Recently, the Laissez Faire Club published an article by Jeffrey Tucker entitled, “3 Important Lessons from a Canadian Border Crossing.” In that article, he described a harrowing experience he had when crossing the border from the US to Canada.
Canadian Immigration detained him, because although his documentation was not in question, his answers to their questions were not to their liking.
In recent years, stories coming from those who cross the Canadian/US border have become increasingly like those of the caricatures seen in the films of fifty years ago, depicting totalitarian East European countries that were under the control of the USSR.
(“Your papers, pleece! Step ziss vay! Ve heff som qvestions!”)
Many people have come to fear the Canadian/US border crossing, worrying that their answers to questions by Immigration officers (some of which have no bearing on immigration) will somehow provide officers with an excuse to detain or arrest them. Some have ceased travel across the Canadian/US border altogether.
It should be stated that this heavy-handed approach is not only on the Canadian side of the border. US Immigration, too, has increasingly indulged in heavy-handedness. And to be fair, the First World in general has become increasingly severe in its approach to immigration processes.
As to the remainder of the world, there is great inconsistency. Immigration policies in some countries are strict, whilst in others they are positively welcoming. (Ask a Jamaican customs officer about how her family is, and you'll get a broad smile and a brief back-porch response before returning to business.)
And of course, the reason why the “Gestapo tactics” are becoming increasingly prevalent in some parts of the world is well-known. The attack of 9/11 has been used continuously since 2001 to remind people that “We can't be too careful.” Whilst it may not be true that the average person has a terrorist, like a crow, on his shoulder, he does have his government as a crow on his shoulder. The blanket excuse of “making the country safe from terrorism” plays well to those who have been trained to live in fear of a threat that may or may not directly impact them.
Returning to Mister Tucker's article, he states in conclusion,
“…the whole of society is already in jail. All we can do is keep plotting our escape.”
This one line contains two disturbing thoughts. The first is the implication that those who live in Canada or the US (and, by extension, any other country that is following the present US model for citizen control) are, in effect, imprisoned within their own country.
The other is that, if imprisoned, it is only reasonable to plan an escape—one that will presumably provide the escapee with a life that is closer to the “Free Country” concept that was once the pride of countries such as Canada and the US.
In today's world, the welcome mat is still out in many countries where life is indeed freer than much of today's First World. Presently, the number of people who are making the move to such countries is on the increase, along with the number who are renouncing their previous citizenships.
There appears to be a dominant trend amongst First-Worlders who are considering expatriation that, as they cannot get full value for their houses and may not be able to get jobs overseas that pay what they now earn, their expatriation may result in a step down economically and may therefore not be a good idea.
This is just as true today as it was in the late 1930s in Germany, when many who stood to become victims of the Third Reich were reluctant to make a move in spite of similar warning signs to those that we are seeing today.
Those who did make an early exit from Nazi Germany were proven to be correct.
In 1938, US President Franklin Roosevelt called for a conference to be held in Evian, France, to discuss the increasing number of people leaving Germany. Thirty-two countries sent delegates to the conference, and all but one country (the Dominican Republic) agreed to refuse any further German refugees. From that point forward, it no longer mattered whether conditions in Germany worsened—many of the people who were at risk were then trapped.
If we are to learn from history, those who believe that they are living in a country whose government is becoming so overreaching that their future freedoms are in jeopardy might not wish to wait for another Evian Conference or similar event.
It may well be true that, for some, leaving your home country may mean a step down economically. For others, it may mean an opportunity for a step up. Either way, the clock is now ticking, and the pertinent question may not be whether the status quo is acceptable as it stands presently, but whether the status quo will be changing for the worse.
At present, the welcome mat is still out in many countries. There is no way to predict when it may be withdrawn. Prudence would suggest that to be a month or even a year early might be preferable to being even one day too late.