Submitted by Jeff Thomas via Doug Casey's International Man blog,
We recently spoke with Ron Holland, an American expatriate living in Canada. Ron has had a successful and varied career in finance and is a prolific writer. He also supports global marijuana legalization and has served as a director of two cannabis startup companies.
Critically, Ron has for a longtime debamboozled himself from the government’s propaganda and, I believe, has an accurate perspective on the state of the world today. He is a strong believer in international diversification and the issues we frequently discuss.
The discussion is below; I think you will find it insightful.
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Jeff Thomas: What is your present residential/citizenship situation worldwide?
Ron Holland: I’m an American citizen, living, working, and playing in Canada and elsewhere.
Jeff: What countries have you previously lived or spent significant time in?
Ron: I’m adopted, but I think I was born in North Carolina. I’ve lived in several countries: Switzerland; the US; and now Canada, plus I spent a lot of time in Colombia, Austria, and Italy. My favorite state is South Carolina, where I graduated from the University of South Carolina in banking and finance. Later I headed up a trust department and decades later retired to Hilton Head Island before getting bored and taking a position as CEO with a firm in Canada in 2011.
South Carolina has quite an independent spirit and has been a nation not once but twice, seceding first from the British Empire then later from the US following the election of Lincoln. As we all know, this didn’t work out too well, and one Washington supporter said, “South Carolina is too small to be a nation and too large to be a lunatic asylum.”
He was wrong. South Carolina is about the same size as Switzerland, which constantly ranks as one of the top nations in the world to live in. Small countries are the most prosperous in the world—consider the nations of Singapore, Liechtenstein, Qatar, Luxemburg, Brunei, San Marino, and of course Grand Cayman and Bermuda, which are not quite countries.
I believe aggressive empires with bloated bureaucracies, unsustainable debt loads, and chronic military overreach cannot compete against the now capitalist, relatively free-market Asia. Europe would also be attractive if it weren’t for the top-down, unelected EU monstrosity. The truth is Asia is rising and the debt-ridden Western democracies are failing.
Jeff: What prompted you to seek another country as an alternative to your existing country?
Ron: For a start, the corrupt American legal system and the lawsuit and asset seizure threat to honest wealth, property, and savings helped motivate me to take a job in Canada. I’d had enough of the US’s closed, two-party monopoly system, where voting and every election has become a government sacrament celebrating our own enslavement without any chance by the citizens to impact government domestic, economic, or foreign policy.
In America, we have a rapidly increasing militarized police force often so corrupt and out of control that recently the government of Canada warned Canadians to limit the amount of cash they take to the States. We have lost our patriot vision and now operate more like an incompetent banana republic than a constitutional republic under the rule of law.
We have a foreign policy glorifying military aggression and occupation that makes money for large multinationals, while we waste the blood, treasure, and lives of our soldiers for oil and pipelines. I also have to mention the hundreds of thousands of foreign civilians killed, wounded, and maimed for life by military aggression, drone attacks, and our destruction of nations throughout Africa and the Middle East. Finally, I must mention drug laws aimed mostly at minorities and the poor and a prison lobby that has turned the US into the world’s largest prison state with the highest per-capita prison population on the entire planet.
Frankly, I grew up in the greatest country the world has ever known, and it is no longer that country. It has been taken over and destroyed by an elite and special interests, and I’m sad when I spend too much time there. This is why I live in Canada.
Jeff: Was your original intention to acquire a second passport, or to move entirely?
Ron: I just wanted to live and work in Canada. We enjoyed living in Switzerland years ago and wanted to give our youngest daughter an opportunity to live and go to school in another country. I wasn’t specifically seeking a second passport at the time.
I was just bored of being retired and living on the beach in South Carolina. I don’t plan on ever retiring again… I will work until I drop, although I’m not so driven as I was when I was younger.
Jeff: What were the primary positives you were seeking—monetary, governmental, social, etc.?
Ron: We desired all of the above. I wanted to live in a country where my taxes go to benefit me and help others, instead of pillaging the world. A government friendly toward business with low corporate taxes as well as a kinder, gentler state like the United States was when I was younger.
Jeff: What destinations did you research as possibilities, and what made you reject each one?
Ron: I’ve traveled a lot and spent quite a bit of time in Europe and South America, and for us and our daughter, Canada did not present any language barriers to her time in high school. She graduates this coming June, and we may spend part of the year when she is in university living and working in South or Central America—we’re still undecided at this time.
