“Once again I ask if anyone here has an exit strategy out of this cesspool of greed, heartless indifference, and breathtaking stupidity that is the US. I am seriously considering the options these days…”
…there are at least three reasons I can’t give you an answer that will satisfy you –
…I haven’t traveled enough to enough places, but I have traveled a little
…you and I are probably so different that you probably wouldn’t like my recommendations, …the wording of this sentence highlights the differences so much that even attempting to find you a “better” place is doomed to failure.
This is long…you might want to jump down to “Suggestions and recommendations”
If you pay attention and believe the mainstream media, and perhaps with your other reasons, including perhaps a negative attitude to begin with, you can come to believe that we or you are in a “cesspool”.
I have my own reasons for not trusting the mainstream media (“the lamestream media”, the MSM or Ministry of Smoke and Mirrors, etc.), and so I am turning to other sources of info, trying to observe more and reflect on my own experience, as everyone must.
But let me give an answer and another perspective.
Some years ago a married couple of Jewish family physicians moved in next door. We shared a lot of things, and perhaps it was our mutual pleasure with the fairly new Macintosh that got us started, but we made and stayed lifelong friends. The two were part of an extended family…one side had a root in Peta Luma California but had since migrated East. Of the four children, one became a music producer in LA, another a music professor on the East coast, the third became the physician who is our friend. The fourth and last brother also became a doctor, but faced anti-Semitism in the U.S. and so at a fairly early age moved to Israel…marrying into what had been a Socialist commune which has since mostly privatized.
The other of the pair had grown up in New Jersey, his father ran an electrical subcontracting business where he helped out as a youngster, spent high school summers running a fishing boat off the coast (even having a little fresh sushi with some of his Japanese clientele before putting back into port). He’s a sailor, a sports car enthusiast, a doer.
Occasionally, one of the two had a brush with depression. When I say “brush with”, I don’t mean they were depressed personally…often physicians have patients who are depressed. But this friend’s observation has stuck with me for decades: ‘smart people often get depressed because they can see how a cause of pain can be so easily avoided.’
The two neighbor physicians were active here in Durham, even starting a suburban clinic on behalf of Duke Hospitals, as “intrapreneurs”…helping with real estate decisions, hiring the staff, computerizing and networking the whole office complex in the early 1990s when this was still new, and setting the medical practices. The clinic grew and prospered. But one day a patient, an ex-con, threatened the life of one of the doctors, the lives of all the staff and the lives of my friend’s family. My friend responding by beefing up clinic security and…arming up with personal weapons – shotgun, pistols, a rifle or two including a family heirloom M1 rifle.
The Duke clinic was taken over by UNC hospitals, as the two systems began eating up independent practices. These two physicians, who had previously started an entire clinic and been responsible for everything, found themselves ordered about by bureaucratic office managers sent by the UNC Systems. By 2008 it became too much, and by 2010 they moved out of state.
They now live in Alaska and they became Alaskans…carrying a loaded pistol on the front seat (for bears on long walks, perhaps), and flying their plane to medical assignments all over the state.
If you are a determinist, they you can see how two “intrapreneurs” became Alaskans. If you are a determinist and you mean what you write, then you’re not much longer for the U.S..
Two summers ago at my local atheists’ ethical society Sunday meeting, I found myself in a “roots” exercise sitting next to a woman who had just returned to the U.S. from six years living in Israel. She, also, had grown up in Peta Luma California, but since this was a “roots” morning, I learned much more about her past from her. Her grandfather was a young man in Czarist Russia, and a hundred years ago found himself with two choices: join the Czar’s Army, which would mean 20 years’ service, or join the Communist Revolution. He chose the Revolution. Years later, he was part of a group that emigrated from Russia, came to the U.S. and journeyed across the country and finally settled in Peta Luma California, where they started a chicken-raising commune. Apparently this is pretty famous. But my new roots friend also explained that her father, at family gatherings, would also say “without the Revolution we would have nothing.” I found it interesting that this new person’s ancestors came from Russia and kept strong Communist/Socialist beliefs, and my father’s family came from the same part of Russia, but he did well in business. My new friend and I might find ourselves on two different sides of political opinion, but we were both being “true to our roots”, we were both atheists and didn’t need the 10 Commandments to ‘honor our fathers and our mothers’.
Wherever your attitudes come from, they probably go as deep and there’s nothing much anyone can say or do or point out to you that’s going to change them. Attitude is a ‘country’ too, and you and I live on different sides of an ocean.
I have traveled to and lived in just a few other countries for short stretches. I don’t find America a cesspool. When I walk through malls and markets in my region, bi-racial couples are everywhere, something I wouldn’t have seen in my native Cleveland Ohio when I was growing up. I don’t find neighbors and friends , business acquaintances and casual acquaintances ‘greedy, heartlessly indifferent, or breathtakingly stupid’. The biggest divide I’ve seen in my small slice of the country was last year, and it was about the last election, when people argued about their picture of the world and its prominent people. Day to day people are not at each others’ throats. In general, they know enough to stay away from people they disagree with and leave each other alone.
I do not trust concentrations of power, which means I have little trust for Washington and the largest corporations. For example, I am de-Googling myself as fast as practical. But that’s off subject.
