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I am thinking about leaving the UK

NickM, Samizdata comment thread regular who gigs over at CountingCats, pretty much sums up my own views about the Tories and David Cameron at the moment. Which got me thinking: what would happen if, heaven forbid, we got another few years of Gordon Brown in Number 10?

This is all getting very ugly indeed. For a start, sterling is falling fast in the exchanges. There is, I think, more than an outside chance that if long-term government bond yields start to rise faster to attract lenders to lend, it will push the UK back into the recession from which it only recently – if you believe the data – recovered. I also think this government is quite capable of reiimposing exchange controls, which means that tourists, for example, would not be allowed to take more than a piddling amount of cash out of the UK. Of course, such a policy would not be announced in advance but imposed as an immediate measure. But it is a prospect to bear in mind. It is a bit academic in my case, but it is worth moving any spare cash you might have offshore, assuming you can do this without incurring a heavy charge. With what investments I do have, I tend to make sure that a fairly high proportion are in economies that are not heavily exposed to sterling. I am also a bit of a long-term dollar bear, given that the US also suffers from massive debt problems and that the dollar is also losing its reserve currency status, albeit slowly. I also favour commodity-backed currencies (the Australian dollar, for instance.)

Next year, I can qualify to get a Maltese passport, which, among other things, makes it easier for me to live in places such as Canada, apparently. I am going to look into this seriously. In the current environment, it pays to have a Plan B. I am lucky: as we don’t – yet – have kids, me and the missus will not have too great a trouble getting out, although I would contemplate it perhaps even more so if I did have children. I have worked abroad from time to time, so some of the logistics would not be a mystery to me. My only major reservation at the moment is that if I did move, I would not want to be too far from my parents, who haven’t been in the best of health lately and are not getting any younger.

UPDATE: Thanks for the feedback (well, most of it, anyway). First of all, my support for the freedom to migrate – as in the above instance – does not mean that I can expect to go where I like, or change the culture of the country to which I choose to live, or impose my values on such places. Which means that I do not dismiss the worries of those who have been concerned about, say, the influx of folk from very different cultures into the UK (ie, from the Muslim world). There is also the injustice, of course, of migrants taking up welfare benefits in the countries to which they enter – that clearly should stop. But such important caveats aside, as I have said, the freedom of exit is, if you think about it, the ultimate freedom as it protects other freedoms. If the situation becomes intolerable, it is glib for someone to argue that I am somehow “harming” my fellows who stay behind by leaving. If a state can ban or seriously hamper any individual from leaving a country of his birth, tht person is a serf.

One commenter by the name of Tim thinks my argument for leaving is somehow unprincipled as I will be causing, albeit in a tiny way, the very sort of problems (a falling pound, etc) that is bothering me in the first place. That argument does not convince. One might as well object to my refusing to use the services of a firm any longer because the firm will lose sales. Yet the firm, if it is run by intelligent people (big if) will react to the loss by trying to make itself more attractive. If a country is losing people and their departure is a “harm”, then surely that very fact is an incentive for countries to change course, to encourage people to enter that country rather than leave. Or take another analogy: socialists get upset by the idea of school choice because a school will be “harmed” if dissatisfied parents pull their kids out and send them somewhere else.

78 comments to I am thinking about leaving the UK

  • Tim

    So: because you’re worried about UK’s fiscal situation and the position of sterling you intend to exploit your privileged situation (“I can qualify to get a Maltese passport”) to leave the UK AND move your assets out of the UK. So you intend to – albeit in a small way – add more stress to the UK’s fiscal situation and the position of sterling – to the detriment of those that are not in your privileged situation (i.e. those without foreign passports).

    How principled.

  • gidders

    cheerio then. i’ll pay for the ticket if you like.

  • Tim,

    I’m sure Johnathan can defend himself, but the last time I looked Samizdata was a libertarian site, not a Nationalist one. If the State is trying to pauperise him, surely it’s his duty to try and pauperise it.

  • Tim,

    Are you advocating that JP should not take the benefit of his advantages, or opportunities, just because other people are in a different position?

    Do you believe other people should also refrain from taking advantage of their situations? In all circumstances?

    Are you prepared to forswear all future opportunities which may come your way?

    Really?

    Johnathan, the Gold Coast is lovely this time of year. Loads of opportunity to invest in Australian dollar denominated assets too. Ten hectares in the GC hinterland, a Queenslander style dwelling and wallabies, lorikeets and lizards all over the place.

    I guess as a married man you wouldn’t have any interest in the vast numbers of blond, tanned and bikini clad lovelies swarming the streets here.

  • Capitalist

    Ignore the first comment – Atlas is completely right to Shrug.

    You need to be careful making decisions by the state of the economy alone however. The Australian dollar for instance might be doing fine at the moment but Australian housing appears significantly overvalued (although it has done for a long time), and the Aussie economy is closely interlinked with demand for commodities from China in particular, but then the Chinese property market looks very overvalued as well so what happens if that crashes?

    Then there’s the hit to your career often involved in moving to a place where you don’t know anyone or how things work. If you’re going to make the move, better to make it sooner rather than later.

  • Tim

    Sorry I may not have been clear. I’m an anti-nationalist. It’s not as if I want ‘the state’ to be richer – that would be a very weird thing to say!

    I mean that when he attempts to ‘pauperise’ the state he will indirectly harm people – that’s all I care about. People who are less able to shift around their resources as – I guess – Jonathan is.

    Yeah I also understand this is a libertarian site – doens’t mean I can’t comment!

  • michael

    Does the EU allow member states to impose exchange controls?

  • Tim

    Countingcats,

    No, that’s not what I’m saying. There’s nothing wrong with having advantages over others.

    I is strange – I submit to you – to be so proud of acting on those advantages when (you can argue) that by doing so you are (indirectly) causing harm to others.

    Obviously we’re talking ‘harm’ in a very small way here.

    Tim

  • Barbary Ape

    I must admit the threat to leave these shores by those in the fortunate position to do so does grate a little with me too.

    It’s jealousy rather than annoyance though!

    My wife WILL NOT leave her family despite my work being a fairly sought after trade and quite ‘portable’ I led to believe.

    Maybe she’ll let us move when we’re old and retired. By then I suspect we’ll be leaving the EUSSR behind rather than the UK unfortunately.

  • Gold is up vs £ almost 6% in 2 weeks.

    Can’t think why I am now monitoring it…

  • Roue le Jour

    “Does the EU allow member states to impose exchange controls?”

    I was wondering the very same thing. Anybody know?

