self-study, my wife and I decided against many of the immunizations.

Frankly I don’t see the benefit in sticking my child full of a bunch of unnecessary chemicals. I didn’t get most of these shots when I was a kid and yet somehow I managed to live this long.

Regardless, the county health jackass gave us **one week** to get her ‘caught up’ on her immunizations, or else she will be forbidden to attend this PRIVATE school anymore.

The only way out of this is if I apply for an immunization exemption for my daughter on the grounds that our religion forbids me to have her inoculated.  Here’s the actual text of the document that I have to sign and have notarized:

“A religious exemption may be granted to an applicant if immunization conflicts with a genuine and sincere religious belief.   A Certificate of Immunization Exemption for religious reasons shall be signed by the applicant or, if the applicant is a minor, by the parent or guardian or legally authorized representative and shall attest that the immunization conflicts with a genuine and sincere religious belief and that the belief is in fact religious, and not based merely on philosophical, scientific, moral, personal, or medical opposition to immunizations.  The Certificate of Immunization Exemption for religious reasons is valid only when notarized.   Religious exemptions do not apply in times of emergency or epidemic as determined by the state board of health and declared by the director of public health.”

It infuriates me that the government requires me to have my child immunized to attend a private school.  If I disagree for medical or philosophical reasons then that’s not OK… but if I’m a Scientologist, then they’ll let me off the hook.  Are you kidding me?

I have little doubt that the lack of immunizations for my children demonstrates to the state that I’m a bad parent.   How long before Child Protective Services comes knocking on my door for a little home inspection?

Simon again.

I probably visit at least 30 countries each year… and to be completely frank, there is no perfect place.  But as free people we are able to decide for ourselves where we want to live, under what level of government– to ‘opt-in,’ if you will, to the set of regulations that we are willing to live under.

And believe me, there are a hell of a lot of places out there where my friend wouldn’t have to deal with this type of coercion.

Sure, the US is a comfortable place to live, but as my friend points out some of the critical freedoms are being erroded right under our noses.   The distinction between private and public is blurred.   The idea of being a “responsible” citizen is being held up as the ideal compared to personal liberty.

The US is on a downward trajectory. Many other places are on an upward trajectory. It is only a matter of time (and not too much time, at that…) before other countries surpass the United States’ quality of life.  Many already have.

After all, it’s easy to build a Starbucks, Super-Target, and endless rows of McMansions.  The hard part is finding a place where the government leaves you alone to live your life and prosper, and surrounding yourself with people who feel the same way.

Do you have similar stories? Do you agree that the US is on a downward slide, or do you believe that it’s still the best place to be? I’d really like to hear what you have to say.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Michael

    Simon, without doubt USA is headed downward both in terms of liberty as well as a declining standard of living. This may be irretrievable, but the next 2-3 years will tell for sure. Without major reversals soon, the die will be cast!

  • The Beacher

    Dear Simon– I have lived and worked in Switzerland for the past decasde–as the holder of both an EU and a US passport, I have the luxury of deciding where to live from a wide variety of choices.

    Switzerland is far from perfect and is in fact a benign police state, but it is the lap of liberty compared to the US these days–I have barely opened either of my passports whenever I return to Switzerland compared to the 3rd degree I am starting to get everytime I return to the US, and frankly I am getting sick of it. If my own government is going to treat me like a slimey foreigner everytime I return (usually to visit family), what’s the value of my US passport?!?!?

    I look forward to your other followers’ views on the alternatives to the once fertile crescent!! Don’t tread on me!!

    • jean

      I escaped the US four years ago. None the less I got hit with the Partriot Act in the form of a tax for selling my house. I live in Mexico now, happily with friends both Mexican and other countries. The US is a mess and hardly worth the bother to return even for a visit. Is it going down hill? Yes. Do Americans have the will or the ability to turn it around? I wait to see tho, I am afraid I will not live long enough to see it.

    • Donnie Ribeye

      I know how you feel Beacher. I’m a dumbass, Okie cowboy. My main residence is on one of the beautiful islands in the Philippines now. I’m divorced and remarried. I’ve put three kids through college. Two of them own homes and are married, and are in decent, middle-class jobs and are self-sufficient. I’ve paid taxes all my life on a high 5- and 6-figure income.

      On my last trip back from the Philippines, I carried only a small backpack, laptop, cameras, essential things I keep on me for essential, day-to-day communications. Security pulled me to the side in San Francisco and put me through the 3rd degree. All because I didn’t have clothes and toiletries traveling with me. I was being my usual, free-spirited, cocky, funny self, and asked them if I had won a prize for traveling so light. They didn’t find any humor in that at all. I guess, even with my Okie slang, I still seemed like a threat to them. They didn’t believe my story fully until they dug out, at the bottom of my backpack, a pair of my wife’s sexy panties and some romantic picks from my honeymoon in the Philippines, where I now reside.

      Every breath, every action I take now, is for closing my life out here in the U.S. I grew up in Oklahoma, working on the ranch and being a cowboy. For the last eighteen years, I resided in Colorado. It breaks my heart to know that all the comments in this forum are all true. I find things in the Philippines — family, love, respect, freedom, community — that just no longer exist in our society. Our judicial system is out of control. Our political system is a joke. Are we all just asleep, because if I’m not mistaken, our whole financial community just pulled the biggest coup of all time. Can anybody say derivatives? Between politicians, Wall Street, bankers, and credit card companies, we’ve been delivered a blow of corruption and greed, and nothing at all has been done against these entities. Barely even a slap on the wrist, if that. I no longer see any evidence that the future for the rags-to-riches story is alive and well in America. I think we have to look to other countries to be in on that ride.

      I could go on and on. But let’s switch over to a positive note now. The Central and Western Visayas of the Philippines is a hidden jewel. The people are so gracious, loving and kind. The exchange rate on the U.S. dollar makes it close to feeling like you have a dollar. The beaches are gorgeous. The water is clean. I built a home and bought transportation and paid cash for everything, and it was less than my cost of living in Colorado for six months. I feel safe and free to roam around the country, and would recommend the Philippines to anyone who has the courage to accept the facts that America is on a serious decline. I’m happy to communicate with anybody who has an interest in the Philippines, and am happy to help in any way. My email is waterturtle7@yahoo.com.

      Donnie Ribeye

  • Mark

    America as we know/knew it is certainly on a downward trajectory. After reading Bonner’s, Wiggin’s, Casey’s, and your writings Simon, it makes a semi-average Joe very pessimistic about the future. It makes you think quite differently from nearly everyone you run into. I was at a Hilton in Pennsylvania and watched the workers wondering what in the Hell these people (and more importantly the middle class in general) will be doing for work in a few short years. My 2 cents, thanks – keep it up Simon

  • DG

    In this day and time, with those persons currently “in charge” of the welfare and well-being of this country, I have great pause about a number of recent, current, and proposed actions and activities.

    One specifically – the current, on-going, unceasing uproar in re H1N1 threats.
    1. I understand that fewer than 20,000 persons worldwide have succumbed to the disease.
    2. A patent for the vaccine was filed in 2007, somewhat prior to all the conversation.
    3. My, my. How did they know?
    4. And now, one must be concerned in re RFID chips, allegedly, small enough to be dispensed with each “helpful” dose.

    Sadly, this country appears to floundering…

    By whose design? To whose gain? The answers are available. Hidden in plain sight.

    Regards.

