I’ve mentioned before that I have a friend, an American ex-pat in Central America, who’s been nagging me for a decade to leave the U.S..
I wrote about him more than a year ago. He’s still nagging (and offering kind assistance); I’m still dithering. In fact, to my discouragement, I discover that I’m at approximately the same stage of dithering I was at when I wrote the linked blog entry above. Inwardly I may have shifted in this direction or that. But I’ve neither said, “Yep, I’m on my way” nor “Nope. Ain’t goin’ and quit bugging me.” Nor am I close to either of those positions.
I know some of you — most of you, judging by the comments that earlier blog got — are opposed unto death to the notion of “abandoning your country.”
I’m not. But I’m in a different spot on the spectrum: I recognize that my country has abandoned nearly everything that made it “my country.” America was great because it was the shining beacon of freedom for the rest of the world. Sure it often failed in virtue. But … well, is this still “our” country if we’ve become the land of the 18th most free? Or the seventh most free (or wherever it falls for you on this freedom-seeker’s tally)?
On that tally, I find that if I choose gun rights as an absolutely crucial value, the U.S. still tops the freedom list. But run the numbers using nearly any other criteria and half-dozen or more other countries top the U.S.
Including — ulp! — one of the several countries my friend has been trying to persuade me to consider. In fact, that one’s rising year-by-year and looking really good.
Of course, these are just numbers. Based at least in part on subjective data. How much weight do they give to the NDAA and Obama’s policy of assassinating anybody he wants to assassinate? How much do a country’s laws matter and how much more important is culture or one’s particular locale within a country?
I’ve said before that I don’t feel unfree, where and as I am. It’s just that, like everybody else with eyes and a brain, I’m getting more worried every day. And the thing is, if the U.S. clamps down on guns, then it will have slid to … I don’t know where to. But so far from #1 that Americans won’t even be able to see what’s at the top of the freedom heap.
My friend, who has lived outside the U.S. for well over a decade (and maybe much longer, counting all the countries where he’s spent time), sees the United States solely as a place of danger. He thinks anybody who doesn’t get out in the next few months or the next year or two is DOOOOOMED.
I, on the other hand, see nuances — as anybody who conducts daily life here would. I see micro-climates for freedom. Even if things get as awful as my friend envisions, I don’t see the people of St. Regis, Montana, or Riverton, Wyoming, as doomed, though a lot of people in Detroit or Chicago might be doomed by the very same events.
When it comes to danger, of course I see awful potential for it here. Don’t we all? But I see my home, my town, my friends, my life, as relatively safe. I see this as a place where I know how to function, even as things get dicey on the national level. I also understand that the frog doesn’t know he’s being boiled until it’s too late.
Where I see danger is is the unknowns of expatriation. Living with foreign languages and laws and customs and above all living in places where it might never be possible to legally remain.
My friend has to restrain himself not to be absolutely dismissive of such concerns. His most nuanced perspective isn’t on the U.S., but on Central and South America, which to him is familiar and homey. Besides, his temperament embraces risk and insecurity. Mine doesn’t. Or rather, mine embraces only risks and insecurities that it can personally evaluate and choose to feel comfortable with.
So when he says, “Hey, don’t worry about the laws; all you have to do is bribe somebody!” or “So what if you can’t get legal residency? Nobody here cares,” I hear …. yuch. Why would I want to live like that? And he hears … I dunno, whiny, wimpy excuse-making.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
For me it has nothing to do with “abandoning my country”- as far as I know I never owned a country. What it does have to do with is abandoning family, friends, and even natural features, natural resources, and climates I have learned to live on.
America was a nice idea while it lasted. But the North American continent- and specifically the parts of it I am familiar with- don’t care what country tries to paint itself over the land.
There are good things and bad things about every place. But there is also the advantage of being familiar with the territory so that you have a home territory advantage and can recognize those intruders who are a danger.
There are events that would make me flee to a new territory. Some of them I know. It hasn’t happened yet. But I’m flexible.
I am not allowed to leave. If I try, the thugs with guns who claim the moral authority to shoot me, will shoot me.
