This is the GOP’s big chance to stop American exceptionalism from destroying itself
Reihan Salam makes a typically suave and commonsensical argument in favor of a much larger American diaspora, insisting that emigration deserves our attention as much as immigration. He points out that if we jigger the tax code, permit Medicare benefits to be accessed abroad, and emphasize the education and professional gains awaiting young people who head overseas, we could really increase our individual and general well-being.
Salam also points out that American emigration right now is at remarkable lows: “you’re probably aware of the fact that there are and have long been handfuls of American professionals living in global financial capitals like London, Hong Kong, and Singapore,” he writes, “and that intrepid young Americans will head to emerging market boomtowns like Nairobi, Yangon, and Manila to take advantage of new economic opportunities. What you might not know is that the United States sends far fewer skilled professionals abroad as a share of its population than other rich countries like Britain or Germany.”
…Republicans really need to pitch America on a newly adventuresome American exceptionalism. Part of that is a matter of pure rhetoric — painting different word-pictures about possible futures. Part of it is also adjusting the policy platform along the lines Salam is suggesting. And much of it is about connecting the dots in public discourse between (a) realizing our innate human fate-lessness, (b) getting guilt-free about leaving America, especially if only part-time, (c) accepting experiences of pain and uncertainty as part of lives worth living, and (d) orienting politics as much around keeping horizons generally open as around increasing the general material welfare.