Americans make some ridiculously good music.
I used to think that I would never leave my native region again, that I could spend the rest of my life not flying. I was wrong. What I didn’t anticipate was that people would lose their minds and decide to lock everyone up in their homes. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life living in a country where 75% of the public supports a lockdown. I’ve had the alienating and disturbing experience of suddenly realizing there’s a vast and massive disconnect between me and the society I live in. It’s the kind of realization that makes you want to watch everything go up in flames.
The bright side is that this opens up new opportunities for me. It has taught me that I need to see different parts of the world. Yep, that’s right, I’m going to join the 90IQ 90k college debt generation again, by traveling from place to place. There’s nothing a man can despise quite as much as his own mirror image, is there? This post is basically meant to announce that I plan on traveling to the United States in the coming months. If it wasn’t obvious yet, this whole crisis has made me more libertarian, so a nation like America founded on classical liberal values and enlightenment thinking is starting to look like Walhalla to me.
I need to visit the United States, to find out if its people live up to my high expectations of them. I don’t like having to step into an airplane, but “living my whole live surrounded by people I have no affinity with” is not a price I planned on paying for my moral convictions. I now know that I want to leave this country. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life, residing in the Netherlands. I thought this feeling would go away after a while, but I have felt for years like I don’t truly belong here, the lockdowns made it much worse.
If you live in the United States and it seems like fun to you to meet me, be sure to send me a message. For what it’s worth, as much as I like to troll and blow off steam on the Internet, I’m gentle, polite and surprisingly normal when you actually meet me. Yes, all of this is to some degree an act, a persona.
The United States tends to be the country you’re allowed to bash, because they’re the world’s most powerful nation. America wants to be the world’s policeman, America bombs people with drones, America has no culture, Americans killed the Indians and enslaved black people, America gave us the Kardashians, you’ve heard it all before.
Of course that disguises from the uncomfortable truth, that anyone who is capable of accomplishing anything substantial with the 90 years or so we’re granted on this planet as mortal beings, ends up moving to the United States. That’s not coincidence. Think of someone somewhat famous and chances are it’s someone who moved to the United States eventually. Elon Musk? Born in South Africa, moved to Murka. Peter Thiel? Born in Germany, moved to Murka. Most celebrities end up buying a house in the United States when they strike it big.
Ayn Rand fell in love with the country for a reason. Americans are an optimistic people by nature. They look at the human condition and think to themselves: “We can do better than this and I’m going to figure out how.” Slavery? We can do better than that. Earth? Sure, it’s a nice place, but let’s see what the moon looks like. Ninety years? Screw that, we’ll cure aging. Too crowded? We’ll live on the sea for all I care! The Americans are essentially like we in the Netherlands were 300 to 400 years ago: Optimistic, entrepreneurial and liberally oriented. They have what Ayn Rand considered the Apollonian spirit.
In America, people are generally of the opinion that if you want to be an idiot, that’s your right. Don’t want to wear a seatbelt? Have fun flying through your windshield! I wish Dutch people looked at the world in this manner. I’m saddened however, to realize that most Dutch people don’t view the world this way. Most of them want the government to decide whether you’re allowed to open your business and whether I am allowed to visit your business.
To me, this seems an obvious non-issue. If you are afraid of getting sick from a virus, then you’re free to lock yourself up in your home. You’re also perfectly entitled to consider me an idiot if I really don’t care and continue to live my life. On the other hand, when you wish to decide for me whether or not I can leave my house, you’re violating my civil liberties.
Holding me responsible for the spread of a virus, simply by being outside in your vicinity and despite not feeling sick myself, essentially sets a precedent for the eradication of all civil liberties. Human beings carry about 200 known types of respiratory viruses with us. I will almost always be shedding some of them. If you’re obese or immunocompromised, then you’re the type of person who is even more likely to shed viruses.
America isn’t perfect, but there are a handful of states that figured out this principle. North Dakota and Florida have rejected the lockdowns. In most of the Southern United States, life mostly continues as normal too. On the other hand, in the Netherlands, I’m now literally unable to visit any store other than the supermarket. I’m not even allowed to leave my house after 9 PM. I know it would be impossible for the government to pull something like this off in a red state: Too many people would simply not put up with such a thing.
For hundreds of years now, if you were rebelliously inclined and eager to carve out your own path in life, you moved from Western Europe to the United States. The story of Thomas Paine is essentially the story of the migration to the US. He was born in England and moved to the US just in time to join the revolution. Once the revolution is done, he sees that France is overthrowing its king and heads back to Europe to troll in France.
Eventually he publishes Rights of Man, which shits on Edmund Burke and manages to piss off the British government so hard that it wants to hang him but never can because he simply never shows up in England again, spending his last years in the United States after they got him released from jail. The fact that our best European trolls ended up on the other side of the pond has had an impact on Western Europe. Western Europe became more conformist over time. To me, it has become suffocatingly conformist.
Western Europe peaked in the late 18th century, it’s been downhill ever since. Whether we like it or not, the epicentre of Western culture became Southern California in the early 20th century. All the music we listen to, all the films we watch, are produced in a small region of the globe. There’s such a thing as European cinema, but it doesn’t try to appeal to a broad audience or write the dominant cultural discourse of its time. It’s always going to remain a niche thing.
Of course, I’m also happy to hear suggestions of good places to visit. When it comes to nature, I think it should be relatively simple to find pretty parts of the country. I think I would very much appreciate visiting Colorado, as well as seeing the redwood forests of the West coast. Austin, Texas is another place that seems like it would be a lot of fun, in regards to music and culture. I like American culture, but I’m really not eager to check tacky tourist checkpoints off my bucket list, I don’t see the point in visiting Mt. Rushmore for example. If anyone can think of places that have nice music venues and museums, I would love to hear it.