The “Don’t Like the Government? Leave.” Argument

I got some email tonight:

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.

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