I want to provide a counterpoint to AmEx’s letter about the futility of permanent expatriation.
I too have taken a job overseas, after much effort, and am establishing myself permanently in a particular country in Asia. I agree with AmEx that renouncing one’s US citizenship is probably a bit much, I think he severely underestimates the danger that the US government will (I believe) present to it’s citizens. While I am still a US citizen, my wife, who earns all our non-salary income privately, and our children are not. This is something we worked out years ago to limit the reach of my government into our lives.
America was indeed founded on the principles enumerated in the Constitution and Declaration, but to our current government, many of those principles are dead letters to the very body entrusted with defending them – as surely as the Nazis rejected the principles of Frederick the Great and Bismarck and Tojo and his cabal rejected the liberal Taisho democracy that Japan enjoyed prior to WWII. We are far down that slippery slope. Were civilization to implode due to a catastrophic event and the government to cease to exist, perhaps the Redoubt option would be the best for everyone. I subscribe to the slow-burn theory that the government, like cockroaches, will be the last entity standing in almost any event and will present more and more of a strangulation menace to the few remaining “others” (Christians, producers, landowners, etc) the worse the situation gets. One only has to look at the numerous examples of super-state (multi-cultural, vast landmass, centrally controlled) emergence in the 20th century (China, Germany, USSR) to realize that, despite political rhetoric to the contrary, the America is not longer “exceptional.”
To believe otherwise is to ignore the repeated Biblical examples of a Godly nation (Israel) turning to wickedness, losing God’s favor and being subsumed by tragedy, to the fatal detriment of even the most righteous citizens. Two examples of emigration also stick out in my mind: that of Joseph and many of his kin being called to Egypt after their land was blighted and of Jesus’ parents after tyranny descended on their land. Yes, I am aware that Joseph’s descendants were eventually enslaved and Jesus’ family eventually returned home but the message is clear that strategic withdrawal is not un-Biblical or unpatriotic (a concept which is not part of Biblical Christianity anyhow, as Jesus’ answer to the Caesar tax question demonstrates).
Perhaps not unremarkably, my plan of action is similar to AmEx’s in that I too am preparing a homestead in the Redoubt for my parents and other family members, because, like many, they cannot or will not leave the place of their birth (now I am also reminded of Lot’s wife). As an aside, the BIA and IHS are always looking for highly skilled people and you get to work with some very resilient people who have been on the edge of consumer society for a long time, earning good money, safely ensconced in the Redoubt area.
We are preparing in-place. We have settled in a country that is very used to the deprivations of war and occupation (but now seem to be safely past that) and whose rural folk are much closer to their pre-Industrial roots that even those of the US. We have sourced a military-engineered hardened structure and, proximately, lots of cheap, arable land with helpful neighbors in a culture which values solidarity and politeness as the highest virtues. We feel safe, we are safe, as safe as one can be, but not all our family will join us, hence the Redoubt plan for our family. I am a big fan of the Redoubt idea but I am more frightened of what the government is becoming and much less sanguine about the prospect of libertarian improvement than AmEx.
I will close by reminding readers that almost without exception, our relatives came to the US or colonies fleeing economic oppression or political tyranny. Were they bad people or unpatriotic? No. They were survivors – the namesake of this blog. Many of their relatives who stayed in place died in the ensuing wars, like all of my French great grandmother’s male cousins in WWI, or starved to death, like all of our Irish relatives from County Cork (the non-emigrating branch died out completely as far as we can tell), or our Scottish relatives whose lands and claims to culture were stripped from them during the Highland Clearance – their only recourse to subsistence was to be conscripted into British wars of empire. Our descendants all left – some chose the “right” country: the US; some chose the “wrong” country: South Africa, Mexico, or Cuba. Survival is hard – you must learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. Survival is sad – you must leave others behind. Survival is the only way to carry on the torch of freedom, birthed by our Founding Fathers, after the flame has been extinguished in the country they founded, 200 years hence. Freedom and devotion to God isn’t a geographical space, it is the philosophical space in which you raise and care for those closest to you. – J.T.