Tuesday, July 04, 2006

That's a definite no-no too, Daffy

Lots of people, all around the world, are concerned with the future of America. One person is so concerned that he's been suggesting an emergency escape plan from the US. I like Mark's bold strokes, but I get the feeling he's half-joking. I would argue that if the US were to suffer some catastrophic meltdown, there would be no place in the world that would not feel the effects. I would further argue that the people who will suffer the most will be the people with the least means to leave. There's also that this is a sort of tacit defeatism combined with an implicit and all-too-common 'false consciousness' slur of the American populace which you hear from most Europeans without the slightest trace of awareness of the nasty corporations and statist power-grabs in their own backyard. Its all too Neo-Malthusian, as if the arguments surrounding this are missing several logical antecedents and consequences. The net effect of millions of emigrants from America would have quite the opposite effect than I think Mark is thinking when it comes to expanding American influence abroad: now its a slow leak out to a variety of countries; vast groups of families leaving en masse would likely go to a very few other countries, pushing more Americanization of other countries. Still I think it is an idea which should be given a great deal of consideration from all Americans, if for nothing else than Katrina and its ominous conflux of Republican incompetence and malicious ignorance of global climate change. With all the gravity this proposal deserves, I give you a survivalist guide to life in the wider world:

So You're Running Away?
A Guide for Americans


This is the step which you should take the most time on but will in fact always be the most hurried. Thus be pro-active and keep some sturdy luggage at the ready. Take the time to build a kit of emergency supplies for inclusion, culled from either Big Box chain stores or illicit Mexican pharmacies, depending on cost and availability. You will need drugs for killing pain of various magnitudes, fresh antibiotics including Cipro, and Viagra to trade at border crossings in lieu of diamonds.
Most American foodstruffs are relatively easy to acquire outside the US, or reasonable facsimiles thereof. You will however be unlikely to find any great quantities of: root beer, macaroni & cheese, grape-flavored chewing gum, or ranch dressing. Stock accordingly.
Be aware of the electronic anarchy which will prevent you from using that snazzy Nano without a softball-sized adapter. In fact, if you could carry a renewable power supply such as something solar-powered or crankable than you can go anywhere, but if that were feasible that we wouldn't be fighting for energy resources would we?


Just how far away from societal collapse will likely be the main determainent of your exit strategy. Of course, if you have the money to afford business-class to wherever, you will probably stay right in your damn easy-chair you estate-tax-cutting fatcat! So consider a series of blood, marrow and egg/sperm donations across a variety of municipalities in order to raise funds. Also, consider that the market for your kidney will not be as good abroad. The Insterstate Highway System will take you as far as Canada or Mexico, which both make nice layovers or final destinations. Of course, neither country has entry requirements and immigration enforcement that are as lax as the US, so it maybe time for you to be moving along now.
Ocean transport, barring the occasional Somali or Malay pirate, seems more flexible to the vagaries of terrestrial turmoil. Consider prepping your seaworthy craft with a sonic blaster to keep away the thugs which threaten its ocean voyage. Also first-time seagoers will need more than Wikipedia to brave the changing conditions of operating a boat. Of course, the ancient technique of sailing boats might make a comeback in some post-Peak scenario, so learn the difference between port and starboard and how to tie a bowline hitch.


You will likely be a native English speaker and thus have a preference to move to where you can be (more or less) understood. Therefore the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand are the most obvious of choices. Other countries will require at least a token effort on your part (and sometimes much more) to learn their peculiar and culture-specific manner of associating sounds with ideas. Some like the Dutch, will generally be more amused than dismayed by your attempts to ape their articulation. Others may gasp in horror at such motions, like your average Parisian. Your pretensions toward collegiate learning may afford you enough  competency to move to either the French-speaking world (France, parts of Africa, Polynesia, Haiti, Quebec, some Caribbean islands), the Spanish-speaking world (Spain, Mexico, everywhere else in the real America outside of Brazil, the Canary Islands) or the Latin-speaking world (the Vatican). If you are lucky enough to be the child of a recent immigrant you may be able to get citizenship in their home country. Of course, if you are descended from the historic forefathers of the country like me I guess you just deserve to suffer bureaucracy right?


Wherever you go, people will not think of you as that exceptional. You will soon learn the Catalogue of Complaints regarding the American people and will know them by heart exactly as they are presented to you: without any sense of exterior geopolitical or historical context. Pay attention to local statutes: as an immigrant to their nation you will have no serious leverage over public policy at either the local or national level and will be resented fiercely for attempts to do so for whatever reason.
You will be unlikely to retain employment in your former profession if it is service-oriented. The American ideal of customer service is viewed as a fascistic threat to life in many places and your written desire to 'give 110%' will likely confuse and frighten prospective employers. You will likely end up in time-honored immigrant positions preparing your native food for your hosts, or if you are lucky, putting good use to your experience mowing the lawn and changing your oil.


Someday it may be possible to defy Tom Wolfe and 'go back home again' depending the plans of the Obama Administration...okay okay but I can dream, right? I think you should hope for the best, even as you plan for the worst.

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At 9:42 AM,

True true.. I wasnt considering the longterm effects. I guess just like waves of immigrants from the past never considered the long term effects either, it seems. The spread of conservative values.. religiousness.. individualism.. maybe some greed and obescity. I changed my mind! close the borders!

Ok I kid. but really.. Im worried about my younger family members and their future in that crazy place.




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