So I ain’t goin’ nowhere. I love it here with all its flaws. If anyone wants me gone, they’ll have to throw me out.
I’m staying here because I’m terrible with languages and the other English-speaking countries are worse. I did recently flee California for Texas, though (increasing the amount of money I see each paycheck by quite a bit).
We had this conversation a few months ago when C was thinking about Belize. Somehow, no matter how bad things may get, I believe we’re better off here than somewhere else.
This is our home turf, we were born and raised here like the generations before us. We both had people that fought in AR I, though I’m not sure on which sides. We know the lay of the land and the inventory of resources that it can provide us. Anywhere else, no matter how long we’re there, we’d never been more than tourists/foreigners.
At my age expatriation is just too much effort for too little gain. Learning a new language and customs is not something I wish to do at this point. It has nothing to do with love of country. That whole concept strikes this anarchist as hilarious. I also have cancer, which, although not the reason for my lack of enthusiasm for leaving, does limit my options pretty severely. The country is certainly an irredeemable disaster but by living in the hinterlands that has less personal impact than it might otherwise. Like Harry Truman of Mt St Helens fame I’ll just watch as the world ends.
It’s a dilemma for sure and there are no easy answers.
I’m up for leaving. I think about it mostly when I am throwing a fit about how our tax $$ is being used for evil.
Assimilating into a new culture wouldn’t be the easiest thing. Well, it would be much easier for me than for hubby. He isn’t terribly interested in ex-patting. At his age, it would be difficult for him to re-build his business in a place where he didn’t speak the language, and we’re unable to retire.
If we ever had to leave the U.S., I think we’d probably pick Chile. We sometimes joke around about whether our vehicle would make there – that would be the longest/last road trip ever.
(Yeah, a road trip except for that one area of Columbia that has no roads and you have to take a boat from Panama. :-))
I am not the friend in question, but I have lived outside the US since 1989 and in Costa Rica for the last 13 years. I have not set foot in the US since 2002.
From your brief description, It sound like he and I are on the same page, or at least very close.
However I am sure we have different POVs on several things. If you would like my take on anything please feel free to ask. Additionally my wife and I would be happy to help you relocate here. We have helped several people over the years.
BTW if your friend would like to get in touch please give him my email address.
Whatever you decide I hope you stay safe and continue to be a thorn in the side of authority.
@Ken, you can get by with just English in several communities in both Costa Rica and Panama. Also some places in Argentina and Chile. Language is not that much of a barrier.
I believe that most things in life really are a matter of perspective. I frequently think about the life spans of my parents and in-laws, who were all born between 1911 and 1915. They were children during the Spanish flu, teenagers during the Dust Bowl and the Depression and young adults during WW2 experiencing all the fears and restrictions caused by those events. And yet they looked to the future with optimism, had children and made lives.
Since I’ve been on the scene, there’s been the Korean War, the Cuban Missle Crisis(we lived in DC suburbs and mom made a little bomb shelter area in the basement) with the duck and cover drills, the Kennedys and King assasinations, Viet Nam with the draft and it’s protests, Kent State, Waco, Ruby Ridge, OKC bombing, Clinton’s AWB, 911, insane ME wars and the Patriot Act. All events that have curtailed freedom to some extent or other. Looking back for the wonderful “good old days”, i’ve come to realize that those days seemed so good primarily because I was a child and had no full understanding of all the situations and potential ramifications. And yet, in spite of it all, here we are, still ready and willing to see whatever tomorrow brings.
I do agree that things in general are in decline in our country, but I question the report on our “economic freedom”, a term that I don’t particularly understand. What about the rest of the freedoms in those countries? Free speech? Gun laws? Women’s rights? Reproductive rights? Access to technology and information? Access to education?
The article says;
“While countries like Qatar and Taiwan do not yet experience U.S. standards of living, the Fraser Institute’s report suggests they are on the right track to EVENTUALLY meet or exceed our standards of living.
“They have higher economic freedom, but you need many many years of economic freedom,..”
And what guarantee is there that those years and years won’t come hand in hand with all the same subsequent problems we’re currently facing?
