Alan Nothnagle

Alan Nothnagle
Location
Berlin, Germany
Birthday
May 04
Company
Baobab House Publishers
Bio
I am a freelance writer and YA author based in Berlin.

Editor’s Pick
JULY 3, 2012 8:13AM

We’ve become what we hate: Why I left America

Rate: 55 Flag

 Michael Luick-Thrams

American emigré: Author Michael Luick-Thrams has gone "home"

MICHAEL LUICK-THRAMS, AN author, historian, and public speaker from Saint Paul, Minnesota, called it quits last year. At age forty-eight, bidding farewell to a successful mobile museum program he founded and an alternative farming colony in the Midwest, along with a mother, two siblings, and a fashionable condo in Saint Paul, he gave it all up to become a middle school teacher in a Swabian village in southwest Germany, just ten miles from his ancestral home. He has been speaking about his “immigration” to local audiences ever since. I was intrigued by his undertaking, so with Independence Day approaching I decided to call him up and find out what could have moved him to take a step that many other Americans celebrating this holiday over beer and fireworks would regard as unthinkable: Declaring his own independence from the Land of the Free.

Mr. Luick-Thrams, a year ago you boarded a train from the Twin Cities to New York and a ship from there “back” to Europe, much as some of your ancestors did centuries earlier, although in reverse. Like them, you didn’t buy a return ticket. How long are you intending to stay?

I don’t see this as a temporary situation. My intention is to stay here for the rest of my life. This isn’t a party excursion. I work here, I pay taxes, I have a job. I’m building a relationship. I’ve got friendships. I’ve become fluent in the language. I’m not just living in an enclave, in a bubble, like so many other Americans abroad. So I’ve emigrated. I’ve left. I have no desire to remain in the States anymore.

I see no positive changes in the US 

But people leave their countries all the time. There’s travel, there’s tourism. People go study at universities abroad, they work abroad, they take sabbaticals abroad. What’s the difference between normal travel or overseas work and what you’re doing?

People who travel or who study abroad have limited engagements. Others may be working for an American corporation somewhere, but they have the long-term goal of returning to the United States to live, because they like it there and have a home there. I no longer feel comfortable living in the US, I don’t want to live there long-term. I don’t think the developments there are healthy or sustainable, and I don’t think the future is very rosy. While I know Europe isn’t perfect, here in Germany there’s a multi-party parliament, so it’s not just Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee like we have. There is more of a real democracy. Everyone has healthcare. You can’t live in the country without health insurance. They’re discontinuing nuclear power, they’re insulating houses, and are instituting other energy-saving measures. Things are happening, changing. I don’t see any such positive changes in the United States. I want to live here and be part of this.

As you said, thirteen months ago I took a train to New York and caught a freighter to Bremerhaven. I needed that time to think, to watch the whales break the surface in front of the ship, to observe the schools of dolphins and put my thoughts together. It was a big deal.

I had flown over the Atlantic many times. Well, this time the voyage was open-ended. I could do this, whereas others want to but can’t. I was single, I had the time, I had the money to pay the passage. My family gave its blessing – they understood very well why I wanted to leave. Other people have children or have jobs they can’t even think of leaving, because they need the security. Or they have homes. I myself own a condo, but I wouldn’t stay in place just because of a piece of property. I’m turning fifty this year, so I’m hardly a spring chicken, but I saw my opportunity and I seized it.

We were no longer living in the same country 

Independence Day is coming up. What was the actual cause or motivation that compelled your own personal declaration of independence from the United States?

It’s a belief that we no longer live in the same country as before 9/11. I’m not at all pleased about the changes we’ve seen since then. I think that in many ways we have become the things we claim to hate: We hate terrorism and we hate indiscriminate violence. Unfortunately, over the past ten years we have been consistently practicing just that. Invading countries, kicking in the doors of innocent people. We know that soldiers acting in our name have raped and tortured. I thought at first that hopefully this would pass. But it keeps going on. We’ve had ten years of war, and I suspect that if we had the money we would wage even more war elsewhere. It has become a way of life.

I don’t like the way the country is going domestically, either. I’m very conscious of the development in Wisconsin, stripping workers of collective bargaining rights. At some point I decided I’d had enough. I’m not going to pay taxes to subsidize this madness. I’m not going to devote part of my income to building guns and tanks and fighter jets, paying to place soldiers abroad to rape people, to kill and terrorize them. I’m not going to be a part of that. 

If I thought things could be changed, I would have stayed 

Some people might hear what you say and respond that these are all good reasons to stay home and fight for a better society. Somebody like Martin Luther King had excellent reasons for leaving the States, but decided to remain and paid the supreme price for it. Other activists such as Noam Chomsky have also stayed put and keep writing and speaking. So even if what you say is accurate, why leave the country rather than remain within it and fight against what you perceive is wrong?

I’m reading the signs. In Nazi Germany there came a point when people said, “I can’t stay here and fight. I have to leave, I’m in danger.” Now I never thought I was in danger in the States, but I saw no future for myself. If I thought things could be changed, I would have stayed.

For ten years I operated an antiwar museum [the TRACES Center for History and Culture in downtown Saint Paul] and took mobile exhibits all across the Midwest. It was a museum that showed the effects of war, using World War II as a case study. Ironically, I think that in some ways conditions in America are not bad enough. Like Nazi Germany, America maybe has to fall to its knees before people will be able to change. What will it take for people to realize that “Hey, it doesn’t have to be like this. We don’t have to have Wall Street meltdowns and let corporations dictate public policy. We don’t have to let morally corrupt judges rule that corporations are people and can pay for political campaigns.” I don’t think America is salvageable at the moment, largely because people aren’t awake.

 

 American Progress

"American Progress" by John Gast (1872)

 

In the pocket of Goldman Sachs 

But there have been some positive signs lately. There was President Obama’s recent statement in favor of gay marriage, and his healthcare reform plan passed through the Supreme Court, so change is definitely possible. Do you really think the country is a hopeless cause?

(Laughs.) I do, actually. I campaigned for Obama in 2008. I went door-to-door and made phone calls. I actually had tickets to the inauguration. I was a big supporter of the “change we can all believe in.”

The problem is that it’s now clear that Obama sits in the pocket of Goldman Sachs. Even though I’m sure he’s a very pleasant fellow and would be a great guy to have a conversation with in a beer hall, he is beholden to the people who finance his expensive campaigns. So we’re screwed: The man who was supposed to deliver massive change can’t do it because he has to pay the fiddler.

