Eduardo Saverin came to the U.S. from Brazil because his parents didn’t want him to be kidnapped:
Saverin, who stands to make billions from his 4 percent share in Facebook, hastily moved here at the age of 13 when his name turned up on a list of potential kidnap victims targeted by criminal gangs in Brazil. His father was a wealthy businessman, with a high profile in their home country, and so his family relocated to Miami to protect the youngster. Eduardo thrived in his new country, eventually attending Harvard University, where he had a stroke of life-changing luck when he was assigned future Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a roommate.
After years of reaping the benefits of a society that does reasonably well at preventing kidnapping, he became a billionaire. Then he moved to Singapore. Then, standing to make billions on Facebook’s IPO, he renounced his U.S. citizenship.
Of course, he maintains that this had nothing whatsoever to do with the hefty tax bill he would have otherwise had, suspicious timing be damned. He has to maintain that, on account of this pesky provision of U.S. immigration law that would prevent him from ever setting foot in the U.S. again.
Now, quite reliably, conservative gasbags are extolling Saverin’s business acumen, describing the renunciation of his citizenship as a good business move.
Rush Limbaugh on Friday defended Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who’s been accused of renouncing his U.S. citizenship to skirt taxes, saying the entrepreneur wasn’t being unpatriotic — just a smart businessman.
“If it’s a more favorable tax haven that you can find elsewhere and you go there, why is it automatically that you are unpatriotic?” he said. “Why is it automatically that you are a coward, that you are not paying your fair share? It’s this whole class envy thing rearing its head again.”
So it’s not unpatriotic to renounce your American citizenship if there’s profit in it??? I guess America itself might be too much of a liability where business is concerned. Just remember that the next time Rush tries to say anything whatsoever about patriotism.
Eduardo, I can’t believe I rooted for you in The Social Network.
Seasteading: this is the concept of creating new nations on the ocean, presumably populated by Galtian overlords:
Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.
Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch–free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be “a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.”
Republic of Minerva: This was a short-lived South Pacific libertarian micronation.
The Republic of Minerva was the brainchild of Nevada businessman Michael Oliver, who in the early 1970s announced plans to reclaim land from the southern Pacific Ocean and build a libertarian-inspired city-state capable of sustaining a population of 30,000.
Unfortunately, the only nation that responded to Minerva’s calls for recognition was Tonga. Various reports claim that the Tongan government reacted to a neighbour it viewed as an unwelcome threat by sending (a) a naval gunboat, (b) a convict work detail, or (c) a rowboat populated by King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV and a brass band, to Minerva. The outcome, in any case, was that on 21 June 1972, the Minervan flag was hauled down, and the atoll was later formally annexed to the Kingdom of Tonga.
According to libertarian Glen Raphael, “The chief reason that the Minerva project failed was that the libertarians who were involved did not want to fight for their territory.” To be fair, the Tongans have historically been pretty bad-ass.