It’s not your duty to prop up a corrupt and immoral system.
In fact, it might be your duty to deny it your support.
That was the main message of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (although it took her about 23,000 times as many words to say it).
In Atlas Shrugged, the very capable and productive Dagny Taggart couldn’t leave America behind. She slaved away to support the masses and the politicians even as they ridiculed and hated her for it.
Escaping to “Galt’s Gulch” and leaving all the parasites behind should always be an option on the table. In this secret and shielded valley, everyone works for their own benefit and the benefit of those they trade with.
Today, so many people put so much stake in who is President and what the majority of Americans will vote for every two years. They are hopelessly drawn into the gravitational pull of the system. And they don’t consider escape an option.
Some say it’s cowardly to run away from “our” problems, rather than staying, sacrificing, and fighting for “American values.”
Why not just take your American values, and go somewhere you can actually practice them?
The American dream will always exist. It just might not always exist in America.
What are American values anyway?
I understand the desire to restore something that was once so great to all its prior glory.
But there really isn’t much agreement on what American values really are…
From the very beginning, events like the US government’s response to the Whiskey Rebellion stomped all over the Constitutional rights literally just enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
And just after the Civil War Lysander Spooner observed that “[The Constitution] has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it.”
I don’t really think perpetuating “American values” rests on restoring the Constitution. I do think it was a pretty good founding document and helped create the most prosperous nation ever.
But American values to me are all about fresh starts. That how New England was settled. Roger Williams set the standard for the new world when he first left England in search of religious freedom.
When he didn’t find it in the established settlements in Massachusetts, Williams left (read: fled) and founded Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. The settlement lived peacefully with the Native Americans, championed religious tolerance, and became a haven for “outcasts” who wanted personal freedom.
The Founders of the United States of America didn’t stay in England and try to bring back common law and separation of powers. They went somewhere else and started new. They combined elements of the old, from Rome to England, with a new style of governance.
And those are the American values that are important. Always striving to create something better, while starving the tyrants of your support.
Government is a product. If you’re not happy with the product, you have to stop supporting it.
Easier said than done when it comes to government. We can’t simply opt-out of the taxes and say no thank you to its services.
But you can, for instance, move abroad, and earn over $100,000 a year tax-free with the foreign earned income tax credit. You will find many ex-pat communities resemble Galt’s Gulch. They end up enriching the entire area of their new homeland and spreading free market values all over the globe.
By the end of the year, I plan to move to Puerto Rico. There self-employed, independent contractors, consultants, and owners of export service businesses can pay just 4% tax to Puerto Rico, and absolutely zero to the IRS.
There are more exit options every day. The market for alternatives is only growing– it has been since 1776.
And it’s about more than refusing to fund the corrupt and parasitical US government. This is about finding a place to live your life how you see fit, surrounded by people who build you up, instead of tear you down.
To me, those are American values. They are worth fighting for. And they will flourish around the globe, with or without the USA.
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