Jeff: What made you choose Canada in the end?
Ron: Actually, nothing exciting or earth-shattering—just a job offer and a great private school opportunity for our daughter. Canada is a wonderful country, and I even get a little emotional singing O Canada at sports events.
I’m especially attracted to Doug Casey’s La Estancia de Cafayate, and I urge all readers interested in a second home or relocating offshore to take a look at this unique community. I’m also leading a due-diligence effort with Anthony Wile, looking into the feasibility of an exciting new lifestyle community in Colombia near an international airport, shopping, and hospital. It’s located at an elevation over 6,000 feet, where neither air conditioning nor heat is required and there are very few insects.
Most people think of me as an alternative financial consultant, but after selling my investment firm and retiring for the first time back in 2000, I sold resort real estate and was marketing VP for a 5,000-acre mountain resort. My passion is actually real estate development and marketing second homes.
Jeff: What problems did you experience in your new country that you didn’t anticipate?
Ron: Absolutely none, as Canada is just like the United States used to be before the American Dream turned into an absolute nightmare. Here the cops are nicer and more professional, the bureaucrats are friendly and usually helpful, and even the government health insurance works far better than what you have in the United States. It is like the US 40 years ago and a wonderful place.
Jeff: What pleasant surprises have you experienced as a result of your internationalization?
Ron: I’ve learned that most people everywhere just want a good life for themselves and an opportunity to raise children and be left alone. I’m especially excited about Asia and somewhat worried about the US foreign policy that has pushed China and Russia together—this will probably rush the decline and fall of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
Jeff: Have you changed the way in which you make a living?
Ron: I’m partially retired now, but I do like to write and promote ideas and products I believe in. As you know, once you are self-employed, it’s pretty easy to never look back at the conventional corporate world. The future is entrepreneurship, as countries, corporations, and foundations too large and bureaucratic will be eclipsed by new competitive alternatives.
Jeff: People sometimes say that they can’t afford to internationalize themselves, as they assume it’s only for the rich. Has that been your experience?
Ron: Well, Canada is not that expensive, but living in a big city like Toronto is expensive and on par with living in Zurich or Geneva. However, there are countries in Central and South America where you can retire and live on less than $2,000 a month. So yes, maybe the rich have more need to internationalize, but it is definitely doable for the middle class as well.
I think the biggest difficulty to moving or living outside of the country of your birth are family considerations. What about your aging parents, kids, or grandchildren? These are the things you need to think through.
Jeff: If you had it to do over again, are there things you’d do differently?
Ron: If I had it to do all over again, I would have retired earlier from investments and finance and been a history or political science teacher. But I have always searched for truth in history, and all history and current event news is just pure crowd control and propaganda supporting those in power. So I guess that would have been a short-lived and dead-end career after all. All I really want for my family and myself is freedom and liberty from those who rule over and oppress productive people around the world.
I also have to say that I also wish I had worked and lived earlier offshore and spent even more time living in more places internationally. Even with global cable news shows, it is so enlightening to watch TV news outside the United States. Sadly there is such a different view watching Canadian TV than back home in the US, and I find the channels like FOX News (the fake conservative channel) even worse than the acknowledged democrat socialist channels like CNN, MSNBC, and of course, financial news on CNBC.
I urge your readers to start watching offshore English channels like the BBC, RT—the first Russian 24/7 English-language news—France 24, and Aljazeera if they want to get a more international outlook on the world and the US. Now this is not to say that each of these channels do not have their own bias for or against certain countries and ideas, but please educate yourself by reviewing alternative news sites in the US as well as informative global options outside the narrow establishment propaganda outlets in the US.
So yes, I am glad I now live and work predominantly outside the US, but I still love my country. But I wish I had left sooner, and I fear many of your readers will live to regret staying in the US with so much at risk.
The world is an interesting place, and the American Dream still lives—just not so much in the United States any longer. But countries can change for the better; tyrannies are overthrown, and the Internet reformation is a big advantage for people desiring freedom and honest information around the world.
Don’t fence yourself in. Be willing to move and safeguard your assets to build life again for your children and grandchildren in a better environment. America was built as the land of opportunity at a time when the American Dream actually existed. Should we not create our own opportunity as well?