Dateline: Mexico City, Mexico
You would think you were in the United States.
My drive through Mexico City’s Reforma and Polanco districts shows just how much wealth is in Mexico City. Small condos in the nicest neighborhood in town can easily go for $750,000 or even upwards of $1 million.
The city’s upscale neighborhoods are clean, feature spacious parks, and offer endless shopping and dining in the way only a truly international city can offer.
When you compare Mexico City’s crime statistics to those of, say, Chicago, it’s ridiculous. Mexico is safer than many large cities in The Land of the Free.
It would be an understatement to say that the western media has unfairly tarred and feathered Mexico in an effort to convince people to be petrified of coming here. But since every good government propagandist needs a boogeyman, Americans have been taught that Mexico is a horrible place where they’ll get their head blown off before they even leave the airport.
Freedom in Mexico is far better than that of the United States. I’ve known that for some time. The two don’t even compare.
However, I have noticed a few differences between Mexico City and the rest of the country that warrant consideration and may serve as an important lesson if you wish to maximize freedom abroad.
Where to go to maximize your freedom
In many parts of Mexico, there are few rules. You can live as you please with very little government regulation or silly rules getting in your way.
Mexico City is also rather free when you compare it to places like New York. Unlike Times Square, which looks like a total police state with obnoxious law enforcement every few feet, Mexico City doesn’t have a huge police presence at every turn.
And you can still walk down the street with a cocktail like a civilized human being without being thrown in a jail cell.
That said, if you want total freedom, you have to live away from a nation’s capital.
Think about it: a nation’s capital is home to most of the morally bankrupt bureaucrats who pass down edicts for the rest of us to follow. That attitude permeates throughout the local culture, putting everyone on edge.
For example, the city government recently started to regulate vendors in it’s largest public park. Before, anyone could come and hawk their wares at the park. Now, the government requires vendors to obtain a permit and rent their approved carts.
That’s practically unheard of in the rest of Mexico. And there are plenty of nice places to live in Mexico, as I’ll be writing about in the next few days. Americans, in particular, have flocked to cities all across the country.
In Mexico City, bars are more cautious about checking IDs out of concern for a visit from the local authorities. I’ve been told, however, that in the rest of Mexico no one cares. People get treated like adults.
Mexico City is more statist and less free than Puerto Vallarta or Acapulco or any of the beautiful, smaller towns like Merida.
If you want total freedom — to be left completely alone by the government — you have to get far away from its stomping grounds.
Opportunities to maximize freedom worldwide
There are plenty of countries where the government is so disorganized and has so few resources that it has little ability to cause problems for people — even in the capital. For example, I don’t think I saw the police during my entire two weeks in Nicaragua, even though I spent most of my time in the capital city of Managua.
In the Philippines, Manila is a relatively free place where people sell things on sidewalks and in the streets and people largely do as they please. But it pales in comparison to a city like Davao or any of the small towns on lesser islands around the country. I doubt anyone in those cities has even heard of the word “permit”.
Compare that to a country such as The Land of the Free where a commitment to growing an immense police state, combined with the ability to print endless amounts of money, has left virtually no corner of the country free from endless regulation.
In the US, kids can’t even start a lemonade stand in the suburbs of Dallas anymore.
My experience in Mexico City shows that going to an emerging country where there are plenty of nice areas to live is a great strategy to increase your personal freedom (and stretch your dollar in many cases).
However, to maximize your freedom, you have to get out of the way of the government bureaucracy that infects everything around it.
Getting away from your home in the US or western Europe — where the government has convinced everyone it’s on their side — and to a more free country like Mexico is a good start. From there, it’s important to know that you can easily find places to live exactly the way you want.
Tyranny, like all other bad things, radiates outward from the center of government in the capital.