For me personally, I’m resigned to paying my periodic bribes to the king in the form of taxes and registrations and then just going about my business unmolested 90+% of the time. I think that greasing someone’s palms is an inescapable universal modus operandi.
I am not an ex-pat, nor do I play one on T.V. Several of my freinds are ex-pats and show up at my door step when looking for meaningful work or are just tired of their adopted countries. We spend time discussing this option. Some of the things we talk about,
1. What do you do, where do you go, when the country no longer welcomes foreigners?
2. What do you do when their economy, or your personal economy, goes T.U. and the money runs out? Especially important if your presence is tolerated because of bribes or input to local economies.
3. Do you have skills (medical, engineering etc) that the country will always need/welcome?
4. Where do you go when the NWO, United Nations (insert favorite group) or the U.S. shows up and decides this nice little country needs to be brought into line with the rest of the world?
That said, you might consider Cambodia, cost of living is cheap, they still like americans, they have had and recovered from their SHTF event (the Khmer Rouge) and there is still lots and lots of jungle to roam and get lost in.
I see nothing at all wrong with bailing out of this country. I’m just a little to old and ornery to bother with it myself. I’ll take what comes, when it comes, and not get too worried about it otherwise.
Claire… if you head South, keep plenty of US friends on your Sat phone and keep this song in mind:
As the old saying from WW2 goes ” It is better to die with friends than to live with strangers.” I would rather stay in America and work to change this nation than bail on it. That is until its time to retire.
If America is one giant collectivists third world nation by the time i hit my Golden Years, then thats it, game over, im out of here. Ill be headed for Galts Gulch,Chile ( Yes, there really IS a Galts Gulch) and never look back.
Thats the view from here.
The suggestion of living in Argentina is interesting… I have to friends from there who are BEGGING me to help them escape. And therein lies the rub. If you have money you’ll be welcome anywhere. As long as you can afford to pay the local freight life will be good anywhere. If not it will be bad anywhere. I have an acquaintance, Libertarian in the extreme, who calls America, “an historical pervert” something that rarely comes along and can’t be allowed to flourish… particularly by its own elites, who are reminded daily of how unimportant they are in a country of free men. I want to die in bed from too much of life’s finer things, not tired, dirty and ill fed, at the hands of some government stooge. However, the risk is worth it some times.
A friend of mine with extensive experience of Latin American language, culture, politics, and laws offers a warning that may be worth considering for all would-be expats: you’re an obvious and easy target.
If things get bad in your host country, you’re easy to scapegoat – or simply expropriate, since all Americans are rich, right? And that’s not just for the government, but by interest groups, “reform” movements, and just plain mobs.
If things get bad in the US … the same considerations apply. If the USG becomes (more overtly) oppressive, the host government (or, again, some other faction) wants to ingratiate itself with the US, you’re a target. If the US govt implodes, which I believe is already happening, the aforementioned suspects will regard you as an easy target. Or easier, inasmuch as even today, if you’re an average schmuck the US will be unlikely to lift a hand for you unless there’s political capital to be gained.
Unlike my friend, I don’t think these considerations render expatriation a complete no-go. For example, a PT might be able to deal with them, if she’s sufficiently alert and prepared to bolt – and has someplace safer to bolt to. Another way to go is to marry into a local family … which however carries a lot of baggage, notably the social obligations one assumes, which can be onerous and not always obvious in advance.
I think one should keep as many options open as possible.
My own major concern is how bad things will get before the final breakdown of the USG occurs. I prefer to stay. If I can. (And I agree with Kent, above.)
Claire, I’m with Kent and the others on this one (not saying that’s necessarily for you, of course). It may be a matter of ‘the devil you know,’ but my experience, resources and networks are here, for better or worse. If things go to hell, I’ll expect to die on my feet, but I’ll do it on my own terms.
And if you need a bug out location, you know where I am. 🙂
@Victor, I have heard your friend’s comment many times. However, if one actually studies the history of the region one finds that expropriation of foreigners or even scapegoating them has happened very rarely, and only under leftist dictatorships. Chavez in Venezuela, Castro in Cuba and Ortega in Nicaragua come to mind.