  • Stay and be harmed by others or leave and do harm to then. There is only so far one’s generosity can be stretched before it snaps.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Tim, so, by taking my own money – repeat, my own – out of the country, I am harming others? What gives others, including you, or whoever, the right to claim a stake in what is mine, what I have earned and had legitimately transferred to me, exactly?

    You are also making the rather obvious mistake of assuming that the wealth of a country is fixed, that if one person leaves country A for country B, that A is impoverished in some way as a result. Not necessarily, since it depends on the reason for the move. If people leave a country because it sucks, that is hardly the fault of the person who wants to live a better life and who has the gumption to make the jump. Those who fled other shitty countries can hardly be blamed for making them even shittier.

    So tell me, are you saying that anyone who has left this country for economic reasons should return to help their old fellow citizens?

  • I think JP is doing us a favour by talking about leaving, and would be doing us another favour if he did leave, if things got that bad.

    No number tells politicians more clearly that they have to shape up and stop wrecking the place better than the number of people just buggering off. People leaving is the one number that tends to signify that things are about to get better, because it just can’t be ignored or spun. The number can be lied about, of course, but big queues to get out are hard to pass off as anything else.

    It happened like this at the end of the 70s when all those movie stars upped sticks. They did us a favour too. They don’t call this “voting with your feet” for nothing.

    Voice and exit.

    Unless of course the Brown government builds a Berlin Wall around the country. But that would be pretty hard to miss also, if it worked.

    The more you have to sacrifice and risk to get out, the more dramatic it all looks, and the more obvious is the damage done by the lying bastards who did it.

    And that’s the central problem now, making it clear how much damage is being done. That’s what the Brown gang are now all busy trying to conceal.

    JP’s posting helps with this.

  • Michael Taylor

    I suspect that the change we’re all about to get massacred on is a US style global tax system. It won’t be enough to work in Asia, alas, it’ll be giving up the passport too. I’m no Atlas, but I see no reason why anyone should endure the threatened economic, financial, social and political catastrophe of the New Labour Gotterdammerung.

    Frankly, there are no good reasons to stay in the asylum if the lunatics have taken over.

  • Paul Marks

    Tim (the first one) and gidders.

    I am one of the poor people you think that J.P. would be “harming” by leaving the country.

    Perhaps you think he will not be paying taxes for my welfare benefits – accept I do not claim any (including the so called “tax credits”).

    Or perhaps you think it is just that he will not be buying stuff so making the economy weaker (and therefore having a knock effect on me – giving people less money they can go and spend in the park I work in, or whatever).

    Thank you for showing the perverted nature of J.S. Mill’s “harm principle” – if the above is what “harm” means then it is no principle for a human being.

    J.P. is not my slave – I have no right to make him work to support me.

    You have also both shown a classic ability to MISS THE POINT.

    The point is very simple – WHOEVER WINS THE ELECTION NAUGHT IS GOING TO BE DONE TO GET OUT OF CONTROL GOVERNMENT UNDER CONTROL.

    Now people who think that goverment spending “supports the economy”, or that expanding the money supply (i.e. creating the credit money bubbles that “greedy bankers” are then given the blame for) is a good idea, or that regulations “help people”, most likely do not understand why out of control government is a bad thing.

    I am not going to bother to explain matters to you – just wait and see and you will understand for yourself (real soon).

    J.P. can not save this country (him staying here will not save the United Kingdom from Brown, Cameron, Clegg and the rest of them), but he can save himself and his family.

    AND SO HE SHOULD.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    As Brian says, if more people talk about leaving, and some actually do so, then it surely turns the heat up on the government of the day. It is a fact that sometimes gets noted that hundreds of thousands of people, in many cases fairly entrepreneurial types with useful skills, have left these shores for other places.

    One of the issues that arises is that a lot of the sort of fairly enterprising people who clear off are precisely the kind who tend not to be Labour voters. I wonder why.

  • John Galt

    So you intend to – albeit in a small way – add more stress to the UK’s fiscal situation and the position of sterling – to the detriment of those that are not in your privileged situation (i.e. those without foreign passports).

    And so he should. The state imposed this situation on him and he owes the state, and the people whose votes allowed this situation to come to pass, exactly NOTHING.

    Go and to hell with the whining parasites lamenting that they will not have your treasure to feast on.

  • Tim

    Jonathan,

    Thanks for the reply. You don’t have to think the amount of wealth is ‘fixed’ in order to see what I was gesturing towards.

    Which was: you were on the one hand complaining about the fiscal situation of the govt, and also the position of sterling, whilst threatening to take both 1) move out of the country and 2) transfer your assets – which would in a small way contribute to worsening the problems that were causing you to threaten to leave. Sort of a “performative contradiction” as Habermas puts it.

    I suppose you would counter that it is the state it has created these problems for itself. I guess this depends on how long-term a view you want to take, but it’s obvious that the run-up in government debt in the short term is mostly due to a collapse in tax receipts because the private sector is on its knees – not because of mere government profligacy.

    “What gives others, including you, or whoever, the right to claim a stake in what is mine, what I have earned and had legitimately transferred to me, exactly?”

    Well, I’m not an individualist libertarian, we are not going to agree on some things.

  • Tim

    “As Brian says, if more people talk about leaving, and some actually do so, then it surely turns the heat up on the government of the day. It is a fact that sometimes gets noted that hundreds of thousands of people, in many cases fairly entrepreneurial types with useful skills, have left these shores for other places.”

    Well that’s actually a good point which I didn’t take into account – i.e. that threats like this could actually work the other way.

  • It’s also quite possible that the good people of Malta might be grateful for Johnathan’s entrepreneurialism, get up and go – and the money he”ll be spending on pea cakes and Kinnie.

    Possibly.

  • Onlooker

    Tim’s comments reinforce Johnathan’s original point. If you think you may want to get yourself and your funds out, perhaps sooner would be better than later, given some of the interesting attitudes prevalent in the UK political debate.

  • Monoi

    Tim,

    The out of control government is the one responsible for the situation. It is the one to be blamed, not the people who are made to pay for its mistakes and who do not wish to carry on doing so (and have not voted for it most probably).

    Personally, I am on the verge of having to emigrate because I am getting clobbered taxwise and enough is enough.

    What makes me really angry is that it is not something I want to do, but I am being pushed into doing it as my family has to come first.

    Lastly, what you have to realise is that money is not necessarily the main motivator (I would be a lot better off somewhere like Switzerland for example), but everything has a price. So when the difference in income between living here and elsewhere becomes substantial enough, it cannot be dismissed anymore.

