COL Kurtz: "Do you find my methods unsound"?
CPT Willard: "I...don't..see...any...method...at...all."
Apocalypse Now, 1979
I am listening to the following as I write this:
Neil Young Tonight's The Night
Tina Turner Nutbush City limits
MC5 Motor City Is Burning
Charles Trenet La Mer
Townes Van Zandt 'Waiting 'Round To Die
Patti Smith Radio Ethiopia
Jefferson Airplane Woman With A Greasy Heart
Insecure Men Mekong Glitter
Ohio Players Fire
We are planning a move in Spring 2022. A big move...Hawaii to the continental US. The reason is two-fold: Move closer to family and living in Hawaii is boring as hell. So where to?...any place east of Hawaii will be closer to my family...so that doesn't narrow things down much. Ok...so where do you start? Well I started with what I care and don't care about. Don't care: Jobs...schools...weather...vistas...worrying about property value. Care: Fast internet...central air conditioning...traffic. Again, those criteria don't narrow things down much. So I came up with this flow diagram in order of priority:
3 bedroom, 2 bath, fenced yard, garage, central air, central heat, city sewage.
Monthly mortgage payment less than 10% of gross income.
No state tax on military retirement or social security
Property tax rate less than .8
State income tax: Don't care
State sales tax: Don't care
After weeks of research and calculations only 5 states meet the above criteria: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Auto insurance rates (Louisiana...yikes)
Auto registration fees and taxes (Mississippi...yikes....yes...I hate taxes)
Median housing cost
So there we are. However, that is only a portion of the things I am considering. Among some others:
Safety: Since Hawaii is about the safest state in the nation....anywhere I move will be more dangerous. If I was truly worried about safety, I would move to another country. I spent 10 years living in three foreign countries...and a considerable amount of time in another 30...so I think I know a little bit about what is considered safe and what is not. The conventional wisdom that urban areas are dangerous and rural areas are safer is crap...and always has been. That's something Americans love to tell themselves. How did that work out for the Clutter family? Still...more work to do here.
Values: I embrace a culture of dignity and not honor. Therefore, I will not move to any county that voted for Trump in 2020. People that did this do not share my values....so why the hell would I live in a place where they are a majority? Why would I pay any county fees or taxes or patronize businesses to fund that lot? There goes Arkansas and Louisiana...just not enough to work with there. Now down to Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Unfortunately, these states have a predominate honor culture...so specific location within each would be important.
Demographics: The county is no longer north/south/east/west....it is rural or urban. The conventional wisdom that the northeast or west coast is more progressive in general may be true. However, get outside of any major city in New York, Pennsylvania, California or Washington...and it is red. Rural Michigan is redder than Memphis, Montgomery or Birmingham. As such, I would tend to move closer to, or in a city of some sort, with a population of 100,000 or more. Plenty of options in the three states left.
Diversity: This country is not exactly diverse as we think we are and is still pretty segregated. I would prefer to live in a more diverse county, but again, this will require some more research.
Train wreck spectrum: Some states are just train wrecks. I'm not talking about natural disasters....I'm talking about their response to natural disasters...or pandemics....or kids on spring break...etc...etc...etc...Could be due to poor governance or the population in general just not giving a shit. Texas and Florida are in this category.
Wait a minute you say....what about the quality of the neighborhood?...air quality?...roads?....etc. You say that this methodology is certainly unsound...there are good and bad people everywhere...blah...blah...blah. I'm currently at 30,000 feet....and those are on the ground considerations...that while important...aren't in play yet.
More To Follow
I realize that I have certain advantages that others considering a move may not have. So that being the case...why would I care about most of the conventional wisdom others use in considering a place to live? Unrealistic and idealistic you say? Maybe there is no place in this country that reflects my values anymore and I will have to compromise at some point. Nothing is off the table...however...conventional thinking is of no use to me for now.