Your Citizenship Is a Ticket to Serfdom

Column by new Root Striker Andrew Henderson.

Exclusive to STR

Most people wouldn’t give a second thought to the idea that citizenship is anything other than a birthright. In particular, those “lucky” enough to have been born in the United States--or as I call it, “The Land of the Free”--should thank their lucky stars for winning a genetic lottery.

In reality, citizenship is just another tool governments use to control your every move. They use it to violate your rights, enslave you to their toxic economic policies, and make sure your offspring are branded with the same mark and continue to pay up so the government can keep the party going.

Citizenship is an albatross, not a gift.

It started in Greece, where only the élite class could become citizens. You can guess how well that went. Later, the Roman Empire realized it could enhance the legitimacy of its expansive government by granting a single citizenship to everyone--if they qualified. By the Middle Ages, everyone became subjects of a king. The feudal lord-serf relationship reigned.

I’d argue things haven’t really changed. We’re told our nationality is a source of “pride.” But that nationality is really nothing more than having Washington (or London, or Beijing . . .) as the feudal lord to our perpetual serfdom.

Having spent some serious time in dozens of countries, I’ve seen this phenomenon in countless places. The State has convinced its subjects that it's a great deal to proudly proclaim being “American” or “Chinese.” While it’s true each country has a certain amount of culture we can proudly associate with, the idea of basing one’s entire identity based on squiggly lines on a map confounds me.

Being born in the United States wasn’t my choice. In 1984, the US topped the “Best Places in the World to Be Born” list and anyone who would have said my birth there was a curse would have been looked at as if they were on fire. Fresh off Reagan’s lowered taxes in the early 1980s, there was actually a year where not a single American renounced their citizenship.

As I got older, however, I began to see the fault lines in this “gift” I received simply for being born on a patch of dirt controlled by a government that calls itself “the United States.” When I started traveling as a very young adult, I quickly saw how the government used the “post-9/11” mindset to keep its serfs in line.

I recently had to send my passport into the State Department. After hitting nearly 40 countries in the last three years, and with another 30 more in the next two years, I needed more pages. Just getting them to add some pages to your passport requires you to sign off on all kinds of draconian surveillance state madness. Having a low-level drug conviction in the past could cause them to deny your request. Owing a balance to the IRS can put to kibosh on it. Behind on child support? You’re going nowhere. The list of “persons ineligible to receive a US passport” is long and getting longer.

And to top it off, they promise to potentially share your personal information with more people than Publisher’s Clearing House.

While I’m sure we agree the UN is mostly a bunch of ninnies in monkey suits, their Declaration on Human Rights had a few good ideas. Among them, the idea that “You have the right to leave your country to go to another one; and you should be able to return to your country if you want.”

How, pray tell, do I have the basic human right to leave the plantation I was arbitrarily born on if the people who formed “the government” on said plantation maintain a list of “persons ineligible for a passport”?

Oh, that’s right . . . I don’t. Real freedoms aren’t taken away willy-nilly.

Long before they would lower the boom on Liberty Dollars and Bitcoin, government was stopping people who chose not to chain themselves to the State. After World War II, a man named Garry Davis renounced his US citizenship in France and formed the World Service Authority. The goal was to issue a world travel document to true “citizens of the world”; stateless refugees who needed to escape. He also issued a World Passport to anyone who would apply for it in the same way you’d apply for any other passport.

After years of issuing these World Passports to liberty-minded people, the French government cracked down on him, eventually convicting him of “confusing the public.”

To Big Government, it must be confusing that anyone would want to escape their monopolistic system. They must stop anyone who dares spread the word that their system is nothing more than a government cattle brand “confusing” the everyday schlub.

The state needs that confusion to stay in business. As a US citizen, you’re required to pay tax on your worldwide income, even if you don’t live there--or even if you’ve NEVER lived there. Merely having the “good fortune” to evacuate a birthing canal somewhere between Canada and Mexico earns you a lifetime of paying into whatever draconian tax scheme the bureaucrats can dream up. Since guys like Obama and his minions can never give a straight answer to “how much is enough?”, you could really be screwed. The only way to get around this is to renounce your citizenship.

And if bullies like Senator Chuck Schumer have their way, you’ll be penalized for doing so and branded an “ex-patriot.” Penalties would include never being allowed to return to the US, as if the rest of the world is a hellhole devoid of any natural beauty, culture, or things to do. That’ll teach you a lesson!