As far as gay marriage is concerned, as a gay man I resent what I see as a cynical move on Obama’s part. Five years ago, he could have said the same thing on his way to the White House, namely that all Americans had the right to protect their unions. He has only had his epiphany in the last couple of months? Gimme a break. It was an obvious political ploy. It cheapens and renders tawdry the entire issue.

But why move to Europe, of all places? Aren’t Germany and the EU just playing good cop to America’s bad cop around the world?

Europe’s not perfect, but it has a few things going for it. For one thing, you’ve got over two thousand years of recorded European history. These are deep cultures. Our culture is much younger. We’re a young country, and we don’t have the depth to navigate a huge crisis. I don’t think we have the staying power to bring about real changes.

Part of the problem in the States is that we tend to believe our own propaganda: That we’re the best country in the world, that we’re the most democratic country. But we aren’t the most democratic country. When it’s a question of getting one’s needs met, other countries do a much better job. Just look at northern Europe, at Scandinavia and Germany, when it comes to healthcare and other indicators of a decent life.

One common argument you may have heard from your critics is “what if everybody did it?” Do you think everybody who feels like you do should leave the US? Or is this a very personal step for you?

Everyone will have to make his or her own decision. I made mine after very, very long and studied deliberation, weighing all the options and asking myself some extremely hard questions. But I think we have a fascist climate in the United States. We should stop pretending we’re a democracy. Most people have very little influence on their elected officials. So, what if everyone left? Well, that would certainly be sending a message, wouldn’t it now? The educated class should leave. What would that say to the people left behind pulling the strings? I had to leave because I could no longer stomach the nasty things I saw going on all around me. Not just the politics, but the way the political situation mirrors the kind of people we are becoming. The values we are adopting, our disengagement from one another, a deteriorating culture. Europe isn’t perfect, but in America there is simply no counterweight to mitigate all these developments.

Fascism is a very strong word. You yourself are a historian, and back in the 90s you wrote your doctoral dissertation in Germany, about refugees who fled the Nazi regime for America. You also founded a museum and drove portable exhibits about POWs around the Midwest for many years. Do you really think the word “fascism” is applicable to America under George W. Bush and Barack Obama?

If we define fascism as rule by corporate interests, by the business elite, then it certainly is. Add in militarism, constant warfare, surveillance and the suspension of basic human rights, then we clearly live in a fascist society, in spirit if not in name.

I've come home 

 Esslingen

Back to the roots: Esslingen on the Neckar (click to enlarge)

While your family has been in the USA since the 1630s, some came over from Germany in the early nineteenth century. How does it feel to be the first member of your family to move back?

Like my ancestors, I’ve cut my roots and decided to start a new life somewhere else. But it feels odd to be going in the opposite direction. At the same time, I’ve been living for the past year in Swabia, just ten miles away from Esslingen on the Neckar, where my father’s side of the family once lived before heading to the Midwest in the 1830s. I’ve met relatives and I’ve walked the streets where my family lived for hundreds of years. My European roots are thousands of years old. I feel like I’ve come home. I feel like I belong here.

I’m glad my family moved to America back then. It has been an enriching experience for us. But I think the country is taking a very sinister turn. It isn’t the country we were born into, the country we wanted to have. I don’t want to spend my life there.

No one ever heard of an American emigrating 

What would have to happen in the US for you to reverse your decision?

There would have to be real changes, not just a few dissidents saying “wouldn’t it be nice if…?” It’s not right that people like the Kochs, with their deep pockets, can dictate public policy. There’s nothing democratic about that.

You’ve been speaking and writing about your decision ever since you arrived here last year. How do the Germans in your audience respond when you say you have immigrated here because you believe the US is going fascist?

They are very surprised. Hardly anyone has heard of an American emigrating anywhere. Before I left, I stopped in the Saint Paul library looking for books on Americans who have done so. There were thousands of books on people immigrating, but none on people emigrating. That said everything. It has happened, of course. Many immigrants in the early twentieth century moved on elsewhere, or else returned to Europe. Up to a third or more. But people in the US cannot imagine how anyone could ever turn up the opportunity to live in God’s Own Country. I don’t see it that way. I appreciate the opportunity to choose.

Despite all of this, is there anything you miss about America?

I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss Mexican food. I miss the Midwest.

You don’t miss freedom?

I don’t think America is as free as Germany is. Freedom is the ability to make choices, to get your needs met. Look at the situation in America – the unemployment, the unaffordable college tuition, the unresponsive government. How can you be free if you can’t choose? There is freedom of speech in theory, but it doesn’t mean much if people don’t use it. The country has been shanghaied by moneyed interests. Where are “We the people”? Where is the outrage? I don’t want to live in a country where most people are passive and just muddle through.

So what are your plans for this Independence Day?

I will be spending the day quietly, but also thoughtfully, aware of the contradictions behind not only the date and what it's supposed to represent, but also of the turn the country is taking.

Mr. Luick-Thrams, thank you for this discussion.

 


 

Born and raised on a farm in northern Iowa, historian and author Michael Luick-Thrams now lives in southern Germany, where he teaches, lectures, and writes. His traveling exhibition on the survival strategies of German and American POWs during World War II, part of his TRACES program, is currently on display at the German-American Institute in Tübingen. For more information, you can visit his website at www.TRACES.org.

 

 

 


 

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I'd be careful of guilding the lily too much. After all, Germany is controlled by many of the same interests and assumptions as the US and you don't provide as especially humanitarian reason for emigration. There are in fact ex-pat communities of Americans all over the world. There's not a lot of "sacrifice" involved in moving to Europe.

The point I might add is the difference between the US and Europe in general when it comes to cultural integration and understanding. Americans, by and large, don't travel. What we know about other cultures comes from those who arrive here, not their way of life in the lands we come from. Americans have fewer passports than any other developed country, and the vast majority are either on the East or West coast.

That explains a lot and why I think more culturally astute folks like Mr. Luick-Thrams leave. Aside from a half dozen cities, and small pockets within them, it gets pretty claustrophobic for the more adventurous. And those who do will often find themselves incomprehensible to those who don't.
@Ben
Perhaps if Americans would travel more, and learn how the rest of the world lives and thinks, people lilke Mr. L.-Th. wouldn't feel they have to emigrate.

Regarding the US and Europe being run by the same interests, that is very true. The only way to escape globalization these days is to leave the planet. But I hear that the large corporations are already staking out prospecting rights on the moon...
I am not an American patriot. My philosophy is one planet, love it or leave it. But at the same time I was born here and I have that stupid allegiance of an iota of nationalism. I am no more French or Russian than you are. And when you say that the USA has very little history, you are correct. My philosophy here is that as the twig is bent, so grows the might oak. America is still a work in progress. And yet at the same time I can't deny that there are huge elements of this society that are absolutely nauseating.