  • Gareth

    Tim said:

    Which was: you were on the one hand complaining about the fiscal situation of the govt, and also the position of sterling, whilst threatening to take both 1) move out of the country and 2) transfer your assets – which would in a small way contribute to worsening the problems that were causing you to threaten to leave

    It doesn’t *have* to.

    It is not people leaving that matters but how the Government responds to it.

  • Paul Marks

    Now “Tim” is quoting Habermas – as Richard Littlejohn would say “you could not make it up”.

    J.P. – make sure to go to a country where govenrment ministers did not (in their student days) nod with agreement when Habermas was described as a great thinker by their university lecturers.

    I would say “go to a country where most college lecturers are not collectivist scumbags” but, sadly, I do not know of a large country where this is so.

    By the way on “individualism” – if someone was in favour of voluntary association (the “small platoons”) they would come to exactly the same conclusions that J.P. (so attacking “individualism” MISSES THE POINT – yet again).

    None of the major political parties are going to roll back the state – and unless the state is rolled back this country is going to go down the plug hole.

    This remains the truth – no matter how much people like “Tim” ignore it.

    It is as if all the major political groupings in Britain in the 1790′s had accepted the political principles of the French Revolution (the “Rights of Man”, as opposed to the rights of individual persons and voluntary private associations – and, contrary to so many writers, the defences of actual persons in the “Rights of Man” are not really there when one looks hard at the detailed wording).

    The French Revolution soon proved itself to be about the collectivist rights of “the people” (or rather their supposed representatives – under the doctrine that what people thought they believed was just “the will of all” rather than the true “General Will” that they “really” believed).

    Let us say that all the political groupings in Britain had accepted these doctrines – what would have been the point of Edmund Burke staying here and writing. For whom would he have been writing?

    Surely better to go over to the United States and live the last years of his life in the company of kindred spirits such as John Adams.

  • Tim

    Paul,

    um… you don’t need to put my name in quotation marks.

    Quoting Richard Littlejohn after making a jibe about me quoting someone – wow.

    you don’t need to PUT THINGS IN CAPITALS EITHER.

    Anyhow you are right – the point about individualism does miss the point. That’s why it wasn’t my main point – I was just pointing out that I am not a libertarian individualist. My argument didn’t turn on it.

  • Tim

    The real worry here is why a bunch of libertarians can’t take a few criticisms without getting all catty and starting to speak ALL IN CAPITALS…

    I guess the comments here are usually just a bit of a libertarian circle-jerk?
    :)

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Tim, you chose to start off this thread by being snarky, so if you cannot take a bit of abuse for that, then learn a few manners.

    Your argument is basically that I somehow am being a hypocrit for complaining about the crappy nature of my country and allegedly making it worse by leaving. You seem to not grasp the point that by threatening to leave, it might actually light a sufficient fire under those who choose to govern us into making a few positive changes.

    In any event, as I said, my life and what property I possess happens to be mine, and I cannot worry that I might somehow “harm” the rest of the UK by heading off for the hills.

    End of subject.

  • Tim

    It’s not just threats that do good, it’s the actual leaving. Which does a lot more good, because it has a lot more impact. Words are one thing. They can be dismissed as merely grumbling. Actually backing them up by actually leaving packs far more of a punch. And I do insist that actually leaving would be a huge – because so very eloquent – contribution to the welfare of Britain, and of all Brits who remain.

  • Tim

    Jonathan,

    I just want you to stay here so you can pay taxes and I can live off benefits. Please stay.
    :(

  • RRS

    The quality of place is probably largely determined by how people “get along together:” their modes of interactions – plus, the impacts on individual lives that result.

    Politics, economics, religions all fall very secondary to the import of those factors.

    Of course, if one confines one’s interactions, that can alter the import suggested. But, that is not likely for those who interact here – indicating the values received from interactions.

  • Alice

    Interesting discussion — especially for Libertarians.

    If Jonathan stands alone, then he should react to an overbearing disfunctional government in the State where he happened to be born by moving to some other State where the government is less oppressive. Individual decision.

    If Jonathan has many compatriots who share his concerns about their overbearing disfunctional government, they should act collectively (and violently if need be) to correct the local problem.

    The problem with the individual Libertarian approach is the spreading global tide of neo-fascists taking control of government everywhere — not just in Britain, but in the US, Canada, and eventually Malta & Australia. If Libertarians are not prepared to act collectively, then they (like the rest of us sheep) are doomed.

  • John B

    Problem with the collective, and as with socialism, is that one person or group directs it. So instead of lots of individuals reacting co-operatively through a free market of exchange, things start to get steered by the individual or group in control.
    So individual it has to stay if you want liberty. Co-operation, yes, but voluntary with no coercion whatsoever.
    Including moral coercion.
    Of course Jonathan can live where he wants. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous. (I don’t think Tim is saying that. He’s just jealous. He says so. That’s okay. So am I.)
    Regarding libertarians losing the the propaganda war to the collectivists, and communicating with the brainwashed public.
    I am firmly convinced that if libertarians simply lay hold on common sense, truth, reality, and present it simply to the people, the people will be profoundly grateful because they already know it’s true. They have just been brainwashed out of it. Their eyes will light up as they exclaim: “Of course!!”
    All you have to do is let go of any untruth and simply present the facts.

  • michael

    By the way, Mr Pearce didn’t say he was going to Malta. He said obtaining a Maltese passport would make it easier to get into Canada.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I just want you to stay here so you can pay taxes and I can live off benefits. Please stay.

    Remember, Timmy, I might think you are serious. After all, I am a simple-mimded ideologue!

    Seriously, a point to remember is that your argument about the “harm” done by emigrants to the places they leave is a bit like saying that I harm a firm if, for any reason, I choose not to buy its products any longer. That does rather ignore the reason why I stop buying the products (such as that they are expensive, shoddy, or no longer of use to me). I realise that it is outrageous to the statist mind to compare companies and countries, but I hope the point makes some sense.

    Michael, the Malta option is good both because I like Malta and because it does, as a result of a bilateral agreement, grant the freedom to go to places like Canada. In general, the more options a person has to live in different countries, the better.

  • Russtovich

    Tim,

    Are you still living in the same town where you grew up, went to school etc.? If not, did you move elsewhere for a different job?

    If so, how can you live with yourself knowing that you have deprived the town left behind of valuable taxes/revenue to assist those less fortunate still living there?

    Tsk, tsk. :)

  • Jonathan,

    You are making the right decision, stick with it.

