Among those who were particularly afraid of President Obama getting re-elected, their greatest fears have now been realized. Democrats held the White House, firmed up their control of the Senate and took back a bit of the territory they lost in the House of Representatives. What’s worse, referendums showed the popularity of tolerance for both homosexuality and marijuana in many parts of the country. So they’re now left with the question: “Where can we hide?”
Let’s start by looking at who these wannabe refugees are. There are a few things which were strongly predictive of supporting President Obama’s re-election this year. In particular:
– Any darker skin color (Afro-American, native American, Hispanic, Oriental, Indian, Polynesian…)
– Any sort of university education, and/or
– A religious identity other than Mormon, Catholic or Protestant Evangelical.
So we’re looking for a place where those who are the opposite of these things –– less educated white people, who believe that their perspectives on life come straight from God –– can live free from the fear of having to share too much of their lives with people who are too much different from themselves. They should be allowed to fend for themselves, freely sell their own products on an open market, defend themselves with their own guns, not be exposed to any heathens other than those whom they wish to act as missionaries towards, not be required to face people whose sexuality they are uncomfortable with, and above all, not be required to help take care of those who are too helpless to take care of themselves. Is there anywhere in the world where we could actually send such people these days?
The nostalgic myth is that 300 years ago it was just this sort of perspective that drove people to seek their own sort of freedom in the American colonies. They came to escape all of these things they didn’t like about Europe –– urban moral decay, taxes, economic controls and required conformity to the wrong sorts of religion –– by escaping to a land where they could make their own fortunes without such pollution and interference. Eventually they killed and chased off enough of the darker skinned people they found there so that they had room to raise their families and build their businesses. From there, the story goes, they built a purer religious identity and a viable economic infrastructure for themselves for themselves than the Europeans had, and they then proceeded to sever their political ties with the morally inferior nations back on the other side of the ocean. But now the country that their forefathers built so bravely and so fine has come to resemble the very thing that these ancestors came to America to escape from. So where should they go next? Forget about trying to patch up the gaping historical holes in such a narrative. What we need to do is to help these people find some viable place to run away to.
Looking at the electoral map from this last week, the safest places in the US for those afraid of socialism to hide would seem to be Utah or Oklahoma, where over 2/3 of the population seem to be God-fearing Obama haters. But besides that pesky minority of “takers” within even those states there’s the problem of being landlocked with a nation moving further and further towards socialism. Setting up an autonomous corporatocratic form of government within those territories is just a non-starter. To be truly free from the ills of “failed European models of government” these folks really will have to emigrate to somewhere.
The first naïve reaction among arch-conservatives has been to consider running away to Canada, but quite obviously that, for them, would be the classic “out of the frying pan, into the fire” move. Canada has socialized healthcare, gay marriage and no Second Amendment. And in fact pretty much every other English speaking country in the world has these same “problems”.
There is one country which rednecks might consider as a refuge. It has English as an official language, a very high percentage of gun ownership, a strong contingent of conservative Christians (especially in its “old money” classes), very low welfare benefits for would-be scroungers, a relatively weak national government and strong cultural prohibitions against homosexuality: the Republic of South Africa. There’s just one problem: for the past 20 years that country has been run by black people, and those on both sides of the racial divide are still coming to grips with that these days.
And once they look beneath the surface there, American conservatives may find that a weaker national government is not always a good thing and “frontier style justice” has its serious problems in terms of public safety. For that matter, once the current government there gets itself properly organized, greater “wealth redistribution” is somewhat inevitable. Furthermore South Africa has a strong Muslim contingent in the population there which is too integrated into society for those addicted to anti-Islamic fear-mongering to ever really feel at home there. So no, that would not be the right place for US conservatives to run away to, even if South Africa would be willing to take them.
But all hope is not lost. I have a suggestion. There is a place with miles and miles of unclaimed territory to inhabit, interspersed with token signs of Western civilization and even an American military presence. It has very recently been freed from the yoke of European socialism and it is just starting to work on the project of discovering and developing its wealth of natural resources. The population is almost entirely nominally Christian, but you can easily live far enough away from the rest of them so as not to worry about the corruptions in their beliefs if you don’t want to. I’m talking about Greenland.
