Tina Turner is the latest celebrity to renounce their citizenship in favor of another country’s…and I am really tired of what happens next.
No, I’m not upset about the US singer dumping her US citizenship and becoming a Swiss citizen. I’ll state this plainly…I think it is absolutely fantastic that she was able to do this.
I support Tina 100%. I also respect and support Gerard Depardieu (who traded his increasingly burdensome French citizenship for Russian) and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin (whom I wrote about here) and anyone else who makes the decision to live their lives freely and by ethical principles.
To echo Tina herself, “What’s
love ethics got to do with it?”
This isn’t a philosophical treatise, rather just a quick blog post, nevertheless I feel compelled to say that the pursuit of personal liberty is (and always has been) a pillar of living a courageous and ethical life.I submit to you that it is not ethical ( it is in fact immoral) to stay bound to a system that uses you in a way that compels you to give your hard fought resources for things you don’t believe in through physical force, societal guilt, and politically conjured fear.
I am not trying to hoist up as heroes those rich and famous people listed above, nor am I suggesting that switching citizenships is an inherently good and moral act or that it makes you a better person. Beneath the emotion and sensationalism surrounding expatriation there is really only the idea of freedom and choice.
Each of the past few years has seen growing numbers of “regular” people renouncing their citizenship in favor of a country that treats them better than the last. That this should be an option for everyone is not debatable in my opinion.
Which brings me full circle…
Why am I angry that Tina Turner renounced her US citizenship?
I am not angry at the action…I applaud it. I am angry at the public reaction. I am angry at the way the press frames the story and controls the perception of such an action. I am angry that governments around the world will try to use this to tighten their reigns and increase their powers.
Ultimately all of this will combine to make it harder for the individual who is brave enough to act in an ethical manner and seek liberty.
No government as such is ever in favor of the freedom of the individual. It invariably seeks to limit that freedom, if not by overt denial, then by seeking constantly to widen its own functions. – H. L. Mencken
It is already much more difficult than it was a few years ago to exercise what you would assume to be a fairly straightforward right, that of choosing to no longer being a citizen of the US. Let me clarify that, it’s not that it’s gotten too terribly difficult – it’s that it’s gotten punishingly more expensive!
The message from the government is that you are free to leave at any point, but we will make it as painful as possible.
That a government would seek to limit it’s citizens freedoms while squeezing extra “revenue” from them is no surprise. What really gets to me is the reaction of “the people”.
For a sampling of the public’s reaction…
Just read any of the recent news articles published about Tina Turner becoming a Swiss citizen and then go to the comments section.
In it you will find any number of variations on the following type of comment, “We (the US) were good enough for her while she became rich and famous and now she wants to take her money and leave, well I say good riddance! I am no longer a fan”.
To be fair, there are also comments suggesting that it is none of our business where a person lives and how they direct their lives. While heartening, these comments can’t match the noise of the greed and quasi-nationalistic fervor of the others.
The public’s reaction to these types of stories is best expressed by Nassim Taleb in his book of aphorisms, “The Bed Of Procrustes” in the chapter on Ethics.
There are those who will thank you for what you gave them and others who will blame you for what you did not give them.
Which side do you fall on?
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