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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 Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:13AM (#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.

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

      by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:21AM (#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.

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

      by PachmanP (881352) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:28AM (#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...)

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

      by RsG (809189) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:33AM (#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.

  • List of Countries (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hansoloaf (668609) <hansoloaf&yahoo,com> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:16AM (#28491297)
    Here's a list of countries by Human Development Index http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index#High [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bmgoau (801508)

      Why not stay in your own country and fight for those rights? Run as an independent for government. Organize resistance to the plans.

      How about Australia or Canada?

      I'm in Australia at the moment, broadband prices arn't amazing, and they're trying to implement a useless filter, but generally speaking the police are nice and we're universally known for hating our politicians (more then most countries).

      Even if the government wanted to implement some scheme to restrict freedoms, it would mean they would have to a

  • Anarchy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sporkinum (655143) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:16AM (#28491303)

    A Banana republic with a little anarchy thrown in for good measure would probably be the most "free". Obviously, most people would like a little civilization thrown in for good measure. The trick is finding the right balance. My guess would be maybe one of the old eastern block countries. I would have no idea which one though.

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

    by enigma32 (128601) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:18AM (#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.

  • Wilderness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tpstigers (1075021) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:23AM (#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.
    • by PachmanP (881352) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:36AM (#28491497)

      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.

      A sentient computer and a rail launcher on the moon might do it...

  • by kramulous (977841) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:26AM (#28491375)

    I hear the end of the universe is a pretty cool place to hang out.

    Apparently some good restaurants.

  • by Snarky McButtface (1542357) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:27AM (#28491387)

    Canada, eh?

  • by mrmeval (662166) <mrmeval@nospAM.gmail.com> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:27AM (#28491393) Journal

    Dave Freer is having to get out of Africa. It's getting very bad there. It is a beautiful land and based on his and several other peoples comments it's like having to leave paradise so he has not been quick to leave.

    Some of his books are in the Baen free library
    http://www.webscription.net/s-45-dave-freer.aspx?CategoryFilterID=1&ManufacturerFilterID=0& [webscription.net]

  • Come to the USA! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot.castlesteelstone@us> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:28AM (#28491397) Homepage Journal

    Don't listen to the crap you might see from the libertarians on /. The USA is a great place to come if your own country is becoming more repressive than you like. Here's my best argument ("best" at 12:30 saturday morning.)

    #1: We have rights of expression, assembly, thought, speech, and, yes, privacy enshrined in the Constitution. All the UK really has is the continued good will of the crown (or, if you rather, the respect for history in Parliament.) 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.

    #2: As a culture, we prize freedom the way Israel prizes "never again" or Iran prizes "Islam". "I just want to be left alone" is the only argument you'll need to get any American on your side. Our two major political parties argue about how we collaborate on things, and where we should extend legal privileges -- NOT on how free we should be. (At least, not the serious ones.)

    #3: America is currently in the beginings of its post-Bush era. We do reactions VERY well in this country -- and that means the principle sin of the Bush, era, "sacraficing liberty for security", is likely not to be repeated in the next 10-20 years. If ever.

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

    #5: From a feudalistic standpoint, you would go from being a subject of a crown to a citizen of a country -- theoretically speaking, from a king's slave to a king's peer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by memoryhole (3233)

      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 mentio

      • Re:Come to the USA! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:58AM (#28492109)

        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.

        125,000 troops in Iraq, the a country the size of California (with fewer people, I might add), you'd think we'd have this mopped up by now, except that somehow after the set-piece battle is done, it takes a whole lot of troops & police to create effective positive control over a civilian population. This is something Americans learned after the civil war -- the North won the war but the South very clearly won the reconstruction as the North (unfortunately) had neither the resources nor the political will to police the entire South to guarantee rights to the now-freed-slaves.

        The military is a blunt weapon, not one that can be effectively used for fine-grained policing work. This is why the Soviets & company invested so much in secret police, becuase they needed a subtle way to control the masses in a fashion that didn't raise the public ire against them like the tanks did (the Chinese, since 1989 have advanced quite a bit in this respect). The E. German Stassi in particular had a file on every citizen -- this wasn't a massive waste, it was an integral part of a very effective system.

        Now imagine that 125,000 man army spread across the entire US (or even just a region of it) with 60 million rifles and 65 million handguns (in 1994, gun ownership has only gone up since, especially after the last election). Even if the entire national guard joined the army (doubtful, many would defect and bring their weapons over the rebels anyway), there's still be ~500 armed civilians for each soldier.