That's why I'm only here half of the year. The Mexicans say that it's good to have a place in another country because you never know when you might need to leave town. As to fascism, every society has some of those characteristics. England had Cromwell, and Spain had the Inquisition.

And as a keen observer of all things political, I still believe in fighting and not being afraid, even though I'm a deep profound pessimist by nature.
If I can manage it, I'll be spending my last years on the beach on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, no disgust with America as a nation, no lost hope or savaged dreams, a purely economic necessity. That and the fact that there are more published poets per capita in Nicaragua than any other country in the world. I'm curious to find out why that is.
"No one ever heard of an American emigrating?" Really? Have you heard of Liberia? Also, there are thousands of Americans of all ethnicities who have chosen to live abroad for extended periods of time, and even permanently. Mr. Luick-Thrams is not the first by any means. ... I had to address that issue after quickly scanning the Q-and-A, but I'll be back for a more in-depth read. Thanks.
@Deborah
Of course, plenty of people move abroad, many of them more or less permanently (I should know, since I've one of them, having spent around a quarter of a century in Europe). But few of us call it "emigration," with all the emotional and cultural baggage that term entails, and that's what this interview is about.
I will express the other point of view. I stay and fight nonviolently against the extreme right. But I admit that if the far right wins both Houses of Congress and the presidency that I will be tempted to leave. Maybe. MLK is my hero and he stayed. The Dalai Lama is another one and he did not remain in his country, I understand that. Nelson Mandela, another hero of mine, stayed and fought. It is a personal decision. And don't forget there are a slew of good people here, and by good people I mean people with an intact conscience.
There's a lot here to think about on the Third of July.
This is a good, important and certainly relevant post...thank you.
"Ironically, I think that in some ways conditions in America are not bad enough. Like Nazi Germany, America maybe has to fall to its knees before people will be able to change."

This is the first time I've seen that anywhere in writing. I agree and though I've said it for a few years, I get blank stares. When a large enough segment of the population is suffering and afraid, then they will wake up and demand change. It's hard to sleep when you're in pain and filled with fear.

It will happen eventually because the problems won't fix themselves. I wish I could leave because I don't want to see the suffering but, what will be, will be. Great post, thank you.

Rated.
I can't blame him at all, I hope to get out of these fascist states one day too.
If only we could get every person who hates America to simply move away....

In any case, this guy sucks and I will be mentally flipping him and his ilk off for leaving a sinking ship rather than saving it.

"oh it's too hard in America" and "America isn't changing fast enough for me." well BOOHOO!

Good riddance to bad rubbish I say! Out with the whiners. I want people who are willing to stand up and make a difference.

Now excuse me while I go to create "Sparkler ICBM" for this year's fireworks display. Pray for our fire department.
Doug Socks,
The people who hate America are running it. Just as the robber barons aren't thought of very kindly in the history books. If the arc of history truly bends towards justice the political and business elites -- in America today -- will be viewed in much the same manner.

At least the robber barons became philanthropists. Today's plutocrats are buying our political system, and making things even more corporatist. Bill Gates is ostensibly doing something, I don't follow his work -- I'm not too familiar with the work that he does.
pffft.
Nobody is going to miss him.
Interesting to watch this video starting at the 11min mark -- or the whole thing!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAbQP4ryZEI
Very thought-provoking interview. I read somewhere that about 10% of 19th century Irish immigrants to America returned to Ireland instead of remaining in America. "Ever since 9/11": yes! I hate to think what another 9/11--an equialent attack on US soil--would do to what remains of our sanity, oru politics, our society. One more event might push the US into something like overt fascism, which lots of enthusiastic popular support. [r]
@Donegal
That's my worry too.
I found this a very interesting read, but did not find the answer to my primary wonder: *how* do you just pick up and join another country? You decide to leave... and *how* do you get permission to stay in another country?
Thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed very much.
Lots of food for thought here, Dr. I wonder if I had the means to do so if I wouldn't choose the same option. I'm not sure where I'd go because as a mixed-race person who identifies as African-American, I have roots in both Europe (Czech Republic and England) and Africa ( I have no idea which country.)

I seriously doubt any American will be able to find a new country that will satisfy all our yearning for what used to be. We all tend to yearn for the things we remember fondly and ignore the things we fought to change and won. But I do agree with Michael Luick-Thrams when he says we Americans need to wake up and pay attention to what's happening around us and stop deluding ourselves about our relative greatness in the world.

I am choosing to stay and continue the fight, but my optimism is waning rapidly.

Lezlie
This is a terrific interview, with thoughtful questions and cogent answers. Far too many Americans have blinders to our faults and limitations, and it would do them a lot of good to read things like this, as long as it was done with an open mind. Sadly, that's a big caveat.
I have been living in Europe now since 1988, and I must admit that I look back to the US with great nostalgia.
The country I left behind is there when I go back, but then so are the scary people who used to freak the hell out of me when they said things like "If you are not a Christian you are going to Hell. Period", or "America, love it or leave it".
These sort of statements, unfortunately, don't leave much room for either compromise, or even polite discussion.
Now, if these sort of people, in my mind, uneducated, were allowed to just exist and they didn't get in anyone's way, which most of them don't, that would be ok.
Unfortunately, whenever I go back to America, I can't help but see that many religious people are beginning to force their beliefs on others, and when these others fight back, and rightly so, they can't take it. So out comes the hellfire and brimstone.
Yes, that America is still there.

And also this new one I began to intuit back in '88 when I left, one where the middle classes, America's great legacy on the world, were starting to diminish.
I remember in the 1990s watching Oprah on British television, and listening to heart-breaking stories of normal families which lived from paycheck to paycheck, and God forbid anyone should get sick.
I have read about families in the US going bankrupt when illness hits them and they can't pay their medical bills.
I have been reading recently about college graduates still paying student loans from 1991...in 2012!
So, when people say America is in the hands or religious kooks and corporations, it is hard not to agree in part.