  • James Wright

    It’s poor, and getting worse….
    My neighbor tore down the 1930′s-vintage garage that was about to fall anyway, planning to replace it with a new, sturdy one. Turns out that the local planning / zoning bunch didn’t like that, and wouldn’t grant a permit for the new one.
    Simon, I live in a middle-class neighborhood in Salt Lake City. My house was built in 1924 or so, and in this area there’s absolutely nothing special about it. Same for her house, her (now demolished) garage and the one she planned to build. We aren’t talking historic preservation, architectual value or outstanding merit for anything in the area. But my neighbor is now going to have to do without her garage, because a bunch of busybodies thought her planned garage was unsightly, unaesthetic or didn’t “blend in with the neighborhood”.
    On the other hand, it might be a mixed blessing. They tax your property higher if you have a garage. Maybe it’s time to sell and find a small town somewhere that’s got better things to do than worry about people building garages…

  • Scott Wininger

    Simon,

    I would like to thank you for passing on extremely valuable information as a result of your experiences and travels. It is my belief the erosion of personal liberties begins and ends with the judicial system. Simply put, it is out of control. To give an example, my sister is recently divorced and has full custody of her 8 year-old daughter. Recently, her ex-husband made false statements to the district attorney in their county regarding his visitation rights. He has been absent on several occasions, late for picking up his daughter and he does not pay child support. This information is well documented in family court. As a result of his statements the district attorney, without investigating the documents and facts in the matter, arrested my sister and filed felony kidnapping charges against her after he failed to appear to pick up his daughter. My sister spent months fighting the case before the district attorney dropped the charges. As I have stated previously, she has full custody so a kidnapping charge is beyond ludicrous. My point to this story is our judicial system prosecutes the citizens of this country without investigation, assumes guilt before innocence, and it simply will not admit a mistake or incompetence. They prefer to treat everyone as a criminal. Case in point, your discussion regarding airport security. I don’t ever recall agreeing to forego my constitutional right against search and seizure. It has been a slow erosion of rights over the course of the last 20 years. As a result, my family and I will be relocating to New Zealand at the end of this year. The combination of an eroding judicial system, a deteriorating economy, and the inability to simply enjoy life without looking over one’s shoulder has left a bad taste in my mouth. While I love my country and I am saddened to see it deteriorate before my eyes, I do not see future opportunities available here so I must relocate. Be safe in your travels and thank you again for your efforts.

    Scott

  • Anna Golson

    Simon, your last story really hit me. I also think a lot about the way the United States is going. I grew up in communist Hungary, and was always dreaming about coming to America. To us it represented freedom, possibilities, and a life full of fun and adventure.

    Now I have been here for over 20 years, and I see how all of that is eroding so rapidly. I used to love to fly. Now I hate to go to the airport! It looks like a communist security checkpoint!

    I do not have children, but I have lots of friends who do, and they have the same stories to tell as your friend, about immunizations. If I would have kids I would just pack them up and leave this country right away.

    But I’m not 100% sure where I would go. I hear a lot about Costa Rica. It sounds very attractive. But I also know that it pledged it’s land to pay off their national debt. Any country that does that is bound to be controlled by the UN sooner or later.

    Then there is Equador, an other favorite international destination. But heavy chemtrails sprayed by US planes have been repeatedly spotted over there.

    Then, recently you have been writing about Asia, but at the same time I also watched the BBC News about how China is the first country to vaccinate it’s entire population against swine flu. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8246523.stm

    It is pretty well known by now that this whole swine flu thing is a giant money making hoax (and according to some reports even worse – population control, microchips, etc.). If, as you say, Asia is starting to pull away from Western ties, learning to depend on themselves, develop their own economies, etc., why would they buy into this clearly Western hoax? Only to make Western pharmacudical companies rich? And perhaps even poisoning their own population?

    I’m just not clear on where is a place that is safe from the tentacles of the rapidly developing one world government.

    Any suggestions?

    P.S.: Wishing you a quick and painless tax return prep!..(c:
    Anna

    • ScottV

      Thanks for sharing your experience. The stories told here by Simon about forced vaccinations, illegal computer searches without probable cause, and other unchecked expansions of government control, are dangerous and very upsetting. I agree that we are well on the way to becoming the USSA (United Socialist States of America) … and every comment I’ve heard from people who’ve emigrated from Eastern Europe or Russia basically tell the same tale as yours, unfortunately.

      Regarding other possible destinations, Simon has previously advocated countries such as Panama and Uruguay. However, while I agree with his encouragement to diversify ourselves internationally so that our investments aren’t in one political jurisdiction, I am not on board with his idea of expatriation from the US.

      Yes, there are many other countries now more free than the US. But at least the US has a history of liberty, while most other countries have a history of dictatorship. And even if you do move to another country, there’s no telling when they may cave in on banking privacy, as Uruguay did, or when there may be some government coup, a-la Honduras. By expatriating, you could be dooming yourself to a life on the run, fleeing one oppressive government after another. No matter how free a country may be right now, if there’s not a basic cultural understanding there of personal liberty and free markets, then it’s only a matter of time until that country succumbs to socialism and authoritarianism as well.

      Therefore, I’m strongly considering the Free State Project in New Hampshire (http://www.freestateproject.org). If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a movement of liberty-minded people to move to one area, so they can have strength of numbers to roll back government in a pro-liberty direction … and then make sure it STAYS pro-liberty. The liberty activists who’ve moved there are working to run for elected office, and also needling the system from the outside using civil disobedience tactics. The latest news out of NH are the marijuana civil disobedience protests happening now, as discussed on Free Talk Live (http://www.freetalklive.com). I don’t know what your views are on marijuana, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is THIS type of attitude, where people have the courage to stand up against tyranny. Only in this culture will liberty be SUSTAINABLE, and that’s why I’m leaning toward New Hampshire.

      It’s not where you are … it’s where you’re going that matters. And in my opinion, New Hampshire is clearly headed in the RIGHT direction, while all the other states & perhaps other countries as well, are headed in the WRONG direction.

  • Bob

    I dont know about the guy who did not want his kids immunized; I am not privy to what vaccines he declined. But, by declining vaccinations, he is putting not only his kids at risk but also the general public.

    • Pete

      Bob, you should do some research into the REAL agenda behind the coming mandatory vaccinations. It’s not good and many more people will get sick or worse, from the vaccines than from any virus. This copy of an email may get you started. Good luck.
      ************************************************
      To friends, family and associates,

      This message is sent out of love and concern for all of us over this serious issue. Please watch this YouTube video and if you too are concerned, take the action your conscience directs you to. To your health…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PelTWCUmTsU

      By the way, this has happened before in 1976 in America with limited but devastating results per this 60Minutes report but not exposed and reported until 3 years later:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEJyUgt7lY8

      Simple refusal to participate by the majority brings this dangerous initiative to a halt. Know that even if we succeed in putting this down at the grass roots, the second link proves that it will not be the last attempt – because here we are again! My intention in sending this email is that each of you would at least be informed of this viewpoint and be more vigilant in the future.

      Americans can easily take effective action by using the mass emailing facilities set up by the National Solutions Foundation. You can find out more here: http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?page_id=183. I was going to attach their recent email but figured spam filters might block this important message. So go to the web site instead.

      Sincerely,

      Dean
      ***************
      Plus:
      excellent info:

      Dr. Blaylock w/ Dr. Mercola

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5E2N4pliXs&feature=player_embedded#t=600

      • Bob

        I am a physician and immunologist, I know stuff regarding vaccinations quite well, thank you. I am very specific in my opinion regarding this individual who does not want his child vaccinated. This non-immunized student would become a free loader relying on others to get the immunization, i.e. “herd immunity”. So, he has shifted the responsibility to society in the name of liberty. Not fair, not right. I have no comment on other vaccines such as swine flu – I am commenting only on this particular case.

      • Kelly Johnson

        In response to Bob’s comment below; what is really being debated here is weather or not the individual should sacrifice/be sacrificed for the good of the group.

