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Privacy

Emigrating To a Freer Country? 1359

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-my-recommendations-require-time-machines dept.
puroresu writes "I currently reside in the UK. In recent years I've seen privacy, free expression and civil liberties steadily eroded, and I can't see anything changing for the better any time soon. With people being banned from the UK for expressing (admittedly reprehensible) opinions, the continuing efforts to implement mandatory ID cards and the prospect of a Conservative government in the near future, I'm seriously considering emigrating to a less restrictive country. Which countries would you recommend in terms of freedom and privacy? Distance is not an issue, though a reasonable level of stability and provision of public services would be a bonus."
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Emigrating To a Freer Country?

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  • Sorry but ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Augusto (12068) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:13PM (#28491279) Homepage

    But to be quite honest with you, with what is going in Iran at this moment, your request seems frivolous.

    I know I'm being a bit unfair, and that the mere existence of Iran doesn't excuse any violations into your privacy that you feel exist, but considering what is going on in the world this post seems ill-timed at best.

    I think the word "freer" in this case is misleading, it almost sounds more like you crave for a society were privacy is respected and more protected, which I see as a different thing.

  • Public's problem. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by enigma32 (128601) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:18PM (#28491321)

    I think one of the primary issues is the general lack of interest by the general public in maintaining freedom.

    I've had extended conversations with people about why the requirements for air travel are such a bad thing and had them tell me they have no problem bearing their entire lives when they go through the airport -- they even have no problem with people monitoring them by video 24 hours a day if it means that they will be "safe".

    Honestly, the general population is so unaware of their circumstances and has so little imagination that they have no idea how bad it can get.

    If you find someplace better (I certainly wouldn't move to the UK from the US but it isn't so good here either) let me know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:18PM (#28491323)

    Your imagination

  • Where to go? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aldenissin (976329) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:18PM (#28491325)
    I hear that Sweden is nice this time of year, unless you consider not being able to post any torrent files you wish against freedom.
  • Re:Sorry but ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:21PM (#28491341)

    But to be quite honest with you, with what is going in Iran at this moment, your request seems frivolous.

    Yes, that's always the excuse the statists use: 'sure, Britain is a bloated, high-tax surveillance state where the police are more concerned with screwing fines out of the middle class than protecting them from real criminals and at any moment you can be dragged from your house and locked up for six weeks without being charged, but what about Zimbabwe, eh? You can't complain about Britain when you could be living in Zimbabwe' (though presumably now it's Iran that's the scapegoat).

    I fled the UK a couple of years ago, and would never even think of going back unless the Tories throw out everything Labour have done to destroy the place over the last sixty years.

  • Wilderness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tpstigers (1075021) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:23PM (#28491353)
    Don't be stupid. There's no such thing as a free country. Sooner or later, they all end up being run by bastards. If you're really looking to be free, I suggest you move as far away from civilization as you can. The only way to achieve actual freedom in this world is to separate yourself from the rest of humanity.
  • Re:Sorry but ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PachmanP (881352) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:28PM (#28491403)

    But to be quite honest with you, with what is going in Iran at this moment, your request seems frivolous.

    uh no.

    Iran is a reminder of what happens when the government becomes too authoritarian and the people finally realize it. You could then notice that one's own country was rapidly sliding down the authoritarian scale. You then have to decide if you want to leave or hang around until the shit hits the fan. You also have to consider that the point where you can freely leave is much sooner than the proverbial shit storm.

    You wouldn't shout down the frog in the 75 deg C water for saying "gee it's getting warmer in here" just because the pot next to him is finally boiling. (assuming of course hypothetical frogs that can stand 75 deg C temps some how...)

  • Come to India (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gopla (597381) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:29PM (#28491411)

    Yes. In theory, we in India too have restricted freedom of speech and government constantly telling citizens how to behave.

    But, India is such a huge country with huge population that government is overwhelmed. It cannot monitor everybody. And the society as a whole is lot more tolerant. So in practice every individual experience a true freedom and anonymity. This remains true until you become too popular and catch eye of media. Which I think is very less probability again due to huge population. May be 10000 popular people in set of 1 Billion.

  • Re:Sorry but ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:31PM (#28491437) Journal

    I left the UK in 1996 before all this started happening. Very glad I did as I look now and it upsets me to see what the country I once loved has become. I used to be proud of being from England.

    Not anymore.

  • Re:Sorry but ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RsG (809189) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:33PM (#28491453)

    While I understand where you're coming from, I strongly disagree. The existence of tyranny abroad does not excuse the erosion of liberty at home. Hell, forget Iran, I could think of a dozen far worse places to live without thinking hard, and yet I still see the point of the person who posted the article.

    Simply put, the attitude you're expressing, namely "it's much worse over there, so why are you complaining?" is a common one, and very problematic. How is a person in a country that is relatively free, but headed in the wrong direction, supposed to agitate for change in that worldview? There is, after all, always someplace worse.

    We, in the rich, safe, peaceful developed world, should aspire to do much better than Iran. We ought to make ourselves a bastion for civil liberties, human rights and responsible self-governance. Iran has a bad situation made worse by factors beyond the control of the average citizen; we have no such excuse.

    That being said, my suggestion to the person who posted this article is the improve the local situation instead of fleeing from it. If you are among those who see the current trend as a step in the wrong direction, then fight it. If enough people did that, the situation would change. It's getting enough people to realize this that poses a problem.

  • Re:Not the U.S. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot.castlesteelstone@us> on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:36PM (#28491487) Homepage Journal

    Civil War is brewing. Should be a whole lot of fun with nukes, Raptors and Abrams on the battlefield.

    Bullocks. Civil War requires geopolitical division -- and we don't have that. If Obama fails, the Republican Party gets a new rallying cry. If not, then they'll just reform or go the way of the Whigs.

    There have been panderings of a coming "race war" or "civil war" or "red invasion" for longer than my father's been alive. And they're all crap, with an amazing ability to underestimate the religious feeling that "America" inspires in its citizens.

  • Stay. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:39PM (#28491517)

    Stay in the UK. Its YOUR fucking country, damn it. Stand up for it.

