How to Escape The Prison Camp:
A Manifesto For Personal Secession

State education is powerful propaganda. Democracy is a seductive hallucinogenic drug. And both conspire to ensure you never rock the boat, never renege on your social "obligations" - and more importantly - never shout "The Emperor has no clothes" and run away laughing!

In a previous essay - "A Troublesome Document: Musings on July 4" - I outlined why the right to secede is fundamental to any sort of meaningful freedom. And I also pointed out that no existing nation state allows such a practical expression of freedom.

In the modern nation state, you really have no choice but to either accept your status as a "slave" - and get on with life, or fight some futile, endless political battle to improve your lot in life - via the ballot box.

At least, that's the official line.

But there IS another choice you can make. There is an alternative - if you have sufficient moral clarity, financial means, personal conviction, and the sheer audacity to buck the system and really live your life on your own terms.

You can personally secede. Yes, you can pack up your bags, tip your hat, and say goodbye to the moochers, looters, scumbags, politicians, bureaucrats, taxmen and other assorted dross that infest the modern welfare state.

This strategy is often known as being a "PT" - which means Perpetual Traveller. It can also mean: Permanent Tourist; Prior Taxpayer; Possibility Thinker; Post Tyranny; Privacy Tactician - and any other positive label you can think of that spells "PT"!

More recently, this personal secession strategy has become known as being an "Internationalist".

Some years back, well-known investment advisor and previous Libertarian Party Presidential candidate - Harry Browne - wrote a path-breaking book entitled, "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World". The general theme of his book was that there are two fundamentally different types of action you can take to achieve your goals in life - direct and indirect. And only one of them is truly effective.

To illustrate the difference between the two types of actions - consider the following:

Let's say you are not happy with the schooling your child is receiving - and you want to do something about it. Well, direct action would involve taking your child out of that school and attempting to find a better one. And if you were unhappy with the standard of education in ALL schools, then direct action could involve you deciding to home school your child yourself.

On the other hand, indirect action would involve perhaps joining the school board, in the hope of improving the situation - or voting for a candidate who promises to improve educational standards.

The essential point is this: direct action involves acting in a way that directly affects the outcome on your own life. While indirect action tries to work through other people and systems - hoping to exert enough influence to bring about the required change.

Here's another example. You live and work in a country which taxes you at 50% of your income. You are not happy. You can take the indirect route, and campaign for lower taxes - or you can take the direct route and emigrate to country with lower taxes.

In the same way, becoming a PT is a "direct action" strategy. When you become a PT, you are eschewing indirect action. You are giving up on voting and giving up on the political means of achieving objectives. You are taking your life into your own hands and doing what is necessary to achieve your goals.

The PT strategy was originally conceived by Harry Schultz, the famous investment newsletter writer. And it was popularised in a book of the same name - "PT" by a gentleman who went by the name of Dr W.G. Hill.

The ideas and techniques it promoted became known as the "Five Flag Strategy".

The basic concept is as follows: In order to reduce the effective tyranny of any one jurisdiction over your life - you need to spread your practical life over multiple jurisdictions. You could say it's a strategy for "hedging your bets" in life. And just as investment advisors suggest you diversify your investments, so the PT strategy suggests you diversify your life.

Each jurisdiction (country) is known as a "flag". And it's more than likely that you are currently living a ONE flag strategy - with all your "eggs" in the same jurisdictional basket.

The five flag strategy involves the following:

Flag #1: You obtain citizenship and a passport from a country that does not tax non-residents on their worldwide income. Almost every country qualifies in this regard - except the USA, which taxes its citizens no matter where they actually live.

Flag #2: Form a company in a country that does not tax business income outside that country. Most traditional offshore centres qualify - including such places as Singapore and Hong Kong.

Flag #3: Obtain a legal residency in a country that taxes only income generated within that country, not foreign income. Belize, Croatia, Grenada, Malta, Singapore, Hong Kong and Panama are such jurisdictions.

Flag #4: Keep your wealth in asset havens with strict bank secrecy laws that can only be penetrated in a criminal investigation, and that do not exchange data with foreign revenue authorities. Liechtenstein, Panama and Switzerland are such jurisdictions.

Flag #5: Spend your time in whatever countries you enjoy the most, taking care not to stay long enough to be legally a tax resident there.

Hill's and Shultz's basic thesis was that governments treat their own citizens much worse than tourists. As a tourist, you are welcome. The local government encourages tourism and likes it when people visit and spend money in the local economy. So, by being a "tourist", you are also pleasing your host country and contributing to its economic welfare.

This strategy works for almost anyone who wants to implement it - except US citizens. If you are a US citizen, then you would need to find an alternative citizenship and passport first - and GIVE UP your US citizenship - in order to step out on the PT road.

The most common impediment to anyone starting out on this course of action (apart from the psychological barrier of having to leave home and family), is the need to be able to work and earn a living while moving around.

When the PT lifestyle was originally conceived and promoted, it was designed for those with the financial means to make it work. You either needed to be financially independent, with a private source of income - or have the type of occupation that allowed you to live and work anywhere.

However, since the advent of the internet, the possibility of working "internationally" is now a reality for anyone with enough "get-up-and-go", and who is singularly motivated to achieve such a goal.

With the internet, unlimited moneymaking opportunities present themselves - all of which can be worked online, and from any country where you can connect to the net.

Here's just a few suggestions:

Consulting. If you have expert knowledge in any field, then you can potentially do it online.

Programming. Obviously, a perfect fit. If you can code from your bed - you could be in "bed" anywhere!

Trading/Investing. If you're involved in trading the markets on your own behalf - then you can be wherever you like.

Writing. Another natural candidate for the PT lifestyle.

Art/Photography/Music. Now that these forms of work are all done digitally - the net becomes the ideal medium to move files back and forth.

Teleworking. Where you do "outwork" for various online or offline businesses.

Affiliate Marketing. One of the net's success stories - where you can sell other company's goods and services on commission.

The list could go on and on. Even Doctors could work online - giving e-consultations. Or how about Accountants? I can see no reason why they have to be in the same country as their clients.

In reality, the possibilities are only as limited as your own imagination. And with the advent of broadband, more and more types of work become feasible - including film making.

In this "online" day and age, the primary barrier to becoming a PT - that of being able to work internationally - is coming down. And that leaves only one remaining barrier - the barrier inside your own head.

For when all is said and done, the desire for freedom is not always matched by an equal desire to ACT to achieve it. It's a bit like wanting to lose weight. It's easy enough to do it - if you want it badly enough. Just eat less. But we are creatures of habit - and changing a lifetime's habit can be very hard. Just ask those who smoke. Wanting freedom and doing what is necessary to achieve it, are not necessarily the same thing.

The point is this: The option for achieving a freer life is there for the taking. You just need to want it bad enough.

Are you ready for PT - Permanent Transformation?

Yours in freedom

David MacGregor