A corollary to our first quote of the day might be that manipulation works worst when those who would be manipulated recognize the powers of manipulation…and then take action to repel or circumvent them. In other words, manipulation works worst when folks refuse to “grow accustomed to the denial of constitutional rights.”
Unfortunately, the range of “solution sets” for repelling or circumventing totalitarianism is quite limited. Fight or flight (the theme of last year’s Agora Investment Symposium in Vancouver) are the two basic options. “Fight” has a very checkered track record. Although the fighters sometimes prevail, they often fail in catastrophic fashion. “Flight’s” track record is somewhat less volatile. While often failing to achieve optimal outcomes, flight usually prevents catastrophic ones.
Generally speaking, those who choose flight from government oppression — whether that oppression be nascent or well established — are seeking greater freedom and opportunity outside their national borders. Some will find it; some won’t. But here’s a surprising, and somewhat alarming, data point.
An increasing number of folks are fleeing this country to seek the freedom and opportunity that this country has historically provided. And to judge from recent reader emails, an increasing number of ex-pats are actually finding the freedom and opportunity they seek. Last week’s column, “Why More and More Americans are Abandoning Their US Citizenship,” sparked a flood of email from satisfied expats…as well as a handful of emails from satisfied US citizens who have no desire to leave…ever.
The following two emails typify the responses we received from both camps. But no matter whether one sympathizes with the Fight crowd or the Flight crowd, there is no denying that the size of the Flight crowd is growing. And it will continue to grow to the extent that US governmental policies suppress or undermine what Wendy McElroy calls “Parallel Institutions.”
After reading the reader emails below, check out what Wendy has to say, here…
Reader Email #1:
I renounced my US citizenship last November. We have our residence permit in New Zealand. I may not be a typical case for your readers, as I had not lived in the US for over 40 years. I had served in the Marines, family, blah blah, but I felt like what a Jew fleeing Berlin in 1938 must have felt. Total relief. Contrary to expectations, I was treated courteously by the staff at the Auckland consulate, which has more experience than most stations for renouncing.
It is important to have all your “ducks in a row”. Alternative citizenship, past federal taxes, FBAR and other recently added reporting necessities. There are a number of very helpful websites for educating oneself without the expense of lawyers at every stage. I would recommend hiring an immigration lawyer after doing your homework to ensure that you have everything in order. It takes an online appointment schedule to visit the embassy. They accept the forms you fill out from online, plus about $450 for the processing, and within minutes one has made a giant step towards recovering their freedom and liberties.
In February I received a confirmation of my acceptance of renunciation from the State Dept. and my cancelled old passport. I then applied for a tourist visa to the states and was granted a 3-month visa rather quickly. It costs $250. If one doesn’t use it, no problem. But they aren’t issuing long-term visas any longer, which is inconvenient but not the end of the world.
I travel internationally regularly and have no problems whatsoever with my St. Kitts passport. If I have consular issues, it is handled by the British, as St. Kitts is a Commonwealth nation. I can say by personal experience I am delighted with renouncing. I can now open bank accounts and operate with the impunity common sense decrees.
Moving overseas may not be for all your readers, or even many. Living in the states is what they have done and, as such, they’ll rarely contemplate an alternative. But for those with the courage, it’s pure liberation.
Reader Email #2:
I am not an ex-pat and probably never will be. I am 74 years old and will probably spend the rest of my life in the US near my son and granddaughters.
I want to mention an alternative to moving out of the US. There are still good places in the US, places that are even cheaper than a lot of countries people are moving to, and maybe offering more freedom, too.
I live in central Texas about 60 miles northwest of Austin in the Highland Lakes Area of Texas. In 2005 I bought a new home 200 yards from Lake LBJ, one of the largest, prettiest, constant-level lakes in the US. There are 7 lakes in our area and 4 are within about 20 minutes of our home.
Last year we bought 2 rental condos in Horseshoe Bay. Horseshoe Bay is a resort city of about 3,000 people, which has 4 golf courses and one of the largest marinas in Texas on Lake LBJ. Some condos can still be bought there for under $75,000. Homes start at about $175,000 and go up into the millions.
As you probably know, we have a lot more freedom in Texas than a lot of other states. Business licenses are easy to get and some areas don’t even need a license for some kinds of business. In Texas we don’t like big government nor excessive government controls, probably more so than many countries that people are thinking of moving to.
Why move to a country that speaks a foreign language, when you can get the same thing in Texas? My wife and I laugh at the housing prices in Canada on the Home and Garden TV network. Their prices are 3 times what they are in our area. Homes in our area can be bought for as low at $125,000 or as high at $8 million. A billboard on the highway advertises homes to be built on your lot for an average price of $65 a square foot. Canadians are paying over $300 a square foot for beat up old homes I would not even consider living in.
Anyway, people don’t have to leave the country to get more freedom and inexpensive living. If we have hyperinflation, put your money in a foreign bank, but live here or another area like ours.
