To where should you vote with your feet?

Mark Brown asks me:

If voting with your feet was your preferred method, what would be the best country to immigrate to from the United States for: A) Progressives B) Social Conservatives C) Libertarians

As a follow up, a common expression in the US among adults as I was growing up was “its a free country”. That expressed both disdain of the expressed course of action and a willingness to let the fool do what he wanted. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are literary representatives of that, what should I call it, frontier freedom? Are there countries that even if the official line is restrictive, the feeling of liberty might be much greater? Am I nuts to feel that in many ways the US is less free than it was a couple of generations ago?

For Progressives I’ll pick Denmark.  They have high taxes and ultimately they are not too friendly toward immigration, instead preferring to keep their social policy comprehensive and expensive.  Sweden may not quite manage the same, although they are still a fairly high pick on this list.  Another direction to look would be Australia, where government spending is most likely to actually be redistributive.

For Social Conservatives, I say Singapore.  They are tough on drugs and the citizens are expected to work and required to save.  Parents are treated with respect, at least relative to the West, and when it comes to births at the very least they are trying hard with subsidies and ads on buses.  An underrated pick here would be France, by the way.

For Libertarians, I say the United States.  For all of the statist intervention in this country, it remains the place where markets are capable of exercising the most power for the better.  And it is no accident that such a huge chunk of the world’s libertarians are also Americans, or at least heavily American-influenced.  Singapore is in the running for this designation, with its government at eighteen percent of gdp, but so many things there are planned so comprehensively and the attitude of the country is more technocratic than free market per se.  Hong Kong is no longer such a free economy, having come under increasing Chinese influence not to mention law-enforced cartelization, and that is on top of their government-supplied housing stock and single payer health care system.

As for the last part of this question, the relatively peaceful parts of Mexico, in my view, very often feel freer than the United States.  But I am never sure how much that is worth.


For Libertarians, I pick the Philippines. There are de facto (but not de jure) no laws here. But if you don't want to be in the black economy, you cannot make money here by following the rules. But if you have money from outside PH, it's a Libertarian paradise.

"No laws" is not what libertarians favor. They should want a limited, but strong, set of laws guaranteeing freedom.

"No laws" is free for some people, but very unfree for others.

Progressives would think the same way loool... no redistribution means free market for some people but very unfree to others...

Yeah. Which is why it is better to make it very unfree for everybody. ;)

You mean the freedom of being greedy, without any regard to other human beings/ nature is a little bit smaller :D

Moreno, what do you call your wasting time on this website for your own enjoyment when billions of people around the world starve and beg for your help? Greed. Greed. Greed.

Yeah I was going to say the same thing Klaus said. The dan1111 libertarian is a friend of the US style liberal. In fact, the old fashioned 'vendetta' keeps people honest here in PH. You kill me, my relatives will kill you or yours. Where does that leave the weak, who live alone and have no family? Not good, this is not a country for such people. But that's the price you pay for anarchist style liberty. Besides, such people can always ally themselves with a more powerful family. The key in this is: small is beautiful. In practice, these powerful families in PH did not stay small: a handful of leading families have captured all the lucrative enterprises of this country, hence my initial statement that you need money outside of PH to live the libertarian dream. And BTW the same kind of 'capture' can happen in dan1111's version of libertarianism, just imagine a bunch of leading 0.1%-ers in the USA like Bill Gates, W. Buffett, or the Koch brothers forming a clan and inviting all fans of theirs to associate with them, and in return get some protection or benefits.

Honestly, I think progressives would all prefer Norway - its as much of a petrostate as the US (circa 2015) but richer and with less inequality.

Norway gets much of its income from oil. That's not very progressive.

Yea but so does the US, right? Especially in the last 10 years.

Sure, but unlike Norway, the US government isn't the largest investor in any US oil company.

Uh, no. Value added in extractive industries accounts for no more than about 5% of the total value added in this economy.

Norway gets much of its income from oil. That’s not very progressive.

No prob. Progressivism had no problem redefining itself to do the bidding of the insurance companies. It can do the same with the oil industry.

Venezuela gets most of its money from oil; some unreconstructed leftists love what they've got going on down there.

For an ultra-centrist French like me: mix of (A + B + C) in highly volatile proportions according to the mood of the moment, and what's more goy and reasonable Papist, only one choice is possible. Israel.

As a libertarian who recently lived in Singapore (now in India), I can agree that Singapore is quite libertarian economically and walking around will make you think it's freer than the US (there is almost no police presence- even going to rock shows is much less of a hassle).
Once you dig a bit deeper though, the all controlling state becomes obvious. (incredible press controls, total information awareness wrt internet...)

Have you been moving around for work? What do you do, if you don't mind me asking?

Oliver Stone wrote a good speech for James Woods in "Salvador" about the freedoms of El Salvador.

I'm not sure that social conservatives would be too comfortable in Singapore, the legal and omnipresent prostitution combined with the relative tolerance (socially if not legally) for LGBT people might put them off a bit.

Omnipresent? Really?
There are few places outside of the countries ruled by Sharia that are less supportive of LGBT rights.

It's not obvious to a casual visitor but once you live in Singapore you quickly realize how widespread prostitution is here. It's not just Geylang and Orchard Towers. Speaking of Orchard Towers, I'm pretty sure social conservatives would not be cool with the main shopping district containing a large mall full of seedy massage parlours and hostess bars, complete with streetwalkers parading outside. And that's not even the only den of iniquity on Orchard Road, just the most obvious one.

As for LGBT issues, the government's stated policy is that they will not enforce the sodomy law, which was also the policy in most of the US until 2003. There are several gay bars and nightclubs operating openly and relatively free of harassment - in fact the main gay nightlife district is literally down the block from a massive police facility. In terms of physical safety, it is probably safer to be openly gay here than in the US, and seeing same-sex couples is not at all uncommon.

Not saying it's all great for gay people in Singapore (there are zero workplace protections for example and gays are discriminated against in the military and civil service) but by global standards it's not bad at all.

Singapore is also extremely tolerant toward transsexuals, an early president was a pioneer of sex-change surgery and it is one of the few countries where you can change your legal gender.

Singapore still has silly colonial anti-gay laws on the books and many Singaporeans are very socially conservative, but it's really free for LGBT.

Gay couples, especially lesbians, are common and quite openly expressive in public. I believe the govt will recognize gay spouses for work visas and there are many openly gay clubs.

As for the press, it remains tightly controlled. But I'm amazed at the anti govt venting online, often on public Facebook accounts. The fear of speaking out has really declined. Almost vanished.

In fact it's been many years since the taxi drivers would conspiratorially whisper their anti govt complaints to me.

Still a long way to go but the trend is evident.

Though how far it goes is hard to say. At the end of the day, it's a tiny state with no resources and very loopy and often hostile neighbors. They don't have the room to make mistakes that big democracies do.

Singapore still has silly colonial anti-gay laws o

What's silly about them? Anti-sodomy laws are useful as an impediment to the mainstreaming of homosexual conduct. The history of the occidental world the last 40 years was foreseen by Bob Hope decades ago. "I understand California has passed a law making sodomy legal. I thought I'd better get out before they make it compulsory". There may not be that many social equilibria regarding this question.

