Which country’s citizens enjoy more freedoms than American citizens?

From Quora

John Richardson, Lawyer (1982-present)
Answered Dec 5, 2017

Which country’s citizens enjoy more freedoms than Americans?

The short answer is: The citizens of many countries enjoy more freedoms than Americans.

The answer to this difficult and interesting question should be considered from at least 3 perspectives:

Perspective 1: Do American citizens have the right to leave the United States and to make a new life outside the United States?
 
Perspective 2: How do the freedoms of American citizens living in the United States compare to the freedoms of (for example) a Russian citizen living in Russia?
 
Perspective 3: How do the freedoms of American citizens compare to the freedom of the citizens of other countries from the perspective of international human rights instruments?
 


 
Perspective 1: Do American citizens have the right to leave the United States and to make a new life outside the United States?

There are presumably some countries that make it impossible to physically leave the country. Certainly the United States does not (except that U.S. law requires U.S. citizens to have a U.S. passport to leave the United States) prevent its citizens from leaving the United States. What the United States does do, is make it difficult for U.S. citizens to survive outside the United States.

As long as they remain U.S. citizens, Americans do NOT really have the freedom to leave the United States, settle in other countries and fully participate as residents of other countries.

The primary reason is because U.S. citizens who leave the United States are still (as long as they remain U.S. citizens) subject to U.S. tax and reporting requirements. These requirements are so onerous (FATCA, FBAR, PFIC, CBT, etc.) that more and more U.S. citizens are renouncing U.S. citizenship so that they have the freedom to live outside the United States. There is no other country in the world that attempts to impose domestic laws on its citizens after they leave the country.

For a particularly graphic description of how America treats its citizens who attempt to live abroad, read about the Nightmare of Mexican residents who have U.S. citizenship”.

Conclusion: From perspective 1, Americans are the LEAST free people in the world.
 
Perspective 2: How do the freedoms of American citizens living in the United States compare to the freedoms of (for example) a Russian citizen living in Russia?

I suspect that Americans living in the United States have more freedom than citizens of some countries and less freedom than the citizens of other countries. But again, it depends how freedom is defined. Is freedom objective or is it subjective? What are the areas of human activity that are relevant?

The United States has a Federal Government and 50 states AND is a “mature country”. The country necessarily has a large number of laws and regulations (many of which cannot be easily understood).

Americans in the United States are clearly much more free than North Koreans living in North Korea. But, for the reasons given in the answer by Sindhu Mahadevan (below), I suspect that Americans living in the United States are not more free (and possibly less free) than the citizens of other first world democracies.

Americans live in a constant state of fear. Fear of illness, fear of violence, fear of terrorism, etc., fear of not being able to pay for post-secondary education … This is a big problem.

Two possible additional considerations:

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
The United States does have a “death penalty”
 
Can a country that has the highest incarceration rate in the world really be considered to be a country with maximum freedoms?
 
Perspective 3: How do the freedoms of American citizens compare to the freedom of the citizens of other countries from the perspective of international human rights instruments?

Interestingly Americans have CONSTITUTIONAL rights that are enshrined in the U.S. constitution. They do NOT have many “human rights” as guaranteed by international human rights documents. In many cases, the rights guaranteed by the U.S. constitution do NOT provide the protections afforded by international human rights documents. This may be surprising to Americans reading this. But, you might find the following to be of interest:

Human Rights and the United States

On the other hand, American systems do have access to a legal system and courts that can be used to enforce the CONSTITUTIONAL rights that they do have.
 

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