Of course, this is only part of the picture. America is still many wonderful things but, increasingly, this corporate and religious movement is starting to affect how many people live, and does so in a most negative way.
Europe, as has been said, does have at least 2000 years of recorded history, though its recorded history is over 2700 years old, in fact. There is no way America could compete with that.
But it does not have to. The weight of history has its problems too. Europe is a wonderful place to live in, but make no mistake, it is no paradise.
There are problems here too.
Perhaps the main difference is the way Europeans try to handle their societies. One of the keywords is respect. And diversity. And well being.
And many of the ideas they now hold so dear, believe it or not, started up in the US. So when you look at the US from Europe, it is painful to watch what passes for 'respect' over there. How it is ok for a hate group to picket a soldier's funeral because 'God hates fags' under the banner of free speech.
How racial profiling is still very much alive. How education seems to be a very minor concern for most politicians, something I find ironic since the US has the top universities on Earth.
How many people are being left behind because their income is not as high as other people's.
Yes, that was also there when I left in '88. But why is it still there in 2012?

http://open.salon.com/blog/aog/2012/07/03/travelling_with_americans
@AOG
Thanks for your input! I flew out in 1991, mainly for professional but also for family reasons, and while I enjoy my rare visits home, I'm happy living in Berlin.
Mr. Luick-Thrams fortunate in his choices - in fact, he is privileged in the choices possible to him. I wish him well, but fail to understand the logic of this statement: "Europe’s not perfect, but it has a few things going for it. For one thing, you’ve got over two thousand years of recorded European history. These are deep cultures. Our culture is much younger. We’re a young country, and we don’t have the depth to navigate a huge crisis. I don’t think we have the staying power to bring about real changes." Huh? Even after thousands of years of recorded European history, Europe struggled with two World Wars and the atrocities of the Holocaust. After thousands of years of European history, Europe struggled with the the Dark Ages, with constantly warring kingdoms and principalities, with the Inquisition....etc., etc. etc.
Interesting and thought provoking, as well as the comments. Really well done. I have toyed with moving overseas, but it is difficult with family, business and other commitments. I have a great love for this country, but I hardly recognize it anymore. It is not the country of my youth. We have some very big, big problems here and I am not afraid to make comparisons to Nazi Germany. There is a lot of conservative and corporate propaganda here and many people who cannot do any critical thinking. This is a huge problem because greed and money are at the heart of it all and everyone else is getting squeezed out, for an industrialized nation we do not treat our people fairly or well, in healthcare, education and a slurry of other things. Why is that? Capitalism run amok. Just a guess.
My main thought as I read the beginning of this post was Thank You!!! Yes!!! And I have made some small steps towards moving to Britain. There is health care, and protection from GMO foods. Public Transit. Social tolerance for the most part, though they do have real problems with Muslims, ironically something we don't really have. Though I wonder if anything will really be different in terms of the plutocracy. And the conservatives are starting to gain power in many of these formally liberal countries. Aren't we all manipulated by the global corporations these days and northern Europe is definitely home to corporate plutocrats. Ultimately, is there anywhere to hide these days other than a third world country?
I understand that the bullshit of this country especially the silly claim that the United States is the "best country in the world" chant wears thin. I would probably go to Canada if I had the money. I checked and I couldn't stay at my age without more funds. Interesting interview.
Alan, you've mirrored my own thoughts precisely. I,too,am emigrating later this year although I'll be back and forth for some time until I can fully extricate myself.

For me it was also a long and painful decision. No country is perfect but I believe I deserve at least a a life at or above a certain threshold. A minimum, if you will. Arguing about whether a church backed hospital can offer a health insurance plan that covers contraception? Arguing about whether universal health care is a fascist takeover? A place where half the people don't believe the science of climate change? A place where people earning 7/hr believe firefighters, policemen and teachers are the cause of all their problems?

I can't stand it. And the trajectory looks to be worsening with the influence of money. Things do not look good. But more importantly they look to be getting dangerously worse. There may soon come a time when Americans (or rather average Americans) wont be allowed to leave. Or the elite will make it impossible in effect.

No country is perfect. But I'd like to find out what it feels like to not have to spend so much time and energy fighting for just the very basics that are every human right (in the richest country in the world) and use that time and energy (and money) to do something positive for those around me and in the world.

While the jury is out as to whether I'll give up my citizenship, I will participate politically and financially to try to help the country and my fellow citizens who don't have the ability to leave. But I myself will do it from afar. Sanity and peace of mind and a minimal quality of life matter to me. I don't see it happening anytime soon here.
Half my family is American, the other is Canadian. When I heard news in Canada when the war broke out in Iraq it was not the same news being fed to the US market.
Too many hidden things here.. too much power for so few.
Heidi B told me to come and read this and it blew me away.
HUGGGGGGGGGGG
Yes, the US is ironically more regressive than the European countries it supposedly surpassed in both economic welfare and personal freedom. The people in the US who don't have healthcare, education or the other benefits that Europeans take for granted are not welcome in Germany. Not everyone has a prosperous first world nation where their ancestors lived to retreat to. Should I emigrate back to El Salvador? They would have me, I'm sure, and they even have free healthcare, but it really can't compete with San Francisco.

I guess quite a few of us do not have a cushy place to land if we flee the US, since those places that love the white descendants of their own people do not want anything to do with the rest of us, particularly if we come without funds or specialized skills. I'd like to see Germany be more hospitable to the imported labor they already have living there. Even people born there are not considered German unless their parents were.

The reality is that Michael was probably as safe and comfortable in the US as he is in Germany. While leaving is an act of personal protest--I get that--it's also only available to those Americans who already have the privilege to live comfortably in the US.
It's a big step to give up the places you grew up in, your friends and so much you became accustomed to. But I can see how dispiriting it can become and while no place is perfect, sometimes the imperfections of one society grate less than those of another.

I hope he has better luck than a Canadian couple I read about. In the early 80s they became convinced that a nuclear war would break out in their lifetimes and perhaps sooner rather than later. After researching what part of the globe might avoid the worst of it, they emigrated to the Falkland Islands, just six months before Argentina invaded.
i must acknowledge that i also like the author, this is my worried ,so i have design a plan to keep me form becoming what i hate.line pipe,Rubber machine
There is a theory called the Fourth Turning about four turnings of 20-years each that form a repeating 80-cycle of events in Anglo-American culture. There is a High, an Awakening, an Unraveling, and a Crisis.

The most recent cycle:
High 1945-1964
Awakening 1965-1984
Unraveling 1985-2004
Crisis 2005-2024

The last several crisis periods, which occur every 80 years are:
Glorious Revolution 1700
Revolution of Independence 1780
Civil War 1860
World War II 1940

Based on this theory, we have entered the Crisis period, in which our culture is undergoing a transformation. The bad news is we may very well endure a conflict. The good news is, like all previous Crisis periods, we will endure and our culture will change into a better, more equitable system.