    My wife and I recognized that the UK was bankrupt back in 2007 and have spent the time since then moving out of the UK (additional passports, new home in a foreign locale, new local Id, driving licenses, bank accounts, etc.).

    All told the move has cost about £20,000 GBP thus far, so it is not an immediate payback to reduce taxes or such.

    However, the freedom is exhilerating. I still watch UK politics from overseas (I am an international IT consultant specialising in commodities), even watching the BBC News via proxy. It saddens me what is going on in the UK, but when I look at my 9-year old daughter who now speaks 3 languages fluently and another 2 well, I know it was the right move.

    I pity my country and those who are forced to remain. I have been castigated, called a traitor and a tax evader. My only real crime has been to realise that my family would be better off without the interferance of the state in all of our affairs and the vast cost this requires in taxes.

    It’s not that I don’t want to fight, but until those who are draining this country, the “Looters” (Politicians, Local and Government Agents) and the “Moochers” (the welfare underclass) realise the damage they are doing and stop, there will be no end to this.

    Socialism always ends up with the state taking everything and eventually consuming its own people. I have no interest in letting my daughter become a part of the rabble of the street urchins. I would rather she had a good education and was able to make the most of her life.

    So – Stand not on the order of your going, but go!

    Good luck and God Speed.

  • Laird

    “Well, I’m not an individualist libertarian, we are not going to agree on some things.”

    I would posit, Tim, that you are not a libertarian of any sort.* You seem to be more of a communitarian, since you appear to believe that every member of a society has a rightful claim on the person and property every other member. Hardly a libertarian position. You shouldn’t be at all surprised that it’s not well received in these environs.

    * In fact, I don’t know what a “non-individualist” libertarian could be. Libertarianism is a quintessentially individualist philosophy, so the concept seems to be either a logical inconsistency or, at best, a fundamental misunderstanding of precisely what libertarianism is. Of course, in Britain you have a head of the Anglican Church who doesn’t seem to be a Christian, so perhaps that sort of doublethink is possible over there.

  • Chris

    John Galt, which country have you moved to?

    I too am thinking of leaving, but can’t see anywhere else where the situation is significantly better.

  • EvilDave

    I want to point out how lucky you are to be able to just up and leave.
    For those of us in the US, the taxman follows us where ever we go. In the US taxes attach based on citizenship not residency.
    I have long thought of moving (wife nixed the idea), but I can’t figure out how moving makes financial sense as I then get double taxed, and face a wealth tax if I give up the US citizenship.

  • Russtovich

    John Galt,

    Which (or whose) proxy do you use? I’m getting tired of trying to watch things online only to be informed I’m from the wrong bloody country.

    Cheers

  • James

    “Those who fled other shitty countries can hardly be blamed for making them even shittier.”

    Perhaps not, but there’s certainly no shortage of immigrants who maintain their shitty behaviors (the same ones that made their erstwhile country shitty) after setting up shop in their new homes.

    (This is not a dig at JP, but rather at those low quality folks who migrate, oftentimes illegally, to high quality nations.)

  • John Galt

    I actually connect from where I work here in Switzerland to a proxy in my UK office, but the following is used by some of my local ex-pats based in Zug.

    BBCiPlayer proxy service.
    http://www.flote.tv/

    As a matter of interest, I now work mainly in continental Europe. I have a small house on the Isle of Man where all of our European stuff is based. Home for the wife and child is Penang, Malaysia (hence the need for lots of languages – English, Malay, Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese).

    All of this is helped by having multiple citizenships and therefore access to multiple passports. So if the UK did introduce Global Taxation based upon citizenship, I’d just renounce my UK citizenship. However, I probably wouldn’t even need to do that as the Isle of Man is independent from the UK for the purposes of taxation and the double-tax treaty would override that.

    I’m currently spending a lot of time in Europe, bringing back the readies for the wife and child in Penang. As the funds start getting built up in the Isle of Man, I will slowly reduce the time spent in Europe until I just live in Penang.

    I’ll continue to do various contracts, but only to keep my hand in. I hope that in about 8-years that I can be pretty much retired, just soaking up the sun.

    Sorry, Gordon – I have no intention of remaining in your socialist paradise to be milched for my taxes while my daughter is programmed to serve ‘Common Purpose’ (i.e. “Re-educated” to be a good and passive servant of the state).

  • Chris

    Good for you. What are the benefits of Malaysia? I’d never thought of it as being a particularly free country but I confess I don’t know much about it.

  • Alice

    “there’s certainly no shortage of immigrants who maintain their shitty behaviors (the same ones that made their erstwhile country shitty) after setting up shop in their new homes.”

    James – you just described ‘Californication’, the bane of life in Colorado, Arizona, and elsewhere. They arrive, the wretched masses from the People’s Republic of California, glad to breathe free air. Then they get together over a glass of white wine and tell each other, “What this place needs is a good bicycle trail”.

    Before you know where you are, there is a County Affirmative Action Outreach Bicycle Trail Coordinator, going to conferences in Hawaii and needing an assistant who is entitled to 12 months maternity leave.

    We can run, but we can’t hide. Not from the pox that has already affected so many people, even those who recognize the disease. It is time to stand up. The only reason for retreating today would be to come back tomorrow with reinforcements.

  • John Galt

    Penang itself is one of the few places in Malaysia that has a majority Chinese population. This works well for me as my wife and daughter are both chinese (or at least my daughter does an excellent impression).

    As Penang is a holiday island, home to places like Batu Ferringhi resort (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batu_Ferringhi) it has the usual proclivities. To the inhabitants that don’t know me I am just another tourist. It is a muslim country and there are laws about things like public consumption of alcohol, but these don’t apply in the tourist resort and outside only apply to Tourists. If I fancy a nice bottle of Pinot Noir, I just pop into the local Tesco (I kid you not).

    Taxes are fine as other than Corporation Tax and Employee based income taxes there aren’t any. They have this great programme called Malaysia is my Second Home, which gives you a renewable 10-year residents visa without you being subject to taxes upon your worldwide income. Taxes are only applicable to income generated in Malaysia.

    There are some obvious downsides, but the great whether, great location, benign neglect of the government, tolerance of tourists, etc. make it an ideal place.

    The Malaysia is my Second Home program requires a deposit of about 300,000 RM which is about 60,000 GBP in a local bank as ‘Security’. However, you are free to withdraw the money at any time and leave. Equally, the savings in tax on a European salary are significant (for myself about 30,000 GBP per year).

    Access to Singapore is only a train ride away and funds can be deposited in the HSBC there without attracting withholding taxes such as the European Savings Tax Directive.