Ha. Mandatory gay marriages for Art Deco and all of his friends.

Except that the judiciary are insisting that homosexual pseudogamy have legal recognition, in spite of the expressed preferences of the voting public and elected officials. They are doing so with the absurd argument that a constitutional provision adopted in 1868 requires it.

Art Deco wants discriminatory laws in place to save him from himself.

Yeah, the gay thing really freaks Art out. On any other topic he's a quality poster.

"Freak out" would be to offer a contrary viewpoint which would have been quite unremarkable across the whole political spectrum in 1966 and across about half of it in 1982. I cannot be bothered with fashion, 'freaky' as that may seem to people who have no memory.

Well, sure, Art, no argument here. You're an old fogy and proud of it. The world is passing you by, and you'll be dead some day. Change happens, not everyone likes is. You can keep posting into the wind but you won't have any effect.

I hear that blacks and whites are now marrying each other. What's with these kids?

You could put it that way, msKings, The thing is, age gives you perspective, particularly on the inanities of the present day and the silliness which arises from subcultures suffused with Monovox (which describes the commanding heights of the legal profession). There really is not much mind employed in it all. (As you can see regarding the stupid and irrelevant post immediately below yours).

Art, I actually do respect the wisdom of those who have been around to see things change, and how trivial some of it is. But that's just it, on this issue the world is definitely changing, like it always has, and it's pointless to fight it, King Canute-like. And it is kind of trivial in my is a change, but it's not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things. They're not hurting anyone. Those isolated stories of vendors forced to work with gay people they don't want to, sure that needs to be handled, but it's a pretty small issue. I definitely have a problem with anyone who uses legal means to compel a vendor to work with them (if alternatives are available, of course).

Perhaps, but prostitution is legal and widespread in the US, most of Europe, and Latin America. Gays are also more tolerated worldwide, even the Vatican is looking for a way to reverse its traditional policy. It is hard to imagine a Christian conservative joining ISIS or a national security conservative moving to Russia.

Often forgotten (or not known) in discussions on prostitution: it was legal, though not favored, for most of history. Bans on prostitution were part of the Progressive era reforms. There were Church Fathers who even defended keeping the Ladies of the Evening legal. Few things are more traditional than legal prostitution.

even the Vatican is looking for a way to reverse its traditional policy.

Francis is a lousy Pope, but I tend to doubt his lousiness is that unsubtle.

"Tolerance" for homosexuals does not describe the social policy imposed by the judiciary in this country.

Every time Art Deco goes on a tirade against The Gays, I think of this article. :),35379/

"Close-Minded Man Not Even Willing To Hear Out Argument On Why Homosexuality An Abomination"

My 'tirade' was one sentence long and it's object was the appellate judiciary, which does employ some people who are not into sodomy. Reading comprehension. It's great stuff

"For all of the statist intervention in this country, it remains the place where markets are capable of exercising the most power for the better"

Better for whom?

'They have high taxes and ultimately they are not too friendly toward immigration, instead preferring to keep their social policy comprehensive and expensive.'

But a bit friendlier today than in 2011 - 'On its first day at work, the new centre-left Danish government agreed to roll back a controversial enhanced border checks policy introduced by the previous executive.

“The government will work to effectively combat cross-border crime within the Schengen co-operation ... The plans from May 2011 to build new control facilities at the Danish borders will not be carried out,” the coalition agreement reads. Led by the Social Democratic prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the new cabinet pledged to respect the "common rules that apply in the EU".

Earlier this year, the previous centre-right government caved in to demands by the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party to increase border controls in return for securing the smaller party's support on pension reform.

Citing a rise in cross-border crime, the government announced "enhanced customs checks" and plans to re-construct border posts, scrapped when Denmark joined the border-free Schengen area in 1997. The European Commission and the German government promptly slammed the move as illegal.' And let us be somewhat explicit - the party that wanted the border controls against 'criminals' is the sort of party that can reliably tell a criminal by just looking at them, regardless of what citizenship they might possess.

Surprisingly enough for a web site that proudly proclaims it is unconcerned with old fashioned political structures, why not include the places that greens, a much larger global political movement than libertarianism, might prefer? After all, the Green parties in Germany (though not Denmark, which would also be in the running for its green elements, including massive amounts of recycing, zero waste manufacturing, and renewable energy production), the UK, Ireland, Australia, France, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Latvia, Switzerland have all been participants in governments, up to providing the prime minister.

"Green" may be a popular minority party in many places, but it is not a defined movement like libertarianism. It is just one flavor of progressivism. I mean, what distinguishes them from other progressives? They want windmills and recycling even more?

Look at it empirically. The world's parliaments have dozens of Green parties with elected representatives. Almost no Libertarian parties meet that criterion. Outside the Internet in real life, libertarians may as well not exist.

"Libertarians" outside USA are called "liberals", and there is many parliaments in the world with liberal parties (for example, Liberal Party and Liberal Alliance in Denmark or Party for Freedom and Democracy in the Netherlands).

Sorry, but it is not the same...liberal in Europe is not the same as libertarian in US (they are much more extreme)

The Danish and Dutch Liberals are not libertarians; look at the Danish and Dutch welfare states that they presided over. The most libertarian thing the Danish Venstre did in government was a "tax freeze" - freezing taxes at the highest level in the Western world!

"Greens" are more "social issues" and less "economic issues" than the typical "progressive"; they are also more defenders of direct or "participatory" democracy, and usually have a "small is beatiful" position (in contrast "progressives" don't seem to have a big opposition to the existance of big corporations, only want to counterveil their power with more regulations).

In some way, "progressivism" can be considered as is a soft version of traditional socialism, and "greens" a soft version of left-anarchism.

I second France, outside of Paris, for social conservatives. Especially if they take a subscription to Le Figaro.

For libertarians there is also Switzerland which manages to be much less boring than Singapore (albeit quite a bit higher taxing) but is actually respectful of citizens rights.

Weekly attendance at Mass in France comprehends about 3% of the population. By some accounts, the official Church is so weak that have of those attending are at SSPX services.

I think any state which would be good on the social conservative dimension would be inhospitable to immigration or would require a degree of assimilation which would rule out easy Anglo integration. So social conservatives -- almost by definition -- would have to search among Anglo or at least heavily culturally European states. In absolute terms, the country that is most culturally conservative -- in the sense of paying close attention to cultural assimilation, nationalist goals, and attention to the concerns of the native population with a concern for long term history -- is Japan. And the very thing that allows them to stay both culturally conservative while evolving in the modern world -- their isolation both in terms of language and culture -- makes them inappropriate for immigrating conservatives even if you'd devoted yourself to learning the language perfectly. That is why there is always going to be cultural war as long as social conservatives are an important minority in the US. Their preferences make them want to redirect their native culture towards what they view as correct attitudes, while the variants of liberalism and libertarianism make it difficult to turn back without destroying what they they think of as fundamental to their modernist faiths.