        Let’s assume for a moment that the vaccine was proven to work, i.e.; preserve more lives in a sample population than in one that had not received the vaccine, therefore, making it prudent for one to opt for inoculation. So what? Proper diet and exercise promote a stronger immune system as well as prevent other undesirable health conditions. Should we then be subject to forced line-dancing and pantry inspections to ensure were all doing “our part?” Under a collectivist mentality surely this action would be justified. After all, those who currently aren’t looking after themselves are creating demand for medical resources that others use as well, therefore bidding up the cost, reducing availability, and pricing those out of the market who can no longer afford these services. And so they have shifted greater “responsibility to society in the name of liberty. Not fair, not right.”

        In a broad sense, any coercive acts could be and have been imposed upon an individual or group for the potential benefit to the rest of society. The millions buried in military and mass graves dotting the landscape speak volumes to the outcomes of these experiments – and I’m not suggesting that anyone involved in this particular debate supported past or current episodes of these adventures, but am merely referencing the more extreme outcomes of collectivist thinking.

        Here’s a practical suggestion that could be applied tomorrow to help society as well as help solve the supposed health care crisis. All physicians, immunologists, nurses, lab techs, etc. should take a voluntary pay cut. This would certainly help make healthcare more attainable for everyone… at the expense of the relative few, of course. And the gov’t may even help out with this decision by imposing price controls of some kind – and if they do? Well, on the bright side, think of all the medical professionals who will exercise their liberty and follow their self interest to more favorable climes where they are free to compete for what the market will bear, thereby, increasing quality, reducing cost, improving service, and benefiting society as a result.

        I heard Doug Casey once say that “there are two ways people can interact in a society; voluntarily or coercively.” I encourage the former.

  • mark

    My father emailed me this article. I don’t have personal experience in any other country other than the U.S. This isn’t to say that I’m not educated about the quality of life in other countries, and the types of governments/philosophies of some major countries. But I’m the minority in this. Most people just go on about there day uneducated as to the ways of this world. Sure some people see/experience the intrusion of the U.S. government but for the most part, we are dumb. Can you blame us? There is way to much to keep track of. For starters, we receive no help from the media and damn sure not the red tape behemoths (U.S. gov.)

    They’ve created too many departments, too many regulations, and too many ridiculous laws.

    We have so much to worry about in this country, everything from; expenses, credit limits/percentages, bills (mortgage/rent, health insurance, car insurance, home insurance, etc.), children, work, the economy, watch our politicians, and on top of all that; is gambit of emotions, illnesses, deaths, appointments etc.

    So in my summation; This country is insane. Most of our leaders are complete idiots, and they’re all dragging us down, for what? Because they look at things as a win or a loss, not about whats right for the sanity of the people.

    Not to keep going but this president and congress remind me of that scene in Monty Python and the Search For the Holy Grail, when the King comes riding up to the two peasants making mud mounds and… nevermind its just easier to post the link, here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xd_zkMEgkI

    Mark C.

  • http://----------- mark

    Will be in Panama soon and just finished a 10 month trip around the world visitied a number of places that you mentioned perhaps we could have a drink and compare notes if you are going to be around send me an email also have some gold for sale if you are interested.Regards,Mark

  • David

    “Many other places are on an upward trajectory. It is only a matter of time (and not too much time, at that…) before other countries surpass the United States’ quality of life. Many already have.”

    Since your letter is generally about personal liberty, I presume this is an important component of what you mean by “quality of life.”

    If so, could you give a list of some of those countries?

  • Roger Wiegley

    Simon,

    You asked for comments on our country. Here are mine.

    I was born on the front edge of the Baby Boom. It was an article of faith in my youth that America was the greatest country in the world. This message was delivered in a heart-felt way by grandparents and parents at dinner tales across the country. How could any impressionable child believe otherwise? Indeed, the evidence was everywhere. Abundance was affordable. When I graduated from high school, my parents insisted that I go to college because, they said, with a college degree—any degree—I would be set for life. I reluctantly obeyed, envious of my friends who had their choice of several high-paying blue collar jobs in the industrial city where I grew up. Their biggest decision was deciding which new car to buy.
    The world I see today is completely different, and I am not referring to the technology that now permeates our lives. Two-income families, uncommon when I was young, are now struggling to meet their expenses. College graduates cannot find jobs despite staggering education-related debt–also uncommon in my day. The factory jobs are gone. Retirees work at McDonalds. And many people can manage their budgets only with the help of credit cards, knowing that they are only postponing the inevitable.
    What has happened? Is America still the greatest country in the world? Most Americans still believe that, but they do not say it with as much conviction or fervor as earlier generations. Are we on a downward slope that leads to a lower standard of living for our children? If so, what does that mean socially and politically?
    The former glory of America is not hard to explain. When our country was young, there were vast areas of tillable soil; huge open areas for livestock; plentiful water; abundant natural resources of every type; and a varied climate suitable for growing whatever the export market in Europe wanted. This, and a benign government, attracted a flood of immigrants, mostly hard-working, resourceful, self-reliant Europeans who provided both cheap labor and inventive genius, all at a time when the demand for both was insatiable. The standard of living for average Americans grew at a remarkable pace from the mid-1800’s to the mid-1900’s along with advances in transportation and industrial technology. Domestic and export markets expanded rapidly, and the U.S. government was neither large enough nor inclined to interfere with the free flow of capital.
    Moreover, the geographic isolation of North America from the European powers allowed America to forego spending on defense, thereby avoiding the governmental levies needed to support a large army and the military adventures that such armies encourage.
    What has changed? Four things: modern technology; a shift in personal attitudes; an all-encompassing government; and a large military organization. I have seen these changes occur in just my lifetime.
    We all admire modern technology. It dazzles us, entertains us, and provides us with many conveniences. Seldom do we discuss the dark side, at least from the point of view of the America economy. We lament the migration of American jobs to countries with cheap labor, but that is an unintended consequence of modern technology. Without computers, advances in communications and transportation, and the electronic movement of capital around the globe, many of the lost jobs would still be in America. This is not an indictment of technology. It merely illustrates that we cannot blame the Chinese workers or the factory managers who set up operations in China any more than we can blame the America consumer who buys the lowest cost product or the American workers who want higher wages and better benefits.
    The shift in personal attitudes is less apparent but no less important. Our grandparents, newly arrived from Europe, would take any job available to them, even if it was beneath their level of education, and do the best they could until they found something better. We are not so industrious. Try opening a lawn care business and running a Help Wanted ad. If there are no immigrants in your area from Mexico or Central America, you will be cutting the lawns yourself. Why are people so selective now? Because they can be, at least for the present. With the help of government support, credit cards, and help from parents, most people can manage until the right job comes along. Or so it has been up until now. We are simply accustomed to getting what we want, when we want it. This is likely to change and, when it does, the discontent caused by this change will be reflected in voting patterns.
    Indeed, the fact that people will expect the government to ‘correct’ the situation is itself a good example of the shift in personal attitudes. Before the Depression, people did not look to the government to solve their problems. Many people faced hardships and the government could not be expected to alleviate everyone’s hardships. Moreover, many people were immigrants from countries where governments took more than they gave. Why risk handing power to people who might behave in a similar way?
    It is really quite astonishing to look at the role of the Federal government today—the number of regulations and the rate at which new ones are created; the size and complexity of the Internal Revenue Code; the maze of governmental agencies; and the quantity of new laws coming out of every session of Congress. How can it be that we functioned in the past without these countless new laws and regulations? How can it be that the growth in new laws in regulations never slows? Of course, every new law or regulation taken in isolation will have its supporters who will extol the benefits that all of us will enjoy. But collectively they impose a price, which might be deterring new investment, causing an inefficient allocation of capital, or burdening production in ways that makes American goods less competitive in the export market. One wonders what might happen if Congress were to fix the Federal budget at its current level for the next five years, impose a moratorium on new laws and regulations, and go home. Could it be worse than what we are going to get? Of course, that is just fantasy. People want change—a phenomenon that will grow, perhaps exponentially—and the members of Congress must provide change to get themselves reelected. Cost is irrelevant.
    Finally, we have the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about. This, as much as anything, has changed America. The cost is staggering, the benefits are questionable, and the opportunity for mis-adventure has been irresistible to every President since Eisenhower. Our military capabilities, because they are so overwhelming, have become the primary instrument of our foreign policy. Unfortunately, we have not learned the lessons of former imperial powers. Our presence in foreign lands is too limited and our culture is too different. We create resentment and armed opposition for reasons that we, of all people, should understand, given our beginnings. Power not only corrupts, it is expensive and, like nature, it abhors a vacuum.
    So where are we headed? If current trends continue—and how could it be otherwise?—the social and political changes in America will be profound. First, the gap between the average wealth of the ‘haves’ and that of the ‘have-nots’ will widen, even as the number of haves declines. Second, the scourge of chronic unemployment will reach higher into the ranks of the middle class, including highly educated Americans. Third, people with fixed sources of income, notably retirees, will be faced with ever diminishing purchasing power. And fourth, credit will be less available because the banks will have learned the lesson of disciplined lending. All of this will result in demands for more ‘equitable’ redistribution of wealth, i.e., higher marginal tax rates, ‘means tested’ social security payments, and more benefits for the unemployed and the under-employed, including government subsidized health insurance. This is turn will sharpen the division between Republicans and Democrats, the former wanting to curtail government intervention and the latter seeking to expand it. Power will shift from one party to the other and back again as neither will be able to improve economic conditions enough to satisfy a discontented electorate. There will then be splinter parties and an opportunity for demigods to blame America’s problems on some group or groups that have nothing whatever to do with the underlying causes of America’s decline.
    I am well aware of how pessimistic this sounds but being pessimistic is natural when one remembers what it was like to live in America 50 years.