    The food is cheap, plentiful and exceptional, a mix of Malay and Chinese blended wonderfully. My own preference is the spicy Tom Yam or Curry Mee.

    My daughter is educated in a Chinese private school to their exacting educational standards for the princely sum of about 70 GBP a term. She finds it hard going, but is certainly thriving – especially in comparison to the school she was at in the UK, which was a complete waste of space – my wife would know, she was a Governor there!

    There are also an international school, for those who are not quite so adventurous.

    In short, paradise it isn’t – but it’s pretty close.

  • Chris

    £60k? Wow, that rules Malaysia out then. I would have to work wherever I moved to as well which you don’t seem to be able to do on the second home thing without special approval.

  • Nuke Gray

    Interestingly enough, the recent drought-breaking rains mean that dams are full for the first time for years, in Queensland!
    As for Tim, some socialists claim to be libertarians because they believe in small governments, but they mean communes and kibbutzes! Tim could be of that camp, a believer in small, but authoritarian, cantons.
    I think that individuals should be free to leave, and if society starts to harm them, then they can return the favour by leaving, and thus harming society. Tim has ignored the reality that society started it, by raising taxes, etc.
    Q. Why do people badmouth dentists?
    A. Well, they started it!

  • lucklucky

    So by Tim definition Jonathan moving from London to Manchester is being mean… If Governments behave badly that is what should happen. Pain.

  • Laura

    Jonathan, as an American who everyday blesses the memories of her grandparents for leaving their respective crappy nations and coming here, I say power to you!

    I am in awe at the determination and fortitude it takes to pick up stakes and move to a completely foreign country, and the American in me must always salute people of such gumption and courage.

    And though it was not easy for my grandparents early on in America, not only did their lives eventually succeed better than they would’ve if they’d stayed (succeed economically, educationally, and not getting murdered-ally), but even more, America offered opportunities for real advancement to us, their children and grandchildren; such opportunities were not possible (or at least were a very long shot) in their former nations.

    At our Thanksgiving, we talk about thanks for family and we talk about thanks for country, for they are intertwined. We know our family could never have included three doctors, five lawyers, one Appellate Court Judge, two university teachers, and three small business owners if our grandparents hadn’t given us the gift of this great country.

    Libertarianism is about freedom, and one of the highest freedoms in all of life is the freedom to leave.

    I know the decision must be hard, but if you go, wherever you go, I’ll have a prayer for you (take it as you like it, heh). Also know, however much Tim worries about your somehow hurting those you leave behind, your actions would actually have a net gain effect on others, because you will have immeasurably improved the future lot of your own children- and grandchildren-to-be.

    Perhaps, in the future, your progeny will sit around a dinner table somewhere far away and bless your foresight and drive, knowing their good lives are the result of them.

  • Corey

    I’m reading a lot in the media lately about the issue of the productive members of society packing up and leaving the UK. There seems to be some sentiment that numbers departing permanently are difficult to determine, and that while a lot of people talk about it, few actually do it.

    There’s another side to this equation that I’ve seen little mention of – the number of wealthy or highly skilled migrants who would have considered coming to the UK who have now been put off by burdensome taxes and the decline in lifestyle.

    While this is probably much more difficult to determine, it is arguably just as damaging as the citizens queueing up to leave. Little thought is given to the wealthy, skilled, entreprenurial types who will have taken a good look at moving to the UK, only to wind up deducing that they’re better off either staying where they are or relocating to a completely different country.

  • mac

    I’ve not the slightest doubt that the UK has lost huge numbers of its most productive citizens to places like the U.S., Canada and Australia, and sizable numbers to places like John Galt’s Penang. I’ve lived in the UK in the past few years and the cost of living there is extraordinarily high while the standard of living is much lower. To live like a middle-class American one has to be wealthy in the U.K. Add on top of the taxes the crime and hooliganism and you’ve got one hellaciously strong “push factor” driving those who can make a living elsewhere to do so.

    Britain has made one bad, bad trade for itself: productive Britons for taxeating immigrants. Lots of people in the U.S. have written the U.K. off and my experience hasn’t done much to make me think they’re wrong in their assessment.

  • Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

    Re: Exchange Controls. From some unknown reason, the plot of a novel popped to my mind. I *think* it might be a Dick Francis novel. The ‘bad’ guy is a municipal ‘civil servant’ who takes kick backs on contracts. He lives frugally and they can’t find where he hides the money. His only splurge is to charter a sailboat for couple of weeks every year. Turns out, through a fake identity, he is actually buying the yachts (for cash under the table), and the charter is actually how he smuggles the yacht/money out of the country.

    True Story: A one-time co-worked emigrated from South Africa in the early 80′s. The rand was restricted and he could not take out much cash. Well in advance he searched out and bought a pristine 1963 Jag XKE, for a relative song, and exported that as ‘personal goods’. (With a few kruger-rands hidden in the heater radiator, too!). Sold it for a nice profit in Toronto.

    Re: Exchange Controls, revisited. My parents emigrated from Blighty with me when I was three. Half way across the Atlantic, the pound was devalued. My father, as an emigrant, had been granted a larger than usual allowance for the amount of cash he could take. He had thought of converting it to Canadian, and wiring it to a Canadian bank, but decided not to. It dropped in half overnight. Nice parting present.

    Once on a Christmas Day, in Ottawa, I asked him why he and my mother had chosen Canada, rather than New Zealand or Australia (as the emigration assistance at that time, made the cost basically equal). He thought for a long time, then said, “Damn me if I know now!”, threw down his snow shovel and left me to clear the rest of the drive of eight inches of snow. Early the next morning we watched the start of the Sydney-Hobart on the news. I called him (gently) an idiot. He just said ‘I know, don’t rub it in!’ My mother howled with laughter when I told her what that was about!

  • Nuke Gray

    Ah, yes, Dyspeptic, but at least this week must make up for all that! What’s it like to ‘own the podium’?

  • Paul Marks

    Tim (so it is your real full name – no family name), you did not present an “argument”, you just had your collectivist desire to enslave someone else for your own benefit (rather like the collectivist scumbag you cited – so at least you were correct to cite him, in that you hold the same “social justice” position).

    Now fuck off.

    There – no capitals, so I must have been polite.

  • Gabriel

    I hardly think one has to be nationalist to criticise a loud and proud advocate of mass immigration and social libertinism who is now joining the ever expanding white flight from a wasted and trashed country thus leaving behind millions of poorer or more vulnerable people who never asked to have their homeland transformed by the metropolitan elite into a thrid world country but are just going to have to lump it anyway.