Japan's national sport is baseball and they are the world capital of convenience stores. They appear "culturally conservative" only to Americans who see the element of culture which are Japanese (inscrutable) and American (and therefore unremarkable).

Japan’s national sport is baseball and they are the world capital of convenience stores. They appear “culturally conservative” only to Americans ....

This is like saying that ISIS isn't "culturally conservative" because they love Twitter ...

They aren't culturally conservative, for instance they are looking for a massive revolution and a complete change in the social structure of Syria.

Wouldn't that make them reactionary, as in more conservative than your standard conservative, who merely seeks to preserve the present?

Japan (along with the other countries of the industrial Orient) is engaged in slow motion suicide through sustained low fertility.

Imagine the hellhole it would become if it's population density dropped to the level of present-day California!

You haven't given much thought to the social implications of later cohorts which are smaller in number than earlier cohorts.

You appear to be stuck in the past.

Clover, I guess Art Deco is thinking about the possible collapse of Social Security/ Health Care / Old-People Care Cost Structure , due to smaller cohort not being able to pay for the larger cohort?

Well, he said 'social implications,' not economic implications. And as long as the Japanese worker productivity keeps increasing it shouldn't be a problem. If not, they raise the retirement age.

The economic is a dimension of the social.

That aside, the old require support, and that means time and effort. Talk to an only child with an elder care situation if you want an education.

The old people can either get over their xenophobia or starve. Either way the country will be fine in 100 years.

The old people can either get over their xenophobia or starve.

You talk to liberarians and prog-trash long enough, the mask comes off. I suppose you could defend the alt-right by pointing out they never put the mask on.

How's that whole paleo thing working out for you?

Slow motion suicide implies that eventually the population of Japanese in Japan will be zero.
Whereas it seems far more likely that due to the heavy crowding and very small living spaces currently available to the average resident, population will fall to an equilibrium point and then stabilize. The fall will be bad for landlords; good for renters. GDP will sink. Overall wealth will shrink - but the average individual will have more space and more appliances. And the decline in GDP will be tied to the fall in population; upon stabilization it will resume a slow climb as living standards continue to improve.
The Japanese will also have plenty of robots to provide assistance for the elderly.

Ah, but what if depopulation comes in the form of emptying rural villages alongside further densification of Tokyo?

It's entirely possible for the population of Japan to fall while the typical Japanese is still living in a crowded urban environment that discourages child rearing.

The total fertility rate was at replacement level in 1974, when the population (and the crowds it generates) was only 14% smaller than it is today. Nor would Japanese be making decisions under the assumption that there would be more overcrowding in the future. The net increase in the territorial population since 1997 has been about nil.

I think that many Japanese people would be happier if they had more space per family.

I'd nominate Cambodia as a good libertarian paradise.

Open to foreign investment and immigration, no regulations to speak of, drugs and women are widely available, zero import duties on alcohol and tobacco, security is OK, lots of good Western restaurants and Western-quality hotels and condos.

It's a third world dictatorship but a relatively loose one that's open to business. Corruption is a problem but can be managed.

"As competent as the Singapore government may be, it seems like they have their hands in absolutely everything. There is definitely a “control” vibe I got while visiting, sort of like Disneyland"

Sing: 'Disneyland with the Death Penalty':

Why is Singapore constantly promoted as this paragon of libertarianism? Government enforced saving scheme, nearly all housing is public, nearly all health care facilities are public. Government owns an airline. Relatively low taxation + low regulatory burden does not automatically equal libertarian society.

As competent as the Singapore government may be, it seems like they have their hands in absolutely everything. There is definitely a "control" vibe I got while visiting, sort of like Disneyland.

Singapore provides something subtly different from libertarianism per se - it allows you to not participate in politics or self-defense. You don't have to defend your interests to retain them, by and large.

A libertarian facing the rule of law in Switzerland would still face social pressure to participate, at least with fellow libertarians, in a political collective toward votes and common interest advocacy. A libertarian living outside the rule of law in Cambodia or the Philippines has to worry about pedestrian concerns like petty crime. Singapore asks for neither.

"Singapore provides something subtly different from libertarianism per se – it allows you to not participate in politics or self-defense. You don’t have to defend your interests to retain them, by and large."

Except for that mandatory two year national service if you're male!

And mandatory education in government schools for resident children of citizens. And mandatory savings. And high taxes on car ownership. Nonetheless, the point of interest here is that you're not called to domestic activism over increasing or decreasing or redistributing these burdens - there's no culture war, which to a certain kind of American thinker, might be more wearying over their lifetime than conscription.

I'm not sure I follow. I get the reference to Cambodia/Philippines but not the Swiss reference. The Singaporean assumption is that the government will always make choices that are optimal for me personally? Resources are finite, how can the gov defend everyone's interests simultaneously?

Sounds like an advertisement for authoritarianism. "We shall free you from the burden of having to make a choice."

Most countries have govt enforced savings, albeit in different degrees.

SG has public housing but you don't have to buy it. The private housing market is extensive.

Govt healthcare but many use private.

The govt is is present everywhere but not usually at the expense of choice. Having lived in many countries, Singapore has presented the least involvement with govt, and when you do interact with govt, it's efficient and seamless.

The ease of paying taxes here is incredible.

Singapore is very intrusive into its people's lives, but importantly it isn't very redistributive. And for the stupider libertarian, that's the point.

The point is not redistribution but having wealth to redistribute.

Singaporeans - largely thanks to a free market and expectations they must work for their own success - is very wealthy. The poor in Singapore are rich by the standards of most countries with the redistributive policies you like.

And social mobility is high, with more Singaporeans moving from the poorest quintile to the richest quintile than in the US, UK and Scandinavia.

Unfortunately I suspect you're not impressed with actual evidence of reducing poverty so much as you are with moralistic carping about poverty, because ideological purity.


Unfortunately I suspect you’re not impressed with actual evidence of reducing poverty so much as you are with moralistic carping about poverty, because ideological purity.

Agreed. Rank-and-file progressives who have an actual concern for the welfare of ordinary people are in my experience unsystematic thinkers and not particularly opinionated. They volunteer, they give, they like Jimmy Carter. Most progressive discourse on social policy seems to default to denunciations of various target groups (evangelicals, cops, whites, patricians) or to proposed policy measures which serve the interests of the education and social services apparat. Leave no social worker behind.

I'm not a redistribution fan, so aim your brickbats elsewhere...

But isn't redistribution intrusive?

And doesn't the intrusiveness non-redistributive items depend (from the point of view of someone contemplating emigration) on whether or not the things the government stops people from doing are things you actually want to do?

Andao: "As competent as the Singapore government may be, it seems like they have their hands in absolutely everything."

True. But, they get results.

That's like saying Norway or Denmark gets results. It doesn't legitimise social democracy for everyone else.

Singapore has successfully struck a balance between the market and the welfare state that manages to not enable, or at least keep to a minimum, life-long and multi-generational free riding by the lower classes. Both America and Europe could stand to pay attention. The idea that Singaporeans--and Norwegians and Danes, for that matter--are somehow so unique and divergent from the rest of humanity that their successes hold no lessons for the rest of us is the height of absurdity and indicative of hubris.

