If You Don’t Love America, You Can Leave… If You’re Allowed

Whenever somebody makes any criticism whatsoever about the United States, jingoists are quick to respond by saying, “If you don’t like America, you can leave!” However, you can only leave if your government masters give you permission to do so and they’re less inclined to give that permission than they used to be:

A law that would deny or revoke passports for U.S. citizens with seriously delinquent tax debt is set to take effect later this month.

Under the law, the Internal Revenue Service is required to notify the State Department after it has certified that an individual has unpaid federal taxes, including penalties and interest, of more than $51,000. The State Department may then deny issuing or renewing a passport or revoke an existing passport. The threshold for being considered seriously delinquent will be indexed yearly for inflation.

Jingoists often ignore the fact that the United States isn’t a free or equal country. Just like in Ancient Rome, the United States is divided into plebeians and patricians. Although the criteria for both groups is slightly different than Ancient Rome’s the fact of the matter is if you’re a member of the plebeians, you are the subject of the patricians. You only have the privileges that the patricians bestow upon you. Leaving the United States isn’t a decision a plebeian can make for themselves, they need permission from the patricians.