    Sincerely.
    Roger Wiegley

  • Annie

    Dear Simon:

    I can really sympathize with your friend who lives in the midwest. I think there is a high probability that your friend has been reported to CPS already.

    My family lives in the southwest where fortunately there is still the “religious exemption” option available to thinking parents. My daughter (who is a traditionally trained paramedic/emergency room nurse) has used this exemption form since her son was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder after having received the dreaded triple vaccine shot given in the first few months of life. Her toddler daughter has not received any shots so far and is developing normally. However, I am really concerned with the latest outrageous hype regarding swine flu that is promoted every night on the major news channels. My concern is that the public schools will force vaccinations on all children and ignore the exemption forms that parents have signed. Parents who have done extensive research on the issue of vaccine side-effects, and then made the decision to forgo them for their children are being portrayed as somehow irresponsible. This is absolutely unfair and sends me into a rage against the drug company whores who are motivated only by greed.

    My father and father-in-law were WWII veterans and proud to serve their country. Back then the USA still had some moral integrity. But the country they fought for is long gone and will never be the same. My husband and I only hope we can leave before exchange controls are put into place.

  • Dave Starr

    Simon,
    I agree the U.S. is on a death spiral. I also have some sympathy for your friend in the midwest but he does have the option to leave, sign the piece of paper, home school etc.
    I truly believe that the core root of most of this country’s problems (and the world’s for that matter) is that there are too many people. The more people encased in a given society, the more need for regulating behavior exists. Our rock is overcrowded.
    Everything in society counts on economic growth. If we were to bring the birth rates down to meet the death rate, the economy would eventually reach a point of stagnation.
    Religions and governments alike depend on high birth rates in order to grow and gain power. What no one seems to see is that we live on an island with shrinking inhabitable land areas.
    If one looks at just about any of the individual woes or problems in the US today and asks the simple question of, “What if we still had the population we did in 1960? Could this problem have even arisen?” it becomes clear how ‘there’s too many people’ is the single largest contributor.
    At the same time though, the population boom makes a lot possible. There needed to be a balance but we’re too far in this thing to fix it now. Rome is burning.

  • Hal

    The decline of the USA began with the inept, and basically corrupt, administration of Jimmy Carter, the hillbilly redneck from Georgia. No! I must correct myself. It actually began when “Daddy” purchased the White House for son Jack. Exacerbated by “Landslide” Johnson, Bill Clinton, George Bush, George Bush being comparable to Jimmy Carter, and now we have a blood-red communist in the White House. Surrounded by his ilk.

    I am now an aging octogenerain so I will not live to see the final demise of the USA but it is happening. I fought two wars, as an officer in the United States Army Paratroops, defending and protecting the ideals and principles of the nation I loved. For what? A blood-red communist now in the White House? Our self-aggrandizing politicians proclaim the USA to be the greatest nation on earth. A deliberate lie.

    Our government is broken and we have the MOST CORRUPT legislative body in the industrialized world. I have lived in, not just visited but lived in, seven countries. Unfortunately, due to age, illness and financial considerations, I am back in the USA, and stuck here. It is too late for me to escape but for those of you that are capable of escaping, DO IT NOW!

  • Jusina

    We are retired and are afraid to stay in this country. It’s becoming too frightening!

    When we realized that withdrawing all funds from our 401Ks/IRAs in one year would cost us 35% to 40% in taxes it was very sobering. On the other hand, if our 401Ks/IRAs were confiscated and merged with Social Security (as some have suggested is a real risk), maybe 35%-40% is not so bad.

    We have taken advantage of your post of a couple of days ago and are moving funds to one of the brokers you suggested who will allow you to continually change the currency where your funds are held.

    Very uncertain about what country to pick when we are of modest means, but with still desiring a good quality of life. Any suggestions of which countries to explore?

    We really vallue your posts!

    Thank you,
    Jusina and Jim

    • Rick G

      Do you remember what brokers were in Simon’s post? I guess I missed that one.
      Thanks.
      Rick

    • Martin

      …Maybe I am off-base, but could you roll your 401k into your ira? From that point, I believe you can transfer your ira to a custodian that would allow you to utilize your ira overseas (purchase of a home in panama, gold in dubai, etc). Just a thought. Please pursue fully..

      Best regards,
      Martin

  • Caroline

    The empire has been in decline (by design) and is definitely burning. The current agenda will take an act of God to change the trajectory, and the ship, at this point, will take years to turn around. Although I do believe the right people will fix it eventually, at this time, I don’t think enough people care to change it.

    When I look around, it is as if I am living in an alternate universe–those in the know, and those totally oblivious. Those oblivious know something is wrong, but they are still taking the blue pill, along with all the other pharmaceuticals prescribed.

    Though there is no perfect place, there are definitely better places to live right now. As for me and my children, we are out of here. No one is going to tell me how to raise them or what will be put into their bodies, or mine for that matter!

    Logic has left the building–nothing makes sense anymore (until you follow the money trail and read between the lines), and there really is no reason to stay. I just hope we can make it out in time, and the places we are going (Ecuador and New Zealand for now) continue to have some common sense.

    I pray for everyone daily, and hope the outcome of our current path changes, because if it doesn’t, there will be much pain and suffering.

