[Editor’s Note: The following is by TDV’s Mexico-based education correspondent, Jorge Gato]
It is time once again to give yet 15 more reasons for escaping from the United Soviet States of Amerika (USSA). The following are utterly absurd happenings in the Empire of which I muse upon from the comfort of a warm climate and peaceable surroundings abroad.
1) Police officers, who once were dignified upholders of the law, shoot people’s pets for fun.
2) The government will take away your newborn baby if you eat a poppy seed bagel, while they at the same time illegally and unethically cultivate 90% of the world’s supply of poppy seed-opium-heroin in Afghanistan.
3) The government will accidentally shoot you for holding a cell phone.
4) The government will imprison you for drawing on the sidewalk with chalk.
5) The government will, like a giant vampire squid, forcibly suck your blood.
6) The government will extort citizens by setting up fake checkpoints.
7) The government will imprison you for sarcasm.
8) The government will imprison you for wearing a t-shirt.
9) The government will chase you out of a convenience store for purchasing sparkling water, smash your car as you flee in trepidation and in lieu of honing up to their pathetic ineptitude and evil, put you in jail.
10) The government will incarcerate you for wearing too much perfume.
11) The government will classify you “terrorist” for complaining about them poisoning your water.
12) The government will record your whole life (i.e. Prism, Bonesaw, etc.).
13) The government will assassinate its own citizens and journalists for just doing their job (i.e. Michael Hastings).
14) The government will blow up a passenger plane filled with innocent civilians just for the heck of it (i.e. TWA 800).
15) The government will arm Islamic radicals who cut off the heads of Christians.
I was disturbed by the state of society upon my latest incursion into the USSA. When the average citizen forgets the meaning of Memorial Day and does not know why they celebrate Independence Day, I become nauseated and am at a total loss for words.
A new documentary called Captivated sums up a great deal wrong with American society. Additonally, a new study has come out detailing the threat of “digital dementia”. Both demonstrate the unhealthy obsession with television, computers and cell phone media, and how it is essentially dumbing down the average person and neutering the American male. Back in the USSA, I was fidgeting with someone’s home television setup and being that I don’t own a television, I inevitably screwed something up and they threw a fit and nearly had a heart attack.
I recently attended a wedding in the USSA and Americans were watching sports during the banquet instead of giving the event the attention it properly deserved. Some told me of their plans to Escape from Amerika. Others applauded with admiration my successful exile. Still others rambled incoherently.
Events surrounding the Fourth of July celebration in Boston ultimately sum everything up with a large dose of irony, so I don’t have to. The government has instilled the public with fear and prohibited them from freely celebrating freedom. Why even bother? The goose is cooked and the frog is boiled. Cryptohippie’s Paul Rosenberg recently gave a few great reasons to stop caring about politics: it’s time consuming and doesn’t change much.
Whether deciding to stay or flee, Americans can learn much from the lesson of the fig tree, which Jesus used as a parable to forecast his second coming. “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.”
I read the part on smartphone addiction with the pursed mouth and raised eyebrows of badly feigned innocence. There isn’t a more internet-addicted soul than I, good reader. And I just upgraded from my buggy, twitchy, unreliable Android to the new Galaxy S4. I feel a purer love for this wonderful device than I do for most of the humans in my personal life.
So I immediately did a quick spin around the internet for a dissenting opinion on digital dementia and found this from TGDaily.com:
It is extremely plausible that people should worry about their memories, or that doctors should find teenagers uncooperative, forgetful and inattentive. The key question is whether our memories, or teenagers’ cognitive skills, are worse than they ever have been – and if smart phones are to blame for this. The context for this story is a recurring moral panic about young people, new forms of technology and social organisation.
For a long time it was TV, before that it was compulsory schooling (“taking kids out of their natural environment”). When the newspaper became common people complained about the death of conversation. Plato even complained that writing augured the death of memory and understanding). The story also draws on the old left brain-right brain myth, which – despite being demonstrably wrong – will probably never die.
Of course, it is possible that smartphones (or the internet, or TV, or newspapers, or writing) could damage our thinking abilities. But all the evidence suggest the opposite, with year by year and generation-by-generation rises found in IQ scores. One of the few revealing pieces of research in this area showed that people really are more forgetful of information they know can be easily retrieved, but actually better able to remember where to find that information again.
This isn’t dementia, but a completely normally [sic] process of relying on our environment to store information for us. You can see the moral panic driving these stories reflected in the use of that quote about teenagers not being able to remember phone numbers. So what! I can’t remember phone numbers any more – because I don’t need to.
Aside from this quibbling defense of my internet and smartphone addiction (and as an unschooling advocate I would argue with the author of the quibble that compulsory schooling is both immoral and damaging), I have to concur with everything else Jorge wrote. The USSA…sucks.
I happened to call my good ol’ statist dad this morning to ask him about getting citizenship in our native Caribbean nation of St. Vincent. Last my dad had heard, getting Vincentian citizenship for a woman is as easy as marrying a Vincentian man (American ancap ladies looking for a really cheap and rapid path to a second passport, take note…and send us your photos). Things are a little mor complicated for non-Vincentian men marrying Vincentian women, with a little more paperwork involved, but it’s still relatively easy.
In any case, as usually happens in conversations with my father, we talked about whether or not the US was still the premier destination for economic and political freedom. Dear old Dad is from another time…when the US was the place to go, especially for productive people from African and Caribbean nations afflicted with blatantly oppressive kleptocracies. He just cannot for the life of him see the shift that has taken place in the US he has always thought of a shining light among the nation-states. The total surveillance state just doesn’t strike any fear into his heart. The imperialism…the militarized police force…the assassination of American citizens…drones proliferating in American skies…PRISM…the persecution of whistleblowers…no sweat! Dad insists that Amerika is stil lthe best of all possible tax farms.
Those of you reading this know better. Edward Snowden is finding all this out the hard way right now. He is currently looking for temporary asylum in Russia until he can fly to one of the Latin American nations that have offered him more permanent asylum. Don’t wait till you’re in Snowden’s situation. Prep your escape while the getting’s good. TDV has been recommending Asia and Latin America for years to those who are looking to beat the rush and get some distance and safety from the USSA empire.
I can haz temporary asylum?
And more than recommending, TDV has been facillitating the acquisition of second citizenships and passports to help people eventually divorce themselves from the USSA forever. You can click here to learn more about that.
Gary Gibson Editor, The Dollar Vigilante