To these people, anyone who finds a greener pasture is a traitor. They want you to believe there is no greener pasture. They act as if you had a choice of countries and chose theirs, only to renege on your contract to them later.

And if you try to escape the whole system and become stateless like Garry Davis, you will likely be refused. Most countries have set up laws that forbid you to become stateless. That means that, until you hold dual nationality, you can’t renounce your home country citizenship. It’s a great ploy. They can keep milking you indefinitely.

In The Land of the Free, deciding to no longer be an American gives them one last chance to milk you. It now costs $450 to renounce your citizenship. At least we finally know that’s what it’s worth--and the answer isn’t “priceless.”

All of this only shows that you don’t own your citizenship. It’s not a gift. It, like your passport, is the property of the government and subject to their whim. Step out of line or don’t follow whatever facocta laws they dream up and they can unilaterally cut you off.

These days, it’s harder for the average person to get a second citizenship. As more Americans are waking up to the reality that their country isn’t the amazing panacea they’ve been brainwashed to believe it is, other countries are working to making their immigration process harder. (Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?) I was recently in Singapore, where just a few years ago you could become a citizen in three years; due to high demand, it’s now seven. I spent time in Belgium last year; they have also tightened their once-easy path to citizenship. The escape routes are slowly closing.

To many, it may sound odd to say that leaving your birth country once and for all is an “escape route.” For those who love liberty, it’s hard to see it any other way. What you don’t own isn’t yours.

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nomadcapitalist's picture
Columns on STR: 1


Jim Davies's picture

Welcome Andrew, great article. And a useful link, to nomad capitalism.
I came across a page by Mike Gogulski, who says he found a way to go stateless and yet to cross borders. Any knowledge of him? - see

nomadcapitalist's picture

Each consulate around the world seems to have its own "deal" to a certain extent. One hand doesn't really know what the other one is doing. Many countries do outright ban citizenship renunciation if doing so will make the person stateless, and the US tries to follow that. There are some consulates where people have had success in becoming stateless, and it technically is possible. You may be able, after jumping through a lot of hoops, to get a Stateless Passport, but it isn't necessarily an easy road either before or after.

Mike Gogulski's picture

Hi Jim,

Schengen is my cage, and it's not too bad.

See also:

or even (*shudder*):


Jim Davies's picture

Mike, thanks for jumping in, and it's great to have you on STR!
Those are fine interviews you gave to RT, and even the Wiki page led to the photo of your Stateless Person Travel Document. I'm still confused though; you say the Schengen area is your "cage", yet the usual purpose of travel documents is to cause the border goons to let you cross. So for example can you visit the UK, should you be overtaken by such a desire? - and the US?
You may not want to publish details of what government (Slovakia's?) regards you as a taxable object, but in Europe the VAT rates are so punitive that it may not matter much; @ 17% or even 25%, they steal the money going instead of coming. But whatever you can say on that would be interesting.

Thunderbolt's picture

Super article, Andrew. Thanks.

mjackso6's picture

The bitch of it, of course, is that unless you manage to find a berth on one of those artificial islands folks are talking about building, or manage to find your own natural one out there somewhere, you're always going to have to maintain a residence in ~some~ state somewhere, or several different ones, and while you may or may not fall under that state's tax regulations, they're most certainly not going to extend you 'diplomatic immunity', meaning that you'll still be subject to the whims of their legal codes. And I'm pretty sure that no state out there is in any way comfortable with 'ex-pats' living within it's borders; I think you can be sure of being watched like a hawk and harassed at the slightest excuse. And of course, in that case, as a citizen of nowhere, you'd be unable to invoke even the paltry 'protections' that citizenship in at least some places offers. Renouncing the yoke of citizenship is certainly the ideal situation, but I see many, many ways that you could end flat screwed as an ex-pat, the major problem being that by revoking your citizenship, you've just effectively screamed out your feelings towards the Administration, and given the 'microscope' a perfect target to home in on. If I were going to 'renounce' anything here, I'd just quietly liquidate whatever I had to and slip away in the night. In my case, I intend to sit things out, do my best to 'fly under the radar', and to hopefully help advance the move for statelessness for as long as I can.