  • http://www.discoveryhills.net Capt. Ron

    Simon, I’m a long time sailor and lived aboard my vessel for many years in SW Florida. In the beginning it was a wonderful life with an exhilarating feeling of freedom. Then along comes all the government bodies telling what I can do and not do with regard to living in my floating home. First we began to get layer after layer of law enforcement duplication. We had the Florida Marine Patrol, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Marine Division, the DEP, the EPA, the local municipalities marine divisions, the Sheriff’s Office Marine Division and a few other layers. You get the picture hopefully, we were over policed. I’m a Master licensed with the United States Coast Guard and I am bound to their rules and regs, so they are the people I most pay close attention as to not violate my license requirements. Being a live aboard I was constantly being pursued and harassed as a detriment to our water quality. We were all accused as dumping human waste into our water ways. The very last thing I would ever do was dump into the water I lived upon. Florida went through a period where the municipalities began writing legislation to prevent live aboards calling in the DEP and EPA to force us out of marinas. The local municipality to my south began issuing citations for any vessel anchoring overnight in a federally designated anchorage. In essence they were making a statement that they had jurisdiction over federally controlled waters. If it had not been for a very wealthy gentleman in that municipality challenging them by being cited for his vessel and winning the court battle that allows the freedom to anchor in federal waters the cruisers in Florida would have no place to enjoy their cruising freedoms. I moved out of the USA to a place of less exposure to these sort of violations of my freedoms. I’m an American but if I had the opportunity to have a passport other than one from the USA I would be all over it. I hope to never return to the USA. We have allowed our politicians unlimited powers and it is only a very short period of time they will take every freedom our forefathers fought to maintain and our military is fighting for at this moment. I pray we are not to late to wake up before there is no longer a USA.

    Capt. Ron
    Republic of Panama

    • Pat Faiola

      Capt Ron,

      I read your post on sovereignman and would like to meet up with you in Panama sometime. Just to have a beer and food (treats on me) I have been looking for property there on 2 short visits and thought I would wait a spell and not jump into any ill thought decisions.

      My country is starting to scare me. I have been spending my Winters in the Philippines and parts of Asia and feel more freedom there than here, even in communist China! My e-maill is PLF123@gmail.com plese drop a line. Patrick

  • Rocky

    Why is it today that so many Americans are loking to leave the USA behind?It’s like eating an elephant one bite at a time,we are losing our past freedoms.2010 all of congress is up for re-election.This may be our chance to start a new.

    • Leo

      Do you still think that your vote can make any difference?

      According to vital analysis by Kenneth W. Royce (a.k.a. Boston T. Party) in his book “Hologram of Liberty”:
      “The Framers (of the Constitution) could have (as did the Swiss) quite easily confined the Federal Government, but they didn’t want to”.

      So it means we have exactly what was planned for us to have by a very smart bunch of people. They have been VERY successful in their enterprise.

      I do not think anything short of a bloody revolution can change the situation. Historically and statistically speaking it is much more healthy to move away than to lay hope on a revolution.

  • John

    I would so love to stay here and be one of the ones to fix problems, but with the polarization and levels of entrenched corruption I am afraid that I would be targeted for retribution. Its simply gotten too far out of hand and will need to be baptized by fire before it is reborn. Check the US seal on the back of the dollar… its a Phoenix, not an Eagle… this path has been foretold. That in combination with the foolishness in process at all levels of government shows me that the game is well underway, has been for quite some time, and the inertia is just too great for me to make any difference except for myself, somewhere else. I may come back to help rebuild, but for now I’m opting for self preservation.

  • James

    I live in New Zealand. I know people with children that have never had a single vaccine, and still go to state schools. The parents are hassled and intimidated, but if you hold your ground they eventually leave you alone. They can’t force you to have anything.

    There are rumours of swine flu shots being forced on people though, but nothing is happening yet.

    NZ seems better that the US, but its getting worse daily. The same forces are at work. It is illegal to smack your kids if they are naughty, and if a woman goes to hospital she is asked 3 questions:
    * Has anybody hurt or threatened you?
    * Have you ever felt controlled or always criticized?
    * Have you been asked to do anything sexual that you didn’t want to do?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10454827

    Obviously these are aimed at men and families, and are typical of communist subversive techniques. Many women will answer too freely and find themselves and their husbands trapped by this.
    They’ve just banned MSSA guns as well. (Anything with a pistol grip.) Dogs are a big hassle to own.

    NZ isn’t as good as it used to be. We also have rampant immigration of very low quality people from every hell hole on earth, and they just don’t improve this place one bit. My old neighbourhood has gone downhill since the 1990s. My old school is almost 50% indian now, and that only took 10 years. They have video screens in the front office with multiculturalism propaganda playing all day, in case anyone thinks too much.

    The entire west is being encircled by this left/commie system, just differently in different places. All of this that ails us is deliberate. Eventually we will all have the same absurd rules as each other, and then what? What’s next? Purges? Gulags? Our governments are all totally out of our control, now matter how we vote.

    One day money and investments will be the least of our concerns I feel.

    Richard Coudenhove Kalergi would be quite happy with the way things are turning out. (Don’t bother reading wikipedia on this guy, they tell you nothing of his true ideas)

    • Caroline

      To James (previous commenter):

      Thanks for the thoughtful post. Maybe we will rethink NZ. We were thinking 6 mos in EC and then six months a year in NZ. We home school, so we can be anywhere we want with our kids. Well, our research may need to start again for our second home. This whole “situation” has taught me a big lesson, which is to have more than one country as your home. We were going to get residency, but now are rethinking that, too. Not sure what residency gets you anymore in a country, accept taxes.

      Caroline

      • Jack

        For Caroline & James. . . .

        I’m an American living in New Zealand for some time. Don’t rule out NZ. While every country is at some position on the slippery slope this place is alot closer to the top than the bottom by a long shot.

        While I agree with what James is saying, by compairson the entire culture here is not contaminated as in the U.S.

        Additionally, the legal system is not in need of Tort Reform and a citizens intent is still very much a consideration. We chose NZ initially as a refugee of the U.S. Tort system. If you’ve got any significant assets in the States you’re in the legal crosshairs. That being only an inital criteria, we’re thrilled with the country and the culture.

        One key for me is the fact that NZ’s small population affords some assurance that the governement can, and will, hear about the redress of a wrong. Bureaucrats are the same the world over, that won’t change. At least here, as a percentage, you’ve got fewer of ‘em to deal with.

        We’re still pretty far away from the lot in Wellington pulling any of the stunts recently seen in Congress. You’re not going to find the NZ Parliament considering laws they didn’t write, read, or openly debate being pushed for passage by some arbitrary and immediate deadline [at least not yet]

        Residency allows the freedom to stay for an extended period, if nothing else and you can be permanently resident without be tax resident.

        Signed. . . . happy in Aotearoa

  • kevin cassidy

    Simon, with reference to Amaricas rapid descent into oblivion, think how close to the end we are when we are governed by morons in Washington who actually think that they did something noble and worthy of praise when they took French fries off the menu and called them Freedom Fries.

    Please publish a list of those who voted for this so they can be punished. Thanks. There is not much time.

  • Roberto Chococlate

    Dear Simon,
    As a retired, grey-haired, law-abiding Canadian, I don’t think I pose much of a threat to US security. We have all gotten used to the Homeland Security treatment. If I want to visit the US, I must, and do – play by the rules. I understand that. They are just protecting their people.
    It seems to have gotten out of control somewhat.
    Recently, I was on a direct flight from Toronto to Panama when our plane was diverted to Houston for mechanical reasons. We were asked to leave the plane and kept in a secure, locked area. Upon re-boarding we were forced to go through Customs. Like everyone else, I was electronically fingerprinted and iris scanned which surprised me, because technically we had not entered the USA.
    We then proceeded to the plane where another set of Customs Agents asked everybody how much money they had with them. I stupidly told the truth. I was then forced to stand in the gangway and dig out all the money and hand it to them. I had stashed the money in money belts, in secret compartments and in my carry on. (I was buying a used car in Panama, and did not have a bank account yet). The Customs Agents then proceeded to count the money out loud. I was floored. When they finsihed, the agent called out to the record keeper very loudly that the total was $9,000 USD cash and handed it back to me. Everyone on the plane heard. I was mortified. Why not just paint a target on my forehead? I did not go to sleep on that flight.
    I try to avoid going through the US at all costs now. Roberto

    • Wendy

      Oh my god, I´m so sorry. I have a lot of friends who won´t fly through the US since they have to pass through customs even though they are in transit. But, I never thought about anyone winding up in the US by accident and what might happen. The Patriot Act, and everything that has come out of it is just the opposite of Patriotic.