Greenland has a coastline which is longer than the circumference of the earth. It is roughly 1000 kilometers across, and about 2½ times as long, north to south. Tucked away in the ice of its far north is the American military base on which the functional development and execution of Reagan’s “Star Wars” program took place –– which is still designated as the home of the 23rd Space Operations Squadron and the 12th Space Warning Squadron. Most of its ice-free territory is much further south though, where Denmark seems to think it has a legitimate claim dating back to settlements at the time of Leif Erikson that no developed nation has ever credibly disputed. After World War 2 the US offered to buy the whole territory from Denmark for roughly the price of one of Mitt’s second homes, but the deal fell through over terms of mortgage payments; besides which, Denmark really wanted to hang onto it for sentimental reasons.
These days in most respects Greenland can be referred to as a country unto itself. Gradually Denmark has realized that the colonial enterprise there would never turn a profit, and taking care of a group of 50,000 Eskimo descendants who didn’t really want to be Danish to begin with wasn’t really their responsibility. So since June 1, 2009 –– the sixth month of the Obama administration –– Greenlanders have been effectively starting to run their country for themselves. Their national budget is still based mostly on a block grant from the Danish government of roughly $10,000 per person per year, but that’s supposed to be a temporary thing; just until the local population starts to develop the resources that the Danes previously wouldn’t let them cash in on: gold, rubies, uranium, aluminum, zinc, natural gas, etc.
So we’re talking about a country with an ice-free area roughly the size of California (and growing) with a population smaller than Bismarck, North Dakota and a capital city with a population the size of Sulphur Springs, Texas. That works out to 7.3 square kilometers (2.8 square miles) per person. So if you don’t happen to like the other people there you can always find an abandoned town or piece of coastline to call your own. You can set up an independent hunting or fishing operation for yourself, or you could develop a whole new industry there from scratch. You can home school to your heart’s content without government interference. There is no big influx of immigrants there to worry about and the total number of AIDS cases in the country you can still count on your fingers. What more could a self-declared Atlas who feels like shrugging ask for?
You see I’m effectively calling bluff on all those who think that America is losing freedom and squelching the grand entrepreneurial class. Obviously those who invest in off-shore tax shelters are not particularly worried about the good of the country or committed to the well-being of their fellow citizens as a matter of principle. So if you really think that your work and intelligence has its own value that would be better realized in a freer environment, less bound by the regulations of an inter-dependent society, the opportunities are out there. Just save up and buy yourself an old trawler, load it up with whatever stuff you need to build a self-sufficiency cabin there, and when the weather breaks next spring head for Greenland.
Now of course if you discover while you’re there that you do actually need help from the local or the world community –– if you discover that the world you felt like you were carrying on your shoulders really was supporting you the whole time –– all is not lost. Unlike the American pioneers, most of whom died in their search for freedom, these days even this most radically individualistic adventure can be done quite safely. You can take along a two-way satellite radio, GPS emergency tracking devices and all sorts of other fruits of public funding to cover your ass. You could still fall through some ice and drown, or loose a fight with a polar bear, or misidentify a mushroom or two, but overall you’d still be fairly safe these days. The biggest risk is that you’d discover that you are not nearly as self-made and self-sufficient as you thought you were, and you could then reach that horrible place where “socialism” wouldn’t look so bad any more.
To avoid that risk perhaps you should just stock up on canned food and bottled water and squirrel yourself away in your bombproof bunker for the next 10-15 years. You might not believe us, but we’ll let you know if it’s safe to come out after that. If Jesus comes again during that time don’t worry, you won’t miss it. He’ll know where to find you.
Whatever you end up doing, I’d like to say that if you do leave to hide out somewhere or to build a new, freer life we’ll miss you, but we’ve already had too many lies this year based on telling people what they want to hear, so…