Over the next 10 years, in the darkest hours, just remember, the light of truth will shine again, and a new age of prosperity will rise.

More information:
http://www.fourthturning.com/my_html/body_turnings_in_history.html
I left the USA in 1993, to live, work and raise a family in New Zealand. I left for an employment opportunity, not for any ideological reasons.

I returned to the USA in 2006 for a new job, and currently live in each country about half the year. That's as much as I can handle living in the US before I need a break. The culture changed so much in the intervening 13 years, or perhaps I just got used to living in a freer, more open and relaxed, less consumerist and less fanatically religious society, with less social tension and stratification. I love my job in the US and my colleagues, but living overseas really does change your perspective. The US really does seem like a schizoid country. I often wish it would just split in two and get it over with.
all the things make you so upset because you are in american, if you go to china、、、you'll eager to go home every seconds. god bless you
To Michael Luick-Thrams, with as much respect as I can muster, I would say, “Mind the door; don’t let it hit you in the ass.”

The most significant sentence in what Luick-Thrams had to say up above was:

“While I know Europe isn’t perfect, here in Germany there’s a multi-party parliament, so it’s not just Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee like WE have.


In any case, he is free to do whatever he wants with his life. If he chooses to be a cry-baby and run away...I am fine with his choice.
@nzchicago
That sounds like an excellent balance you've found: Half the year in the States, half in New Zealand. For seven years I had a very pleasant summer teaching job at a university in the Midwest. That way I could enjoy the summer and see my parents and siblings, but return to "real life" come August. As long as you can make something like that work, I think it beats outright emigration.
@Frank Apisa
I agree that that is the key sentence. The two-party system has very definite limitations, e.g. the fact that it never gets anything done! At least in a parliamentary system, large groups of people have their own parties and can influence policy. As new interest groups rise up, they can form their own parties and be heard. One example that I've been writing about here extensively: The Pirate Party. In the US, by contrast, third parties don't have a snowball's chance of hell in getting elected, and we see the consequences of that rigidity every day.
@Abrawang
Re the Canadian couple that moved to the Falkland Islands to avoid war: There's got to be a funny movie plot in there somewhere!
@MaddieP
That sounds like an adventure! I hope you'll share your experiences with us on OS.
I came to this after reading Hyblaean-Julie's poem, which intrigued me, as do all of her poems. She said she wrote it after reading this post. First, thanks, Alan, for providing this provocative interview. It's gotten people thinking, and has generated some ideas that are surely feeding more thought. My take is more in line with Julie's and Frank Apisa's , that when it comes to fight or flight at some point most of us simply have to stand and fight. Can't run forever, and tactically it's always better to do your fighting on familiar terrain. That most of us are descendants of people who chose flight to come here could mean the "flight gene" is programmed in our DNA, or at least is part of our family lore. Did our ancestors flee to this country because they were quitters or scaredy cats? Hardly. They came in response to the promise this country held for them.

The promise admittedly is a tad tarnished these days, and some would say it was a less noble promise than it seemed at first, turning out to be a license to steal a country from its original inhabitants. That is what happened, of course. That's in our DNA and family lore, as well. But here we are. We can run again to somewhere else. Not sure where that might be, a place of rose gardens without the thorns. I'm staying put.
@Matt
Thanks for pointing me to Julie's poem! The interview appears to have struck a nerve, giving voice to a lot of misgivings that people are having this July 4. I'm delighted at the active, stimulating discussion here.
This is clearly a worrying time for the U.S., as indeed it is for the UK, as our government tries to sneak in dismantling of the welfare state under the guise of authority. Regarding the States, comparisons with Nazi Germany are frequently being made amongst liberal Americans I know and this in part motivated my decision not to follow my ex-girlfriend when she returned to her native Chicago earlier this year. What gives me hope is the amount of good young people, her included, I know from the U.S; I believe that with time and the Millenial generation, the second largest in U.S. history, coming into power things will improve and U.S. policy will begin to represent a more realistic conception of the country's place in the world. Maybe one day the U.S. really will be a 'big Germany'! Perhaps the U.S.' novelty as a country makes the natural decline attendant on a period of dominance seem more disturbing and apocalyptic than it really is.
@James
Thanks for a very encouraging comment! I also hope the younger generation will lead the country in new and positive directions, which makes me sometimes wish I was back there teaching college again.
Sure. And please read 'austerity' for 'authority' in the above.
Fascinating (though I don't hold w much of this). r.
You can stand and fight for what you believe in or you can cut and run. I made that choice back in '68 which is why I'm not sitting in Canada right now writing this. He has made his choice just like I made mine. I have to wonder what he will do when things go south in Europe. Will he run away to yet another Continent?
actually i say good luck to this guy,it's how it should be in any struggle,those who whine and run would only be a hindrance if they stayed......
I turn 60 in September. My only regret is life is that I stayed in American and didn't leave when I was younger and had the chances. Even back then, it was obvious the country was headed in the wrong direction. Viet Nam, riots . . . . the rise of commercialism and entertainment. I now urge younger people not to feel compelled to stay here. What I miss most about Europe is the quality of life and sense of values. I wish you the best.
Depending on the outcome of this election, I am seriously considering emigrating. But I won't be leaving my country; my country will have already left me.
It's hard for me to get passionate about the idea of any country. Lots of people I know pipe dream about leaving the U.S., others would never consider it, and others are still coming here for a better life. I don't love some other American's values, but I was bewildered by neo-Nazi presence in Italy and by anti-Islam sentiments so present in France. It seems to me that the primary issues of justice, environmental preservation, technological advancement, economic equality, gender equality, respect and compassion for humanity, these are all globally influenced now, not based on national policies. It's important for people to be in a place where they thrive and contribute to the thriving of others, wherever that may be.
Thank you for providing this very interesting interview, though I have to say it leaves me a little cold however much I sympathize with its sentiments.

One of the reasons I abandoned conservatism is that as much as I might find its arguments compelling in the abstract, taking its ideas out into the real world and using them as the basis for ordering an entire complex society was horrifying. Conservatism is fine in a college bull session but not so good in real life.

One example: I fully appreciate on philosophical grounds those who think abortion is an evil, a sin, even from the moment of conception. Yet, within the anti-abortion movement itself is the fertilized egg of fascism. Give me someone doing the hard missionary work of winning over hearts and minds one at a time to the pro-life position in their own life, and I will stand up and cheer. But imagine for a moment The Ministry of the Protection of Life, created when President Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Congress gain power and create a new cabinet-level department empowered to register all women who become pregnant and to follow them with MPL field agents throughout their term and to the moment of birth. And these agents are equipped with portable vaginal probe ultra-sounds which they are authorized to use at a moments notice during surprise inspections.