        Cites:

        "A National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms (NSPOF), conducted in 1994, indicates that Americans own 192 million guns, with 36% of these consisting of rifles" from wikipedia.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Abcd1234 (188840)

      #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 mon

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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

    • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:38AM (#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.

    • Re:Come to the USA! (Score:4, Informative)

      by CodeBuster (516420) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:47AM (#28492033)

      Don't listen to the crap you might see from the libertarians on /.

      In defense of us Libertarians here on Slashdot I feel that I must point out that we are all about freedom and against violence and coercion. In fact, we have always held the United States Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights in very high esteem and wish that our Federal Government would conform more closely to the limited role outlined in those documents instead of experimenting with socialism as Obama seems determined to do. However, as Bush and others have demonstrated, there is really only so much damage that one President can do and in the long run the United States has some pretty well engineered self correcting mechanisms (our founding fathers saw to that when they set the whole thing up). In response to the emigrating author, I would definitely recommend the United States in general and the Free State Project [wikipedia.org] states (New Hampshire and Wyoming) in particular if he is looking to maximize his freedoms. Although, compared to what we see and hear coming out of the UK these days, just about anywhere in the United States is going to be a breath of fresh air by way of comparison. The United States also has the advantage that the residency requirements and path to citizenship are easier when coming from the UK which enjoys the "special relationship" with the United States. So he really should take a second look at the United States; we really do have a lot to offer as a free country.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I gotta say, man, Planesdragon speaks truth. No matter how else we may f**k up, you just can't beat that 1st amendment, and I've never heard of another place which has anything like it. I can stand on the street corner and shout as long as I want that Muslims and queers and cops stink, and several decent people may wait in line to beat the crap out of me, but I have nothing to fear from the state. Even as a visitor, you would have the same freedom. Of course, there's a constant struggle between those wh
  • Come to India (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gopla (597381) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:29AM (#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.

  • by Leemeng (970560) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:32AM (#28491443)

    Well, you could weed out the countries NOT to emigrate to. The 2009 Failed State Index is out:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/06/22/the_2009_failed_states_index

    I found their rating criteria exhaustive, but fair. It's basically a shopping list for what a good country should have.

  • by WittyName (615844) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:34AM (#28491463)

    Generally south east asia is pretty good. China is communist, so is Vietnam. But this is really in name only. They do not make any effort at being friendly or fuzzy to the population. But as a foreigner living there, you can say what you want about the government, and pretty much do what you want. They do not want a story about you being arrested on some BS in the international papers.

    They are busy building infrastructure so there is no money for fancy ID cards, camera networks, or much spying. Even in china, the internet spying is looking for chinese words, not english..

    Language is not a big issue, as the last 20 years english is taught to all school kids.
    Weather is nice, internet works good, 5 minute walk to the beach, cheap standard of living.

    Go communists!

  • New Zealand (Score:5, Informative)

    by Binkleyz (175773) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:34AM (#28491471) Journal
    Jokes about "Flight of the Conchords" (and sheep) aside, New Zealand is a modern, English speaking, very politically free and open country.. They are very much a part of the "First World", but so far have avoided many of the more "Police State-y" laws and regulations that you seem eager to be away from.

    They have a "Quality of Life" [wikipedia.org] score just below the US and considerably better than the UK.

  • by Linegod (9952) <{pasnak} {at} {warpedsystems.sk.ca}> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:36AM (#28491491) Homepage Journal

    Stay away from Canada. It's horrible here. No freedom. You wouldn't like it. Try the US, I hear they have a magic president or something.

    wanker...

  • by uchar (166138) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:37AM (#28491499)

    I would recommend you to go to Montreal, Quebec, Canada... you would love it for sure, as for privacy, services and so on... you will have everything you wish for!!! Privacy is one of the top sensitive subject here, even inter-governmental institution doesn't share personal information on citizen... If there's camera on some street, they aren't allowed to record anything... Here you have nature minutes away, beautiful women on every corner and lots of entertainment... Most of all, you won't find a city offering that much for that cheap!

