It’s time for me to leave the Netherlands

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.

This is literally me now.

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.

This but unironically.

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.

16 Comments

  1. Are your rioting? I have seen a fiery but mostly peaceful protests in the Netherlands. I thought you might like it.

    • The riots won’t work. They don’t have the support of 90%+ of the population and we have no right to bear arms in this country.

  2. I’m in Texas right now with a van and ready for a road trip. Come down here and share some travel expenses we can hit up some places, I would probably travel west to new mexico for a while but am super flexible, I also got some people in north carolina I would visit. Most of my friends are encumbered by jobs, so I am bored as fuck.

  3. Yoooo hit me up if you ever get to south Florida!
    I’m glad you decided to come here cause we definitely get shit on online but as you are a nature guy you have to go out west, we got big nature here. The Redwoods, the Cascades, Yosemite, the Quaking Aspens, the Grand Canyon, all so beautiful!
    On the east coast we got the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and the Everglades and Florida Keys in Florida, if you’re into swamps and the only tropical weather in the continental US.
    I’ve never been out west (would love to go) but we have good museums in New York and Chicago. Music would depend so much on what type of jam you’re looking for.
    I hope you got money for a car or a lot of plane rides or some good friends to hitchhike with.
    I am jealous. Enjoy!

    • I definitely would like to visit Florida, as it’s an open state. I hope I can arrive in february, when the weather should still be tolerable to someone used to the Netherlands. The Smoky Mountains look great, I wouldn’t have thought of them myself, so thanks!

  4. I hope you have fun – Boston is functionally on lockdown (incl all the museums/universities) and extremely boring at the moment, so I can’t host/wouldn’t recommend coming here, plus I’m codemonkeying.

    I can confirm the southwest is great for chasing what remains of the “American” spirit. The pre-covid LA/SD/TJ (+LV) trip is sublime, full of weirdos, drugs, food, etc if you are open to new experiences. Unfortunately the SD/TJ border is closed during covid.

  5. I highly recommend Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

    I live in Oregon, but not Portland (thank god). I’m in Central Oregon, where the mountains meet the high desert, and it’s generally either sunny or snowing, not raining. It’s a good place to be. We have mask requirements and at the moment, no indoor dining is available, but restaurants have a lot of space, not to mention outdoor heaters, firepits and gazebos, so our outdoor dining setup is optimized. Also, great mountain biking, snowboarding, downhill skiing, xc skiing, rock climbing, snowmobiling, dirt biking, kayaking, etc here, so people are out constantly doing what they want to do, and are very passionate about their outdoor hobbies. The pandemic hasn’t shut any of that down.

    • I’d also add that the big cities are the worst places to be, and probably the most like the Netherlands in terms of restrictions. Even big cities that allow outdoor dining don’t have restaurants with sufficient outdoor space to take advantage of such an allowance.

      The suburbs themselves aren’t particularly interesting, although they actually have more going on than big cities due to more outdoor space.

      I think the best place for a visitor would be one of the “Zoomtowns”, like Bend, Bozeman, Whitefish/Kalispell, Coeur d’Alene, etc. Even some mid-sized cities like Boise are pretty good. Idaho and Montana are far more lenient than Oregon or Washington on a statewide level.

  6. I’m from and live in the EU. Good for you to embark on such a trip. I keep daydreaming about pulling something like that off, but the thing is, I have 3000€ max at hand and no college degree. I’d be down to go on a trip around the USA, but man this is all I’ve got for now. I plan on going (back) to college come September, but I’m not convinced at all I’ll be able to have the college experience I want. So now I’m developing a plan B to GTFO in case classes are masked or online. But this thought popped in my head today: I could GTFO now, go abroad to travel and then work some low-skill job. When I had enough money I could come back to my home country and study – even if it took some years.

    But I think that’s still a daydream. It’s just not enough money. -_-

  7. “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?”

    Yeah, I had this feeling when you were writing in great detail about the travelling hipsters and all their faults. Almost as if you contemplated doing it yourself at some point.

    • The thing that happened is that I began to think about the dead grandfather principle more: Anything you can do that your dead grandfather can do better is a waste of time. If we’re ever going to solve climate change, then it’s going to have to be in an active manner, rather than a passive manner. Fortunately, I have a negative carbon footprint myself by now, so I’m more willing now to grant myself some luxuries.

  8. Had you any shame you’d always write your present opinions from the perspective that you may change them later.

    In character you are basically a rural oregonite.

  9. If you happen to end up in the san francisco area for whatever reason I’d be happy to hang out, but I agree with what the others have said that it’s a good idea to avoid the large cities if you’re looking for things to do right now.

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