    See, the problem with emigrating to another country because you won't stand up for freedom is that you have a problem in the first place. You won't safe guard your freedoms. So you move to another country and you will eventually loose your freedoms there too, since you (the people) aren't taking care of them. Freedom is like muscle, if you don't exercise and use it, you will loose it.

    So stay my friend. Be that guy/gal, like Gandhi or Thoreau or Rosa Parks.
    Unless your life is at risk, stay.

  • Re:Sorry but ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Warlord88 (1065794) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:41PM (#28491545)
    Also, UK has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Is the privacy situation so bad that you are considering emigrating? I really don't think it is possible for you to find a country with standard of living at par with that of UK and where you can put your skills (if any) to full use.
  • by Mogster (459037) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:43PM (#28491565)

    or Meccano [wikipedia.org]

  • by novalis112 (1216168) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:45PM (#28491583)
    #1: Good point, but good luck exercising any of those constitutionally recognized rights.

    #2: "I just want to be left alone" is absolutely going to get many Americans on your side... until they want something from you.

    #3: Man I hope you're right about this one! But so far, it's not looking too good. Obama is putting the same crooks, criminals and downright villains in office as his predecessor (as far as I can tell, I admit I haven't been keeping up here).

    #4: Uhh, woot?

    #5: Here here!
  • by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:50PM (#28491621)
    yeah, we socialists were definitely the ones who decided to deregulate the banks and thus cause the collapse of the entire fucking world economy! Also, I love how you're telling someone seeking freedom you don't want him here because he doesn't share your views.
  • by RsG (809189) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:50PM (#28491623)

    Where there is great freedom for you, there is great freedom for others to take advantage of you.

    It doesn't have to be that way.

    Real life governance is not some sliding scale where total anarchy is one end and Orwellian tyranny is the other. Is any social question so one dimensional? Thinking that way boxes you in, because it starts to look like a damned if you do, damned if you don't, scenario. You begin to accept corruption, because the anarchy scares you, or you embrace anarchy, because you don't see any alternative to getting rid of tyranny.

    To give you a depressing example of why this line of thinking fails, consider this. A government can be corrupt, tyrannical and totally ineffectual, all at once, such as to leave a country in a state whereby the citizenry have no freedom, and no safety. That doesn't fit anywhere into the worldview that holds anarchy and tyranny as logically opposite extremes, because, hey, you have both. Usually this comes about when a corrupt government is in a state of strife or internal warfare, while still aspiring to ironclad rule - think Afghanistan.

    The reverse is also true. An accountable government with limited, but not nonexistent, power, can run a country without falling into the pitfalls above. It must be democratic, it must be as transparent as possible, and it must have a strong judiciary backed by laws that include some sort of bill of rights or equivalent document above all others. Checks and balances are the key. Cleaning out corruption when it occurs is also vital, and failure to do so is usually what trips the whole system up.

    The problem is, and always has been, that maintaining good government is a lot of work. Bad government is the default setting when it is not fought against.

  • by xednieht (1117791) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:51PM (#28491631) Homepage
    Wake up - if you're the "king's peer" how come he takes money from you but gives nothing in return?
  • by Deag (250823) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:58PM (#28491683)

    You may not realize this, but if as an immigrant in a different country you will be losing rights in a way. Citizens, especially natural born ones have more rights in a country than non citizens.

    You would be losing your right to vote, you would have a risk of deportation or not being able to renew for committing a crime that may not be all the serious for a citizen. You will probably have to submit a lot of documentation to your target country.

    If you don't like your rights in the UK (which is one of the better countries to live it), just wait until your very ability to stay living where you are is basically at the whim of some bureaucrat.

    Of course if you are immigrating from a country that is actually oppressive, you won't mind it.

    I am not saying it is difficult to be live in a foreign country, I am just saying if you are someone who is so afraid of big brother, perhaps living in a foreign land is not for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:06AM (#28491745)

    take off the shutters and you'll see that both ideals trample on liberty. conservatives trample liberty just as much as liberals do. The only thing different is the laundry list of reasons and justifications.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:09AM (#28491765)
    Look on the bright side: if you can support yourself there anyway (perhaps you're independently wealthy, or you can work remotely, or do big international stuff) then everything will be dirt cheap. Except maybe taxes.
  • by memoryhole (3233) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:10AM (#28491773) Homepage

    We do, in fact, have the 2nd amendment (right to bear arms) specifically so we can unseat any tyrant who tries to take our rights away.

    Oh puhleeez. Seriously? You think the weapons that civilians have on hand can take on the best-funded military the world has ever seen? You know, the one that has more resources than the next five biggest militaries COMBINED? I don't think you've thought about this very seriously. Yes, I know that's the same thing "they" said about facing down the British back in 1775, but we're living in a different world. How many civilians have access to Abrams tanks and Apache helicopters? Cruise missiles? Not to mention: in what terrain has the US military been *training* for the last two hundred years? To paraphrase an awful movie, "When the day comes that we have to go to war against Utah, we're [the US military] really gonna kick ass".

    The 2nd Amendment right puts guns in the hands of civilians. Thick-headed civilians who can't think very far ahead work like gang members who get their first chrome-plated .45: they immediately feel invincible, and that leads to the assumption that the guns are for the purpose of standing watch over the government. Don't kid yourself that any politician in the history of the US has ever thought (or will ever think) to themselves "well, I WANT to do X, but since the citizens have so many guns, maybe that wouldn't be a good idea."

    If you want to know what the 2nd Amendment is really for, look no further than St. George Tucker, a lawyer, Revolutionary War militia officer, legal scholar, and a U.S. District Court judge (appointed in 1813), who wrote about the amendment: This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty... The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. It is a right to defend yourself from the government, not an establishment of the power to overthrow the government. It's an important distinction.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:12AM (#28491785) Homepage

    #1: We have rights of expression, assembly, thought, speech, and, yes, privacy enshrined in the Constitution.

    assembly: Three words for you - Free speech zones
    thought: Didn't we just see a story about a man arrested for possessing child porn that didn't actually depict children?
    privacy: Well, minus the wiretapping... and the GOP's insane desire to dictate what goes on in people's bedrooms.

