Regionalism and Freedom to Roam

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Ilya Shambat

Oct 7, 2022, 6:26:40 AMOct 7
Regional autonomy is conducive to liberty, but with a caveat. In a large and diverse country, different people will see things in different ways and will prefer different ways of life. With different regions having different values and different lifestyles, regionalism gives people meaningful choice as to what kind of life to live. Someone with Texas attitudes can live in Texas, and someone with California attitudes can live in California. This means that freedom for Texas to be Texas, and freedom for California to be California, does in fact add to personal freedom.

The caveat is this: Not everyone living in any given region has chosen to live there. People have children; and these, when they grow up, may or may not want to live as had their parents. Freedom for people to leave one region and come to another is thus as important as is the freedom for regions to be what they are. And people should be able to make such choices without facing harrassment, violence, intimidation, guilt-trips or abuses of social services and mental health.

Therefore, a real increase in freedom requires two things. One is greater autonomy for the regions. The other is protection of people's freedom to roam. The first affirms freedom for people who've chosen to live where they live to be able to do so. And the second affirms freedom for people who would rather live differently to go to places whose lifestyles and attitudes are more compatible with their own.

Ultimately, people being denied the right to leave a region is bad for the region. The people denied such a choice become unhappy; many become destructive or fatalistic; and one winds up on one's hands with an internal enemy. Far more sensible instead to simply let people go where they would rather go, and see freedom and benefit increased both for them and for one's region.

People who feel free to choose what kind of life to live are more likely to practice a live-and-let-live attitude; to be happier and more forgiving; and to have goodwill toward other people. Allowed freedom themselves, they will allow freedom to others. This is the case both for those people who'd rather choose to live as they do in their region and for the people who'd rather go elsewhere.

In most cases, there is an inverse correlation between how good life is in a place and how hard it is to leave. A place where life is good does not need to use coercive tactics to keep people from leaving; people won't want to leave the place in large numbers, and those who do will be replaced with greater numbers of people coming in. Whereas a place where life is bad has every reason to fear people leaving it; and most of these places - such as North Korea and Iran - place strong obstacles in the path of people who would rather go elsewhere.

So yes, regions should have more pull; but so should people - both men and women - be able to leave one region and come to another without facing obstacles. This will result in regions growing and doing well while allowed their regional identity; and it will result also in a freer, happier and more generous population that has real freedom: A meaningful choice as to where - and how - they can live.
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