I got some email tonight:
I figure I’ll write you this e-mail because something was bugging me about the article you wrote. I believe that all human beings, no matter what nationality they are have the right to think and believe what they want to. It should be an inalienable right, because it’s one of the few things that makes us a human being. But my main question is that if you think the government is so bad, why you don’t just leave the country. Drive up to Canada, or down to Mexico, and live there? You won’t have to pay taxes to the US anymore, but I think you may not want to give up the freedoms you are using in writing this article. In most countries, writing an article like this would get you jail time, or worse, death for treason. I’m not 100% sure if that’s the way you see it, because obviously I don’t know you. If you have a problem with this country, simply leave. No one is stopping you from moving out of the country, but you need to remember that depending on where you go, you may not have the same freedoms you have here. The freedom to make choices that could be against your government, and using your voice is one thing that a lot of people in this country take for granted. And while it may seem like some use them, most of them don’t realize that this is a right that is secured by this government, and that the protests will not be suppressed by the government. In most countries, these rights, and even some of the most basic rights are not guaranteed, and are being oppressed every day.
This is one of the reasons why we fight, to secure the rights for others that it seems so many Americans take for granted. And this is another reason why so many countries have animosity towards us, because even though we use the rights, usually the people exercising the rights aren’t completely educated (i.e., the war protesters saying we are attacking Iraq for oil), or simply because too many Americans don’t care about exercising these rights. I’m not placing you in any of these categories, but I am interested in your thoughts on these issues.
Your main question is: “If you think the government is so bad, why don’t you just leave the country?”
The answer depends on the spirit in which you are asking the question. If you are just asking whether I’ve considered relocating to another country as a way of living on less money, avoiding support of the U.S. government, getting out from under the thumb of Uncle Sam, spending my suddenly large bank of free time by traveling, and so forth — I have considered this and am considering it. I’m not too worried about threats to my freedom of expression in Mexico or Canada, but perhaps I’m naïve about this.
I don’t see the option of taking up residence in another country and paying taxes there as being much of a solution, because, as you say, in many other countries the governments are even more disagreeable than in mine.
It sounds though like what you’re really asking is this: If you hate the government so much, why don’t you leave its country — what makes you think you’re still welcome here?
The answer to this question is different. I don’t believe this country belongs to the U.S. government. I don’t believe that by “having a problem with” the government, I become less invested in the place where I was born, where I grew up and where I live. In short, I think that it’s the government that’s the problem, and that if push comes to shove it’s the government that should leave the country, not its people.