    Speech I'll give you, though... the US has been pretty strong about protecting speech... to the point that donating money even qualifies as speech, hence why bribary... err, that is, lobbying is legal.

    #2: As a culture, we prize freedom the way Israel prizes "never again" or Iran prizes "Islam".

    Well, unless you're caught using harmless drugs, or urinating in public, in which case you'll get a disproportionate sentence, and in the latter case, a scarlet letter as a bonus.

    And if you want to be free to, say, marry the person you love, well, you're screwed there, too.

    Basically you're free to do whatever you want as long as the moral majority has decided it's okay.

    #3: America is currently in the beginings of its post-Bush era.

    I'd ask the LGBT community how that's going. They might disagree.

    Alright alright, yeah, he's better than Bush... but that ain't saying much, and thus far, I'd say the jury's out on just how much better.

    #4: you'd be in the same country as /.!

    I thought this was a list of reasons to move to the US... :)

    #5: From a feudalistic standpoint, you would go from being a subject of a crown to a citizen of a country

    *snicker* Please... anyone who's lived in a commonwealth country will tell you that the "subject of a crown" BS is nothing but a formality. You know, kinda like American representative democracy. *duck*! ;)

  • by awol (98751) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:13AM (#28491799) Journal

    You even link to the site of Liberty, a group that actively monitors, publishes and criticises the policies and practices of the government of which you speak and is based in the same freakin' country. If you fear "erosion of privacy" then why on earth do you fear a Tory government, they should be your best friend? You have just had a huge scandal about the rorting of your MPs funding and there is a strong tradition (important with the kind of constitution in the UK) of privacy and reaction to government intervention.

    You, human, are clearly an idiot.

  • by WARM3CH (662028) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:17AM (#28491819)
    My favorite list: Switzerland, Netherland, Finland, Sweden, Norway. I would love to live in Switzerland myself: I love the direct democracy there, the peaceful people and the beautiful nature and very high standard of living. Another option is to become really rich! Rich people enjoy much more freedom all over the world!
  • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:18AM (#28491831)

    We libertarians tend to think we are the freest country on Earth. We just don't have any illusions about it being 'free enough'.

    You however seem to have bought into our great myths. I'll break it down:

    #1: Our rights to freedom of expression are often curtailed, sometimes with the blessing of the Supreme Court, depending on what mood it's in. Obscenity is still regularly prosecuted. Girls "sexting" (what a dumb term!) are charged with producing CHILD PORNOGRAPHY by taking nude pictures of themselves on cell phones! Make no mistake, we are better than many European countries because we won't necessarily slam you in jail for expressing the wrong political opinion (though it can happen) like with holocaust deniers or such, but don't pretend that theory is practice here. Also, the second amendment is constantly being reinterpreted by those that dislike it, and heavier and heavier controls are continually being placed on it. I expect to see the 2nd amendment repealed in my lifetime, athough not without some redneck-caused violence (and "bless" some of those rednecks!).

    #2: We say we do, anyways. Well, we do moreso than many countries, there's a reason why those libertarians (whom you show contempt for, it seems) are far more numerous in the USA than anywhere else in the world. But you have a very rose-colored view of our two political parties. They are like two cartels guarding the political gates and frequently compromising and collaborating with how to leech more money off of American workers and have no problem with taking away rights when it suits political ideology or is expedient for the government to do so. Hell, I think the only serious politicians DO talk about how free we should be, and they are saying FREER. It seems you're content with compromise after compromise in our political proceses, compromising our rights...!

    #3: The corollary is, however, that we are in the Obama era now, and that's not much better. Take off those rose-colored Democrat glasses again. You're boss is not much better than old boss. "Sacrificing liberty for security?" Hello? FISA? Obama's great flip flop? That's not the only one.

    #4: Are you trying to encourage him...? In any case, you couldn't think of any more than 4 reasons so you threw one in the middle to make it seem like you had the nice round number of 5...

    #5: That's all symbolic nowadays, not that I support the ridiculous monarchy in the first place but you need some perspective. As for king's slave to king's peer? Hah! Hahahahaha! I'd like to see what kind of weight YOU hold in regards to Congress? You're nothing at all! The "king" today is Obama, and it's his signature on bills that matter, NOT YOURS. You have actually very little say at all. King's peer... that's a good one. I'd like to see me get the same type of say and treatment as even a Congressman...!

    You've totally bought into the American nationalist pride--the left's version. Obama is president! Joy! Joy! Change! Hope! Sorry, Charlie, but Obama is just another politician. Everyone wants, needs, a hero, but politicians--people that use your rights as bargaining chips for their own self-interest or ideologies--should never be the object of one's admiration, at least not one that isn't dismantling the whole evil machine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:25AM (#28491887)

    Its pretty easy to make statements with only partial information.... If the Obama administration kept the warrantless wiretapping, there is likely some reason that the American people are not aware of. However, due to the fact that all of the information is not on the table for everyone to examine, making statements such as "Obama didn't change anything" or "Obama is the same as Bush" just comes off ignorant. Come back when there is solid information telling us why he kept it, not speculation, and then we can make judgments on if it was right or not. otherwise its just more FUD.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <{jurily} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:26AM (#28491897)

    If you are starting from the UK, Ireland has to be the easiest country to move to.

    Considering every second person I've met in the UK speaks a totally different dialect of British English, Bad English or Bad English-(insert language reflecting their ethnic background) mixture, learning a new language shouldn't be too hard.

    (Seriously, it was hard at first, then I realized they're so used to it they rephrase every sentence at least three times, and don't even realize it.)

  • Re:Sorry but ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Allicorn (175921) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:31AM (#28491943) Homepage

    +1 Informative can be yours if you remember what the question of the thread is and tell us where you went and whether it was any better ;-)

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:38AM (#28491981) Journal

    All the above points are good ones, but others may be more important.

    The US is HUGE and extremely diverse. Pick your climate, scenery, culture, government, etc., and you'll find it somewhere in the US.

    Few countries allow such a large number of immigrants as the US, though there certainly are hoops to jump through.

    With the exchange rate what it is, you'll find yourself pretty well off after converting your savings.

