“Sure, ur free to leave the country anytime u wish to attempt to create ur utopian anarchist society,” a dedicated statist told me awhile back, when confronted with Stefan Molyneux’s “Against Me” tactic. If I’m less than pleased with a government, does it follow that I must relocate to an area not claimed by that government? If I don’t love the USA, do I really have to go?
This tedious ultimatum of “love it or leave it” rolls off the tongue but falls flat when it hits the brain. It’s a false dichotomy. That means it’s a logically broken statement. Why? Because there are very reasonable alternatives to loving the USA or leaving it. Those are not the only options. And what terrible options they are. They betray an antagonism towards individual rights and free thought, values usually associated with Americans.
Let’s Make the Reality Fit the Ideal
Here’s just one of many alternative options: Love America so much you work hard to make the reality fit the promise, so you don’t have to leave it. That’s my favorite choice. America was a new land for those who immigrated here. It wasn’t for the Indians, victims of a nasty campaign of genocide. But it was for those who came here to escape famines, oppression, poverty and religious persecution elsewhere. Today’s America gives you that sinking feeling in your stomach when you compare it to that ideal. America has imported all the tyrannies people want to escape from.
Free Thought Cuts Both Ways
In a recent dialog on reddit, someone told me, “You think the rest of us are all ignorant and blind but we are not. I am generally happy with the way the country runs.” That gentleman, and there are many like him, came to their love of the status quo independently. That’s their business. But it’s a contradiction to force their judgment on others. They came to their decision freely – or so they think – so why shouldn’t I be afforded the same privilege? Why must I agree or get out?
Deconstructing “Love it or Leave it.”
Let’s take a closer look at this ultimatum. What does “Love it or leave it.” mean? Is it patriotic? Is it even possible to accept it?
- It assumes that land and regime are one. Are there property rights where you live? If your property is yours, then what does your opinion of the government matter? And if you may not hold both your property and a less than loving attitude towards the little dictators who claim dominion over you, is it really your property? Or does it de facto belong to the government?
- It admits that government is a coercive monopoly, and won’t tolerate competition. When I want to change brands of razor I don’t have to move. So why, when I’m not satisfied with the brand of government that’s been forced on the people in my geographical location, am I required to go somewhere else? Aren’t my countrymen in favor of competition and opposed to monopolies?
- It claims that the USA government is better than the others, and that we should just be content with that. While the USA seems to claim less power over its subjects than some other governments (for the moment), why should we be content with that? If I’m not happy with any of the bread products available in my area, do I settle? Or do I invent a better one? Not everyone has the drive to put a new and better product out there, but we admire those who do.
- It assumes that it is possible to escape the long arm of the United-Statesian little dictators. However, no matter where you are, the USA claims jurisdiction over you and your property. Its IRS wants you to send it reports on your financial activities, no matter where you live. They have enough satellite regimes that you can be extradited back to the US from almost anywhere. Thus the gang makes it impossible to leave. In effect, they claim authority over *you*, no matter where you are.
I Love My Country, NOT the Government
Of course, I do like my country: the land, people and culture around here. It’s just the government that I find abhorrent. The land is beautiful and pleasant. The people are good, honest and trustworthy. But they’re besieged by an all-raping, all-pillaging government that kicks you when you’re down and hands your wallet over to the rich. I simply can not in good conscience tolerate it quietly. Can you?
“Love it or leave it” admits that the government is a monopoly that claims ownership of us all. This ultimatum is not compatible with free market beliefs. It advocates settling for mediocrity and a monopoly. Worst of all, it’s a false choice since the very government we are urged to love will not allow anyone to leave its jurisdiction. That doesn’t fit within any definition of ‘patriotic’ I’m aware of. Does it fit yours?