  • Andrew

    This discussion is incomplete without serious reference to the fiat money regime foisted upon our ancestors and now coming into full fruition in all its evil glory: increasingly destructive warfare financed by usurious “loans” at interest to both sides from one cartel which profit regardless of outcome; increasingly expensive and totalitarian collectivist government programs ; increasingly rapid, boom-bust economic cycles giving rise to environmental abuse, resource misallocation, and unsustainable population growth, and, above all, the insidiously constant theft of wealth and value overtly via taxation and covertly via monetary inflation from producers and savers to the parasitic central banking elite.

  • http://www.indiantrailjewelry@yahoo.com Judy

    Forget escape from New York, now its escape from the United States… Run!

  • Occdude

    I think the solution nowadays is not to get planted in one spot. Follow the three,four or five flag theory. Have your citizenship in one country, bank in another, physically live in another, invest from another, have a physical business in another.

    Why the complexity? Because its a big world out there and you can find bits of freedom in different parts, but apparently not concentrated in one spot. America at one time had all the components and therefore was a magnet for prosperity. Those days are gone and dead. If one wants freedom now, you have to be willing to move and be diversified geographically.

    I agree with Mr. Casey, that America is a state of mind. Its a concept not limited by a geography but by the imagination.

    I think the future of governments in general is on the wane. People at some point will realize that they don’t need to be someplace where they’re treated badly, that they have options (at least for the time being) this hopefully will force governments to be more kind to their productive citizens or they’ll lose them to other countries.

    The internet is providing a portal for human interaction and networking on an international scale devoid of government intrusion. The internet was built to survive a nuclear attack and will have to be twice as sturdy to survive a government one.

    I try to be optimistic about the future, despite my current pessimism, so I look for alternative perspectives that promote that and I think that individual to individual interaction is the trend of the future.

  • Jesse Craig

    It is almost unbelieveable the rate at which our freedoms are eroded. Much of it started during the Johnson administration, to me. When the SSA funds were taken from trust and put in the general fund to balance the books so to speak. Southern NM blm was managed by two or three blm men. Most of the land is grazing land. Now there is not one more acre today than there was then. Now it is a bureaucraccy of hundreds in Southern NM. They even have their own law enforcement arm. Nearly all of this is bull and just more bureaucratic pork. I was in their office in the early 1990′s and I was listening to some young people who worked there. They were talking about people who were in the desert on atv or bikes and were possibly destroying artifacts. Now they were not willing to mark the area but thought they should be filing charges. The arrognce and ignorance astonished me. Not so different from private schools and public health; mindless.

  • joe in buenos aires

    All -
    First, a bit of background. I am retired military (US Air Force) & have resided for three years now (with permanent residency) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I spent 13 of my 20+ years in the military living in European countries, so I have that many years’ worth of experience hearing about how other countries & cultures view us.
    Next, I would like to commend Roger Wiegley. His comments above of 23 September were some of the most insightful, intelligent, & down-to-earth ones I have seen – definitely a breath of fresh air & a relief from the ideological ranting & screaming we hear more & more from both extremes of our political spectrum.
    Having read Simon’s letter & then the above comments, I offer the following comments in no particular order.

    1. The line to get into the US is still the largest one of any country in the world. With all its flaws & problems, like it or not, the US is STILL the model for the majority of people in the world: people STILL use this country as a model for what they’d like their country to be when it grows up. (I see it as well here in Argentina, where a LOT of people have relatives in the US.) And while there were a few, I really didn’t see too awful many promotions in the above comments for other places to live. Try going to another country & living there for a couple of years. Believe me, it changes your perspective – FAST. For those who have spent years LIVING IN (not just visiting) other countries, you know what I mean.

    2. The swine flu. I’m sorry, it’s NOT a hoax or just a money-making set-up. A very good friend of mine (a doctor) works in Aerospace Medicine at NASA. He, along with other doctor friends of mine, have told me that right now the swine flu is no more dangerous than the common flu in the street. What IS dangerous – and what the medical folks worry every night about – is the possibility that it will MUTATE INTO A LETHAL FORM. This is a big reason behind the big push for a vaccine. Which brings us to …

    3. Innoculations. If, heaven forbid, a swine flu outbreak DID occur & it was traced to, say, a private school where innoculations were not required, the excrement would hit the ventilating apparatus in quantities that you’ve never seen before.

    4. In the US, any problem which can be solved for a profit to some company or other is solved. The government gets the problems NO ONE wants to touch. So on one hand so many American people say, “Get the government out of our lives,” but then, when a problem arises that no one else can or wants to deal with, it’s “How come the government doesn’t do something about this?” and then file lawsuits out the wazoo. Ya can’t have it both ways, folks …

    5. Another very good friend of mine, a retired professor of sociology from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, cued me in on this one: a lot of government jobs are of the put-the-peg-in-the-hole types that do NOT require a high IQ. Consequently, that’s the kind of people we often get in those jobs … because they’re safe jobs & almost impossible to get fired from. When you run into flack from one of these functionaries, remember (this is going to sound terrible, but it’s true) that it’s not their job to think, just follow the rules they’re given. Decisions & other such thinking come from paygrades much higher than theirs.

    6. I saved what I consider the best for last. A bit after the last election, Alan Keyes, in an address to an audience of Republicans, said, “Do you want to see who to blame for the way the country is now? GO HOME AND LOOK IN A MIRROR (caps mine).” And he’s absolutely right. The typical American voter can’t be bothered to participate in their own government, so they give a bunch of professional politicians a bunch of money & say, “Go take care of this for me. I’m too tired/stressed out/overworked/whatever to do it myself.” This is NOT what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drew up our first government. We indeed have only ourselves to thank. To bring back a famous quote from the old Pogo comic strip, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

    joe

    • Pat Faiola

      Please let us know why you retired in Argentina and what are the benefits of that country over the USA. It would round out your article.

  • Arlean

    For you, Simon, and your friend, I write hurriedly without reading the comments above (I don´t have time, I am in Uruguay trying to finish some business here before flying back in the mornng) this is not a new battle and what your friend described is not new EXCEPT perhaps for the fact it is a private school. But I doubt if even that is new.

    Without giving all the details of my experience in the US with innoculation police, I will share the biggest. My daughter is now 41. When she was in 7th grade the school notified me of a deadline for her innoculations. I ignored the deadline. The next deadline they gave me had some teeth. She would not be allowed to attend school if she didn´t have them.

    Then the incredible pressure started on my child. People who will put pressure on a child for what the parent is doing should not be allowed to teach children! She would come home crying. I explained my reasons and encouraged her to stick this out with me and see what happened. I am not sure of what they can actually do now, but back then I had already asked one public health nurse on what basis they felt they could enforce this and she did not return with an answer for me.

    Finally, as the dealine arrived, another call from the health nurse. I said no she was not getting the innoculatons. Of course I told her my reasons.

    Incredulous she said, ¨You´re not going to have them?¨ I said no. She said, ¨Well you´ll have to sign a release.¨I did. That was the end of it.