    While jobs may not pay what you'd expect, with the considerably lower cost of living in most areas, less expensive products, and much lower taxes, I expect you'll find yourself better off.

    I just happen to know 3 British Ex-pats here in Southern California, all of them all seemingly content with their near minimum-wage jobs.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:53AM (#28492069) Homepage

    Indeed. The US and UK spell some things differently. "Color" vs "colour", "gray" vs "grey" and "politicians" vs "robber barons".

    Democracy needs to come with a "none of the above" option. Choosing the sock puppet on the left or the sock puppet on the right is not real choice.

  • Re:Stay. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sydneyfong (410107) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:55AM (#28492083) Homepage Journal

    Where are my mod points when I....

    oh wait I posted a comment :(
    Lame jokes aside, this is very very true.

    I always wonder why in these days nobody is standing up for their values any more, and are simply choosing the herd they identify with, despite knowing that if you don't pay the price of standing up and voicing your concerns, you'll lose your rights no matter where you go?

  • by catapult01 (470460) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:55AM (#28492089)
    I have lived on the east coast of the US, the west coast (in Silicon Valley), your fine country (in London, 2 years), and southern Chile (1 year. I arrived speaking no Spanish and was able to converse after about 4 months of constant studying/practicing).

    I think you'll find that if you leave your country for a freer country, you will find things in the new country that bother you just as much, if not more, than what you left behind. Don't get me wrong, I have very much enjoyed living in different countries. But I do find that every country is the same in that there are things you love and hate. It may seem obvious when I say it now, but if you really accept that ahead of time, you'll have a better experience, rather than just viewing it as going to a freer/better/whatever country.

    As for job opportunities, if you've got the skills and have the will, and patience, to make it work, then it will work out. Silicon Valley is still hiring and moving along just fine, despite the economic crisis (at least from what I can tell so far, having just returned from Chile).

    I am, obviously, recommending Silicon Valley in California. You'll find each state in the US is pretty distinct. I used to joke that when I moved from the east to the west coast that I moved to a different country. California is a great place to be. I've never lived anywhere that I felt more free. New York City would probably also be to your liking, if you are a big city person.

    But to keep it in perspective, I would also love to live in London again.

    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you all the best in your travels.
  • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:56AM (#28492097)

    If you even knew why the Bill of Rights were ratified in the first place, you'd know how false that was.

    The militia part is what I'm imagining you're referring to, and a historical analysis will make it pretty clear what context this is in and what the intent was. Here's a hint: the militia was composed of "the people," the same "the people" the government is supposedly serving.

    Not that I particularly care, the 2nd amendment could spell out "NO-GUNS" and I'd oppose it because the constitution is just as illegitimate as the government itself. Like all governments.

  • by internewt (640704) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:58AM (#28492105) Journal

    Please, explain exactly why the police watching you & everyone else all the time in public is bad. What, exactly, is the problem there?

    Are you afraid of corruption? Of a change in the law? Do you somehow think that either one would be hastened or slowed by mere video surveillance of public places?

    I'm with the general population -- liberterians who think anything government is bad, or that anything even vaugey orwellian will inevitably lead to Big Brother re-writing the past and instituting a 2-minute-hate, are the unimaginiative ones, reacting like ludditeis smashing machines without ever thinking and actually applying real principles.

    Why on earth should you or I be watched by law enforcement in a supposedly free country? Being constantly watched means sooner or later the police will see something they don't like or don't understand. All of a sudden people in a free country (that past generations laid down lives to protect) are having to justify their actions to an authority figure.

    The constant surveillance and encroachment on civil liberties has had the effect that we are answerable to the government, not the other way around as it should be in a democracy.

    Corruption is obviously a concern, and the recent MP expenses fun and games have shows how widespread corruption can simmer away unnoticed. Giving these people more power over us is not a good idea when they seem perfectly willing to use powers for their own ends. History is full of examples of abuse of power, so restriction of power is necessary.

    Video surveillance is just a facet of the encroachment on us by government, and as it is the most visible and widely understood it gets talked about a lot. Considering how small cameras can be, huge great things are appearing on the sides of buildings all over the country. The cameras are an easy solution for politicians to public demands for clamp downs on street crime - demands whipped up by certain parts of the press.

    Many people question the effectiveness of cameras compared to other crime reduction measures, like simply more police on the beat, or dealing with poverty. Of course the 2nd 2 are much harder for politicians, and probably won't be very effective before the next election they face.

    One of the issues privacy advocates have is that as many people are willing to give away their privacy (because they have been told it is good for them), they are also willing to give away other people's privacy too. Just because you are happy to be watched by some council employee when you do your shopping doesn't mean I am, and it is very frustrating to lose privacy this way. Unsurprisingly people then express themselves dramatically, and try and warn what we could be moving towards. A dystopian future won't happen overnight, it'd be over multiple generations if it did happen, but I don't want to think that I will leave a world going that way at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:27AM (#28492247)
    Well said. People of course disagree, and feel capitalism is the problem in the world, and that socialism is the answer. The problem is, we don't have capitalism in America, and if anyone can pinpoint a time and place in American history where it truly existed, I'll buy Amtrak.

    Here's a great quote about the state of capitalism in America.

    "Capitalism should not be condemned, since we haven't had capitalism. A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. Capitalism cherishes voluntary contracts and interest rates that are determined by savings, not credit creation by a central bank. It's not capitalism when the system is plagued with incomprehensible rules regarding mergers, acquisitions, and stock sales, along with wage controls, price controls, protectionism, corporate subsidies, international management of trade, complex and punishing corporate taxes, privileged government contracts to the military-industrial complex, and a foreign policy controlled by corporate interests and overseas investments. Add to this centralized federal mismanagement of farming, education, medicine, insurance, banking and welfare. This is not capitalism!" - Ron Paul
  • More sunlight... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:35AM (#28492291) Journal

    Edmonton, Alberta would be the northernmost city in North America

    Completely correct: in Edmonton we get considerably more sunlight than where I grew up in Yorkshire, UK (about 0.5 deg latitude north of Liverpool). The main reason being that we actually get a lot of sun! What is very nice about Edmonton is that the summers are like a warm UK summer with lots of sunny days. Coming from the UK I used to find the summers in places like Chicago unbearable - extremely oppressive heat (30+C) and humidity (70+%) meant that rather than sit outside on a sunny summer day you wanted to stay inside with the air conditioner on maximum.

