America, love it or leave it (but where to go?)
November 6, 2008 6:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm a liberal in a red state (Texas). After the 2000 and 2004 elections many people I know told me that if I didn't like the President I should move to Canada.

If Liberals go to Canada when a Republican wins, where would the conservatives go now? They wouldn't like Canada at all (no offense my Canadian friends). Conservatives wouldn't go to a country that has nationalized health care, progressive taxes or abortions. Any thoughts on what countries Conservatives would like?
posted by DragonBoy to Travel & Transportation (50 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
China is as savage in its worship of money, destruction of the environment and trampling by minority rights by State power as can be. they're also first in executions rate worldwide.
posted by matteo at 6:52 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

trampling of minority rights, sorry
posted by matteo at 6:52 AM on November 6, 2008

This was discussed in one of the recent election threads. Some of the places suggested were Ireland, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Japan... and others, all with reasons yes and no why that would be the right answer.
posted by inigo2 at 6:55 AM on November 6, 2008

I was under the impression that they consolidate in their states, and agitate for States' Rights rather than threatening to leave. After all, they are Real America.
posted by explosion at 6:56 AM on November 6, 2008

A number of people on a free republic thread I browsed yesterday were, bizarrely, talking Ireland (because of the low taxes I guess, and romantic deedley-eidley image). I think they're unaware of and would not like the general lack of religion, large levels of immigration and state of the economy over there. They rejected Dubai despite it having the world's lowest tax rates.

(In other Freeper-Ireland news, I also found that they are also trying to get Ciaran Cuffe's US citizenship revoked by calling the state dept's legal department, by the way!)
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:57 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

doh, er: Saudi Arabia
posted by dino terror at 6:57 AM on November 6, 2008

I think they're more likely to secede than flee. Perhaps a rebirth of the Republic of Texas, followed quickly by airlifts of hemp & abortion supplies to the Austin area?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:58 AM on November 6, 2008 [4 favorites]

Slate had an article on this a while ago.

Given that Canada has the last neo-con in power, albeit with a minority government, this might be more to their taste, at least temporarily. If they go to Alberta, then maybe they can stay forever.

If they get nostalgic about US health care, when they see a doctor or go to hospital, they can leave a pile of cash on the counter.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 7:00 AM on November 6, 2008 [4 favorites]

Russia has a flat tax, restricts abortions to the first trimester (although allows "social reasons" during the second trimester), and the quality of the health care is easily improved by well-placed bribes.

Oh, the irony.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:00 AM on November 6, 2008

Mod note: oodles of comments removed - please give straight answers or send jokes to email or metatalk, thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:06 AM on November 6, 2008

If you're a pro-freedom conservative who doesn't believe Obama when he says that he won't raise your taxes (but still wants to pay for a raft of new initiatives), you would do the following.

1. Check out the Heritage Foundation "Index of Economic Freedom" to find a place with low taxes and a pro-business / pro-entrepreneurship environment.
2. Cross reference that list with scores from Freedom House to find a place that's politically free as well.

So you'd then cross off Hong Kong and Singapore from the list (economically free, but not particularly politically free).

This leaves as potential new conservative habitats: Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada (!), Chile, Switzerland and the UK.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:08 AM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

They could always join the Alaskan Secession Party. Many of the people acting like it's a great outrage that we have the current President-elect seem to like their governor.
posted by mikeh at 7:25 AM on November 6, 2008

Maybe it was removed earlier, but isn't this what Alaska is for?
posted by phunniemee at 7:27 AM on November 6, 2008

Japan is no good. It has (optional) national health insurance, abortion is commonplace and not stigmatized, and guns are essentially unobtainable.

Somalia would be perfect. There's basically no government to impose taxes or…anything on you.
posted by adamrice at 7:28 AM on November 6, 2008 [3 favorites]

Mod note: seriously this is NOT YOUR SOAPBOX - metatalk could be if you just have the fidgets.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:42 AM on November 6, 2008

Technically Canada, but Alberta is more americanish than most of the country.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:45 AM on November 6, 2008

I always suggest to Libertarians that they try Somalia where they won't be burdened by any laws. But I'm not sure that there are any English-speaking countries that match your requirements. Russia comes to mind, seeing as how they've dismantled much of the Communist ownership structures of the past and everything is now privatized. And really, as a Texan you would seriously like Alberta - the structure of their health care system is really not what you'll be thinking about day in, day out. It's full of small-government, ant-tax conservatives who love their oil businesses. Read the editorial page of the Calgary Herald for a few weeks and see if it seems like it makes sense to you.
posted by GuyZero at 7:48 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

easy: The Cayman Islands
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 7:48 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Belarus. It's like the Texas of Eurasia.
posted by crapmatic at 7:52 AM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