    Sadly I had already had some innoculations for my children before I came to understand the effects on the intelligence and health of the children who have them, but I had stopped early and had no intention of giving them any more. The authorities had tried to tell me that it was the ¨law¨and that I did not have a choice.

    The following year I decided to home school my children. We were in Michigan where they had taken five children away from parents for home schooling, we had a visit from no less than the superintendent of schools telling us what would happen if the kid wee not in school, so it was shaping up for a fight. I happened to have worked in the campaign of a man who ran for the state house and won. Therefore I called him, he made a call to the school superintendent, and that was also the end of that!

    So it is necessary to be creative sometimes. I dont know what would have happened without this representative and fortunately I didn´t have to find out. But I would have certainly looked for a way.

    Maybe the freedom of Americans has taken flight to the degree that children can be innoculated against the wishes of a parenbt. I hadn´t heard that saying of Doug Casey´s but I certainly agree with it.

  • e*** von B*****

    I am 51, born in the Midwest, and have lived in the USA my entire life.

    I have come to realize — after much world travel, discussion in three languages with many Europeans, and my own observations — how truly brainwashed people in the USA were and are.

    What really opened my eyes is the realization that most Americans really believe that this is the “best country in the world”, that the USA always intervenes for freedom and justice (and not to secure markets or supplies of oil), and that we have the best form of government, politics, culture, traditions, food, education fill in the blank.

    So sad, and so not true. And since the 1830s, probably never so.

    While first-hand sources (like Presidential memoranda and transcripts of White House meetings) offer irrefutable proof that this country has been a deliberately expansionist, imperialist power in a big way since 1898 — entering war after war (including WW1 and WW2) for economic rather than “freedom preservation” reasons — let me focus on what I’ve observed first hand since coming of age after college graduation in the late 1970s.

    One, a shift in prevailing consciousness from self-reliance, personal responsibility, and suspicion in the power of government, to an ethic of “entitlement”, a victim consciousness, and looking to Washington to “fix” things.

    Two, ever-encroaching power of government at all levels, intruding more and more into the personal and financial lives of citizens.

    Three, a substantial decline in the average standard of living, abetted largely by world events such as the opening of cheap labor pools in the former Communist countries, but also hastened in my opinion by items one and two.

    Four, most Americans are fat now. Really fat. I feel like an oddity: 51 years old, washboard stomach, 6′ 2″, 172 pounds. Damn glad to be an oddity!! Keep carding me….

    When I graduated from college, my Midwest hometown offered a bumper crop of manufacturing jobs that propelled many high school graduates solidly into the middle class. That same hometown is an economic wasteland now, and has been for almost 20 years.

    During a visit back home in 2003, I asked my brother how a 3 bedroom, 2 bath brick home one block from Lake Michigan’s beautiful beaches could be listed for sale at $60,000. “Because no one has a job here” was the reply.

    That was 2003. It’s even uglier now. Much.

    Another example: I have a friend living in Russia, Justin, who is originally from the Midwest. I asked him a few years ago why he would want to stay in Moscow rather than move back to Ohio. ”

    Because I am more free here than I felt in the US” was Justin’s reply. More free. In Putin’s Russia. Than in the USA.

    I used to wonder what the heck he was talking about. And then I tried to add an addition to my house. My own property. Property for which I pay five figures per year in property taxes to this city, a city that can’t even pick up the garbage or respond to 911 calls reliably.

    It took 9 months of nonsense, hundreds of dollars in fees, hours wasted in lines at City Hall, and a hearing downtown where, despite being under oath and accompanied by my architect and various signed affidavits, I was called a liar by some pompous bureaucrat, who accused me of really wanting to build a separate cottage on my property, and not an addition to our home at all.

    I had to take this shit. To modify my own home. My own property. Is it REALLY my own property?

    Justin, I GOT IT! I understand now.

    I didn’t mention that I’m gay. It hasn’t been relevant up until now. But now it is. Still no recognition in the “land of freedom” for gay relationships. I’ve been in a committed relationship for 10 years now with another man. But, despite the fact that we would lay our lives down for one another, it doesn’t mean squat because in the land of “separation of church and state”, the religious fanatics have stopped it from happening.

    Second Reich Germany was debating gay rights legislation — in the 1890′s (that’s not a typo: the 1890′s) — and this country still can’t get over it. On a related subject, never mind that all but two of the USA’s 30-something NATO allies allows gays to serve — too touchy for politicians to champion here!! Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: as long as you are straight, comply with the thought police and government prescriptions governing your personal, family, and financial decisions. They know what’s best, right?

    Right?

    Read “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. You are living on it.

    In the 19th century, Edward Gibbons wrote a 17 or 18 volume work called “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire”. Let me boil the fall of Rome down to the essence: military over-expansion and loss of control of immigration (Sorry, religious nuts: it wasn’t liberalization of laws and attitudes toward gay people that brought down Rome: the historical record shows the exact opposite: centuries of legal gay marriage terminating in a ban in 391 AD on gay marriages; Rome itself fell to the Visigoths a few decades later in 476 AD).

    Can you guess where I think this country is headed?

    America: Love it or leave it they used to say. Trust me, we are working on leaving it.

    Good luck.

    • Caroline

      You hit the nail right on the head in great detail. I, for one, do believe there are many communist/socialist countries that are much more free than we are right now. The labels are no longer matching the actions. What’s that old saying? Judge a person not by their words, but by their actions. I believe it now applies to nations. Nice post!

  • Travelman

    I’m Canadian and definitely agree the US(and Canada) is on the way down. NAU goes through and I will be looking for elsewhere. As it is I am here about half the year and travel. Travel actually avoids a lot of gov’t BS as you skim the surface. But I have been to Myanmar/Burma each of the past 9 years and as much as they have a totally suckass gov’t(like you and me), I(and some others I know) believe one can live more freely there than here, in many ways. Don’t get political and the gov’t doesn’t bother you. Accept the corruption(just a different form of tax) and almost all things are possible.

  • Scott

    Simon,

    I read the article on September 25 2009 and I would like to comment to the individual with the vacant lot issue. Thanks to NAFTA the United States has lost much of its sovereignty. This may be used as an advantage in the “vacant lot” issue. If the individual was to incorporate say in Canada, sell the lot to his corporation, and then develop the lot the local government has no say whatsoever. He would be protected under Chapter 11 of NAFTA which provides:

    NAFTA’s investment chapter (Chapter 11) contains a variety of new rights and protections for investors and investments in NAFTA countries. If a company believes that a NAFTA government has violated these new investor rights and protections, it can initiate a binding dispute resolution process for monetary damages before a trade tribunal, offering none of the basic due process or openness guarantees afforded in national courts. These so-called “investor-to-state” cases are litigated in the special international arbitration bodies of the World Bank and the United Nations, which are closed to public participation, observation and input. A three-person panel composed of professional arbitrators listens to arguments in the case, with powers to award an unlimited amount of taxpayer dollars to corporations whose NAFTA investor privileges and rights they judge to have been impacted.
    The individual may take his complaint to international arbitration thus eliminating even federal interference. Simply a suggestion and I would recommend consulting an international lawyer.

    Scott

  • Robert Potts

    Simon,
    While I agree with many sentiments in your website, I need to explain the pro and con for a private school to require imminuzations for its students.
    i am a physician and well aware of the possible downside to an individual from a vaccination. However, public choice theory would brand the non-immunized student as a free rider relying on others to get the immunization, the so called benefit of herd immunity. In other words, others take the risk and you get the benefit.
    Also, few immunizations are 100% effective across the board, so the school would want the liability protection, by not admitting the non-immunized, should one of its (less than 100% response) students become
    ill.

