Several years ago, I wrote an essay titled The libertarian response to “If you don’t like America then you can get out!”
It is one of the most visited posts on this site. I recently discovered that it is now one of the highest ranking articles on Google for that search phrase (incidentally, it received a lot of visitors after the November election).
Looking back at that piece, I think I made my point well. Telling someone they can leave America is something Stefan Molyneux would respond to with his famous “not an argument” slogan. Indeed, telling someone they can leave is not only not an argument, but it could be interpreted as a concession.
For example, imagine the following exchange took place at some eatery:
“The food at this restaurant is terrible!”
“If you don’t like the food here, you can leave!”
That isn’t denying the food is bad. It is an observation of how a person can respond to the situation; but that doesn’t address the initial observation, which is the perceived lack of food quality.
However, I think that I left something unsaid in that essay, which I would like to now address.
When It’s OK To Tell Someone “If You Don’t Like America, Then You Can Get Out!”
There are times when it is acceptable, even appropriate, to tell someone if they don’t like America, then they can get out.
If you’re not from America and immigrated here, you don’t get to complain about our free speech, our gun rights, our culture, our preferred way of doing things, or how we don’t cater to you. You don’t get to talk about how you wish our country was more like a nation that is less free or whose values are opposed to traditional American customs. You don’t get to gripe about our borders or immigration policy and how it should benefit you and yours at the expense of me and mine. You don’t get to rail against the people who were born and bred here and how horrible they are because they don’t like how their country is being transformed against their will by a treacherous government.
The fact is, you voluntary left your homeland and came to this country. No one forced you to come here. You decided that the potential downsides were outweighed by other attributes.
Granted, if your complaints are that America is losing what made it free and great, then that is one thing. I prefer them over Fake Americans who betray what their ancestors fought for.
But if your complaints concern totally illegitimate grievances, then you truly can get out. I don’t get to immigrate to other countries and lecture them about the things regarding their way of life that I don’t like. If I find their practices so intolerable, then why did I go there in the first place? It’s not my country, it’s not my nation, and I have no right to expect them to change their ways for my sake.
When you enter another people’s land, they are justified in expecting outsiders to respect their systems and institutions, and kick them out if they don’t comply. This is how any private organization operates.
This message also applies if you were born in America; you don’t get to bitch about how the country has too many freedoms that the Founders bestowed unto us and our posterity. You don’t get to immigrate internally from an unfree state to a freer state and then whine about how that state isn’t like the one which carried out your preferred political views and caused you to leave. You don’t get to import to one area the very ideas that compelled you to leave another place. You have no business leaving a state with high taxes because you can’t afford to live there, only to whine that the state you live in needs more taxes to pay for stuff that you don’t want to pay for.
The native residents can and should invite all those who engage in such behavior to get out.
If you don’t like things about America that either makes it free or authentically American, then you can get out, because you have no right to undermine or destroy what is not yours and was given to those who do not want you there.