Libertarianism is built on a set of naive fallacies. Among those fallacies is the notion that inside every human being is a perfectly self-reliant, Heinlein-ian ubermensch just waiting to burst forth and that what prevents its emergence is coddling and corruption by the state. That people naturally know what's best for themselves and will achieve it if only the state--and authority more broadly--stays out of their way. It's delusional bullshit.

The reality is that most people, regardless of ethnicity or nationality, are fools. The majority of them manifestly do not know what's best for themselves and act accordingly. For civilization to be sustained, most people need to be told what to do. Good behavior has to be taught, conditioned, and enforced. Maximize their freedom, leave them to their own devices, and the bulk of them will start to self-destruct one way or another. They'll make poor choices, either because they don't know what they're doing or because they're not capable of making good decisions to begin with. After a while, the consequences of that pile up and weaken the broader socio-economic order.

The endpoint of libertarianism isn't Galt's Gulch; it's Idiocracy.

Lee Kuan Yew and his successors grasp this. So did, on some level, Otto von Bismarck. Sometime in the 60s, we in the U.S. started believing our own propaganda and forgot.

Von Bismark created the social welfare schemes which threaten the long-term finances of every social democracy. In the US the 1960s saw creation of Medicare/Medicaid which more than anything else assumes the government knows better than individuals, recent laws have doubled down on these flawed systems. Individuals may be fools, but more often than not, their "leaders" are even greater fools. Yew was a very rare exception.

While each individual may be a fool, even a fool can act in their own best interest by observing the success of others. Freedom is required for non-fools to succeed. Otherwise, those telling others what to do will even more completely destroy the socio-economic order.

life-long and multi-generational free riding by the lower classes. Both America and Europe could stand to pay attention.

1. Do not subsidize goods and services incorporated into mundane expenditures (e.g. rent and groceries).
2. Do not offer long-term doles for those neither elderly nor disabled, just term limited unemployment compensation.
3. Do not define behavioral problems as disabilities.
4. Screen the disabled intelligently to exclude malingerers, and periodically review disability awards
5. Do not use means testing
6. Cap net rebates under a negative income tax program to a % of the taxpayers wage income (if the taxypayer is of working age and able bodied).
5. Have the retirement age on an escalator so that the ratio of the retired to the working remains stable as life expectancy increases.


The trouble is not that the above are eccentric or novel ideas. The problem is that social policy mavens do not care for most of them. No job opportunities for social workers.

Fair comment Fubar - some very valid points in there.
I consider myself to be a Libertarian but in a way I don't consider Singaporean Health Care for example, to be a left/right/lib thing really - it's just the right way to do healthcare. Systems and rules basically - tweaked and updated from time to time - not a political football. Like traffic rules say, or even something like: "whats-the-procedure-if-a-patient-has-chest-pain?" Well, you follow this algorithm - job done.

No, Singapore makes decisions on distributional questions. That's not engineering. One big problem we have in this country re financing medical care is the implicit insistence on first dollar coverage of medical expenses and the consequent confusion of insurance with pre-payment schemes.

Outside the public programs (yes, that's a big exception) very few people have first dollar coverage these days. Nearly all non-public health coverage comes with deductibles ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Lavatan: "In the US the 1960s saw creation of Medicare/Medicaid which more than anything else assumes the government knows better than individuals, recent laws have doubled down on these flawed systems."

The central flaw in those systems, and the progressive ideology that spawned them, is simply an iteration of the fallacy I outlined above. American progressives believe in the self-reliant, rational ubermensch, too, just that he needs resources to get started. That is, give the less fortunate cash--or food stamps, free/cheap education, health insurance, etc.--and they'll use it to better themselves. As libertarians are so fond of pointing out, that's backfired with a large percentage of welfare recipients, enabling dependency and free riding instead.

Like I said, good behavior has to be taught, conditioned, and enforced. In perpetuity. Ideally, this should be done by social institutions--i.e. extended family, local community, civil society--more informal and localized than the state. The problem is, in the U.S., such institutions have largely unraveled for the lower-middle class, working class, and poor, precisely the people that need them the most. In their absence, we could do a lot worse than the Singaporean model.

"Individuals may be fools, but more often than not, their “leaders” are even greater fools."

...which is an indictment of the leaders in question and the particular mechanisms that brought them to power, not of the necessity of leadership.

"While each individual may be a fool, even a fool can act in their own best interest by observing the success of others."

If they're doing that, they're not a fool. My point is that most people, for whatever reason, don't.

"Freedom is required for non-fools to succeed."

...which is why a balance has to be struck, such as in Singapore.

Nearly all non-public health coverage comes with deductibles ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

You're mistaken about that.


So, are you a fool, or an ubermensch?

Brian Donohue: "So, are you a fool, or an ubermensch?"

Less of a fool than I used to be. Hopefully, even less of one in the future.

Definitely not an ubermensch. No such person exists in the real world.

Economic libertarians should move to Dubai. No vote yes, but basically no tax either.

Given that for many (not all) libertarians the number 1 problem with government is the violent expropriations of resources from the residents in the country (taxation), dubai should be the country of choice.

Also very very easy to create a company there, and very very light regulations.

Socially, it's middle of the pack, decent freedoms (if you have money).

Yeah but Dubai is even tougher on drugs than Singapore. Doesn't sound like much of a libertopia to me.

Economic libertarians that are socially conservative enough to live in Dubai are called republicans.

Anguilla has no income, sales, or ongoing property taxes. It would also be relatively easy to obtain citizenship and even run for office (since there aren't that many people running against you).

Liberals should move to Sweden: progressive, good public schooling, egalitarian,....

Libertarians should move to Sweden: privatized social security, school vouchers (including for-profit school chains!),...

Conservatives (except the religious kind) should move to Sweden: if you disregard the fact that couples often are not legally married, family values are very strong in Sweden, with more children growing up with both biological parents than in the US, women often work, but at less demanding jobs so that they can support the family, no inheritance taxes, the monarchy, the religious kind can take solace in that there is no separation of church and state and send their kids to state-financed religious schools...

By the way, another candidate for the same treatment would be Luxembourg:

Liberals should move to Luxembourg: egalitarian, progressive (the current PM is a happily married gay man), extensive welfare state....

Libertarians should move to Luxembourg: low taxes (lower than in many US states), simpler regulation than in the US, use of vouchers for welfare...

Conservatives should move to Luxembourg: religion still plays a strong role in public policy, strong family values, and the welfare state is geared towards families...

Plus, if you and 6 of your closest friends all move there together, you can elect your own member of parliament.

Then imagine what 100 MR regular commentators could to Luxembourg, if they move there!!!! :D :D

And it's full of third world asylees..Eritreans, Ethiopians, Iraqis, etc.

Sweden has mediocre public schooling, and it is getting worse. Liberals should just move to the western suburbs of Boston, whose public schools are arguably among the best in the world. The US probably still has enough internal diversity that most North Americans are probably better off voting with their feet inside the boundaries of the US and Canada.