What I have found true about travel is that people that come from different places have many differences, and they work up their own local ways of dealing with reality, their environments, survival, and each other.
My closest former-Russian friend left the U.S. because he was told this was the “land of the free”, and all he’s seen is laws, corrupt politicians, and corporations telling the sheeple what to do and what to believe. He left to seek more freedom and a cheaper cost of living. He’s now living in Vietnam.
Whenever I think I have a good picture of reality, I remind myself that my descriptions, political and otherwise, are probably missing a great deal of information and hence might be completely wrong. Further, when I’m reminded of huge differences, say between me and another American over politics, politics being the vying for power over individuals and groups…that we have 7 and a half billion people living on the planet, most are not killing each other, (to paraphrase Vic praising science when he described its resulting aging populations ‘so many that the very large number of people themselves are a problem’) and that alone tells me that humans are doing something socially and politically correct.
Suggestions and recommendations
1…If you so dislike the place, quit writing so much, quit reading so much that’s feeding your doom, gloom, and disgust, and do something about it. “Get off your ass” as some politician recently advised. I admit I have a prejudice towards action over speech, and this is what my prejudice advises you.
2…Cut out MSM…and even cut out atvoid-2 for a spell. I myself stay on for about four reasons, the largest being nostalgia for Vic. But I open less than a tenth of the posts…the rest of the posts are pretty predictable. Cut off cable TV. Use the savings to start a travel fund.
3…Take some of your savings and travel…as far away as possible for as long as possible and as soon as possible. I’ve heard that only 15 percent of U.S. citizens even has a passport. If you include all the immigrants to the U.S. who keep their passports active to visit relatives in their country of origin, this is a sorry figure of a majority of parochial sticks-in-the-mud. If I had a lot of money I’d buy as many U.S. citizens as I could a one-way plane ticket to as far away as possible, and give them an allowance to buy a ticket back, but not from the same airport. In traveling you will see what you will see – both good and bad in other places, and if you stay away long enough, you will feel somewhat alien when you return – perhaps you will find, as I did, the U.S. is weird, in its own way. But “weird” is not “a cesspool”.
And most Americans, never having traveled or lived somewhere else, are also ungrateful. Those who listen to the MSM telling them that everything is shit leave their domiciles framed and prepped to see nothing but shit, and….voila! All they see is shit. This is a positive feedback loop and confirmation bias all rolled into one.
When you travel you’re going to find so many differences, you won’t be able to deny them. You may find that you agree with non-Americans you meet on issue A, but disagree on issue B. You’re going to find that you agree on some major issues, but you really don’t like what they eat or how they smell or how they live day to day. Travel has a way of putting you deep in to these situations and you won’t need a politically-incorrect person like me to notice them.
4…Try Estonia. Cold, dark, stark, but they vote with their phones.
Try Eastern Europe, where I spend some time each year (prices are cheap, families are tight, but half the population earn their money outside the country and send it home…they can’t seem to get their post-Yugoslavian economy humming). All in all, you might choose family over economy – it’s warmer, and let’s face it, a humming economy can break up families. England was expensive when I was there last…if its guns you’re afraid of, few guns there. Try Isreal. Try China, where a close friend of mine spent time on construction projects and now says what our media reports about China is almost always wrong. Try Japan, where another classmate has found home…became the sole Gai-jin judo instructor in the country’s most prominent judo club, but who informs me that most young Japanese men are being raised as prissy boys. Try Vietnam, and if you run into my Russian freedom-seeking friend, tell him “hello”.
5…If a country move seems too much, try another state – try Alaska. Totally different than the lower 48. Of course I can’t even ask you to visit Flyover country, but you might visit, or at least pick up a National Geographic and read about it.
6…Try …something to get your poor, caring and sharing and intelligent self out of this cesspool of ignorance, because frankly, with your attitude, you couldn’t see positive things or solutions worth putting your shoulder to if you bumped into them.
Somewhat relevant perhaps, though I think I recall some people on this list say that they dislike/disagree with Chris Hedges.
…I think this is plausible, though maybe not the timescale. The US will not be overthrown militarily, and is not an empire in the same way as the others he mentions, with dominions and colonies to maintain. And the modern world, with its rapid communications, is very different even from the one that saw the sun set on the British Empire 60 years ago. Nor do I think that it will be supplanted, as Hedges suggests. I think it will remain a player. Even little UK remains a significant economic power, and Russia is again one of the world’s big actors less than 30 years after the “end of history”. For the US, the question is not so much whether it will remain a big player on the world stage (even perhaps primus inter pares, at least in the military domain), as whether it will maintain/restore its political traditions, or move closer to the Russian model of a gangster oligarchy (which seems more likely than China’s authoritarian state capitalism). I suppose the other question is whether the rest of the “democratic” world can hold together if the US fails. There are good reasons why Russia (and perhaps Trump too) is keen to see the EU implode – it is imperfect, badly tainted by the neoliberal virus, and democratically flawed, but it nevertheless embodies a particular political vision, as well as a powerful trading bloc. If the EU fragments, Canada may become the only option, if you want to remain in a world that is at least partly familiar. If you are prepared for profound dépaysement, your options are wider…