nomadcapitalist's picture

It is hard to become stateless. But pragmatically, in a world of people who appoint themselves to power and then look down on you opting out, the best/most straightforward remedy is to a second (or third...) citizenship. When you were a kid and your mom wouldn't let you do something, you'd ask your dad. You knew which one of them was more likely to approve a certain request. Similarly, having a place where you know you can go when things get bad at home is a reasonable protection to have.
I wish there was a better system in place. Unfortunately we're a few years too late for that. If you want to become stateless, you may be able to find the right loophole to accomplish that. It will be difficult but it's a decision for you to make.
As to expats not being accepted in other places, I disagree. Singapore's government is dealing with complaints from its lower-middle class residents that the country is nothing but a big appeal to "foreign talent". While you can't drink a bottled water in their subway, those "rules" Singapore is famous for apply to everyone. Expats are everywhere and most people think nothing of it.
Likewise, I'd say expats are dealt with fairly in most places of the world. You could find plenty of places where you'd blend right in. That doesn't mean certain places are harder to make friends and infiltrate the community, but I haven't seen any instances of people being harassed. Interestingly enough, the ONLY instances of foreigners being harassed are in the United States. I have friends from various Asian countries who have been - as an example - threatened with deportation by traffic cops if they "don't cooperate".
Of course, you could always be a perpetual tourist. I've entered most countries under a standard tourist visa and have never been asked for identification or been shaken down even once. Not in China, not anywhere.

Suverans2's picture

"Government being simply an agent employed in common by a number of individuals to secure to them certain advantages, the very nature of the connection implies that it is for each to say whether he will employ such an agent or not. If any one of them determines to ignore this mutual-safety confederation, nothing can be said except that he loses all claim to its good offices..." Excerpted from The Right to Ignore the State by Herbert Spencer

"Secession means the right to stay put, on one’s own property, and either to shift alliance to another political entity, or to set up shop as a sovereign on one’s own account." ~ Walter Block, Professor of Economics at Loyola University New Orleans and Senior Fellow with the Ludwig von Mises Institute

I DO NOT CONSENT to be a member of ANY of your man-made political associations and I waive all member-only benefits and privileges[1]. My law is the Law of Nature[2].

How hard was that? What is hard is to withdraw from membership in the political corporation and still collect its member-only benefits and privileges, which is, it seems, what most individuals want.
[1] Omnes licentiam habere his quae pro se indulta sunt, renunciare. [It is a rule of the ancient law that] all persons shall have liberty to renounce those privileges which have been conferred for their benefit. [Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1990) page 1086]
[2] Legibus sumptis disinentibus, lege naturae utendum est. When laws imposed by the state fail, we must act by the law of nature. 2 Roll. R. 298. [Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 899]

Suverans2's picture
Suverans2's picture

The silence is deafening, and it speaks volumes.

Samarami's picture

OK, Suv. I herewith break the silence.

Of course you knew I would.

Somehow this thread went by me -- but your comments are testimony to the fact you and I, although often argumentative, are in agreement.

Sort of. At times.

Why plead with the beast? Why "file" this, that or some other form the white man has put in place to keep you captive? These questions continue to baffle me. Mjacks06 said it well in his comment above:

    I see many, many ways that you could end flat screwed as an ex-pat, the major problem being that by revoking your citizenship, you've just effectively screamed out your feelings towards the Administration, and given the 'microscope' a perfect target to home in on. If I were going to 'renounce' anything here, I'd just quietly liquidate whatever I had to and slip away in the night. In my case, I intend to sit things out, do my best to 'fly under the radar', and to hopefully help advance the move for statelessness for as long as I can.

At the risk of redundancy I'll trot out my rattlesnake analogy (cottonmouths'll do): I have the "right" to walk barefoot in the woods. I don't. If I choose to traipse to the woods I wear adequate foot and leg protection and/or avoid likely snake infestations. You, Suv, and I had a minor tiff over this some months back and I had to acquiesce -- I do have the "right".

Politics and politicians are lower than snakes. Wherever they exist, I attempt to avoid 'em. But, unlike snakes, politicians enjoy the acceptance and the accolades of a huge percentage of my neighbors, family and friends -- even "libertarians", many of whom will grant them legitimacy by "applying for expatriation and renunciation of 'citizenship' ", et al. That makes politicians many times more dangerous than snakes.