    Of course nothing is free...the price you pay for the fantastic summers is a somewhat protracted and slightly nippy winter: -35C (before wind chill!) is common - but only for a few days. The snow usually melts in late April and the winters are at generally bright and sunny so there are some beautiful winter days to enjoy (just wrap up warm!). Having emigrated here from the UK I can thoroughly recommend it. I lived for a while in the US found their actual cultural values (not those they espouse) to be extremely different to mine which made it very hard/impossible to fit in - I always felt very much the foreigner. Canadian society has values that (at least from my point of view) are far more in line with European ones and I found it very easy to fit in and integrate into society here, especially since Canadians are so welcoming.

  • by Zylogue (242235) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:41AM (#28492335) Homepage

    "Distance is not an issue, though a reasonable level of stability and provision of public services would be a bonus."

    This alone limits your freedoms.

    Look at it this way, the more 'services' a government provides, then the more government there is. Consider how 'free' the UK or the US were 10, 20, and 50 years ago. Look into the size of their respective governments and how much the current governments 'supply' as services. With the increase of services the more restrictive the government becomes so the services are more needed. Government, when left to a general populace so easily swayed by FUD as the Brits and the Americans (which I am one) are, will always grow and become self-perpetuating.

    Zylogue

  • If you are rich (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:42AM (#28492341) Journal

    A good place to start is usually economic freedom.

    ...but only if you are rich otherwise it is no freedom at all.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ishobo (160209) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:51AM (#28492393)

    Find a position in a multinational in the United States and make it known that you are open for international travel and/or work assignments. Most multinationals use English as their working language. You can get by with English in the EU, where the majority of the population speak it as their second language. This is espeacially true for folks younger than 35. In large cities, English is the most spoken non-native language. That said, it will be easy for you to learn the native language once there; emersion is a better way to learn.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by davester666 (731373) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:51AM (#28492671) Journal

    Of course, IMO, 'freer' is only a relative term. You may not be able to X in your current country, but you can in country Y, next year, country Y is fairly likely to also not permit X, in the name of security, terrorism, whatever.

    It really seems like if you want to move to a freer country, you're looking at a space trip...

  • Re:New Zealand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gnavpot (708731) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:00AM (#28492717)

    NZ is the only country in the world where, on average the women have had more sexual partners than men.

    How does that math work?

    Are there more lesbians in NZ?

    Are there a lower female/male ratio in NZ?

    Those are the two only reasons I can imagine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:07AM (#28492761)

    Here in Peru, there's a lot of freedom, people do what they want, stop a cab in the middle of the street, pay some money to avoid a ticket, cross the street even when the light is red. People dont respect rules. If democracy means power to the people, we have too much power, its anarchy. So please, come here for a season (some people say that Lima's constant gray sky is lil like London) and you ll see the problem of too much freedom. Without rules, people turn into spoiled kids that always want to get it their way.
    When ppl ask me where do you want to live, I answer: Somewhere where ppl respect primary rules of society. (funny thing, i thought Uk was one of those).
    How do you balance freedom, when is freedom too much? When you stop seeing the government as a problem but instead, you re trouble by other citizen, you re living and a country with too much freedom. As Sartre said: "Hell is other people" (L'enfer, c'est les autres).

  • Re:Sorry but ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jabithew (1340853) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:14AM (#28492817)

    Politicians overwhelmingly don't have support for what they're doing. Turnout at the last general election was something like 36%. which means that the winner was "none of the above". The trouble is that our Westminister politicos have no power now. It's all been sent up to Brussels and Strasbourg or sent across to QUANGOs (e.g. NICE). New Labour has completely undermined Parliament at the Westminister level by allowing the Government to treat Parliament as a minor detail. MPs are now, broadly speaking, a waste of valuable London air.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:15AM (#28492821)

    Your post is factually incorrect.

    Everyone must remember that economic freedom -is- personal freedom,

    There may be a correlation between personal freedom and economic freedom. Or not. It depends how freedom is defined. There are two major definitions of freedom that get thrown around these days.

    There is negative freedom, which is the absence of external restraints. If there is a law that says you can't smoke pot, then your negative liberty is being infringed. If there is a law that says you can't purchase a hand gun, your negative liberty is being infringed. These are external restraints. The law exists outside of the individual and limits your options. You can have lots of economic freedom and still not have much in the way of negative freedom. You can be allowed to spend your money on anything you want (hookers, blow, whatever), while there are laws that say you can't marry whoever you want, that you're not allowed to have children, that the government decides who the state goes to war with and when, etc, etc. Negative liberty really didn't exist conceptually until Thomas Hobbes invented the idea for it in the 16th century.

    There is also positive freedom, which is best understood as self-mastery. Instead of looking for external restraints, positive freedom exists when you can do what your will actually desires. So, if you really want, in your heart of hearts, to be an artist, and the economic system is such that being an artist is economically unprofitable, you are not free in that economic system. Thinkers focused on positive freedom tend to try to remove impediments to your will. They do things like encourage you to become educated, they try and make the economic system more fair such that it doesn't impede people pursuing their desires, etc. Positive freedom, as a concept, dates back to Plato. That's roughly 2,500 years ago.

    So no, economic freedom isn't, by definition, personal freedom.

    and conservatism is the reduction of government.

    Conservatism isn't the reduction of government. Conservatism is a preference for the current system over changing things. The root word of conservatism is to conserve. Conserving the status quo does not involve making it smaller. It means keeping it the same. If you live with a monarchy, you want to keep the monarch rather than having democratic reforms. If you live in a democratic regime, you want to keep that regime roughly the same. That's what the word means.

    These words have become corrupted, as has the idea of "freedom".

    The meaning of words change. But the meanings that you're presenting here certainly aren't the original meanings. And the meanings that you're rejecting are actually closer to the original meanings than what you're asserting. So, it is factually incorrect to claim that the words "conservatism" and "freedom" have been corrupted. They just don't mean what you want them to mean.