How about for the "early retirees" of last week? What if I just want to live on <20k a year where is the best place?

Probably Thailand. Bangkok if you prefer the big city, Chiang Mai if you are looking for a more small town feel but still with all the Western amenities. Visa paperwork can be a hassle though.

I nominate Switzerland for consideration by libertarians. Government spending is 34% of GDP, the lowest among advanced (non-micro) states (US is 42%). It's socially liberal and relatively market-friendly.

On some purely economic grounds, relatively poor nations are often more libertarian, if only because they don't have the resources to intervene on too large a scale. Social restrictions are more likely to be draconian, though.

And keep in mind that the Swiss consider Germans to be spontaneous and fun filled individuals, compared to the Swiss.

In other words, the Swiss seem to look at themselves in a way that should make most libertarians feel right at home. Plus the government provided weapon in virtually all dwellings should be a real plus for less ideologically pure libertarians.

Mostly we consider them to be loud and somewhat annoying. The fun loving rarely enters the picture.

This is an interesting thought experiment, but after reading the comments it occurred to me that the real thought experiment is what if people did move freely from place to place rather than where they would move in the abstract. Of course, as the world shrinks the neighborhood expands. Are different places around the globe becoming more or less alike as migration increases. It's curious how humans have always sought something better, over the hill, across the sea, or around the globe. It reminds me of fishermen, who, upon launching their boat, always go to the other side of the lake because that's where the fish are, it not occurring to them that the fish are right next to the boat launch.

10% of Danes are 1st or 2nd-generation Danes. Hardly fits the bill for one who believes in the undesirability of immigration, which is implied.

A propos Australia, social spending is typically going to be more productive, on average, when there is less of it. However, diminishing marginal returns doesn't mean you should consume less of a good that you enjoy, and the same is true here.

In practice, nobody moves for ideological reasons, and I wonder what that signifies.

Some people move away for ideological reasons - generally those of the people running the place, and not those who are moving.

See European history for a large number of examples.

I am a Dane thinking about moving to Switzerland, and in part for ideological reasons. I simply cant stand the statist nanny state.

If the statist nanny state simply stopped taxing you so much, you might be telling us how great it was, like Singapore on the Skagerrak.

If it stopped taxing me so much, it couldnt afford to nanny me. Evidently that is not perfectly true as the nanny part is also social intrusion, which I find unbearable as much as the taxation. And with the taxation it is again not a problem if it went to something meaningful. But in Denmark it is such an obvious transfer from the middle class to the middle class in exchange for votes.

And I was contemplating Switzerland. I do not like dictatorships - not even supposed enlightened ones.

Living in Dubai is almost endorsement of slavery. What kind of conservative are those opting for that (or Libertarians???)?

And I really dont get Tylers argument for the US. The US Federal State is intrusive on a scale that few centralized governments are. Think global taxation, think NSA, think the TSA. Switzerland is one of the few true Federal States left.

Sorry, but FYI, Switzerland (Luxembourg and fiscal paradises et al) is a country that bases its wealth in stolen / criminal money from other countries. I would find it very silly to move there for ideological reasons...Seriously Switzerland vs Denmark, I would prefer Denmark.

But of course if it is better for your pocket do it... but don't call it ideology ok? ;)

Australia would be a good choice for working class liberals who care about their own economic interests, it has the highest minimum wage in the world and still has low unemployment. However, other liberals would be displeased at the relative lack of vibrancy as it is mostly White and Asian.

The minimum wage does not benefit working class people of any description, bar a thin segment near the margins who would get a raise.

Higher wages are perceived as being better in normal-land.

The minimum wage adds nothing to anyone's human capital. A thin segment on the margins receive a raise and another thin segment of labor is priced out of the market. Net benefit for working people in general = nil.

People are not paid based on their "human capital." That's a common fallacy of libertardian economics. They are paid based on their bargaining power, which can be artificially raised by a minimum wage. That's why you see burger flippers in Australia make more than burger flippers in America who make more than burger flippers in India, despite all of them doing the same job.

I'm sorry the alt-right is shot through with economic illiterates, but it's not my problem.

Your 'bargaining power' is a function of the utility of employing you and the relative commonality of your skill set, unless you manufacture cartelistic arrangements.

Art, you're flunking this exchange. At the very least, in any negotiation there is a surplus that gets divided between the two sides doing the negotiating. How this gets divided up comes down to bargaining power.

The source of the bargaining power for the worker is what? A. What the next best alternative worker can offer the employer as a benefit and B. What the worker himself can offer as a benefit. "Clover" is insisting that the properties of the worker do not matter and you're insisting the same thing. They can not matter in certain situations: if the wage is an administered price or you've got the mob beating up on the boss for you.

Actually people are paid based on supply and demand, which is quite arbitrary. If a new Black Death carried off a third of the population, wages would sky rocket for the survivors (due to reduced supply) even though no one would be one whit more productive or skilled. That actually happened in the late Middle Ages, despite ham-handed attempts by kings to freeze wages and prices.

Denmark doesn't have a minimum wage. Neither do the other Nordic countries. Neither does Germany. Switzerland voted down a minimum wage law last year. Yet no where are burger flippers paid as well as in Switzerland.

The real problem is which country will have you.

The world no seems to hate immigrants, it is no longer easy to emigrate if you do not have 500K USD money.

I migrated to Singapore and then to the UK. I do not think it is any longer possible for a middle class guy to do so.


What were you're experiences of Singapore, and compared to UK?

Sovereign Man has some good info on this subject for libertarians.

See also the Index of Economic Freedom.

Wouldn't conservatives hate Singapore? Their abortion rate is very high (~24) and birth rate is among the lowest in the world.

I'm surprised I haven't seen more mention of Canada as a Progressive's paradise - free health care, high taxation, relatively cosmopolitan population (especially in big cities). It seems as if all my Liberal friends want to move there.

Don't they have lower taxes and gov't spending than the U.S. now?

Except for Canada's awful healthcare system they are very capitalist. Low taxation and low regulation. If it weren't so far north I might want to move there.

And if you want a job you go to Alberta and work in the oil patch.

The U.S. should not be thought of as a single country here. State and local taxes, regulations, religiosity, and culture vary enormously. And from that perspective the answers are pretty obvious -- conservatives generally should look to the south, progressives to the northeast and Pacific coast, libertarians to the mountain west. But then, of course, even within states that are generally inhospitable, there are a few comfortable places for members of the out-groups (e.g. Austin, Texas for progressives). But places like Austin are also a pretty good answer for libertarians (at least of the secular, 'cosmotarian' variety). Culturally, it's a good fit, and economically, there's a pretty strong limit to the damage the local progressives can do -- partly because of the constraints of state law, and partly to prevent people and businesses from voting with their feet (if only to safe places just outside city limits).

conservatives generally should look to the south,

Thanks to our appalling appellate judiciary, the South is not free to pursue their own social policies.

"In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!"

