Wendy McElroy on Superman’s renunciation of American citizenship:
How do you know when the content of a nation’s character is bankrupt? One way is to examine the dynamic symbols that embody its character and which shift in reaction to circumstance. These symbols are often found within literature and other cultural expressions.
In last year’s Action Comic #900, Superman declared an intention to renounce his US citizenship. The Man of Steel explained, “I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of US policy. ‘Truth, justice, and the American Way’ – it’s not enough any more.” Many readers were outraged because, despite being an illegal alien in the most literal sense, Superman epitomized the American Way.
[. . .]
As it happened, Action Comic #900 was issued only days before the killing of Osama bin Laden. Afterward, there was a surge of general patriotism and of sharp criticism directed at Superman. The comic book publishers retreated faster than a speeding bullet. The mainstream media and elites were once again able to settle comfortably into the notion that only villains, cynics, and the irredeemably selfish would abandon US citizenship for a global identity.
And, yet, people on the street then and now sensed that something else was going on. When Forbes ran an expat article, an obviously knowledgeable commentator wrote that leaving America was not […] fundamentally about taxes for most people. “[T]he larger issue is the complete betrayal by one’s country in an attempt to gouge for money to make up for the horrific [US] debt…It is high time…Americans learn that the country they grew up in, no longer exists. The ‘American exceptionalism’ that we were taught to believe in, needs to be seen for what it has become, an excuse for the government to do whatever it wants with no concern for the consequences. ALL Americans lose in this process.” The United States has become what it used to denounce – a fascist police state. To love America (the ideal), you must now leave America (the reality) — either physically or spiritually.
It is wise to do so quietly because the very hint of ‘going expat’ can drive some people into fury. In his article “Citizenship is a problem to be solved,” Phil Hodgen addressed the ‘furious’. He admonished them, “Put down your pitchforks. The point of…an article like this is not to answer with ‘You’re right!’ or ‘You’re wrong!’ The point of the article…is to explore the ideas. There are some important concepts here that transcend taxation…