    For example, I’m not a nationalist and I just did it. Also, it’s obviously possible to espuse libertarian politics without endorsing an individualistic conception of ethics. Hell, Ron Paul does it most of the time, except when he’s courting the adolesent junkie scumbag vote. In fact, most libertarians do, some of the time, eith the obvious exceptions of Randians.

  • Gabriel

    P.S. This thread neatly demonstrates how libertarianism is just one species of liberalism, not all that different – on the really big issues – from the governing ideology. Just one part of the solvent of all values that continues to dissolve everything decent and worthwhile in Christendom until nothing is left but a bunch of mindless pleasure-drone government serfs.

    But if you say that people have some sort of duty to the land of their birth and kindred then you is teh collectivists!!!!1111!!

    Fine then, so be it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I hardly think one has to be nationalist to criticise a loud and proud advocate of mass immigration and social libertinism who is now joining the ever expanding white flight from a wasted and trashed country thus leaving behind millions of poorer or more vulnerable people who never asked to have their homeland transformed by the metropolitan elite into a thrid world country but are just going to have to lump it anyway.

    One heck of a sentence – no commas!

    Seriously, let us unpack this. I support open borders – indeed I do. As I also support what you call “social libertinism”, which in fact means I support freedom of adults to live their lives as they please subject to the proviso that they respect that of their fellows as well.

    Also, it’s obviously possible to espuse libertarian politics without endorsing an individualistic conception of ethics

    A person can draw his or her ethical worldview from a variety of sources, but pretty much any libertarian, be he or she religious, agnostic, or atheist, or small-c conservative, or futurist, or whatever, all support the “non-aggression” principle: ie, that one respects the rights of individuals. Freedom by definition pertains to individuals; there is no such thing as a collective mind. (A fact which one of your pet hates, Ayn Rand, pointed out).

    Then we get this:

    “This thread neatly demonstrates how libertarianism is just one species of liberalism, not all that different – on the really big issues – from the governing ideology.”

    Oh come on. How on earth can a view that holds the right to life and property square with the prevailing ideology – of Brown, Cameron and the rest – that says the state is entitled to grab about half of the national wealth and then regulate what we do with the rest of it? The idea that our “prevailing ideology” is anything remotely close to classical liberalism in any of its forms is so obviously nuts that I cannot believe you actually mean it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Incidentally, libertarians who support open borders will also oppose welfare states, since the two are not compatible – in chemical terms, the mix is highly unstable. We have pointed this out a lot over the years on this blog.

    Given Gabriel’s own religous/ethnic origins and affiliations, I also would add that I find his attack for my support for open borders to be disgracefully hypocritical, given that groups such as Jews have often owed their very lives to the ability to exit one country and seek refuge elsehwere. Appalling.

  • Just one part of the solvent of all values that continues to dissolve everything decent and worthwhile in Christendom until nothing is left but a bunch of mindless pleasure-drone government serfs.

    Christendom… pah. And you have the gall to speak of mindlessness.

  • M

    Given Gabriel’s own religous/ethnic origins and affiliations, I also would add that I find his attack for my support for open borders to be disgracefully hypocritical, given that groups such as Jews have often owed their very lives to the ability to exit one country and seek refuge elsehwere

    Perhaps hypocrisy is a virtue then, as Israel would be in a sorry state if it allowed unlimited immigration from its Muslim neighbours.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Perhaps hypocrisy is a virtue then, as Israel would be in a sorry state if it allowed unlimited immigration from its Muslim neighbours.

    Maybe, but none of what I say means I am blind to the issues caused by the influx of groups into another country, as in the case of people from the Muslim world. But as others have said, I don’t believe anyone is really free if they have not the freedom, at least in principle, to get out of a country for a better place, either for economic reasons or other. It simply will not do for Gabriel or anyone else to elide that point, or sneer at those who wish, or try, to leave a country that has become a mess.

  • John B

    What I like about the libertarian perspective is it accepts/assumes the freedom for anyone to be, do, think what they like when they like as long as they don’t mess other people around in the process.
    So anyone living anywhere, doing anything, is fine.
    Bottom line: Individual freedom; individual responsibility.
    I love it. It sets the mind and spirit free. No coercion. Collectivist identities are not real even if used as a convenience.
    But Perry, we cannot escape reality. I cannot be free of gravity. Don’t short circuit the logic.
    Personally, I do owe my life to the Lord Jesus.
    There are different takes on the same name.

  • Sunfish

    Gabriel:

    Just one part of the solvent of all values that continues to dissolve everything decent and worthwhile in Christendom

    What the hell do you care one way or another about Christendom?

    Yeesh. Once again, like the gay houseguest comparing Jessica Alba to Halle Berry. Not calling for censorship but I do think it’s fair to ask which dog in this fight is yours.

  • Kim du Toit

    As one who left his own country (S.Africa) for a better life (in the U.S.) nearly a quarter-century ago, I’m all for the principle of emigration.

    I am, however, somewhat bemused by JP’s (eventual) choice of Canada, which is only better than the UK in the sense that dying from a bullet to the brain is better than dying by being boiled in oil. In other words, our Canucki friends are not far from the motherland in terms of big-government intrusiveness and dhimmi attitudes. (Just wait till you try to buy a handgun in Toronto, and you’ll see what I mean.)

    I know: the perfect is the enemy of the good, and to quote a friend of mine, “Show me Paradise and I’ll buy us the tickets”.

    But Oh! Canada? Surely you could do better than that, JP?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Sunfish, I suspect that Gabriel is a fraud.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Another thing stemming from a comment by Gabriel: Malta is most certainly not “mono-racial”. It has been settled and fought over by dozens of different groups over the centuries. Malts can be dark skinned, fair, and all points in between. I should know, being related to several of them.

    Yes, the country is mostly Roman catholic in terms of its religious culture but there is nothing overbearing about it. The place is tolerant of other faiths. Its taxes on income are also lower than in the uk and it has a pretty liberal business ethic. It is conservative in some ways but pretty tolerant in others.