China, as mentioned by matteo, has a lot of upside.
  • Of course, it's a capitalist's dream: an almost endless supply of money available for investment in your business, cheap labour, and a tax system which is easily dodged with offshore banking.
  • Pollute all you want! As long as you set up shop far away from any Olympics.
  • High-quality private health care is available, completely separate from the public system.
  • Westerners get treated like freaking royalty, especially in the smaller cities or rural areas.
  • No tipping at restaurants.
  • Did I mention cheap labour? Stuff your house with servants for pennies.
  • No abortion law, but you've got the One-Child Policy, which is just as good. (Added benefit: no annoying brothers or sisters, for anyone!)
  • Everyone smokes, everywhere. Are you a doctor? Light up during surgery, it'll do you good!
  • The death penalty is the default sentence for pretty much any crime.
Unfortunately, there is some downside for your Texas expatriate.
  • Anywhere that's not Shanghai is pretty much a dump (at least to Western sensibilities).
  • Limited freedom of movement between cities for citizenry. If you're not a citizen, though, you can probably fly under the radar.
  • There's a lot of pollution. Like, a lot. Like, you go outside for an hour and begin reconsidering your factory's daily output.
  • No handguns. Damn.
  • No lobbyists.
  • Drinking any water not from a sealed bottle might kill you.
In the end, it depends on your amount of liquid capital. If you're living comfortably in a pre-Obama-tax-cut world, you could move to Shanghai, set up shop, and live a good upper-class life. Or if you're looking to protect your millions, you could move to a remote village in western China, hire all the villagers to protect you and your goods, declare your own local law and constitution, and live the life of a medieval baron. Just remember to bring your own water.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 8:04 AM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Dubai? Money is king, drug possession is severely punished, extramarital sex can lead to jail time (esp. on beaches), and (bonus!) Haliburton moved their corporate offices there. Probably not good for women, though-- example: their Starbucks are segregated into mens and womens sections.
posted by sharkfu at 8:13 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Conservatives are already in the country they want to be in. If you ask, or tell them, not happy go to country X, they will tell you, this is my country and I will stay here and fight for it. Or something like that.
posted by a3matrix at 8:32 AM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Whether or not it makes sense politically, a bunch of actual conservatives who are friends of friends on Facebook who voted for McCain and live in the greater Miami area were talking about moving to Australia.
posted by rachelv at 8:33 AM on November 6, 2008

Australia. China, Dubai, etc won't work because they aren't full of White people, which I imagine conservatives fleeing the US would find upsetting.
posted by chunking express at 8:39 AM on November 6, 2008

Fiscal conservatives don't want to leave. It's the social conservatives that might want to go, and for them there is no good choice. There are no places where they could vote the bible into power and pay low taxes. That's a fascist utopia based on an inherent contradiction.

In short: No such country is even possible.
posted by ewkpates at 8:47 AM on November 6, 2008 [5 favorites]

I know this is just a mental exercise, but I think most people here are focusing on the wrong things. The main concerns would be high Christian religiosity, an ease of getting by in English (and maximal dollar valuation), and a strict social hierarchy.

Believe it or not, Nicaragua is probably the best fit (and there are a lot of American expats living the high life already). For those want more first-world amenities, there's also Chile.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:03 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

For historical context: after the Civil War, a few people left the former Confederacy and moved to Brazil. (Lots more via Google)
posted by gimonca at 9:08 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

The economics of Columbia are very much in line with the USA and Canada, and Columbia is a US ally. I'm guessing on this part... but Columbia is probably not a big enough economy to have a big welfare state.

I think conservatives need to keep the election of Obama in perspective, the USA is probably fairly close to as conservative as a developed, pluralistic, democratic society can realistically be. You must consider that Obama has made statements about an expanded war in Afghanistan, attacks on Pakistan, refused to back calls to create a universal single-payer health system, promised a tax cut and seems to be fairly squishy on same-sex marriage (at least Biden is, I don't remember Obama talking about it) - Obama has given no indication that he is aiming to create a european-style foriegn policy, social safety net or legal climate in the USA. The USA is certainly a good place for conservative Americans.
posted by Deep Dish at 9:23 AM on November 6, 2008

Anecdotally, from and about Rice alumni, and all Texans: A former friend of my husband's of the right-wing religious persuasion, who is probably crying in his wheaties at Obama's victory, lived in Vancouver for a while. When my husband spoke with him last year for the first time in 10 years, the first thing he did was launch into an unprompted screed about the horrors of socialized medicine.