    And by the way? The word that you really want to describe yourself is "liberal." The root word being liberty. That is, concerned with freedom. That may include economic freedom, or it may not. But if your primary concern is with freedom, you are a liberal, not a conservative.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MooUK (905450) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:16AM (#28492827)

    Also, don't forget that chewing gum is illegal, and vandalism GETS YOU FUCKING CANED.

    Where was the downside again?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:22AM (#28493155)

    The U.S. may be what you want. In a sense we are 50 different countries with 50 different sets of laws and viewpoints.

    You want near total freedom of Speech, Religion, Sexual Expresion. Try California, specifically San Francisco. Google Pics 'Folsom Street Fair'

    You want rights to own guns. Try Nevada or Texas. Last I heard if you get pulled over in Texas and they don't find a gun in your car your fined $100 dollars and given your choice of a 9mm or 44 magnum.

    Want Gay rights and Gay marriage. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine. And within 10 years I predict half a dozen more will follow suit.

    Want Freedom to Gamble. Nevada has slot machines in grocery stores, Car washes, and I understand for $100 they will install one in your car. Also parts of California, New Jersey and probably half a dozen other states.

    Economic Freedom (low Taxes and minimal Government regulations). Nevada and Alaska I believe qualify.

    Marijuana is practically legal in some parts of California. I have had friends pulled over by police with a visible joint and the cop ignored it.

    Prostitution. Some parts of Nevada, and while illegal in other parts of the country, in some areas it might as well be legal.

    Freedom to teach your kids at home, Many states allow this. Freedom to start your own religion and teach your kids really weird stuff. Unless you go to extreme levels you can pull this off in a good dozen states.

    Freedom to drop out of society and bum around. Several areas in California you can do just that.

    It all depends on what you want. Note not all of these will be found in the same place.

    Note there are probably many more states that also match the above catagories, but I am working off the top of my head.

  • Re:Finland (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:27AM (#28493173)

    As countries become more and more populous, and are filled with duller and duller people, all the freedoms and rights which were fought for and protected by smart/selfless people will be slowly taken away in the name of safety, lower taxes or being `tough on crime`. I'm sure Finland will suffer from this just as the UK has. The only solution is fewer, smarter people.

  • by dannywoodz (618593) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:32AM (#28493203)
    Interesting that two of your concerns about the UK are mandatory ID cards and a future Conservative government, given that the two are mutually exclusive [conservatives.com].
  • At a guess.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by malkavian (9512) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @05:16AM (#28493397) Homepage
    You're under 30, and never really lived under a conservative government.. The current one loves to spin, lie, and rely on knee jerk fear to shape the populace.. All the restrictions on liberty you mention are proposed by the current government and actually opposed by the one you're afraid of? What's that logic? There is a government that will likely give back some freedom, but you don't want them because they're tre bogeyman because labour tell you so?
  • Re:What languages? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by MrNaz (730548) * on Saturday June 27, 2009 @05:19AM (#28493407) Homepage

    It's people like you that make me glad that it was the educated and enlightened side that won WWII.

  • Re:Finland (Score:3, Insightful)

    by udippel (562132) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @05:29AM (#28493443)

    Having no mod-points, I just want to thumbs-up your comment verbally!

    It is so frustrating to live in an ever more homogeneous world, at least on the outside of life. A world ever more Anglo-Americanised, with the unwashed masses in principle trying to follow, if not imitate, the 'American Way of Life'. When I ask the people around me what they dream, do, aspire, the usual answer is pretty much skewed versus McDonalds, Coke, 3G-iPhone, and wealth.
    Let's face it, there is about no choice left. Country-wise. We'd need another revolution before we can pinpoint to what the OP was asking for: A country worthy to migrate to; a country inhabited by essentially responsible libertarians. Sad.

  • Re:Sorry but ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jez9999 (618189) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @05:56AM (#28493549) Homepage Journal

    I'd seriously love to move to work and live in Canada, have wanted to for ages, but can't because finding a job there as a UKian is spectacularly difficult (anyone have any suggestions, by the way? I'm a skilled programmer with good working knowledge of things like C#, C, Perl, SQL Server, MySQL, (X)HTML, Javascript, etc.)

    I thought I'd enumerate a list of reasons I hate the UK so much I want to emigrate, which I'm sure some people will partially disagree with, but which I think that the UK really *is* that bad, alas.

    * Surveillance. We're the most watched country in the world, and the majority of people don't have too much of a problem with it. This sucks.
    * Speed cameras. They're regularly used, all over the place, by local authorities as a means of revenue generation. Get caught going 57 MPH in a 50MPH zone 4 times (these zones can be and frequently are dual-carriageways), and you're banned from driving for half a year. North America would respect a lot more that cars are downright necessary for many people and would not ban you for such frivolous infringements.
    * Apalling electoral system. Ours is one of the most antiquated, useless electoral systems in the Western world... not surprising considering it's one of the oldest and hasn't been reformed much at all. It's widely accepted that a one-MP-per-constituency system is a Good Thing and somehow makes MPs more accountable, precluding the possibility of us ever getting a decent system of proportional representation. This sucks.
    * Soft drugs are illegal. This is generally the case in the Western world, but at least there are pro-cannabis movements in Canada and the US. Over here, there's very little debate about this matter, it's just generally 'accepted' that (soft) drugs are guaranteed to be a bad thing for society, in large part because of...
    * The BBC. Yeah, this one's gonna be contraversial, but I personally strongly object to being forced to pay a licence fee because of one fucking broadcaster that I consider mediocre at best, and certainly very biased with its news output. It chooses what to report very selectively, not to mention how it reports it, and has quite a few agendas (it tends to be in favour of big government, ever-more police, banning as much as possible including soft drugs, and just generally being apologists for the government-du-jour's authoritatian policies). As far as I'm concerned, the BBC is to some extent responsible for a lot of the bullshit opinions many people in the UK hold, because they have so much sway over people's opinions and use it to make people think stupid things.

    I could go on, but I feel this post has gotten long enough. Suffice it to say... if anyone knows how I could get a half-decent programming job (I'll be a team leader too! I wouldn't mind trying management!) in Canada, please contact me. :-)

  • Re:Stay. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChienAndalu (1293930) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @06:06AM (#28493595)

    Stay in the UK. Its YOUR fucking country, damn it.