    Malta currently has a problem handling refugees
    from Africa. In part this is due to the fact that such
    folk arrive penniless and cannot easily find work. If I go to Malta, I will make sure I can completely support myself and pay the local taxes. That should be a condition of entry.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “So what have you got against Britain?”
    Pause for hysterical laughter. “You want the 10-minute outline or the two-hour lecture?”
    Things are getting serious when even little Englanders are considering jumping ship. Anytime now Jeremy Clarkson will announce, “That’s it. I’m out of here.”
    What took you so long to get with the programme? I flew the coop in 1972. But no fooling around with half-measures like same culture, English-speaking countries. Think, “supply and demand”. What do you have to offer that they don’t already have in spades?
    And for single Brits (or those starting over) that can get into character as an English gentleman, combine spouse acquisition with emigration. So obvious when you stop to think about it.
    Pretty soon the only people left in UK will be risk-averse losers and the immigrants. So don’t be nasty to the immigrants. You might be working for them before you’re much older.
    Come on, Britisher pals. Fly the coop, seek your fortune in the colonies. How much larger does the writing on the wall need to be? And as for Britain, hate it and leave it.
    Jack, Japan Alps

  • Gabriel

    Given Gabriel’s own religous/ethnic origins and affiliations, I also would add that I find his attack for my support for open borders to be disgracefully hypocritical, given that groups such as Jews have often owed their very lives to the ability to exit one country and seek refuge elsehwere.

    What a retarded argument. I guess because I let the gas man in to read my meter I should also invite John Venables for a cuppa and maybe a sleepover. Here’s tip: I don’t like getting shouted at as I walk down the streets by gangs of feral kids whose yardie fathers would probably shoot me if I did something and I don’t like the fact that over a million adherents of one of the most destructive ideologies in the history of mankind have been allowed to settle here for no good reason and, as far as I can see, absolutely no advantage whatsoever.

    Yeesh. Once again, like the gay houseguest comparing Jessica Alba to Halle Berry. Not calling for censorship but I do think it’s fair to ask which dog in this fight is yours.

    Is the assumption here that every Jew must be neutral about the destruction of Christendom or actively welcome it? Doesn’t that strike you as prima facie kind of an absurd assumption? I don’t own the Mona Lisa, nor did I paint it, but I’d be sad if someone came and ripped it up. Is that not just kind of obvious?
    Or is this just some bizarre hissy fit over the use of the term ‘Christendom’. Fine, use Europe (but what about the U.S.?), or ‘the West’ (but what about Australia?).

    On to the meat:

    A person can draw his or her ethical worldview from a variety of sources, but pretty much any libertarian, be he or she religious, agnostic, or atheist, or small-c conservative, or futurist, or whatever, all support the “non-aggression” principle: ie, that one respects the rights of individuals. Freedom by definition pertains to individuals; there is no such thing as a collective mind.

    Non-sequitor. The simple fact is that it is completely possible to advocate small government politics whilst rejecting (indeed reviling) the individualist moral system you espuse. If you can’t understand how this can be, I suggest you do some elementary historical investigation or just think a little.

    If you want to know what I mean by individualistic ethics I refer you to this.

    Bottom line: Individual freedom; individual responsibility.
    I love it. It sets the mind and spirit free. No coercion. Collectivist identities are not real even if used as a convenience.

    (emphasis mine).

    An ethical system inexorably corrosive of all social life and thus of freedom too (though of many other things besides). But really you should know that because you live in a country that has been progressively destroyed by it (the process going into overdrive after 1960 with barely a moment’s rest since) and now you want to leave.

    Oh come on. How on earth can a view that holds the right to life and property square with the prevailing ideology – of Brown, Cameron and the rest – that says the state is entitled to grab about half of the national wealth and then regulate what we do with the rest of it? The idea that our “prevailing ideology” is anything remotely close to classical liberalism in any of its forms is so obviously nuts that I cannot believe you actually mean it.

    Whether you are an exponent of classical liberalism I really cannot say. Gladstone would certainly have used far harsher language about you than I can muster, though I suspect your politics do represent a telos implied in his (much as it would have pained him to realise this if he had ever stopped being bullheaded long enough to do so). All I can say is this: liberalism – classical, social, ordo, New, whateverthefudge – destroyed this country. It took nearly two centuries to do so, but now it has good and proper and you want to leave for a country where it hasn’t. But you are liberal (just like Cameron, just like Brown, just like all of them)* and so, up to a point, it’s your fault and you should be sorry about that. Further, whether you like it or not, you do have a duty to your kindred and to the land of your birth.**

    *The most pertinent difference between you and them is that you are far more foolish because you think it is possible, based upon no historical evidence and nothing but blind dogma, to have social liberalism without the leviathan welfare state or the endless degeneration of civilized life without individual freedom cannot endure. Cameron thinks you can have it without the latter, Brown knows that the three are a package and so is the least contemptible, from a certain standpoint, of all of you.

    ** A statment that Locke and Tocqueville and Cobden and the Salamanca school and pretty much all the people this site claims to stand in idelogical continuity with would have endorsed without demurral, but which will no doubt (and in indeed has here before) get me labelled a dreaded collectivist.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Another poor attempt at a riposte from Gabriel. I am totally aware that classical liberals took their inspiration from different sources, both religious and non-religious. (Like the Natural Law tradition of the Spanish school, for example). The point is that all of them, most decidedly including the great Mr WE Gladstone, realised that freedom, by definition, pertains to the individual, not a group, as Laird pointed out in an earlier comment in response to this Tim character.

    Of course, someone like Gladstone probably supported a good deal more state interference with certain liberties than say, a Rothbard, Rand or for that matter, a Hayek. There are shades of difference, of course, a fact of which I do not to be reminded.

    All I can say is this: liberalism – classical, social, ordo, New, whateverthefudge – destroyed this country.

    What destroyed this country – assuming it is “destroyed” – is socialism, and the mad belief that government is the solution to our ills, and that we need a new regulation for everything. What is destroying this country is the failure for people to take responsbility for the consequences of their actions. It is certainly true that your great faith, and that of traditional Christianity, has at times encouraged the doctrine of personal responsibility (one of the things I admire most about Judaism, in fact, is this point).

    The simple fact is that it is completely possible to advocate small government politics whilst rejecting (indeed reviling) the individualist moral system you espuse

    Completely wrong. By individualism, I simply mean the idea of individuals as being sovereign over themselves and taking responsibility for themselves. To do that, one needs to have a sense of self in the first place. Simple logic, old chap.

    What you are in fact attacking is the idea of libertinism, of short-range, to-hell-with-tomorrow hedonism. Conservatives frequently misrepresent the libertarian/classical liberal POV as libertinism, overlooking, for example, the frequent attacks on State welfare for encouraging perverse behaviours, the “victim” culture, and the rest.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I may make some broader points in a separate post, but several of Gabriel’s remarks deserve further responses. In particular, this, which is actually a form of argument by intimidation:

    Further, whether you like it or not, you do have a duty to your kindred and to the land of your birth.**

    Says who? God, Monarch, the Great Zog? That all rather depends what the “duty” comprises and whether I ever had the chance to volunteer to shoulder it in the first place, does it not?

