I’m always amused when Americans say they’re going to move to another country if X should happen, or if candidate Y should be elected. Obviously there are obstacles. Getting a visa, which means going through a legal process, finding a job. Resettling your family if you have one. Finding schools for the kids, finding a new social circle. This is all really stressful, difficult stuff! Really, it’s like all the stressful things at once. But that aside, the real issue is I think a cultural one. Americans are among the most provincial people out there. The major contenders would probably have to be the more closed societies out there today, your Saudi Arabias and North Koreas and whatnot. They at least have an excuse for provincialism, which is that they have no real say in the matter. Here, it’s a choice. The bulk of Americans (last figure I read was 75%) don’t even own a passport and wouldn’t watch a subtitled film or listen to a non-English pop song if you paid them to. They are happy for “news” that is entirely fluff and ignores international news (much as I’d like to blame the media entirely for dumbing down the American versions of their publications, there’s no reason for me to believe there is any demand for that stuff not being fulfilled–NPR and The Economist do more for their niche audiences). Granted, there are exceptions! Certainly a subset of Americans like these things. Some certainly do travel, even to places that aren’t just curated spaces for unadventurous tourists. But the mainstream is heavily resistant to anything “foreign” in a way that is not common in the rest of the world. You can hear American pop hits pretty much anywhere in the world, but it’s only every few years that anything non-English becomes a hit in the United States (i.e. Gangnam Style, Macarena, etc.). Even Russia–a pretty closed off, provincial nation in its own right–is way more receptive to foreign films and music than Americans are. I know because I’ve been there. It’s just provincialism.

What these Americans really want is to be able to move someplace else with little fuss and make essentially no adjustments to living in a different country, which is why Canada is the country that most often comes up in these sorts of situations. But what that really shows is a lack of respect for the country they’d presumably want to make their home, as though there aren’t any different customs or ideas between the two countries. Just compare how the two countries have dealt with their native peoples to confirm that. Canada is similar to America in a lot of ways, but the idea that Canadians would be receptive to an onslaught of chauvinistic Americans with no respect for them strikes me as unlikely. Honestly, I’m not really sure who would want that. All the American rich preppers buying up New Zealand to wait out the proverbial pitchforks strikes me as much the same. Even worse, maybe. Not really sure driving up prices will endear them to the locals. Honestly, it seems completely backwards to me: foreigners tend to do even worse in populist uprisings. But that’s just me.

Of course, if you have a college degree, you can probably get a job teaching English somewhere in Asia. I know people who have done it! That’s a realistic emigration fantasy, and a lot of them enjoy it. But that’s very different than the fantasy of just finding a quasi-America with better politics, which strikes me as not just misguided, but painfully un-self aware. Outside of a genuinely cosmopolitan subset, America is the center of the galaxy for most Americans, and everything that goes on outside it is of little interest. Not to pick on the most-picked-upon target out there, but Lena Dunham still remains a resident of this country in spite of Donald Trump’s victory, and she could literally buy herself into any number of other countries if she wanted to. FWIW, Rush Limbaugh didn’t bolt after Obama won in 2012 and the ACA came into effect either. If they’d actually wanted to go, they’d go. Prove it. That’s all I’ve got to say.


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