December 25, 2001
Dear Carol LaGrasse and the Property Rights Foundation of America,
During the past ten years I have developed a certain friendship and respect for the brave remnant of Americans who consider private property rights worth defending. The PRFA comes in high on my list of groups who care about freedom and private property rights. Interestingly, I've discovered that the people who rally for freedom on their own turf also have the highest regard for the exercise of freedom by fellow citizens. So I'm in a unique class of people, I think, that could really live peaceably together if the powers that be would permit it.
Notice that I said "if." Carol, I have found in running a business in this state that the government cares much more about power and money than it does about allowing people to interact peaceably. The demise of our family business (and many others') is proof that state and federal governments care more about taxing and dictating every aspect of people's lives than they do about peace and prosperity.
So forget the "if." I've witnessed and felt the fangs of government and I know how much respect it has for freedom. I know what my government's policies are, and of course my concerns go beyond property rights. Not that I want any special favors from government, but it would be nice if I could sense my government's tolerance, if then not respect for, my personal choices in education, health, and employment. To me, my wife, and 2-month-old son, this tolerance is not a laughing matter. Since this tolerance is apparently not to be found in this area, we will look for it elsewhere.
My crusade for property rights and freedom has come to an end. By the time this is read I will have bid farewell to my American homeland along with its sanctimonious and perpetual self-elevating noise about freedom and God. Not that there aren't many Americans who still legitimately care about each other. Not that it hasn't been gratifying to work with those who care about rights and freedom, and help advance the cause of liberty. But I've had it with America and know without a doubt that America is not a safe place to raise a family or make a living.
After my third visit to Costa Rica this year I'm convinced that there is a place in the world where peace and freedom is respected more than in America. I find it fascinating to see how well a people can coexist and interact without full time government babysitters. Costa Rica's government is not very effective or efficient and thus not awfully powerful. This encourages people to look out for themselves and they do a pretty good job of it. Where else in the world will you find a doctor's office adjacent to a herd of cattle or a repair shop next to the bus station?
I would love to share with open-minded Americans the traits that make Costa Rica great. Perhaps even American policy makers could learn some valuable things about getting along together. For the time being, we are off to Costa Rica. I wish my American friends well.