Eric Fryfor The Daily Reckoning
Eric J. Fry, Agora Financial's Editorial Director, has been a specialist in international equities for nearly two decades. He was a professional portfolio manager for more than 10 years, specializing in international investment strategies and short-selling. Following his successes in professional money management, Mr. Fry joined the Wall Street-based publishing operations of James Grant, editor of the prestigious Grant's Interest Rate Observer. Working alongside Grant, Mr. Fry produced Grant's International and Apogee Research, institutional research products dedicated to international investment opportunities and short selling.
Mr. Fry subsequently joined Agora Inc., as Editorial Director. In this role, Mr. Fry supervises the editorial and research processes of numerous investment letters and services. Mr. Fry also publishes investment insights and commentary under his own byline as Editor of The Daily Reckoning. Mr. Fry authored the first comprehensive guide to investing internationally with American Depository Receipts. His views and investment insights have appeared in numerous publications including Time, Barron's, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Business Week, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Money.
America is a police state. Just what the Bush-Cheney Conservatives wanted.
Mitt Romney was at Dick Cheney’s house yesterday to raise money from his friends on the Conservative side of the tracks.
They probably complained loudly about Romney-Obamney care too.
But I am sure Romney kissed Cheney’s ring, and took his money.
to those who are permanent tourists – those to whom the notion of citizenship is alien – flight makes perfect sense. “why clean? move!” let someone else do the dirty work of nation-building. rich permanent tourists move to new zealand. poor permanent tourists move to idaho. “your own private idaho ….” permanent tourists are mere spectators, visitors along for the ride.
for those who value family, nation, culture, society, rights – in short, humanity beyond themselves – remaining makes sense. after all running from problems – especially the ones that face us now – does not solve them and in the end they pursue you. citizens remain not just to fight, though it may come to that, but also to take control, to correct, to build. this may require endurance and time. it will defininately require work, hard work, personal work. those who are citizens understand that freedom and rights cannot be provided by someone else, or bought, or received as an interest payment. freedom and rights must be created. they must be earned. they must be kept. this is what citizens do.
if we citizens fail then permanent tourists will have nowhere to go. if we succeed … we may let you return on a temporary visa. with restrictions. after all, it will be OUR nation, not yours.
Sounds good, gman. Me too very much hope the USA will be able to solve its considerable social problems within its national borders and not export them to the outside world.
“… and not export them to the outside world.”
the primary problems, debt fractional reserve currency and demographic decline, are not limited to the u.s. but are shared by every major nation in view. in other words the u.s. will not be exporting any problems because the problems are already present. one problem however that the u.s. WILL export is its lack of presence – so many nations (especially new zealand) depend on the u.s. for their defense, and that defense capability is about to decline drastically.
good luck in new zealand. as the european population declines the maori may see an opportunity.
I lived in New Zealand eight years. If you are fleeing socialism here in America why flee to the pinkist country? After the tea and crumpets of New Zealand, you’ll find the place a land of snakes. Of all the western civilised nations, NZ has the highest murder rate, more violence against women per capita. Everyone treats everyone like a thief. The reason, everyone is a thief. They’re just polite about it. New Zealand would be great if the Moari pushed the whites into the ocean and started over.
Thank you for saying what needs to be said gman.
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
I’ve given a lot of thought to the question myself.
My biggest concern was I’d go through all the effort and expense of moving to some country with a fairly weak central government and lots of divers opportunities only to have it taken over by some tin pot warlord who kills anyone he doesn’t like and makes his money running guns across the boarder.
Sure enough I was right to be worried. Now what do I do?
“border”. Freud would be proud.
I like and agree with both perspectives. I lived in Canada and well… it’s already blown up (economically). If you weren’t there before oil was discovered, you missed the easy money. Tho’ if you like somewhat cooler climates, BC+Alberta r both sweet places to live.
I find that it’s good to be close to Asia (i.e. have a place there) and NZ might be a decent place to go. My Taiwanese friends tell me that it’s already overrun with well… Taiwanese who have given up on the US! But that’s fine.
Texas is probably a good hedge… as the govt there is quasi-autonomous some of the time. However it still lives under the steel-tipped boot of the US govt, so hmm… not my favorite destination.
My suggestion is to wait for California to genuinely fail, buy in, ride the wave up and then hedge into lesser Asia or Mexico. Lesser Asia is really wonderful… so don’t dismiss the idea if you aren’t familiar with the territory. Lots of silly scares+ups and downs there help to build wealth quickly.
My favorite was when HK tho’t the communists were going to invade the territory. What did they do? How did they react? They bought all the cakes in the cake shops. Very amusing. Just a few years later the real estate prices were skyrocketing.
I’d like to hear more from your subscribers on this topic. Great job!
“Now what do I do?”
if you want freedom and security you have to earn it. pick a spot and make your stand there. go to the effort and expense of making it your home. you may not succeed but you’ll get nothing if you don’t try.
The quack policy that was good for stock owners in North America turned out even better for those in Japan.
From under which fetid igneous formation did these IRS slugs slither?
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In places like Mongolia or Myanmar, for example, you find today’s Dakota Territory.