Imagine a place where you could move freely across boarders, shopping for a government much like you would shop for a car. It’s not just about the costs or the color. You want choices and you want to pick the one that’s perfect for you. You may well be thinking, “Isn’t that the United States?”
Once upon a time you would have been correct. However, as time has gone on, this buyer’s paradise has come under attack. Weather it’s Bush’s centralization of the public school system or Obama’s centralization of the health care system, the idea of a union of states called the United States of America has been moving step-by-step into one single state: The USA.
With each bill signed by the President and each Supreme Court ruling, the sovereignty and identity of the individual states are becoming obsolete. The individual states have been relegated to nothing more than a border where you can choose your tax bracket and gun rights. None of which matters as the ever increasing federal government has continually taken more of this into their own hands. The federal government now taxes you and rewards your individual states if they are good little boys and girls. You may be able to shave 3 or 4% off your taxes by moving from one state to another, but that’s peanuts when the federal government is taking up to 40% or more of your income through it’s various means.
But this goes far beyond tax brackets and financial planning. Think of the legal situation where you live. Once relegated mainly to the states, the federal government now has thousands of criminal laws that you may or may not even know exist. How about the cultural situations? Has the federal government gotten more and more involved in speech codes and applying your right to free speech as they see fit? Ultimately, do you really still feel like you’re shopping for the best deal when you consider moving from one state to another? This is a timely topic considering the recent reports that American expats renouncing their citizenships has jumped six fold.
So The Question Becomes… How can you continue to have options? How can you still vote with your feet? How can you regain federalism in your life?
I’m going to assume that most people reading this already travel or want to travel. That’s really the first step. Get out there and see the world for what it is, not for how it’s portrayed on television. Get to know some places and cultures and get a feeling for what you would want if you had unlimited options. There’s a good chance you may never find absolute perfection, but start looking for it. You never know how close you could get.
The second step is, once you’ve figured out what you’re looking for… find it! As you experience different regions of the world, certain aspects will stand out as generalized for you. The differences between Costa Rica and Colombia may be stark, but they’re nothing compared to the differences between Costa Rica and the UAE. Just start figuring out which regions are generally most inline with your own desires. Then start looking more locally at specific countries.
The third step is to become a part of the community. This doesn’t mean you need to live in your new found land all the time, but spend enough time there to build a network of friends. Getting a long term visa would be a great way to ensure you won’t be reduced to spending only a limited time in the country, but more importantly it establishes you for later down the line if you decide to actually live.
Finally, if you’ve found that place that you think you could call home, start working on a dual citizenship. I’m not saying you need to run off and ditch the motherland right away, but these things can take time and the point is to have options available to you.
We may not be on the brink of the Weimar Republic just yet, but we have some serious issues in the U.S. and Europe that could effect every single resident of those countries. It’s your responsibility to take care of yourself (and family if applicable) and keeping regional options open may just be one of the best things you can do. Don’t wait until you have no options left. In fact, this may be one of the best ways to let our leaders (and fellow voters) know that we like having options and will find a way to have them despite their efforts to create a totally centralized government.