This weekend, I aired a radio interview with libertarian icon Adam Kokesh.
Adam was arrested earlier this year attending a rally against the police state, and has been arrested for civil disobedience before. I asked him what he thought about the idea that his mostly younger followers should be moving overseas to find their own source of freedom.
Here’s what he had to say:
“Whether you like it or not, it’s just the force of nature reaction to what’s happening. People follow opportunities, whether it’s deliberate or not, whether it’s politically conscience or not. It’s happening.”
Indeed, it is happening.
Approximately six million Americans already live outside of the country. You’d think the federal government could get an exact number, considering how refined their “estimates” are when you owe them money or don’t play by their rules. But that number has been getting larger.
Adam talked about the liberty movement and how many American libertarians are moving overseas, and especially moving to South America. South America makes for an interesting case study.
The so-called “pink tide” of leftist government there – 3 in 4 South Americans lived under a leftist government just a few years ago – would make you think the whole place is a giant freedom suck. However, that’s often not the case.
One of the more free places in the world right now is Chile. After years of leftist madness, they’ve seen the light. They rank above the United States in economic freedom.
They have a separate currency that indexes with inflation and is used in many large transactions. Chile lets you incorporate a business for free. They even give select start-ups grants to move there and spread their entrepreneurial spirit.
They want to encourage free enterprise. Imagine that.
Paraguay is another example. Despite some interesting power scuffles between ruling parties in recent years, it’s still a favorite place of many Europeans to retire, especially Germans. (It’s also a great place to get a second passport.)
I have a friend in Paraguay who has run a small business for over five years without completing one of the government’s paperwork requirements. They make some of the forms difficult, and even require many small businesses to hire a bookkeeper.
When my friend didn’t get this one piece of paperwork back right before his business was set to open, he went forward anyway. Now, he receives an annual visit from government agents who try to scare him… and then they just go away.
Contrast that with The Land of the Free where people have had been fined millions of dollars by oppressive agencies like the EPA for wanting to build on land with a few rare duck eggs on it.
I’ve seen first hand how even in places as far-flung as Mongolia, governments don’t get in your way nearly as often as they do in the west. My friend Chris Tell said that to open a bakery in Mongolia, you simply lease some space and start baking.
No EPA, Weights and Measurements Board, Bureau of Economic Welfare, or other bureaucracy to contend with.
Just get right to work.
The same is true is frontier markets in southeast Asia, namely Cambodia.
Some governments print lots of currency so as to have endless resources to put into enforcing stupid laws. Others don’t.
As Adam Kokesh said, “people who want to be left alone go where the freedom is”.
Just as water seeks it’s own level, freedom-seeking people seek their proper level, as well. If you’re an American, chances are very high your ancestors moved to the country from somewhere else. They didn’t stay and fight.
It wasn’t because they were in the now-romantic situation of having little money and not being able to find work. While that was true for some, others were quite wealthy and simply tired of bowing before a king.
That’s exactly why Adam and I agree; the next great movement of people will be talented, already successful people. Entrepreneurs. Innovators.
Adam and I have friends who are in such a position and have packed their bags. It’s why I spend little time in the United States and wouldn’t want to spend that much time in many other western police states, either.
Adam’s example of South America is very telling because that is where much of the world’s economic growth is occurring. Many people in Spain are leaving for Uruguay and Paraguay in particular, where cost of living is lower and they can find work much more easily than the 50%+ unemployment rates for young people in urban Spain.
They’re not going because they hate Spain; they’re going because they’ve been pushed.
While the drug war is an issue in Mexico, it’s been amazingly sensationalized. Little gets more attention in the American media than it and the comings-and-goings of the Kardashians. The media claims drug cartels are “defending their turf”, when it reality, they’re fighting for their ability to get products to consumers.
It’s the government that wants to preclude the latter.
However, the chance that the average Mexican will see violence in their daily lives in pretty low. Yet Mexicans are being harassed by a government working under the direction of Uncle Sam and his dollars to wipe out a business that sells plants that grow freely.
If you’re white, not so much. They figure you’re not part of the problem.
Meanwhile, the US intelligence community works to keep Mexico’s economy down so as to maintain its influence over the country and perpetuate its own silly War on Drugs that has failed by any measure. However, as the dominance of the United States wanes, Mexico’s economy has picked up. Opportunity is becoming more and more prevalent there.
By many standards, net migration from Mexico to the US is negative – meaning more Mexicans are leaving the US to go home than are entering.
Yes, the police are rather corrupt in many areas, but they are also less prevalent in many areas. If you like to be left alone, you have a better chance of finding that in Mexico than the United States, where I can’t drive barely a mile to the grocery store without running into the cops – and my part of town is very safe.
Most importantly, however, is that Mexico is run by a government that wants to pick winners and losers. They’re all for keeping the drug business going, but they want it run by “their guys”. Kind of like how the US government picks winners and losers – and punishes the losers – in energy, automobiles, banks, food, and pharmaceuticals. Only the US government has a self-styled standing as “world’s most important nation” to back it up, whereas Mexico does not.