Cute. Now how's about we look at the actual results of the federal judiciary putting local school systems under trusteeships (run by themselves, of course). Boston from 1974 to 1983 would be one example, and the wheel spinning exercise in Kansas City would be another.

Segregation (for professional class liberals ) now. Segregation for (professional class liberals) tomorrow...

I swear if liberals ever had to live with the implications of their world view we would be naming schools after Joseph de Maistre in a matter of days.

I always thought it grossly amusing that the power drunk federal judge who threw the majority of the Yonkers city council in jail for not putting public housing where he wanted it put lived in Pound Ridge, N.Y., where there was no public housing (and no slum blacks, either).

They should move to Ontario. The progressive experiment is running so well it makes California look fiscally prudent.

California is running a balanced budget, and paying down old debt and investing in new infrastructure this year.

I would emigrate to a place that is shunned by progressives. Chile comes to mind.

Aye. One of their more recent presidential candidates was a member of Opus Dei.

galt's gulch chile is still selling plots, pal.

Chile's president is a socialist. Not in the accusations people throw against Obama, she's the actual head of the Socialist Party. She was detained and tortured by Pinochet after the coup (and her father was tortured to death).
But Chile is very empty (outside of Santiago), and generally has a relaxed feel. If you had some land in northern Patagonia it would be pretty relaxed.

"For Progressives I’ll pick Denmark. ..they are not too friendly toward immigration.."

That's funny, in the US anyway immigration seems to be the very foundation of Progressive "Maslow's Pyramid". They seem to care more about maintaining high immigration than even the environment, housing, education and wages that it has negative impacts on.

I expect that if you are a white Christian, and willing to assimilate into Danish social conventions, Denmark would be quite hospitable. This based on the Danes I've met over the years.

Racism is the greatest sin in the American progressive's religion. The American progressive's greatest fear is to inadvertently glimpse even the slightest of racist tendencies in one's self. That sort of feeling must be suppressed in private and in public.

Immigration is the policy with the biggest gains to the poorest people. It should be at the top of the hierarchy.

Uruguay seems a decent place for a libertarian, and you can smoke dope and easily visit more fun places like Buenos Aires, Florianópolis and Rio de Janeiro.

I'm an expatriate living in Rio, but I am tiring of Brazilian socialist economy and government corruption and am now seriously looking at Cuenca, Ecuador, good for a libertarian and a cultural center, with perfect year-round weather, very cheap living, snow-capped mountain views, access to Amazon rainforest, ocean beaches, Galapagos Islands and easy immigration policies.

Ecuador is about as corrupt as Argentina with the life expectancy of Bosnia and the economic output per capita of Egypt.

Chile is about as corrupt at Austria with the life expectancy of Germany and the GDP per capita of Poland or Greece.

Seems like you'd have a better life in Chile.

A low GDP per capita makes a country attractive for an expatriate who has no need to work. And life expectancy you can take with you from your years of captivity in Amerika and even improve it, since better cuts of beef and better salads will be cheap.

Malta is the optimal choice for social conservatives. A generation ago, I'd have said Ireland, but that was before their political class got the idea that it would be cool to behave like Scandinavians with brogues, so now its just another Eurotrash dump.;_ylt=A0LEVjA.mgFVspAADDAlnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBsa3ZzMnBvBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkAw--?p=slane+girl+images&!%2Fimg%2FhttpImage%2Fimage.jpg_gen%2Fderivatives%2Flandscape_635%2Fslanegirl22n-1-web.jpg&size=35KB&name=slanegirl22n-1-web.jpg&

That's happened to a number of countries in the last generation: first Quebec, then the Netherlands, then Spain. Reid Buckley put it thus: the most obtrusive artifact of parliamentary government in Spain was the multiplication of public displays of genitals. Inner directed elites not addled by status anxiety would appear to be rare in this world.

Ah, Ireland in the 1970s. Like many conservatives, you would prefer to live somewhere that most other people were very poor compared to you.

Ireland had a per capita income at that time about 40% that of the United States and about two-thirds that of the UK. It was a lower-tier affluent country, rather like the Czech Republic today. It had also had decades of comparatively rapid economic growth, so had been improving it's relative standing.

If a state of the Union had 40% of average United States income, we would conventionally regard it as a basket case rather than as a "lower-tier affluent" state. The poorest state, Mississippi, has about 75% of average United States income.

How does a country with a standard of living common in the most advanced countries in 1950 qualify as a 'basket case'?

AD, production possibilities frontier.

Ireland was way behind the curve in the 70s. Today they are about as productive as the most affluent societies on the planet. Relative productivity matters.

How is that relevant to either point he made? First he says I admired Ireland because with my current income I'd count as well-to-do there like the local grandees. His point is asinine and non sequitur, but never mind. Then he says any place which is not front rank affluent is a 'basket case'. My mother and father did not grow up in a basket case. The world they grew up in was more uncomfortable and impecunious than ours is, but also more wholesome and (in certain respects) handsome as well.

For social conservatives, I would likely say Poland or Chile. I may also say the latter for libertarians as well.

The optimal destination for progressives should be some place where their preferred social policies were structured so as to be sustainable. The trouble is, sustainability likely requires policy measures which contemporary progs cannot endorse (such as immigration restriction).

Liberals should move to Africa. Many countries are close to 100% Diverse! With almost no White people, you won't have to worry about evil corporations, crazy gun-owners, or rape.

Most social conservatives would not like Singapore because it is no-Christian and non-White. The heartland of America is still the best deal there is.

For libertarians, it depends on what the individual libertarian values. For those who just want to make money, Singapore is the paradise. For those who value drug use and cultural nihilism I'd stick to America. Or maybe Africa, many countries have no enforced immigration restrictions and are 100% diverse!

Singapore, like much of the rest of East Asia, is more socially conservative than America in some ways but less in others. They put a high value on family, don't pretend men and women are the same, don't celebrate homosexuality, ect. But they don't put a great value on 'moral' behavior the way White society traditionally has, you'll see this is the high amount of prostitution(explicit or implicit) in these societies. Their attitudes toward sexual behavior can be summed up as "I sure as hell don't want my daughter slutting around, but I could care less if yours does."

I wouldn't confuse "social conservatives" with white nationalists. Your typical family values east Asian Buddhist is different in one important way, though. They actually walk the walk.

As for the heartland, Ferguson used to be part of the heartland so good luck with that. No matter where you go, you might find an Attorney General whipping up the mobs into violence.

Most social conservatives are either White nationalist and/or serious Christians, so they'd want, ideally, to live in a community that was White and/or Christian.

That's just absurd. Buddhists, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Hindus and many others are social conservatives.

I have noticed one thing, though. Most white European social conservatives are white (there are exceptions, of course).

"Most white European social conservatives are white ...."

Isn't that a tautology? :)

When people say "social conservatives" in the context of American politics,("Rick Santourum is popular among social conservatives," ect) they mean White social conservatives.

When people say “social conservatives” in the context of American politics,(“Rick Santourum is popular among social conservatives,” ect) they mean White social conservatives.

No, you mean that. Authentic social conservatives mean 'social conservatives', no phenotype specified.

