Dateline: Tbilisi, Georgia
Just two years ago I wrote about the erosion of freedom in the Land of the Free. Today, that erosion is spreading throughout the West.
After reading the story of a man who received a fine for belching in public in Austria, I decided to take a look at recent headlines to see where freedom is under attack in the world.
If you take a second to think about it, there’s no reason for you to jump from one frying pan to another; so why plan on escaping the US just to find another Big Government, tax-happy, police state to reside in? Instead, consider countries that respect your freedom.
From the looks of some of these headlines, here are some of the countries you should avoid.
Countries where freedom is under attack
It’s bad enough that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) makes any trip to the airport a personal invasion of your privacy, but now even those within the system aren’t safe.
The TSA ranked as one of the worst federal employers last year, placing 313th out of 320. Employees are not happy, which may explain why they are always so testy at the airport.
Now, several TSA employees have come forward to expose the terrible leadership within the organization, including hiring unprepared individuals to fill important leadership positions, and the use of directed reassignments and early retirement to get rid of employees they didn’t like.
One worker was demoted and lost $10,000 from his annual salary for reporting sexual harassment at the workplace. And another got in trouble when he refused to racially profile members of the Somali community.
And don’t assume the TSA is the only place where this is happening. The disease of political correctness has infected wide swaths of the country and many people have lost their jobs for speaking out on issues.
What ever happened to freedom of speech?
Speaking of freedom of speech, Thailand is another place you’ll want to avoid if you hope to enjoy the freedom to say what you think while living abroad.
Just yesterday, police in Thailand charged eight different individuals for sedition for Facebook posts criticizing a military-backed draft constitution. These arrests are part of the Thai government’s decisive check on online dissent in the face of opposition from political groups on all sides.
Just another reminder that not every emerging country is growing in the direction of more freedom.
Turkey is another country that has taken quite a few steps back the last couple of years in terms of freedom of the press.
Six individuals from the southern province of Sanliurfa were arrested for damaging the president on social media and only one was released. Add to that the arrest and sentencing of two well-known Turkish journalists for printing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed and you have real concern for freedom of the press in this once-promising country.
One article even reported that close to 2,000 people have been brought to trial for “insulting” Erdogan in the less-than-two years that he has been president. The Turkish government has even demanded the prosecution of a German comedian who dared speak ill of the Turkish president.
And then there’s the case of the offensive belch . . .
No, Western Europe is not safe from unnecessary encroachments on freedom, either. It seems that it is now government’s job in the West to tell you where you can and cannot burp.
Edin Mehic was recently fined €70 ($77) for releasing a belch while standing close to a policeman at the city park. The crime? A “decency violation”. Mr. Mehic said he questioned the officer about why he was not picking up real criminals who were using and selling completely legal drugs, but it didn’t do him much good.
Freedom through diversification
These and other stories raise an important question about where you can go in the world to truly be free from corrupt government organization, oppressive regimes or places where “the law” has simply gone too far.
While there are places where you can live free from all those things, don’t automatically cross every country off your list. I’ve written before about how Singapore is a great place for your money, but a horrible place to live. And it still is.
Singapore has been called the “fine” city because its strict government hands out fines for just about everything. For example, one Filipino got sent to jail for six years for calling the local citizens “Stinkaporeans”.
But that’s what international diversification is all about. You don’t have to live in Singapore in order to bank there. So don’t live there. Just bank.
You don’t have to host your website in Turkey or Thailand where you’ll always have to worry about what you say. Instead, choose from the countries with the most freedom of the press or countries that provide privacy and anonymity for your website.
You still have the opportunity to enjoy greater freedom than many people even know is possible. You just have to go where you’re treated best.