He lives in one of the Dallas suburbs (Plano?) now and if he's going somewhere because of creeping socialism, it's not to Canada.
posted by immlass at 9:27 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Monaco: No income tax. Although the language is nominally French most people speak English if you flash enough cash about. And they tend to be white. Grand prix and enormous yachts mean oil is popular. Poor people are not allowed in. Catholic culture centring on the family. Russian oligarchs for neighbours.
posted by rongorongo at 9:45 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

blue_beetle writes "Technically Canada, but Alberta is more americanish than most of the country."

Which in the grand scheme of things means little. Even Alberta has free, in both senses, access to abortion; legal gay marriage; broad funding bases for public schools; restrictive firearm laws (compared to much of the US anyways); restrictions on hate speech; growing minority population; etc. etc. There is a fair share of bigots around but you don't see Klan rallys downtown.
posted by Mitheral at 9:50 AM on November 6, 2008

BobbyVan: My brother (a Texan) moved to Singapore years ago. He admires the economic opportunity you mention. The political freedom issue isn't important to him; I think he also admires oligarchy and paternalism, in the traditional-conservative sense.
posted by Robert Angelo at 10:08 AM on November 6, 2008

Threatening to pack up your things and leave if you don't get your way is a particularly petulant form of immaturity.

Thank you. And this comes from both sides, liberal and conservative. I'd vote for a law that anyone who threatens to leave if "insert name here" is elected is immediately called on their threat and shipped out upon election.
posted by justgary at 10:41 AM on November 6, 2008

Technically Canada, but Alberta is more americanish than most of the country.

Which in the grand scheme of things means little.

I've heard Calgary and Houston (or Dallas) are sister cities. Apparently they are very much alike.
posted by chugg at 10:44 AM on November 6, 2008

I thought that it really doesn't matter.

The U.S. taxes on citizenship. If you're a citizen: Obama's taxes are going to get you even if you're plumbing in Ireland.

Until last year, you could renounce your citizenship.

However, as a last minute addition to some crucial piece of legislation, if you renounce your citizenship, you must pay taxes on all your assets as if you had sold them with the proceeds counted as profits. OUCH!
posted by GarageWine at 10:53 AM on November 6, 2008

The U.S. taxes on citizenship. If you're a citizen: Obama's taxes are going to get you even if you're plumbing in Ireland.

If you live abroad, there's absolutely no U.S. tax on your first $90,000 of income, and after that, you get to count taxes paid to foreign countries as a dollar-for-dollar credit against taxes owed to the IRS. If you moved to Canada, for instance, you would probably never have to make any payments to the IRS, because you'd already be paying that money to Revenue Canada.
posted by oaf at 11:25 AM on November 6, 2008

$90,000 or so—I'm not sure what the exact figure is
posted by oaf at 11:26 AM on November 6, 2008

This question has come up on Metafilter before, and people often suggest Australia, which I don't really get. There is a conservative streak in Australia, but we also have a centre-left federal government which recently issued a landmark apology to indigenous Australians. We have had nationalised healthcare for ages, and people take it for granted - as a right. There is little interest in or respect for religion, and God is rarely invoked by politicians. Sydney is a gay mecca second only to San Francisco.
posted by ShameSpiral at 11:48 AM on November 6, 2008

Oh, and Australians love Obama! At least for now.
posted by ShameSpiral at 11:54 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Something that people ought to remember is that the oposite of conservative is conservative. If the magic dream of states rights was fully granted and the US became 50 countires, how long, in minutes, do you think it would be before Alabama and Mississippi were the new China and Taiwan?

The social conservatives aren't going anywhere, no matter how much the financial conervatives might want it.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:13 PM on November 6, 2008

New Zealand? An escape for conservatives?

*wipes tears*
Oh man, that was hilarious when it got mentioned in the last article...

Despite the fact that the (retarded) local conservative party will probably get in in our elections this weekend (I mean, they're probably not much more right than the democrats), and I think there's at least 80% support for Obama.

Worldwide, if you're wanting to go somewhere that would have voted for Mccain, I think around the world, it's only like... Macedonia, Albania etc?
Australia is far more conservative. Ie they miiiiight have been a bit in support for Bush etc the first time. But y'know, that's because there's no national pride standing in the way of thinking a particular government has been a fuckup - meaning that in the way that EVERYBODY does. Once you've gone and gotten a tattoo (even a 4 year tattoo), there's not many people as would admit it's a damn crap tattoo. That is for everyone else to give you a bollocksing on.