There are many Latin American countries which have a long tradition of welcoming immigrants. Even when things have gotten bad in those countries they have not taken it out on the foreigners. Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay and Costa Rica are all good examples of this.
There are other factors to consider, and those factors keep me away from Argentina and Peru, among others, but xenophobia is not a characteristic of these societies.
On the topic of bribes, I paid a few when I first arrived and was clueless, but not since then. The people we have helped settle here have not paid any (that I know of).
I understand the need to escape what is about to come. The problem is there is no place safe. This beast that is the american government has proved it is ready, willing and able to murder the population of the world to establish the one world order with its rulers at the helm. or so they wish. they will expand and encompass the globe. There is no place safe, no where to run to, no place to hide from this evil. unlike nazi germany, it is global. not regional. it will not stop until it has the entire world enslaved. Expat to another country might work for a short time but not for long. as has been seen and reported on. This monster creates its own puppet governments everywhere. it overthrows or replaces slave master (rulers) at its whim. how long before the new and improved country of safety becomes not so safe? how long before the drones come with their bombs bursting in air? that is my opinion. its free so take it for what its worth.
I’m just going to reiterate my theory that Alaska would provide the best of both worlds. It’s remote enough to be left alone, while still providing the advantages America still offers.
If you can adapt to the cold.
It also depends on what you are. If you are disabled, then you are better off living in America where the infrastructure, no matter how forced, is better for you to live with.
Also if things get bad enough, well, they may not harm you or throw you out but you may find living day to day difficult.
Not even Canada is an option. Unless you’re willing to live in the Yukon, quietly. My Mandarin isn’t good enough to hide in China, either. And I doubt I could ship my preps in… without them being thoroughly searched and confiscated.
I can sympathize, with hoping there’s still some place to “run to”. But the America I’m looking for, still exists in the small communities and how those people treat each other. It’s being “transformed” in the more urban areas – and overall, and in general across the country – what we “remember” is going to require being re-created; re-built.
So, I’m digging in. Going to start keeping my head down. Tend my own garden; mind my own business – help my neighbors. Be ready to defend what’s mine and help those that need it.
I suppose moving to a third world country is doable if you are the type who can pack everything into a couple of suitcases and hit the road. Most of us older folks don’t fit that description. I have several tons of machine tools that just won’t fit in a suitcase. These are what I use to resist the encroachment of my freedom to own and use certain items. I would be loathe to live without them. Those like me might be better served by moving to some rural area, integrating into the local tribe and resisting the State as best we can. We live in interesting times.
Lots of empty space left in Wyoming. We speak English… nobody to bribe. Good neighbors and quite a few nice small towns.
Bring your machines, Woody. You’ll really enjoy our gun shows. 🙂
Here is my tribe… Free State Wyoming http://www.freestatewyoming.org/
Photo of the view from my back deck: http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/images/mama/wysunset.jpg
Oh, and we do too have trees…
I have pondered this thing for some time now. Pretty much decided that its not for me for about 3 reasons.
1. Although I sometimes feel like a foreigner here (specially in the seats of power), I am not a foreigner. I *hate* being a foreigner.
2. I’m getting old. Oh not feeble old, but old enough so that there is considerably less time left than I have lived. I know the system here….know where things are, and how to get things.
3. Last and not least, Up in New England there are a couple of graveyards that hold the mortal remains of 7+ generations of ancestors. They have fought in every war that the US ever engaged in, including the first revolution, and the second revolution (proud to say that one fought on the side of the gray in that second one, despite being from New England..)
I ‘ll be damned if I will let the thieving treasonous muckspouts take this place without a fight. The older I get, and the more they take away, the less I have to lose.
I believe that one reason they are so hot to take away guns at this time is because of that last. When the structure and financial crutches collapse, there will be many folk with nothing left to lose. There is absolutely nothing more dangerous than someone who is armed who has nothing to lose. Imagine the weekly Greek riots with AR-15s.
