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WND Commentary
'America, I'm Outa Here!'

By Claire Wolfe
© 1999 Claire Wolfe

It was supposed to be another meeting of Hardyville's Official Unofficial Y2K Committee, but it didn't start out as planned.

The rest of us were milling around waiting for Carty, the ex-military logistics whiz who's our unofficial official. Carty's normally a smack-on-time kinda guy. But this night he thundered in late, flung some books and papers down on the table and roared, "I'm outa here!"

"No you're not," Janelle-the-waitress observed from behind her tray. "You just got here."

"I mean I'm outa here," Carty boomed with a sweep of one big hand. The rest of us -- even those not in the path of the hand -- reared back a little. "I'm out of America!"

Now, understand: Carty is huge, shaves his head, and considerably resembles Jesse "The Governor" Ventura. So we were all a bit loath to ask, "Whuh?" But Carty also breathes red, white and blue and we could not believe what we were hearing. So somebody eventually ventured the question:

"You mean, like, leaving the country?"

"Damn right. Leaving. I got outa the service because I couldn't hack having that ... person as Commander in Heat. And now that those spineless, crooked, limp-di ... oh hell, those senators said he could do anything he damn well pleases. I just am not living in a country where that SOB's been turned loose to be dictator of the whole shebang. I'm tired of putting up with it. I'm outa here."

While some of the others were still hmming and errring in shock, I leaned over and looked at the pile of stuff Carty had thrown down on the table.

"Hey, I know who this guy is," I said, picking up a book called Escape from America by Roger Gallo. "He has Escape Artist, a giant Web site for people who want to live in other countries. The book is about how to do it."

"Is the book any good?"

"Dunno, I haven't read it yet," I answered, starting to page through. "But he knows what he's talking about on that Web site."

A few others gathered and started pawing through the papers and pamphlets.

"Sovereign Society?" Bob-the-nerd queried, picking up a fat envelope with a British postmark. "Is this about gold-fringed flags and not having a drivers license?"

"No," Carty said, a little calmer. "It's about offshore investing, second passports and like that. You've got to pay $195 a year to join, but looks like they've got real solid information. And you get either a Swiss or an Austrian bank account with your membership."

"Oh hoity toity, Swiss bank account!" someone scoffed. "What have you got to put in a Swiss bank account, Carty? Those bankers don't even want to talk to people like us."

"I've got about as much as you got, beer gut. But look, you can get things started in the account with as little as $5,000."

Readings. Hms. Nods.

"I know about those guys, too," I said into the silence. "They're on the up and up -- unlike some offshore investment hypers and hucksters. The Sovereign Society is people like James Dale Davidson and Lord Rees-Mogg, who wrote The Sovereign Individual, investment guys like John Pugsley and Doug Casey, and Vince Miller of the International Society for Individual Liberty."

"Hey, Claire, if you know so much about all this offshore stuff, how come you're still here in Hardyville?"

"Well, you can ask my banker and my Significant Sweetie about that. Believe me, I'd be on an island somewhere if my checkbook and my honey would go along with the plan."

"Well, Carty here ain't rich. So, Carty, how you gonna do it?"

"You don't have to be rich anymore," Carty said. "Only smart."

"Well, that lets you out, then."

"No, seriously," I interrupted. "What these writers and groups are all saying is that the Internet, free trade and other things are enabling independent people to slip out of control of bad governments. You can set up a corporation in, say, Costa Rica, Nevis or Anguilla, open a business on the Internet -- and you could be here or there or anywhere. You can live in one country, bank in another, operate your business in another. ... It helps to be richer than I am, and it's probably smart to have good legal advice. But I know perfectly ordinary people who've done it for only a few thousand dollars."

"Makes it hard for gubmint grabbers to know where your money is," Carty nodded. "And just think of all those other countries that don't have Mafia Bill for president."

"Yeah, but they do have, you know, Generalissimo Whosis, El Supremo Dictatoro of the People-o. Stuff like that."

"Well, that's why you research 'em all in advance and listen to people who've done it," Carty shrugged, waving at his paperwork.

"And maybe," I added, when countries see that all their bright, young, affluent brain-workers and entrepreneurs are heading elsewhere, they'll eventually wise up. Then we might actually have countries competing for who can offer the most freedom. How about that?"

"Never work." Nat Lyons shook his head. "No such thing as a government getting better instead of worse over time."

"Only because people put up with it," Carty insisted. "Now it's a lot easier to vote with your feet."

"Weren't there some people trying to start their own countries?" Dora-the-Yalie asked me.

"Oh, yeah. All the time. People want to build artificial islands. Or they want to negotiate some sovereign territory inside another country.

"The most interesting one I know is Laissez Faire City. Some heavy hitters behind that one, too. They're working on a cyber community -- with its own banking system and everything -- while hoping long term to build a physical community, probably in Central America. Whether they'll pull it off, who knows? Their operation always seems to be under construction, and never quite constructed. But even with their struggles, they seem better funded and better planned than some other projects."

Hey, I know. Let's build Hardyville South," Nat cracked, sweeping off his cowboy hat and offering it around, brim up. "I'm takin' donations for it. Swiss bank money accepted."

"Me," Bob-the-nerd sighed, "I'm holding out for the ultimate escape -- outer space."

"I really think you guys oughta come back to earth for a while," Janelle bossed, entering with coffeepot. "And Carty, you can take care of Mr. Clinton later. Right now, I think you oughta get back to saving Hardyville from that Y2K thing."

We all milled to our places. Carty pulled out his notes and began saying something about availability of natural gas supplies. But I found myself sitting in the back of the room with Escape from America on the table in front of me, reading and pondering.

Could there really be places on earth where ordinary people don't have to slave half our lives just to pay protection money? Where bankers don't report every innocent move to some snoop agency? Where cops don't stop us on the streets and steal the money from our pockets? Where we can live the way we want on our own land? I think I'm gonna find this Gallo guy and see if he'll answer a few questions. I'll let the Hardyvillians know what I find out.

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