That is a little how I feel about the ideas here. Perfectly fine in the abstract, but whose consequence is a society none of us would like to live in if more people followed the principal's lead.
I can certainly relate to anyone moving out of the states. But on the other hand, we should be acutely aware by now that we are one species on one planet, and as goes one country so ultimately go the others. Nationalism is little more than disguised ignorance. We have but one revolution, and that is of the earth around the sun.

For celebrating the Fourth, I recommend checking www.voterocky.org, along with his bio on Wiki. The time has never been more ripe for a third party president.

And I can't help but recommend my own site, www.danielgeery.com. There are tens of thousands, indeed millions of us, clamoring for a vision for our species and a means to get there.

I do encourage Michael to help encourage us from afar, as he has already started to do with points made in this interview.
I appreciated this interview very much. Thank you.
Ahem. Actually the title of your post is a misnomer.
We become what we love. We do not become what we hate.
You hate capitalism and the concept of a free meritocracy,
and love the idea of an entitlement based European socialism,
and so you are happy to leave the country that you despise
because it did not give you all you wanted.

Good luck in Germany. I left Britain to get away from
all that you love. Maybe if more like you left America
we would not have to have this discussion so often.
Excellent interview, Alan. There are a few points Mr. Luick-Thrams raises which I disagree with, but on the whole he accurately describes the situation here. As I said on Julie's post a while ago, I no longer recognize this country as the one I grew up in, and things are getting worse, not better, despite the fact that the Bush cabal was replaced with a supposedly liberal administration. Using the definition above, this country, if not fully fascistic at this point, is sliding inexorably in that direction, and while there are things that could be done to reverse that slide (campaign finance reform, a reversal of the Citizen's United Decision, a rollback of anti-civil liberties legislation passed under Bush and Obama, the banning of corporate lobbyists from Capitol Hill, etc.), those things are very unlikely to happen given our apathetic, propagandized and ignorant electorate and a paralytically polarized government which is almost wholly controlled by Wall Street and other corporate interests.
@Nanatehay
Thanks, I agree with your point of view. There are probably many options out there to turn our problems around, but no consensus or common will to do anything. The two-party system is part of the problem, but it is also an excuse.

@Sparky
I like the bit about "becoming what we love." We clearly need a positive vision, and I feel that's been absent for a great many years now. By the way, I'm not the one emigrating, I'm the interviewer. Yes, I am an expatriate, but I moved to Germany for purely career and family reasons. I have no plans to move back to the States, largely for the same basic reasons that brought me here in the first place, but that has nothing to do with politics.
@Tom Cordle
Well said. I'm sure many here fill the same way.

@Ted Frier
I love your input here. Yes, I know all about utopian systems, having lived through the last phase of the East German dictatorship. I personally like the basic sound of libertarian policies, but realize you would need to construct a vast totalitarian structure to make any of them work. And wasn't it Mussolini who said that "fascism is the only way to make socialism work"? That's why I'm no friend of utopias, except in scifi novels, where they belong.
@Helvetica Stone
"It's important for people to be in a place where they thrive and contribute to the thriving of others, wherever that may be."
In the end, that's what really counts. Thanks for this.
The main reason NOT to leave, is that that's what the conservatives want so badly - have the educated class leave and have the ignorant classes stay and be good little consumers and robotic GOP voters so the wealthy can get wealthier without any effort. We are the only ones keeping that horrific state from coming into being. Think of the Catholic Church in the Dark Ages, Marcos in Phillippines, the Ceausescus in Romania, and Kochs here and now - are we going to hand our country over without a fight?
@Ardee

As a member of the ignorant conservative class, I have to applaud
your cunning plan for lefties to stay and not leave. In this way you
can enjoy all of the democratic freedoms of capitalism while still remaining true to your ideals. You can occupy, and run around
protesting this and that while annoying the greater part of America.
Excellent strategy!

I do agree with the sentiment that everyone should (if they can),gravitate to a country they feel most simpatico with,
so I would encourage lots of political emigration.

I had harbored hopes that you'all would leave the States on route
to your socialist utopia. In fact I was planning on voting for any legislation that would purchase a one-way ticket for all the
malcontents, on the proviso though that they could not ever return, but I guess your idea has dashed that small hope.

On the other hand, it is pretty certain that, in time,
political naivety will always give way to common sense in some manner or form, so all is never lost.
Well done interview, well written up. Been gone for a little more than three years now myself. Best decision that I ever made in my life. The freedom to leave is one of those great freedoms that few talk about.
Tom - please share the specific election results that will make you leave.
I'm completely in accord with Deborah Méndez Wilson.

The easy arrogance, and pretension, toward a privileged, progressive, liberal myopic point of view, with lines such as: "No one ever heard of an American emigrating", intentionally misquoting the interviewee (in outsized bold, no less) who actually said " Hardly anyone has heard of an American emigrating anywhere" [my emphasis], which hardly registers any better, on the intelligence meter. I mean, try googling "list of famous expats" in various countries...

ah....... which brings me to the next pair of eyesores, quote: "I’m not just living in an enclave, in a bubble, like so many other Americans abroad.", and this real gem: "The educated class should leave. What would that say to the people left behind pulling the strings?"

Well... heavens, those poor, ignorant slobs left behind once all the "brains" immigrated, what would they do!??? After all, that same "educated class" of people have left the country in such a beautiful state already, haven't they, I mean, just peachy, right? Probably they'd throw one helluva party and celebrate "your et. al." departure, I think. You ought to pay closer attention to Chomsky. He has freely acknowledged the irony of his "class" priviledge, having given him adequate cover to espouse his progressive (libertarian socialist/anarchist) opinions, with which, in case I'm confusing you, I am in almost total agreement.

I have two sets of very neat looking, holographic, work and stay permit stamps, from Germany, in my old (U.S.) passport, and I know, precisely, just how difficult it was, and how much help I needed, to get them. So I'm calling b***sh*t(!) on part of the premiss of this, your post (as I see it, of course), which is, that this guy could be so self aware, and so self possessed, that after only one year of living in another country, and immersed in another language culture, that he could even pretend to expound on the subject with any authority, beyond a certain naïve spectacle, of yet another amerikanicher spouting their educated opinions to the would-be lumpenproletariat.