Interesting comments. I wonder how closely they parallel those in the past who Didn’t leave other countries to come here? Perfectly?
Especially the guy with the large machinery. I cannot count the number of very old and very Huge machines I’ve operated that have come from ‘the old country’. How they got there? I imagine it was a lot like the way they found their way on to Mexico and places like that, some even to China.
I saw the map of the unitedstate empire today, the one showing the 100 mile Constitutional-free zone, where the zone covered entire states such as florida and other smaller states out east. It seems safe to say; the Constitution is lost, the law is dead, and freedom and liberty are elusive and unpopular. Same as it ever was. ?
Yup, The Moon IS Down.
Now I ponder the meaning of a form which states that by signing the form a Person gives consent to accept Whatever the doctors determine is the best thing to do.
WHo-the-F signs something like that?
The receptionist downplayed the meaning of the document entirely and said it was no big deal, yet the doctor refused to see anyone who wouldn’t sign the form. Funny that.
It looks like a common practice. ?
It’s also likely the reason that woman was on the run from the ‘law’ for refusing to allow her child to undergo chemotherapy.
At the time I wondered why the judge ordered it so.
Now I think I know why. She signed the form.
And in the interest of lowering costs, under obama-scare, will this same form be used on everyone, only enrollment is automatic?
I mean, the goberment cannot afford to have People ignoring their doctors advise, costs will rise.
If everyone followed their doctors advise, everyone would be happy and healthy and everything would be in the black,… so let it be so? And then they begin by giving everyone a free physical. ? And then… ?
Is this why the anti-self-defense rush/push is so, all-of-a-sudden?
Also, have you heard that the lowest obama-scare plan (the bronze plan) cost $20,000 per year? What’s that going to do to People who are on the financial edge and living from paycheck to paycheck? What is that, half the adults?
No wonder the goberment is not processing income tax returns yet, or so I’ve read. They’ve got some kinks to work out first, and or they just don’t have the money to pay out yet?
Some People say staying is the ‘safer’ and ‘better’ move, in light of everything and where everything seems to heading, I wonder about that line of thinking.
If I go there will be trouble.
If I stay it will be double.
Yo me frio o lo sophlo?
Si me voi – va ver peligro
For what it’s worth.
Struggling Caribbean islands selling citizenship
Turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has led to a surge of interest in programs that let investors buy citizenship or residence in countries around the world in return for a healthy contribution or investment. Most are seeking a second passport for hassle-free travel or a ready escape hatch in case things get worse at home.
I’ve got too many children, grand children and now great grand children to bug out on. Any way I’m terrible at new languages.
We’re in Alaska and there are advantages and disadvantages to Alaska. Cost of living is high. Try putting an Alaskan zip code on a catalog order for hardware or figure the cost of a 250 mile run to the city if you can’t get it local. We do have a large presence from BLM, National Park Service and some Native Corporation security but mostly if you stay under the radar its no problem. Gardening takes some work and season extension techniques for many plants. I would never go back to New York State.
The above comments are for the rural road system, If you think Bush you are really in the third world.
“Like Harry Truman of Mt St Helens fame I’ll just watch as the world ends.”
At the time, I didn’t understand Harry’s attitude. Now that I’m older myself, and becoming more tired and cranky, I finally understand. No matter what, I’m staying. It does help that things are pretty much OK in my corner of the world – so far.
Without mentioning all the comically ridiculous personal facts to prove it, sometimes it’s nearly impossible to move 3 STATES away….not to mention it’s expensive to move, period – anywhere….One of the states I’d go thru on the way is WY and I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if I end up there instead…..
As long as USG doesn’t want to oppress me personally badly enough, I can be free right here. If ever that changes, I doubt I could be free anywhere else.
I think Kent, TN James, and Victor have nailed it. If things go seriously into the pot, being the local expat is NOT likely to be the best of positions to be in. Furrieners in general get the hairy eyeball (look at how Latins are treated in this neck of the woods) and it doesn’t take too many people with a grudge and no chance of penalty for their actions to turn your dream retreat into a nightmare. And that’s just here at home, where I speak the language and have boomsticks – Ghu forbid what might happen outside the US.