    • Zazueta

      Mass immunizations for diseases that rarely manifest, are generally non lethal, and can be controlled by contact isolation is silly. The immunizations are more risky on the whole than the infections (now that they have been eliminated for the most part).

      This is the same sort of collectivist thinking that brought us the drug war, the war on terror and all the rest of the wars. The potential harm to the community out weighs the right to liberty, to live you life as you choose without interference from the government. This kind of thinking is the root of the death of freedom.

      Doctor, start really saving some people, ban cars.

  • Bobby McGee

    Aloha Simon:
    I’m amazed at the # of people doing something about living outside the US. In a nutshell DOUG had it right when he said “get a crib outside the country and a safe deposit box and stuff it with gold”. I bought a condo in Panama but was too late – no more safe deposit boxes. In my opinion Panama is the easiest, quickest, and safest place for upcoming retirees to check out. Did I mention cheapest? Email me for info.

    • Mark

      Bobby are you aware of res. 52. Condo prices will fall like a rock.

    • frankania

      Bobby, Safe deposit boxes are subject to seizure anywhere. Why go to a public place to store your gold? Bury it and only tell people you really trust where it is. Keep It Simple

  • coni uzelac

    hi all – lots of pessimism here – seems not many have tried to offer any solutions to fixing some of our many problems – i try to stay positive – have property in several places outside the us and visit those places – always frustrated when i come back to the states, but i still come back for the moment

  • Peter

    Much of what I have read above represent excellent summaries of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I have grown up in relative privilege in the Northeast, and have lived in many places in the USA. I have, as many have, debated the pros and cons of repatriating, not the least of which considerations is the ultimate socio-political effect of dollar destruction in a few countable years away. Not having quite the cajones to up and leave, I’ve tried to content myself with the, at least partial, delusion that some states and regions are freer to live in than others. States with low taxes have fewer services, which translates to less meddling. Their governments reflect an attitude that bureaucracy must be justified thoughtfully, and only where needed. A rural state where self-reliance and the mutual support of trusted neighbors goes on quietly in the background may provide the only refuge (if only partial) from the progressing storm. How much longer life in South Dakota will stay that way, however, is pure speculation.

  • http://nutrition-and-physical-regeneration.com/blog Michael

    am a physician and well aware of the possible downside to an individual from a vaccination. However, public choice theory would brand the non-immunized student as a free rider relying on others to get the immunization, the so called benefit of herd immunity. In other words, others take the risk and you get the benefit.

    Leaving aside for a moment just how dangerous vaccinations really are, and that they pose a far greater threat than the disease itself, the problem is that it is not the private school which is making the demands, but government officials.

    The USA is done. It’s wonderful and shining moment has passed. For those who have the resources and opportunity, time to move on.

    Michael
    Nutrition and Physical Regeneration

  • HD in the Caymans

    Simon,

    Is the US on a downward slide? I’d say so. Government is the #1 employer. That can’t be sustainable. Debt has grown to epic porportions and future entitlements are a ticking time bomb. People are angry. The boiled frog is realizing that the water is boiling but, it may already be too late.

    I’m from Texas but have lived all over the US, Ecuador, and currently the Cayman Islands. I work overseas for the experience and the tax advantages. The expat tax advantages aren’t as good as being from Europe or Canada. As a matter of fact, the US and North Korea are the only countries that tax their citizens that work abroad and I believe it’s just a matter of time before the Feds do away completely with the expat tax credits.

    I’ve looked into renouncing my citizenship and going south…maybe Argentina or Panama. While researching it I ran into a bit of a problem…you guessed it…the IRS. Apparently they can tax you for renouncing your citizenship!! From what I’ve read it’s just like an estate tax. I would appreciate any advise you would have on this subject.

    ON A SIDE NOTE: I went home to Texas to visit family recently and was suprised to see the number of “Secede 2009″ bumper stickers on the highways. I asked around and it seems Texas is getting serious about secession. The Texas Nationalist Movement used to be run by a small group of fringe wackos that very often were labelled/prosecuted as domestic terrorist. Now, their leadership is educated and articulate. Recently they had 1 million signatures to introduce a bill that would solidify Texas’ right to secession. Ten years ago they would have struggled to get 5,000.

    The impression I’m getting in the US is that something is about to happen that will profoundly change the direction of the country. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m excited that an event of this magnatude is happening in my lifetime.

    • Dave Blanco

      I’ve been debating whether to renounce US citizenship as well because of the “required” tax filing requirements of US citizens that don’t even live in the USA. I honestly don’t plan on moving back to America for a long list of reasons (GMO food, no more habeas corpus, etc). Besides, do I really want my foreign bank account details in some US database that could be leaked? Why pay self employment and other taxes to the USA if Social Security has already informed me that by the time I retire the fund would be completely broke?

      Since I also hold an EU passport, the only benefit I see in keeping US citizenship is when entering the USA — I go through the US Citizens line, which is usually shorter, supposedly we can’t be denied entry, and we’re not fingerprinted and photographed like criminals. Although, they already have my photo and prints, from my US passport application and from my FBI fingerprint criminal background check during application for my EU citizenship. I’ll bet one day they’ll start keeping tabs on US citizens when they reenter the country. The FBI would tag them in the federal database used by immigration as not having their fingerprint data, etc. The FBI is already “migrating from its IAFIS fingerprint database to a new biometrics system that will include DNA records, 3-D facial imaging, palm prints and voice scans.”

      http://news.idg.no/cw/art.cfm?id=E7DD109B-1A64-67EA-E4D0CD2824087487

      I don’t see it getting any better any time soon. The only thing holding me back is that my EU passport states where I was born in the US, and I’d like to avoid hassle with US immigration as to why I didn’t enter the country using my US passport. Even flying through the US could become a problem. Anyone have any thoughts/suggestions?

      Simon, as a sovereign man, why do you keep your US citizenship? Why not go for the ultimate estate plan à la Sir John Templeton?

      Finally, for the visitors, here’s an article on the subject by Mark Nestmann:

      http://www.sovereignsociety.com/2009ArchivesSecondHalf/102309WhatitsReallyLiketoExpatriate/tabid/6081/Default.aspx

      Ciao

  • frankania

    My 2 cents worth: I left the USA in 1988 and taught English in Mexico in the highlands and now I am doing construction, farming and run a B&B

    There are 3 main reasons we are still here. 1. Cost of living, including medical care, is quite low. 2. Perfect climate at 3200 feet altitude and higher (we have 4 houses in different climates and are building another on the Pacific coast this Dec.) 3. A weak incompetent govt. So although Mexico has a lot of “populist/socialist” laws, they are largely ignored or easily bypassed.

    If any other commenters have an analysis of where they live, please respond.

  • Martha

    When our youngest daughter headed off to college, my husband and I looked at each other and said “Now What!?” My husband had been displaced by the dot.com bust and after 30 years in computers was more than ready for a change. We realized that our hard-earned savings and what we would eventually (hopefully) collect in Social Security wouldn’t go far in N.California, which would perforce mean a move elsewhere. My husband was raised in Uruguay and from frequent visits over the years we had maintained a strong network of friends there, so it was a natural place to consider. We bought a farm and now operate a dairy. The advantages to us here (besides the mental stimulation from such a radical change of occupation) are lower health costs (we pay about US$200 a month to belong to our local medical clinic, with a small co-pay and a sliding scale of charges depending upon required services), a much more relaxed lifestyle. However, I echo what someone said above….there is no place that is perfect.

  • jean-louis

    “America cannot be an empire abroad and a democracy at home”
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts”

    These two sentences from Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) are still actual……..unfortunately!

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