    Does this “duty” mean blind obedience to the law and the state? Does it mean a willingness to do anything to protect those things? What boundaries should be set, and by whom? This sort of argument can devolve into nothing more than a sort of tribalism, a dislike of the Other. This is not a narrowly academic point, either. Patriotism and devotion to country can sometimes be a noble thing – depending on what the cause happens to be. But such patriotism is not unconditional. It pre-supposes that the patriots have a choice in the matter.

    If the country in which I live becomes intolerable, beyond my power to change it, then I am entitled to head for the hills and do what I can to protect my family and my life, and frankly, Gabriel, and others, of whatever political hue, can go to hell if they think they have any claim over me, or if I am somehow being “ungrateful”, or “disloyal”, as a result. Millions of other people have thrown aside the cant of “national duty” to make a better life and continue to do so.

    And this brings me to the broader issue. If one feels a sense of loyalty, love even, of a country, and its traditions, it may be – as Brian Micklethwait said – that the best course of action is to flee, if only to put pressure on the government of the day to change things around. It is not as if just sitting around and stoically waiting for something to turn up is proving very effective.

    Another problem with Gabriel’s endless attacks on our so-called “social liberalism” is that he never really spells out what that woolly term means, except by insinuating it to mean hedonism (which it is not). As Gabriel should know by now, libertarians support the right of adults to engage in whatever consensual activities they wish, subject to the proviso that they respect life and property of their fellows and contribute to the protection of the laws that make such freedoms possible. So if Gabriel regards this as laughable, then perhaps he should explain what restrictions on such adult freedoms he would support and why. Put up, or shut up.

  • John Galt

    Gabriel states that a person has a duty his or kindred and to the country of his or her birth.

    I would agree – however here we are talking about two different things and they are very separate.

    I have a duty to my country but not my countries government. I might stand up and fight an invading army and fight to my dying breath to prevent them occupying this country.

    However – I would do nothing in defense of this government. If Boris Johnson was to have the troops fire upon parliament as his Russian namesake did, I would raise a smile and a cheer, but not an objection.

    All forms of collectivism, Fascism, Communism, Marxist/Leninism, Trotskyism, etc. are an assault on the freedom of the individual. An attempt by the majority to override the will of the individual.

    A society which is driven to fecklessness by the realisation that they can vote for ever increasing spending without reciprocity in taxes is itself doomed as every conman who ever run a Ponzi scheme knows full well. The only way to profit by it is to get out before the inevitable collapse and have plenty of the ill gotten gains salted away somewhere.

    Collectivism is always wrong in all its forms, because the feckless realise they can vote themselves more welfare and more services and force someone else to pay for it by supporting their collectivist masters.

    Ulimately, those who create wealth either leave or are consumed by the underclass and what happens then.

    Like drug addicts this government is addicted to spending, yet those who have supported this in the past are no longer willing or able to continue to do so in the future. So those remaining must be forced to pay more and more at the point of a gun.

    I love my country, but it has been destroyed not by invaders without, but by the enemy within. New Labour is just a Trojan Horse and the city gates have been opened.

    I cannot turn back the tide by myself, I am alone and outnumbered. It is better to retreat and wait, gathering resources until our chances are better.

    I forsee bloodshed on the streets of London before the flag flies free once more.

  • Alasdair Robinson

    Jonathan,

    As a Canadian, I say “welcome!”. My parents emigrated from the UK in the 1960′s and I was born and raised here. It’s a great country, (did you catch the Olympics in Vancouver?), with a sound financial system, a reasonable housing market, a diverse population, and a growing resource-based economy. The downside is that we are permanently tethered to the US economy, and I’m not sure that they’re going to get their act together any time soon. Oh.. and the winters are cold.

  • Johnathan [Pearce

    John Galt is quite right to point out the difference between country and government when it comes down to any sense of “duty” a person might feel. In all fairness to Gabriel, he may also accept that distinction, although in his fury to promote his brand of authortarian, religion-backed social conservatism, he did not do so.

    In any event, I certainly do accept that it gets effing cold in Canada!

  • Laird

    I understand the distinction between a country and its government, but I’m not convinced that anyone owes an unconditional “duty” to either. A country is an artificial construct; a set of arbitrary lines drawn on a map. At its best its citizens share some set of characteristics (generally, language and culture) which provide a common bond among them, but even that seems to be largely disappearing in the modern conception of a country. One can certainly feel an emotional attachment to it, and want to defend it against intruders, which is fine, but whence comes a “duty” to do so? A duty must be voluntarily assumed; it cannot be imposed by another.

  • John Galt

    Then I would clarify my point further.

    I accept that a country is an artificial construct, but somewhere like England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (I will not say the United Kingdom as there is no such animal), each will fight ferociously in the defense of its borders and the freedom of its peoples against outside invaders.

    Time and again this has been demonstrated. From 1066 through to the failed plot of Nazi Germany’s Operation Sealion.

    I don’t recall a single objection to the invasion of East Timor, yet as soon as the barren islands of the South Atlantic were threatened our hatred for the Argies knew no bounds.

    What I am trying to express, is that a person is inextricably linked to the land in which he was born. This is not some krypto-fascist concept of the Blutvölker, but rather a fundamental bond between each person and the land on which they are born, which they will defend to the death.

    This is not necessarily either sensible or conscious, but it is there in each of us, sometimes augmented by government programming.

    I am not, never have been and never will be a collectivist, but even I accept that there is a psycological tie between each person and the land in which they are born.

    However, this does not equate to nation, country or government which are artificial constructs of those who would oppress, confine and control us.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    A duty must be voluntarily assumed; it cannot be imposed by another.

    Absolutely, Laird.

    The trouble is that for some people, not just Gabriel but for people across the political/philosophical spectrum, a lot of them buy into a sort of “duty ethic”: “I must do X because I must”. This ignores where the “I must” comes from. At least in the Natural Law/Aristoelian tradition (from which Rand borrowed, by the way), if one has a duty, it is simply the duty to live and flourish to the utmost as a rational, good person can.

    And on those grounds, it can be seen as a “duty” for anyone in an intolerable situation to get out of a country to a hopefully better place, at least if that is how a person judges the pros and the cons. Of course, some people will disagree and that is fine, and stay at home, and try and make changes on the home front if they can.

    What I dislike intensely about Gabriel’s argument is the sort of attempt to shout debate down by saying that I have a duty to X or Y “whether I like it or not”. Fuck off, frankly.