    It is not. It is a random place on earth where he was born. He didn't choose to be there, he doesn't have any obligation to stay there and no obligation to the people who want to make his life miserable. By choosing to move to a better country with more freedoms, being a productive member of a free society and contributing to the prosperity of a better country, he supports freedom.

    Vote with your feet.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Teancum (67324) <`robert_horning' `at' `netzero.net'> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @06:36AM (#28493693) Homepage Journal

    This may be true for US citizens, but for UK ones, the whole EU is a free reign, they can go and live in the country, and get a job there for many years, and then become a citizen simply by pointing out they've been there for a long time.

    I happen to know many UK citizens in the USA right now.... several that even still have British passports for various reasons. Still, if it is emmigration to North America from the UK that you are looking for, Canada (or so I've been told) is a much easier to get into and has much less red tape.

    Don't even get me started with Canadians living in the USA.... prior to 9/11 you wouldn't have even known that your neighbor was Canadian unless you explicitly asked, and getting the answer that they were from casual conversation would get the same reaction as saying they were from Texas or New York. Most Americans considered Canada to be merely another state that figured out a cute trick to avoid paying taxes to Washington, DC.

    The point being here is that somebody deliberately trying to move to the USA could go through Canada if they are from one of the commonwealth countries, although times are changing along those lines and I will admit that movement within the EU is now much easier than movement within the former British Empire of old (aka the "Commonwealth" countries). It still is a unique situation for people from the UK that their status as both a EU country and ties to their former colonies give many options if you want to move on and go somewhere else because you don't like the political philosophies that have crept into your local government, and are trying to "vote with your feet".

    This is, unfortunately, not something as easily done in America once you get here, and the number of options for emmigration are practically none once you get an American passport.

  • Counterpoint (Score:3, Insightful)

    by subreality (157447) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @07:06AM (#28493809)

    While I've stayed where I am through thick and thin, I have a Plan B in case things get worse. At some point, I may need to accept that the majority of the population where I am disagrees with my values, and are also willing to stand up for what they believe in.

    Why shouldn't I let them have their country the way they want it, and go somewhere more in line with the way I want things to be?

  • Re:Wilderness (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @07:06AM (#28493813)

    Don't be stupid. There's no such thing as a free country. Sooner or later, they all end up being run by bastards.

    This is a bit over the top (and certainly oversimplified), but the gist is correct. As one who has lived abroad for about three years I would say this:

    Don't disassemble your life and put it into disarray simply to find "a freer country." You will discover that your life is far easier to dismantle than it is to rebuild. Fleeing might make sense if you're leaving a place like Iran, Iraq, the Balkans under Slobadan Milosovich (sp?), or North Korea, but in the vast majority of cases, for the vast majority of the developed world, this sort of thinking really is nonsense.

    That doesn't mean there aren't dangerous trends that need to be fought and resisted--there most certainly are. But leaving the UK and going to (I dunno, say, Canada) isn't going to get you any long term freedom, because eventually Canada will be forced, through hook or crook, to succumb to the pressures of the UK, the US, Australia, and its other peer nations in the developed world. To be more free, you must stand up and fight for your freedoms, not go live somewhere else where you will probably have no political voice, and have to watch in impotent silence while the same foul tide washes in there.

    That said, living abroad can be very rewarding, if you go for sensible reasons, with realistic expectations, and with the willingness to re-evaluate and critically examine the decision along the way. It can also be a disaster (as I've seen for some other American expatriates living in France and the UK). Either way, if you want to leave your home and go through the difficulty of starting a new life elsewhere, make sure (a) you understand your motives for doing so (I mean really understand them, not just "knee-jerk" say you do), (b) make sure your motives aren't political, because if they are, you will find, sooner than you expect, that the political fortunes of your destination will change in ways you don't agree with and you'll be back to where you started, but in another land, with less continuity in your life and quite possibly less resources to cope with it, and (c) make damn sure your motives are rational and logical, not emotional or "pie in the sky" wishful thinking. Also be very aware that, regardless of how much planning and research you do ahead of time, the number of things you didn't anticipate or imagine will vastly outnumber the things you are able to plan for. Above all realize this: moving abroad will be seriously disruptive to your life, for longer than you expect.

    At this point I think a disclaimer is in order, so you understand precisely my own biases in giving the above advice.
    * I've found my move from the US to London very rewarding professionally
    * I love London, the English culture, and England, from the sophisticated, vibrant, and cosmopolitan heart of London's West End to the beautiful rolling countryside to the drama of the Lake district.
    * Nevertheless, I've found I miss where I moved from greatly, and am seriously considering going back
    * I have political issues with what is happening in the UK, just like I did in the US, and would anywhere else in the world. As will you--no place is perfect, and there's plenty to be worried about everywhere.
    * There have been (non-political) downsides to moving abroad (I could list them, but they would be specific to London and not applicable to you. You will have analogous downsides if you decide to emigrate, and probably just as many, but they will be different in detail from those I experienced)

    I can't emphasize this enough: politics is the worst reason in the world for uprooting your life and making a radical move abroad--unless you are literally fleeing for your life from some place like Afghanistan, or Taliban controlled Pakistan, or fleeing true economic misery from some place like Zimbabwe. In reality you will find that no place will measure up to your political ideals or expectations.

  • by swordgeek (112599) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @08:35AM (#28494243) Journal

    Governments around the world are tightening the reins on their citizens. The only reason they can get away with it is because the citizens are allowing it.

    I would say stay and fight your government. Fight the oppression. Fight for fundamental rights and freedoms. If people stand up for themselves, the corrupt and power-hungry politicians will have to capitulate, and the pendulum will start to swing the other way again. For now, at least--governments will always want more control over the populace, and the only way to stop them is CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!

    But if you leave, then things _will_ get more restrictive, because you are letting them. Then in Germany or New Zealand or Canada or anywhere else, they will start to feel pressure from the USA, Australia, and UK to tighten things up. The US is putting pressure on Canada to tighten its "lax" laws on immigration, copyright protection, and several other issues. If you walk away from the UK (or anywhere else), then it becomes harder for the countries that are more free to stay that way.

