Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Is Exit Unrealistic?

Joe Miller (Bellum et Mores) writes that "the preferred libertarian solution to political philosophy, namely exit, isn't a realistic option right now. Voice, however poorly it might work, is an option." His views seem to parallel mine:

Social norms can and do evolve. Moreover, in a society with voice and exit they will evolve toward greater liberty, rather than less, if exit is not mooted by legislative and judicial imposition of common norms across all segments of society.

Exit remains an option within the United States, because there are significant inter-State differences in tax rates and regulatory burdens, as I discuss here. But it is undeniable that those differences have dwindled as the central government has usurped more and more power from the States and the people.

Which leads to the question whether exit would be a realistic option were the laws of all States to approach oppressive homogeneity. Americans seeking liberty would then have to look elsewhere for it. Exit would then become far less feasible than it is now, given the high emotional and finanical costs of leaving one's homeland for a foreign land. Consider, for example, the list of nations that rank as high or higher than the United States on the 2006 Index of Economic Freedom:

Hong Kong
United Kingdom (?????)
New Zealand

The looming loss of exit as a realistic option argues for redoubled efforts to resist -- and to roll back, as far as possible -- the encroaching homogeneity of the laws of the States. It is likely that that homeogeneity will be neither of the "Left" nor of the "Right" (and certainly not libertarian) but a blend of the worst of both possible worlds. There will be no winners under a homogeneously oppressive central government, except those who run it.