America is in the grasp of annihilism, my term for the moral system that finds death superior to life. (Here's an article questioning why immigrants risk harm to come here, only to actively seek to destroy what made America worth the journey.) What does this mean for our future? I had a professor who told us, "When things get really bad, I've got enough money to get out and move to New Zealand." I have a brother who likes to say he's going to move to New Zealand. The thing is, though, that there's not really a nation on Earth that has the type of easy immigration necessary to just up and leave on short notice. Even if it's not out-right prohibited, most countries will only allow you in if you are coming for a job (that the firm has demonstrated can't be filled by domestic workers) or if you are independently wealthy and won't work at all.
This post isn't about how stupid is the zero-sum economic reasoning of most people. (But I can't help myself, so I'll summarize it thus: there are not a finite number of jobs in the world, so someone working in one job has no bearing in whether another job is available for you; it actually makes it more likely because when their labor is specialized they have greater need for others to do labor for them.) My point here is merely that none of us is moving to New Zealand "when things get really bad."
We have four options: 1)Not go anywhere, 2)Leave before it gets bad, 3)Work to keep it from getting bad, or 4)Bunker down somewhere safe domestically.
- Maybe things won't get terrible in my lifetime. Maybe a new stable equilibrium will emerge quickly. Maybe things will never get bad at all. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to have the worst pass me by. These don't seem plausible to me. The American ruling class no longer tolerates a free citizenry. Even if I don't have a dislike for slavery, a large segment of the population does, which will create unrest while they are subdued.
- How do you know when to leave? Leaving is expensive and complex. Most of the places to go require knowing a different language. What's to say they will be any better? Most countries' track-records on liberty are pretty poor. If the state is weak enough, its attempts to subject its citizenry can lead to statelessness, but is the citizenry moral enough for statelessness to be survivable? It seems a shame to go to a lot of hassle to not actually avoid the dangers you're trying to escape.
- A surprising number of people seem to subscribe to this theory. Surprising because it's failed so consistently for so long. If it were sufficient for me to be moral and to encourage my neighbors to be the same, we wouldn't be in this position today. I know, I know: Melchizedek did it, but I'm not Melchizedek. Nothing I can do can have any bearing on society at large or my peers in particular.
- Get away from the cities where people will tear each other apart like dogs, defend yourself, and wait it out. But this underestimates the reach of the government. Where in America can you actually escape the reach of tyrannical government? And the government's attempts to disarm its subjects will extend to you. People talk a big game about defending their Second Amendment rights, but who is really going to shoot the government official who comes to confiscate your arms? In this scenario a sudden collapse is preferable to a slow decline, but a sudden collapse requires faster preparation in the face of no apparent danger.
The problem is that it takes years of plenty to prepare for years of famine. I know I was told to prepare, and I know I did an insufficient job. "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." I'd like a reprieve, but I don't think we are going to get one. I'm going to have to make my preparations for the future while I don't even have enough for the present.