Tschüss, bis dann.
I know there a million politically correct things one should say, but I will always feel safe and secure within my country... The United States of America.
help me understand this -

he left america, where people of every race shop, dine, work, and attend sporting events together peacefully (more or less) . . .

to teach school in a lily white european country which is infamous for its skinhead attacks and taunts on black soccer players from visiting teams.

nice !!!!!

i'm sure your friend can teach the rest of us a lot about moral relativism.
@jinks
You certainly make some good points, but if you read the article closely you will see that skinheads and taunts against soccer players were not his motivation.
Interview and comments are both very interesting, sometimes surprising as of the feelings that appear to have been stirred or hurt (and also as of the strange views some Americans seem to have from afar about "Europe", whatever that is supposed to be).

Among part of the comments, I noticed two sides forming: "you did well and have my support" versus "good you left, we don't want you anyway, go whine [optional addition:] while others stay their ground and fight".

Could it not be that Michael Luick-Thrams both fought AND left - in that order? Perhaps he has spent years trying to change things but then considered that certain phenomena had gained such an inertial momentum that they probably would not become reversible for a while? After war, Agricola went farming instead of becoming a consul. We (probably) only have one life to live. For a sensitive person, after one's share of struggle and windmills, why not choose a bucolic setting for the second half of this life, in pursuit of one's own happiness? Just a thought.
@Alex......if that works for some.....great......me,if i truly believe in something,i'd rather go down fightin.....win or lose.....
'truly believe' being the key phrase.....
Alan,is it true that we become what we hate?
God forbid!!!
This post of yours was interesting for me too,as I want to leave the continent,at least for some time.
Home is where your heart is,and I left mine in Canada.
Rated for a good topic on migration,on either side.
I have been here before,reading comments,and today ,I am here again.Reading your comment,Frank Apisa,is shocking.I always considered you to be a more tolerant man.
What is wrong about going back to roots in a different land from that you were born and grew up in?
Some comments are so sad .The promised land has abandoned her promise.
Matt,as you well know,I have been exposed to an awful lot of abusive behaviour here in Germany,and I too,have the tendency to move back to Canada.It comes down to the same issue:If a country is not providing you with a fair chance of leading a decent life,you have the choice:Either you submit to it or you leave.That is what all forbearers of Americans have done.
America as a country is not to blame;circumstances like the 9/11 attack and the ongoing wars have helped to get people deeply disturbed and disappointed in a country that used to be the only place on earth where freedom and well being was not just an emty phrase.
Tom,if you make a statement like you did here,I can only guess how deep the desperation has infiltrated and become part of the American society.
I do not understand the length and need for the article- there is less not more reason to explore the reasons why someone quit than the difficulty of continuing. he did not like the course and took another well that is his right but is this different than a Tea party member sitting on a mountain complaining that no one listens to him? good luck in your new home as we try to make this one better.
I can understand Luick-Thrams' reasons. However, since even W's re-election wasn't enough to get me to emigrate, my guess is that I'll be staying in the States.
jinks:
...come and see for yourself if you find a "lily white"nation such as Germany.We have had a fairly high rate of immigrants coming from different countries.A lot of them are refugees.The first ones to my knowledge have come from Vietnam who could clearly be distinguished in society.That is only one example,and there are many others.
I still wonder how one decides to pick up and leave this country and then they just stay somewhere else and say it's forever.
By what methods does one just change countries -- with permission?
Is this the part no one wants to talk about as it's not that easy or legal to do?
@Just thinking
I'll ask and post the answer below.
Mary,I did not vote for Angela Merkel and I never will.Do you know how she came to power?
As to the Roma:Have you lived with any?
True,there are decent ones,even a famous artist dynasty in Breisach,(Skywalker artists Traber)
but we have others too,huge clans,begging professionally although they have financial support from the government.
America is one of the most bizarre social paradoxes ever conceived. Yes, there are so many problems. The worst thing about us is that every single problem we've got could be solved. We are so profoundly strong when we want to be. But freedom is a funny thing. No apologies for this country are possible. But we're also so full of life and insanely live close to the edge of everything. As a writer I can't imagine being anywhere else.
@Just Thinking, folks have been moving abroad for a variety of reasons for decades. The process differs depending on your destination, but on the whole it's fairly easy to accomplish with some advanced planning and good guidance. My wife and I left the U.S. in 2001 and have lived abroad in seven locations in four countries since then, all legally, all without giving up our U.S. citizenship, all without completely cutting ourselves off from our family and friends in the States. The expats we meet are as varied as you might expect... some want privacy, some want out from under political conditions they disagree with, some want adventure, some want more relaxation, some want to make their money go farther than it did back home. But whatever the reasons, there are good resources to help you plan and execute. By way of full disclaimer, I work for one... International Living Magazine. We've been publishing about moving, living, and working abroad for more than 30 years, so you see, it's not a new idea, and much of the ground work and pioneering has already been done.
@David
I understand what you mean. Europe is wonderful in very many ways, but ultimately it's a bore, I find. In America, people still feel passionate about things, in one way or another. Here, not so much. And yet, if Europe starts feeling passionate again, that could spell trouble...

@Factsaboutecuador
Thanks for the tip! Your magazine sounds fascinating.
@Sparky - you so prove my point.
I'd like to leave, but now that I hear you'd like us gone, I'll stay just to piss you off. And cancel out your vote, more importantly.
I was born in the US, I have a US passport, but I'm not an American anymore. I have lived outside "The States" a total of 8 years of my life. That's what made me realize I'm a citizen of the Earth. When I think of the earth, I do not see maps with borders. I have absolutely no respect for these artificial lines. This post is one of the best I've seen on OS! But still, my sensitive heart aches for every comment that attacks someone for their choice, and especially for attacks on someone who chooses to speak truth. Michael Luick-Thrams, you are a hero in my book. And thank you Alan for posting this interview.
So he has given up on a country so quickly that is but 230 some years old to move to a country that in his parent's lifetime would have thrown him in an oven for being a freakish pervert?
How enlightened.
No place is perfect and every place has a past. But Germany today has many things going that make me envious. One example: a few weeks ago they generated as much electricity in one day, from solar power, as would take 20 nuclear power plants. History is interesting, but for my life I'm interested in the present and the prospects for the future. If someone who leaves America is a coward, or running away from responsibilities, then what does that say about our ancestors? Gee, I was always proud that we were a nation of immigrants. Now I guess I should rethink. Perhaps we are a nation of cowards?
Under Article Four of our Constitution, you had the privilege and immunity of leaving, as under the first Amendment, you had the ability to write this piece, as to who we still are.
Many African Americans left America, especially writers and other artists because they could not find justice here. I have considered leaving many a times myself but one of the primary reasons I cannot leave is I have a sick parent.