Anyway - excuse me, I'm just gonna go on a woo! New Zealand! Conservatives you don't wanna be here.
Especially social conservatives, but even American financial conservatives will probably find it uncomfortable - because we're economically free in a bunch of objective ways that get measured etc, but not so much in the standard 'hot button' issues that really seem to matter to most of them.
We have national health care! You CANNOT SUE for injuries (instead there is the ACC - universal no-fault personal injury insurance cover)!
Birth control is highly supported! We're really non-religious! We have civil unions for straight & gay couples! You have to have a gun license to own guns!
I had
We've had not one, but TWO female Prime Ministers (Jenny Shipley - the more conservative party leader wasn't elected though, she kicked out the then current prime-minister and took over). We have several Nandor Tanczos - religiously Rastafarian, with dread-locks, just left after 9 years in Parliament. Georgina Beyers was the worlds first transexxual MP and served 8 years in Parliament (and trust me, that was not as unexpected as being elected Mayor of a rural farming town, & given she'd once been a prostitute).
And dude. Creationism in schools? Ha! As if!

Makes waves. I am so ridiculously grateful that I'm a Kiwi...
(But y'know, we've got our retarded stuff too)

And Disclaimer to potential immigrants: we're also in the middle of nowhere so everything costs a bomb, wages less, blah blah blah, we're a little island in the face of global warming, we're kinda full up already, & sci-fi writers: could you stop with the 'in the face of worldwide apocalypse, NZ will be the South Pacific paradise'? (We already know that, kthxbye).
posted by Elysum at 2:17 PM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Wow - now I'm seeing an army of dreadlocked, hemp-suit wearing Nandor Tanczos's.

Several screw up in editing.
Ignore 'I had'.
The bit before Nandor Tanczos should have been we have several openly gay MP's (including the Minister for Education), significant representation by females (32%) and minority ethnicities & religions representation (can't find statistics, probably not that good, but not atrocious).
Still working on it obviously, and even conservative parties are attempting to not look like the 'old, white guys' party.
posted by Elysum at 2:37 PM on November 6, 2008

I can't really see conservatives leaving the country. Please don't jump all over me, but to me, one of the main reasons for being socially conservative is a lack of contact with people not like you. Living overseas, it's quite rare that I ever come into contact with anyone really, deeply conservative. It's something about being forced to deal with other cultures, and having to maybe even accept the differences you find.

I spent a lot of time looking at the county by county maps on the New York Times website the last couple days, and nearly every major city, in every state, cast a majority vote for Obama, even in states where McCain won the total. Why? Of course, there are other factors involved, but one reason, just maybe, is that daily contact with people from a different background than your own creates a more liberal mindset. Contrast this with rural counties, or very homogenous cities (Salt Lake, looking in your direction), where McCain picked up most of his votes.

This, of course, applies to the average working/middle/lower-upper class conservative. The rich live anywhere they damn well please.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:37 PM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by luckypozzo at 6:47 PM on November 6, 2008

Definitely not Ireland. They were already asked to leave.

The tolerance for uneducated, nationalistic, religious fundamentalists is pretty low in Ireland. Also people will wander across your property all the time and you can't shoot at them so it just wouldn't work.
posted by fshgrl at 7:03 PM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Silly silly neo-cons.

Anti-Americanism, due directly to Bush and the neo-con agenda, is very high in Ireland. So American, bible-thumping, gun-loving, race-intolerant, welfare-hating conservatives would be as welcome in Ireland as a re-incarnated Cromwell.

Disclaimer: I'm Irish, but live abroad the past couple of years.
posted by Mephisto at 9:42 PM on November 6, 2008

funny, I asked this question of someone VERY upset over Obama + Democratic senate/house control, specifically, (no not because of his race but rather his voting record, btw) and he said he'd move to Cuba because it'd be the same as living here now. .
posted by NikitaNikita at 10:07 PM on November 6, 2008

Best answer: Well, for what it's worth, the day after the election the really conservative women that work with my mom started ranting about how they're going to move to Canada and sent office e-mails to that effect.

But they're extremely ignorant about their own country, not to mention other countries like Canada. I'm not just saying that because they're conservative, because I've met plenty of informed, politically aware conservatives. They are, uh, not. For example, one of the I'm-moving-to-Canada! women was ranting about how she doesn't support universal health care.

So basically what I'm saying is, for at least women like the one I just mentioned, it doesn't make sense for her to want to move to Canada. But that's still the threat made.
posted by Nattie at 12:24 AM on November 7, 2008

They'd love South Australia.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:52 AM on November 10, 2008

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