  • by BountyX (1227176) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:37AM (#28491501)
    The famous american chess player was notoriously anti-american. He fled the US to several countries. You can trace his life as an emigre [wikipedia.org]. It serves as a good guide. The wikipedia corruption index [wikipedia.org] may be of use, although I cannot vouch for its accuracy. I favorite Turkey, Japan, Sweden, Austria, or Denmark. Good luck.
  • by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:37AM (#28491505) Journal

    some countries have better economic freedom while less social freedom, which country you wish to move to depends on which of these are more important. if it's econ then pick one of the top countries listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index_of_Economic_Freedom_historical_rankings [wikipedia.org]

    if you want social freedom, countries in soe parts of europe are better; sweden, denmark, new zealand if outside of europe is ok.. overall between the two, switzerland is high on my own personal list.

  • Finland (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pbaer (833011) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:38AM (#28491511)
    Finland has the best privacy laws in the world, and Finns enjoy a lot of rights, such as "right to roam" [wikipedia.org]. Finland also had women's suffrage in 1906, much earlier than most countries. Finland is also a highly technological nation, which since you post on slashdot, is probably a plus. Most of the people there will speak english to some degree, which should make communicating a little easier.

    Finland, however has disadvantages such as, a very difficult native language, immigrating will be tougher than other nations, cold weather, and possible invasion from Russia. If you like Finland, but can't handle the language, you could try a different Scandinavian country, as they all share the same basic values.

    You should find this link helpful, it has an immigration section. http://www.finlandforum.org/index.php [finlandforum.org]

  • Stay. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:39AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sydneyfong (410107)

      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?

    • Re:Stay. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ChienAndalu (1293930) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @07:06AM (#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:Stay. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by iserlohn (49556) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @11:04AM (#28494815) Homepage

        Let's face it. A lot of the people that say they are leaving a particular place because certain political reasons are just doing so because it's convenient to do so. Apart from people that are really under political oppression, those that emigrate would most likely be because of a better standard of living, weather, career opportunities or to be closer to family and friends, etc.

        Slashdot is probably the worse place to ask for immigration advice. If you want to move to a country which has good protections on privacy, free speech and civil rights in general, but you don't fight to keep those rights, then you are a net liability to that nation, whichever you might wish to choose to settle in.

        No matter how people of markets as the magical solution to everything, it is unlikely that privacy and civil liberty protections in law was drafted with immigration policy in mind.

        Freedom is not a thing, a state of being or something you can achieve. Freedom is a balance; a balance of self and society, a balance between individual satisfaction and collective well-being. When this balance is lost, then to one extreme there is oppression, or to the other there is anarchy.

      • Re:Stay. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dracophile (140936) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @11:38AM (#28495115)
        Oops. It IS his country. He gets to moan about the state of affairs is he tries to do something about them, and if he prefers to just go somewhere else where that's been done for him then he gets to STFU.

        And you don't vote with your feet. You vote with the ballot box, the soap box, the jury box and then the ammo box of all the others have been compromised.
  • by Deag (250823) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @12:58AM (#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 Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:11AM (#28491775)

    I recommend Switzerland. They have the most democratic and fair government system on the planet (from what I know).

    The fairness of the election in their capital city is mathematically proven to be the fairest system possible!

    The control of the government is very grassroots-style. People have the last word. (Read more about it on Wikipedia.)

    The nature there is incredibly beautiful! I recommend living on the hillside of a green valley, with huge mountains around you, with snow on top. In the summer, it is hot. In the winter there is much snow.

    And from what I saw, people are very relaxed down there. We in Germany joke about them being a bit "slow" when speaking. But that is only a result of this.

    Also I don't think there are many other places in the world, that offer you nice broadband connections, and such a clean nature (with the water you are drinking coming directly from the glaciers!)

    Even their military is so cool, they have bunkers in the hills, were they hide their modern fighter jets. And they are so independent, that they don't even need to be in the EU. (As a military pilot, you have a good chance of flying a F-19. At least a guy who actually flew one, told me this.)

    The only thing you might miss, is the ocean. For that you have to drive to Italy. (Right below it. At Venice for example.)

    I dare you to beat that package. :D

  • by WARM3CH (662028) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:17AM (#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!
  • Costa Rica (Score:3, Interesting)

    by evil_aar0n (1001515) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @01:19AM (#28491845)

    I asked a similar question back before the US elections, just in case Bush, er, McCain won. Someone suggested Costa Rica. Apparently, they're "America-lite." They have similar institutions - three branches of govt - but just not as useless, I guess. Land is supposed to be cheap. It has coastlines on both oceans. I don't know about immigration laws, but it shouldn't be hard to look up.

    I feel for ya, brother. Good luck.

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