My other reasons for not leaving is I am Black and I don't know how that would be in different countries who are also facing immigration issues. African & Arab immigrants are akin to the issues that Americans have with Mexican immigrants in Europe.

Too many countries on the continent of Africa are destabilized - largely due to economic instability related to the World Bank and other such organizations. I wish I had a place that could be a refuge...
The worst effect of all the police state crap since 9/11 has been to erase the significant advantage the US had over China in the minds of many people. Now, really, why NOT move there? Certainly every college kid in America who saw their OWS peers get the shit beat out of them by cops doing their very best to live up to the casual "pigs" label won't waste any more time worrying that they might not like it in Guangzhou. Hell, they might even be familiar with the names of all the major cities there now, and the details of their local real estate markets. I know I am.

Rated.
And, I'm sorry, but Europe is toast.
awesome. startling. well written. inspiring. brave article about a brave man. Im sure youll get a lot of criticism for this one, put on your flameproof underwear. its cool to see someone take a real stand, the ultimate stand. few else would have the nerve/tenacity/perseverence to pull off something this extreme. Im sure that many will disagree with his politics but you cant disagree with his courage. this man has taken more of a stand than anyone in our country. blind patriotism has gotten us into the hole we're in. its great to see someone take the red pill instead of the blue pill. he sees how far down the rabbit hole goes.
as for his complaints about the US Warma$hine and rule by corporatocracy-- dead on bullseye. public asleep at the tv-- yep. as long as joe sixpack knows where his next beer is coming from, there will be no complaints or change. downhill since 911-- yeah, exactly, Ive felt like Im living among a real life invasion of the body snatchers since that day....
I.I. cites this line "The educated class should leave. What would that say to the people left behind pulling the strings?"
yeah, that is a bit of a red flag for me too. this sounds a lot like the plot from atlas shrugged, recently turned into a movie, where the contrast there was the producer vs the parasite classes.
more on ayn rand in my blog.
I dont see anyone in the comments really taking on his criticisms of our culture though. americans can barely grasp that a significant part of our economy is now militarized. we literally dont make money/profit unless theres a war going on somewhere. crazy thought? no, its the hard core harsh reality of our present situation, and the intense blindness and denial of this simple factoid has gotten us into the current hole. [someone cited chomsky. was it AN? yeah a great authority on the subj].... as they say, if you want to get out of a hole, maybe stop digging.
ps btw this is the type of article that one would never in a million years read in the MSM.... or the subsequent no holds barred discussion.... credit to alternative cyberspatial media & blogs.
@vzn
Yes, I agree that this has been a fantastic and all-too rare discussion!

@boko
You wrote:
"The worst effect of all the police state crap since 9/11 has been to erase the significant advantage the US had over China in the minds of many people."
Very true. Let me add that it also erases the distinction between the US and the various "rogue states" that we're supposed to be intervening in 24/7. That's a precarious position for the US to be in. "Soft power," once it is gambled away, is very hard to earn back.
Last year I learned that because I was born (in Michigan) to an illegal immigrant Canadian mother I am a Canadian citizen. It's just across the river but I am preparing to jump -- for all the reasons you mentioned, and more.
[r] good for you, Alan, good for Michael! Your headline and blog that I did not have the time to fully read at an emotionally tumultuous time so recently was a main reason for my NOT bolting in frustration from open salon forever a week ago over so much denial and minimization of so many the grotesque amorality of our government and our Dem president setting up so earnestly and easily (with so little pushback) the scaffolding of fascism. I realize there are more and more voices in what Cindy Sheehan calls "the wilderness of integrity"! Thanks for this! It inspires! It validates! best, libby
there is no paradise for americans to escape to, but my decision to leave, 42 years ago, was simply this: if you vote, if you pay taxes, you subscribe to the policies of the american government, and the money was at that time being used to fry vietnamese people for the crime of standing in front of an american soldier with a license to murder.

since i didn't have to stay and be a part of this criminal activity, i left.
and by the way, 9/11 had nothing to do with it. america has always been like that. don't confuse, 'america changed' with, 'i woke up.'
Read the interview and found myself saying, "Yeah, what he said." Then I read the comments and enjoyed reading intellegent comments, but in the end I wondered, for those who compare European countries to the United States, has anyone looked at a world map lately and made note the actual physical size of the United States vs. the countries in Europe?
I am sad to say that I couldnt agree with you more and could only wish more people could take the blinkers off to see what is now taking place around them. I fear mankind is entering a new dark age that will be unlike any we have seen previously. I believe that you, unlike your fellow countrymen were in a unique position perhaps because of your work as a historian, to be able to see similar patterns and trends emerging in America like what happened in Nazi Germany some 75 odd years ago, but if you were to speak to people about it you would get incredulous and disbelieving looks like "hey, are you nuts or something?, we are the good guys".
I would only disagree with you on your assertion that there is more freedom in Europe than in your own country. Yes, I do think overall Europe is better in having your needs met and in the provision of basic needs than America, yet over the last decade I have noticed American trends becoming increasingly more and more common over here in Europe especially in the current economic climate following the credit crunch. And geopolitically I am sorry to say most European countries appear to now be nothing but vassals and yes men to the US. Even Germany, which I would have credited with a modicum of common sense and international conscience in light of its own recent history, seems to be more than ready and willing to do whatever the American government asks of it, even if they like to keep that fact very quiet and behind the scenes.
My wife and I emigrated from the UK to Germany (Im British and my wife is German) around 18 months ago for very similar reasons. I was fed up of my taxes going towards a system in which I had no real voice to change anything and in which I felt I was in economic slavery, and whose policies internationally I loathed. My wife convinced me things were better in Germany but after been here for over a year now Im not so sure, and as things get worse because of the Eurocrisis I believe we are going to see a resurgence of fascism in Europe as is now the case in Greece.
In the UK hard work no longer pays. A significant proportion of the working population are struggling by on low pay and can barely make ends meet in a climate of rising prices. I read somewhere that in France 50% of the working population earn less than $25000 per annum and I dont think its any better in the UK. So all these people are basically just being milked by the state for taxes and by the corporations for their effort while the 1% get even richer.
The OWS protesters in your country had the right idea but I dont think the majority of Americans are ready for them yet. Like you said in your article I too believe America would have to come down on its knees before there would be any significant change in its policies both at home and worldwide, and that is the problem. I personally believe we are not far off from world war 3.