"When people say “social conservatives” in the context of American politics they mean White social conservatives."

Well except for Bobby Jindal and Condoleezza Rice and Ben Carson and Nikki Haley etc.

Reporting from 30,000 feet?

Antarctica for Libertarians? Or maybe Elon Musk's Mars colony?

How about Iran for social conservatives? Or, what is probably the most socially conservative country on the planet, Saudi Arabia? How can somebody seriously recommend something like Chile or Poland compared to these two?

The question is for American social conservatives, who would rather live in an atheist country than a Muslim one, and for good reason.

How about Iran for social conservatives? Or, what is probably the most socially conservative country on the planet, Saudi Arabia? How can somebody seriously recommend something like Chile or Poland compared to these two?

Because we're not stupid and we're not trying to be cute. Because you put a kitchen sink of social arrangement you do not care for under the heading 'social conservative' does not obligate anyone else to do likewise.

Seconding what Doug said above, if you're a cosmopolitan libertarian type, Canada is the country for you.

Taxes are pretty low by western liberal democracy standards. Markets are generally quite free, especially for small business owners. Zoning and other permitting things are generally much more reasonable than the US, even in big cities like Toronto. Even with relatively low taxes, they manage to keep a balanced budget, and tend not to go careening off on major policy shifts. Environmental regulations are loose, but the insane vastness of the place means there's still tons of scenic wilderness. By virtue of that, if you're a backwoods Ron-Swanson-Leave-Me-The-F-Alone libertarian, Canada is also for you.

Im shocked that no one has me tioned New Zealand as an ideal libertarian destination. Both culturally and by policy, the kiwis are very libertarian. I felt like a lot of NZ is like the Western U.S. a hundred years ago. Very easy to start a business, with a population of only 4.5 million almost every business is "small". Strong agricultural sector and lots of casual jobs available in it. Libertarian policies regarding consensual adult behavior (prostitution and gay sex are not criminalized). Also, they speak English and welcome immigrants who can work or invest.

So libertarian all the speed limits are accurate and everyone obeys them.

And left turns at a red light are illegal.

I find it hilarious to suggest that Switzerland is a libertarian paradise. My experience is that they tend to have a massive fetish for unreasonably strict rules. You move there and within 5 minutes your neighbour will report you for breaching some obscure municipal regulation.

true that

although you are probably thinking of the Teutonic parts of the country.... not Lugano

I suggested Switzerland. And yes, I lived there -- in Zuerich. And yes, there are plenty of regulations about noise, trash, parking, etc. If your idea of libertarianism is that you get to impose externalities on your fellow citizens, Switzerland is not the place for you. What counts as a reasonably regulated externality will depend to some extent on the values of your compatriots. The Swiss put high value on quiet, cleanliness, and order. I share those values so it works for me.

Mexico is indeed much freer than the U.S. in many parts. So I say Mexico for libertarians: large country, free space, government incapable of enforcing itself on the periphery, influenced by US free market capitalism especially near the border, cheap enough to make it easy to get things done with money.

I say Australia for the "authoritarian" category. It's very tightly run, socially conservative and dreaming of the old class obsessed British empire, and very white.

For progressive, how about New Zealand. David Hackett Fischer wrote a decent book comparing the libertarian US with progressive New Zealand.

As with most third world countries, even if it's a paradise of diversity, low taxes, and no gun regulations, Mexico is quite corrupt and so not the best country for people who want to run businesses.

Very very difficult to legally own guns/ammo in Mexico

For Libertarians, I'd say Canada. Canada is now ranked well above the U.S. in economic freedom and we're more socially liberal. Our government is fiscally conservative, and has lowered corporate, individual, dividend and capital gains taxes while bringing in a budget surplus (projected) for 2015. Our federal corporate tax is 12.5%, and capital gains taxes are levied at half the marginal tax rate for the person filing.

More specifically, Alberta is the closest thing to a libertarian state in North America. We have no sales tax, a flat income tax, low regulations, and a stable government. We pretty much eliminated the nasty hate crimes tribunals which were a real black mark on freedom of speech.

Alberta was rated at the top of all American states and Canadian provinces in economic freedom by the Heritage Foundation and the Frasier Institute in Canada.

Plus, Canada is a first world country and the culture and lifestyle is very familiar to Americans.

For 'Progressives', I'd say give them a big island and let them all herd each other towards whatever utopia they think people should be coerced into - so long as they are far enough from me that I don't have to care.

Great post Dan Hanson. I guess you make a compelling argument for Canada - I suppose I just think if I were emigrating I'd want tropical/mediterranean type climates. - I'm British by the way - just to remove any confusion!

Alberta has typically also had the largest welfare state in the country, although it's the bourgeois welfare state (health and education, rather than welfare) which con-libs generally turn a blind eye to. Because of that, it has also worse rent-seeking by those groups. Dental fees were deregulated but not the profession itself, so Alberta has the highest dental fees in Canada (e.g. $8k versus $4k in ON for basic braces), and public sector compensation is celestial compared to other provinces. The "libertarians" at the Fraser Inst are cool with people forking cash over for healthcare, but not getting rid of cartels. Curious.

If by Libertarian you mean the regulatory environment, some countries or their regions apply. But if you mean sanction by the median voter, the provinces aren't that different.

You do have to give the US credit for having much that is appealing to libertarians, but I would emigrate if I could just to escape the threat of unjust imprisonment for basically any random charge a prosecutor dreams up. The justice system here is deeply flawed. I would imagine that it would be the particular liberties that a libertarian values most that would most influence the desired destination: See for example:

I have no interest in drugs or prostitution but would nevertheless elect for the Netherlands as perhaps the most tolerant country in the world with a functioning sense of the rule of law. With tolerance comes a strong social etiquette. Strongly pluralist. Surprisingly large agrarian sector. 17th on the the Index of Economic Freedom and 4th happiest on the United Nations World Happiness Report., 5th-most competitive economy in the world, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report. Meaningful school choice, decent private health insurance market. Also easy travel to and from Dutch Caribbean. And a place with a strong tradition of honoring market-test innovation which continues to flourish.

The total fertility rate of that sex-and-death boutique has been below replacement levels since 1973. They're dying off and bequeathing the place to Moroccans and Moluccans.

I read somewhere that over half of the kids in Dutch primary schools are not ethnic Dutch (aka non white).

There are fair number of European immigrants to the Netherlands too (true for most Schengen countries in western Europe). Also, it was true several years ago (not sure if it still is) that the majority of immigrants in the Netherlands were (nominally, at least) Christian.

read somewhere is not data... completely wrong... maybe closer to the truth in a couple of large cities

You obviously never been to the Netherlands... The Netherlands is tolerant, but their habits are quite close to conservatives!

I see people talk about gun control, but how about unarmed police? It would seem more libertarian to have a country where ordinary police cannot shoot citizens dead. No? Iceland, for example, recently experienced its first ever case of someone being "killed in an armed police operation":

A few suggestions on the libertarian end:

Mauritius. A very free-market oriented society, per the Index of Economic Freedom, and the least corrupt country in the African area. Obviously poorer than the US, but wealthier than pretty much anywhere in Africa, and given their embrace of the market, likely to increase in wealth. Quite a diverse population (in the real way, not the PC way). Oh and lovely weather.