Trying to convey this thought, most here seem to think the lyrics to The Clash song are reversed, the trouble will be double for leaving, while the double for staying is simply trouble.
Are countries more likely to mirror the unitedstate mega-police state if they do not currently spend significant amounts of money on such?
Or, are things more likely to get worse in a country that’s already a mega-police state?
This comment kind of expresses it too:
Badger on February 13, 2013 at 8:26 pm
After 10 years in Wyoming I can honestly say I don’t think it’s in any way more “free” than California. If you move to a rural area anywhere in the US you’ll experience enhanced “freedom” simply because there are fewer enforcer per square foot. This is why Wyoming has such a good reputaiton. It isn’t because it’s more “free” in a statutory sense, it’s just less densely populated. Spend a few years in Jackson, I think you’ll find it’s a whole lot different than living a few miles outside Powell.
There are still plenty of places in California that don’t have masters micromanaging your life. It’s not about laws and regulations, everyplace has more of those than they need. It’s about how much money they have to enforce them and the population density. Don’t expect to live in Marin and have anything close to freedom. The same can be said for Wilson or Cheyenne.
I wonder if candle-stick makers and butchers agree with that assessment?
Will drones change that much?
How is the theme of; ‘Three Felonies A Day’ different from the theme of; natives in certain other countries attacking the foreigners there?
Seems like the latter happens much less often. Much.
The reason it’s such a tough decision is that the knowledge that one MUST get out, comes for most people slightly too late. Many of us are descendants of the fewer who were prescient.
That may not be any answer, but at least it frames the question properly. Personally I think the Good Guys are gonna win this one, but if not, I can tell you when to get out—BEFORE. In that event, you won’t care if it was one month too early or five years.
At this stage, one thing is certain for the USA—it ain’t stayin’ like this.
We spent 3 years not long ago quasi legal in Central America. That status was always a low level worry. Making the visa run every 90 days was always a hassle.
We also had two dogs. We couldn’t leave them because our deal was a forever home for them. So they had to come too.
Having them was the single most constant worry. Latins don’t think of dogs the same way we do. I guess because they live so close to the bone themselves. So their safety was always a concern. They poison dogs and in general treat animals badly. Something I will never forgive their culture for.
What would happen if everything went to hell? Probably nothing very good. In Mexico but there is a burnt out destroyed hacienda in Batopilas of a rich gringo who was down there being a rich gringo during the revolution.
I always kind of liked being a foreigner. Something about being there but not a part of the struggle wherever you were . I have about ten years total time in various third world countries on my own dime.
People aren’t really the same unless most everyone is above poverty level. If you are in a country like we were, where 2 percent of the population owns 80 percent of the country and the 98 percent live in grinding poverty then it’s a different game. There is reason to be a little uneasy at times.
I have finally decided that it’s better to fight it out here. Here being a rural western state with a low population density. I know the culture, I speak the language fairly well and I am better armed here than there.
“I have finally decided that it’s better to fight it out here.”
So generally speaking, that means there will be fighting everywhere?
Why is that?
I have no idea whether there will be literal fighting anywhere. What I said was meant to convey that there is struggle in life. Spiritual, avoiding the depredations of the parasites or whatever.
I would also add that many of the expat schemes are people who got in on the ground floor. They are money making schemes and you won’t be the one making money. They charge gringo prices.
Typically they are an American who marries local. The local knows the culture, language and laws. The American knows how to promote.
There isn’t much mobility in Latin America so families have been there forever and are all interconnected. Just something to keep in mind.
I knew an Ameican woman who was trying to sell her business in Central America. Reading the write up in International Living you would have thought it was perfect. Wonderful place, full of happy campesinos and muy tranquillo, perfect weather, cheap living blah blah.
Only trouble I knew her and the place had broke her.
There is more freedom on balance in Latin America. Some of the crazy expats we knew would have definitely been locked up in the states.
I don’t mind the bribery system. It always worked out okay and was cheap.
Pretty much everything is for sale.