    Stay. Fight. WIN! And send a postcard from your newly open native country.

  • Re:What languages? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by postbigbang (761081) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @08:56AM (#28494393)

    Welcome to the 2000s.

    A certain event in the tip of Manhattan caused sufficient paranoia to allow the government in the US, then the UK, to lurch into action. Then there was one in Spain, Germany, and so on. Each event allowed their respective governments to feast on control. One of those controls was the ability to watch you.

    You are, by your virtue of being on /., now a potential suspect. Your Canadian Yahoo address means the NSA and CIA and M5 can peer down your webtubies into your conversations.

    You're on the radar screen now; we all are. Fight the fuckers, give them no quarter, make governments understand that we're the citizenry, and they are at our behest. Folly, you might think. What has eroded can be restored, unless the capable decide to split for a nirvana that doesn't exist.

  • Re:My Guess (Score:4, Insightful)

    by petrus4 (213815) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @09:01AM (#28494425) Homepage Journal

    I'd say the US comes closest to real freedom.

    I'm honestly trying to understand, here. How is it that there is a single American left in existent, who still believes this?

    Seriously, Americans; what will have to happen for you to finally stop drinking the ideological Kool-Aid which your education system pours down your throats? Will a future government literally have to start shooting you in the streets before you grow out of the fairy tales that you were raised with?

    If the mythology about American freedom was ever true, it certainly isn't after the second Bush government. You've proven that your government is no better than any other tyranny on the face of the planet, morally speaking. The only real difference is that they're slightly less blatant, and more careful about making sure they don't get caught.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @09:04AM (#28494443)

    I just happen to know 3 British Ex-pats here in Southern California, all of them all seemingly content with their near minimum-wage jobs.
    That'll change as soon as they have a real medical problem.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@Nospam.barbara-hudson.com> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @10:21AM (#28494941) Journal

    The US has defended Canada? The last time Canada was invaded, it was by the US!

    Nobody's invaded any of the top 5 countries since WW2. What *did* happen was that the US and the USSR decided to have a series of proxy wars. NORAD wasn't about protecting Canada from the Soviets, but about using Canadian bases as advance posts for monitoring the USSR.

    The covert deployment of nuclear weapons on Canadian soil didn't enhance Canadian security - it made Canadians targets.

    The Star Wars scheme to intercept missiles during their coasting phase meant that Canada, not the US, would have to deal with the detrius of a succesful intercept.

    Did you listen when Canada said "Don't go into Iraq"? Noooo ... and how much has it cost since? Both in money, and in reputation, and in lives? You didn't enhance your security by invading Iraq - you inflamed your existing enemies, made new ones, weakened key allies, and disgusted others. It was all about oil. And what's the #1 oil consumer in the world? The US military. Eisenhower warned about this sort of stupidity.

    Then again, what can you expect from a country that now classifies pocket knifes - even non-spring-loaded ones - as "switchblades" in a further war on its' own citizens rights, and that, rather than jailing the people behind the global frauds that led to the global financial meltdown, gives them "retention bonuses?" That wants to bail out millions of people who committed fraud by filing bogus mortgage documents, while penalizing those who were honest and sat out the bubble. Only in America, where corporate social welfare runs rampant under the guise of capitalism. It's pretty bad when the US is in so many ways more like the old Soviet Union than Russia is. With more people in jail than any other country in the world, can't you at least find some space in one of those jails for the biggest crooks in the worlds' history?

    The US wasn't just protecting other countries - it was also protecting its' own interests, and is currently the largest destabilizing influence - both financially and militarily. With the deficit soaring, and set to double again over the next decade, "too big to fail" is fast becoming "too big to save." Unfortunately, you're taking down the rest of the world with you.

    There was a time when the US stood for freedom, straight dealing, honesty, fairness, and integrity. Enlightened self-interest instead of greed. Independence rather than "where's my bail-out" entitlement. Opportunity rather than "your papers, citizen." It took George Bush 2 terms to reduce that to tatters. More than 2 centuries of effort undermined, trashed in less than a decade.

    Your war in Iraq didn't contribute to world security - and it certainly proved to be a distraction from getting that bin Laden guy. So much for "mission accomplished." then again, it was all about oil and pork-barrel politics, so maybe it really WAS "mission accomplished" - if the mission was to screw over the American people, blatantly burning through the social capital of goodwill and trust that most people had, overall, for the US.

    A generation ago, 76% of Americans said that, overall, they trusted their government to do the right thing. Now? [rinf.com] Unsurprisingly, 80% of Americans said they now perceive their government as serving powerful special interests rather than the interests of the people as a whole.

    If your own people don't trust you, why should anyone else?

  • Re:What languages? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nizo (81281) * on Saturday June 27, 2009 @10:46AM (#28495177) Homepage Journal

    The only problem is, if the very people who are needed to fight against this all flee somewhere else, that makes it much harder to keep it from getting worse here. And if you think that it will stop at the borders of America or the UK, think again.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @11:09AM (#28495341) Homepage

    Americans spend a great deal of time talking about freedom, Canadians actually are free.

    Well, I'm not sure I would take it that far. As a Canadian, I think we do a pretty good job overall (our record for personal privacy, for example, is quite strong, and I think our system of democracy is more representative of the people's wishes, thanks to the weaker influence of lobbying groups), but things like the Canadian Human Rights Commission, a "court" system completely outside the regular system of jurisprudence, would suggest we still have plenty we could improve on.

    Really, my post wasn't to illustrate why the US sucks and <insert country here> is better. Rather, certain Americans (and Canadians, for that matter) sometimes need to be reminded that their nation *isn't* the greatest, most free, most awesome country in the world... that it is flawed, and often *doesn't* live up to its lauded ideals.

  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:09PM (#28495761) Homepage Journal

    With all the ongoing censorship?

    I lived in Kuala Lumpur for a few years, and I have to say that your vision of Malaysia is quite rosy.

    Lets forget about the religious police and the de facto apartheid that exists in the country, you have no access to a free press of any denomination.

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