Estonia. Also not too corrupt, with a very simple tax code and overall fairly business friendly laws. Very hooked up in terms of IT. Downside: bad, terrible, not so good weather. Latvia and Lithuania are inferior versions of Estonia. Estonian is difficult and obscure, though.

United Arab Emirates. Close to tax free, and relatively lax laws relative to the region. Much less corrupt than most other countries in the region.

Chile would be if they didn't reelect their Socialist president, who will likely ruin their system. They also have a pretty big problem with robberies, much like everywhere else in South America. El Salvador would qualify if they could get their crime rate under control.

There are arguments and rebuttals for New Zealand and Alberta, Canada. I'd be interested to see more said about that.

Note that my libertarianism isn't the live out in the woods libertarianism. It's live in a big modern city with lots of entrepreneurs libertarianism.

This is from the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1776:

"15. That all men have a natural inherent right to emigrate from one state to another that will receive them, or to form a new state in vacant countries, or in such countries as they can purchase, whenever they think that thereby they may promote their own happiness."

I think Communist countries have been the only ones who had peacetime restrictions on emigration (though I believe Uruguay did as well for a slice of the population during the period between 1972 and 1985). As for vacant land, it's at this time all desert, tundra, permafrost, or tropical rainforest.

No! The US effectively enslaves us with an "expatriation tax". See

I guess I should couple the emigration quote with the following form Thomas Paine's January 10, 1776 Common Sense:

O ! ye that love mankind ! Ye that dare oppose not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth ! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia and Africa have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.

I've lived in both the US and NZ for 7+ years. I definitely feel economically and socially freer in NZ. Income taxes are similar for my pay level. Taxes are simple (less attempted govt incentivization of certain behaviors). business is much easier to do in NZ according to the economic freedom index. That said, I don't really care about owning a handgun or a semi, which is not possible in NZ. And alcohol taxes are slightly higher in NZ.

Paging Eric Crampton....

A libertarian is a conservative who hopes to salvage social conservatism by talking like a social liberal.

Some are. But some really believe in social liberalism, as much as any social justice warrior. See Bryan Caplan or Reason Magazine.

Bu isn't Denmark fairly libertarian?

Scott Sumner on Denmark.

No. Denmark has an advanced welfare state with corresponding high taxes that completely separate it from "Devil take the hindmost" / "all taxes are theft" Libertarianism.

Of course, if I do expatriate, the U.S. Government will confiscate 30% of my money (over $2MM). So this changes the equation a bit.

For social conservatives, what about Russia? Anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, aggressive military, and pro-Christian. For example, they actively promote religion in public schools, and military service is reserved for Christians. (I've also heard stories about employers, even secular ones, who require their employees to attend Christian mass as a condition of employment).

Here's Putin:

"Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values...Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”

Fox News anchors love Putin as well, always talking about what a great and strong leader he is.

Russia is not really anti-Muslim, Putin is not that stupid. He doesn't need a civil war in Tatarstan or to alienate his Central Asian allies any more than he already has. State Christianity in Russia is very shallow, and so far consists mostly of posturing by Russian nationalists. True Christian believers will find most of what passes for Orthodox Christianity in modern Russia rather condescending and offensive. Sexual mores in modern Russia would make an American social conservative's head spin. Abortion, divorce and female promiscuity are all viewed as totally normal. Russians are also surprisingly tolerant of actual homosexual sex, it is the political posturing of Western homosexuals that Putin and his allies like to attack. The only real social conservatives in Russia belong to the Old Believers, some of the Protestant evangelical sects, or are Muslims.

New Zealand has its ups and downs, which depend on your standpoint.

Government paperwork is quicker and easier to complete than in the USA.
Porn is legal but there is a government censor.
Prostitution is legal but regulated.
E-cigarettes and psychedelic drugs are illegal but may be legalized if the government were convinced they were safe enough.
Racial rivalries are very calm by the standards of most ex-colonies with large minorities. (Ferguson, Missouri, op cit.)
Every month is Maori history month but most examples of official bilingualism are just for show (and votes).
Kiwis are easygoing and tolerant of foreigners but the standard rationale for every economic policy preference of the left is averting foreign influence, by which they mean America (and sometimes China).
Every business that is not Australian-owned will make sure you know they are New Zealand-owned.
Capital gains are taxed at the same rate as other income.
The scenery is dramatic and the weather is warm.
Police patrolmen don't carry guns but they are relatively restricted for citizens.

For libertarians, how about Somalia? Or just pick any failed state where there is no law. Every man for himself.

Denmark, really anywhere in Europe is not good for Liberals ("Progressives" ???) because they are more into "multiculturalism rather than assimilation of immigrants.

I'd look for a country with a republican form of government. (No connection with a "constitutional republic" or "republic." The People's Republic of China is a republic, but not a republican form.)
. . .
In soundbite format, a republican form of government exists when the people are unconditionally sovereign, endowed with rights by their Creator (not government), and any government thus instituted is only delegated power to help secure those rights, and nothing more except by consent of the governed. This is different from other nations, wherein the people are subjects of their respective sovereign governments, regardless of consent. As part of that unconditional sovereignty, the people have absolute ownership of themselves, their labor and that which they acquired by that labor (aka “private property”) - as an endowed right, constitutionally protected.

>the relatively peaceful parts of Mexico

Might as well refer to "the relatively cancer-free parts of Lance Armstrong's testicles."

Alabama will do fine for me.

Can't agree that the U.S. is particularly libertarian. Despite the United States' (considerable) attractions, the system of global taxation is very intrusive, the drinking age is unreasonably high and paternalistic, Patriot Act restrictions too intrusive, the inordinate power vested to the State to execute its citizens too strong, restricting the ability of its own citizens to travel freely outside its borders (a la Cuba), restrictive voting practices, etc, take it off the top of the list for me.

Law enforcement clears about 10,000 homicide cases a year in this country which result in a mean of 55 executions. Given that there are in a typical year over 400 multi-victim homicides solved, the notion that the use of capital sentencing is excessive beggars belief.

I am libertarian and have already moved. Lived in Sweden for most of my life but now live in Singapore. Couldn't see any future in Sweden and hated every day there.

I love Singapore, but it's definitely not right for every libertarian. I don't do drugs so that is not a problem for me personally. I like the respect that people here afford each other. In Sweden it was impossible to escape the living proofs of a declining culture. Everywhere people were externalizing costs onto others: breast feeding in public, changing diapers in public, littering, taking screaming kids to nice restaurants, dressing to provoke etc. There is none of that in Singapore.

The way I envision an anarcho-capitalist society is more like Singapore than Sweden: when everything is private property you have to treat others with respect or you will be excluded.

The Nordic countries and Australia/Canada/NZ are always nominated as the best places to live. Are they really doing everything right? And if so, why isn't the rest of the world trying to copy them?

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