Actually, snakes do some good. They feed on rodents and other parasites, keeping their population down.

So if your house is mouse free, thank a snake.

    I DO NOT CONSENT to be a member of ANY of your man-made political associations and I waive all member-only benefits and privileges[1]. My law is the Law of Nature[2].

That, Suv, sez it all. Here. Not in a white man's den of thieves.


Suverans2's picture

Thank you for the reply, Samarami, and as you already know, I don't "plead with the beast".

My "Declaration of Independence" is not a plea, i.e. it is not "an urgent or emotional request"; it is a declaration, it is a notice, it is a "Notice of Secession", announcing myself to the world as a free and independent man. As Thomas Jefferson so plainly put it, "Free men do not ask permission..."

Glock27's picture

Damned good piece Andrew. I had some original objections to your piece until I got through the whole thing. I still have some objections but I shall keep them to myself. I do however, have one comment. Sneak cross one of the squiggly lines in Iran or China and see just how important that squiggly line is. I don't believe the idea of Natural Rights carries the implication we can go any damned place we please without violating the property rights of others. I believe the people of these cultures have the Natural right to establish the boundaries of their land and others are bound to respect those rights by seeking permission to cross over. It reminds me of the analogy of Farmer A and Farmer B. I think I discovered this on a Von Mise site. Quiet an interesting presentation regarding ownership. We all own something even if it is just ourselves and I believe others have an obligation to respect that ownership lest they become like the very thing they proclaim disgust for.

I believe there is one man on this site that has it worked out without ego being involved in his resolution. I am certain there are others also and I hope that one day I will have it worked out for myself. I know I will make a lot of mistakes along the way and many will be quick to criticize me because I have not the years of study they have.

I liked your piece and was glad to see that you have had the opportunity to travel as you have and being exposed to the different cultures. You are truly fortunate as there are millions who will never have such a magnificent opportunity. I would look forward to any further articles doing a comparative of the nations you manage to visit.
With deepest regards.

Glock27's picture

Andrew: I like what you said, however, I wonder if any politician honestly understands what they are doing any way. I think your article gives politicians way too much credit. Stepping outside the political box and looking at the mob of special interest groups hammering away in an attempt to change rules, laws and regulations to their passion. I think STR is a special interest group in the fact nearly all members desire separation from the political power which has always existed.
Many commenters here take us back in history as you have, but to what end? If we look at the animal world wherein a group of animals abide with one-another there is a structure (political in a sense). However their rules operate on a natural law of survival for them. They do not kill without reason, nor do they kill for the fun of it. Their actions are guided by a natural law.

The human being, however, is a very puzzling species. I have not researched it, but by observation over years, I have come to believe that human beings are the vilest and most horrific species that walks upon the face of this blue marble. Many kill for no reason at all except for the fact it is fun to them, they get a rush from seeing a person beg and plead for their life. When I see politicians, I see the exact same creature as murders, only they get a rush in a different manner; rules, regulations laws; an attempt to become top dog, or establish themselves as being more valuable and important that you or I. What is the difference between them and the monsters who kept women, recently discovered, captive for more than ten years. Politicians are psychopathic monsters. They are bloated with a sense of self importance rather than to do what is right. ("You have to pass the bill before you can know what is in it" has to be one of the stupidest remarks ever spoken in history). Politicians are animals of greed, lust, money and power. Self-aggrandizement is the soul goal). The tragedy of this is that I don't believe they even recognize their self-indulgent character.

I subscribe to a site that provides a list of all the moronic, idiotic bills my State House and Senate want to inflict upon the population. I also subscribe to a site called Popvox which provides much the same only at the federal level. Many posters here would shrug their shoulders at these events, but I cannot get over the sheer stupid-ness of legislators. However, your historical reference merely suggests that this is an evolving problem. Greed, lust, money, power, sense of self importance and worth were born out of history and will continue to evolve, not change.
In the end, I am dying and it really doesn't mean anything to me. This is a problem which will go on and on and on with no end in sight. To me the truest freedom is to escape into the middle of nowhere five hundred or eight hundred miles away from any civilization where you become the law of the land, or you follow the natural law of the moment, or you stay here and follow the example provided by Harry Browns book "How I found Freedom in an Un-free World.
Still it was a fine article.