A Swiss man I’ve known for more than 30 years told me, “I’m considering giving up my American citizenship.” He lives in Switzerland now and holds dual Swiss / American citizenship but may relinquish his US passport later this year. Why? “The United States no longer represents my values.”

When he first lived here in the 1980s, the US represented freedom, opportunity, strength, and creativity. Los Angeles, his favorite city, was the incubator for cutting edge films and home to the most famous studios in the world. It was a true melting pot. Small businesses flourished. People from all over the world moved there to pursue their dreams, and many of them succeeded. For those who worked hard, it wasn’t difficult to build a good life. This was largely true anywhere in America back then.

“I don’t even recognize the city anymore,” he told me when he came to visit for the first time in over a decade. “It’s run down, expensive, unsafe, and lifeless. Nothing new is being produced in film, music, or art—only retreads of past successes. When I eat out, the food is mediocre and overpriced, and the service is abysmal. I have a better experience back at home, for less money.” The city that had inspired him to begin a career in film no longer exists as he knew it. This is largely true in every large city in America now.

In 2022, for the first time, he was forced to pay income tax to the United States. He is not a US resident, and none of his income in 2022 was earned here. He doesn’t live in the US. Last year, though, he earned a bit more than usual, so he is subject to US federal tax, in addition to the tax he pays in his home country. The US is the only country in the world, other than the African nation of Eritrea, that continues the practice of citizenship-based taxation. If you hold American citizenship, no matter where you live, no matter where you earn your income, and no matter how much tax you have already paid to the nation where that income was earned, the US will tax you.

“It was easier to ignore all the recent destructive policies in the US when I wasn’t forced to support them. Now I’m being ordered to pay for them, and I’m not sure I can do that anymore.” I have heard many Californians say the same thing right before they pack their bags and move out of state. They may not be able to avoid paying federal taxes, but they can certainly stop funding policies in California that promote crime, censorship, illegal immigration, and child abuse by giving up their California residency. And they’re doing it in droves—California saw the greatest population loss due to out-of-state moves of any state in 2021. Being a Californian is no longer a source of pride for many.

Sadly, being an American is no longer a source of pride for many, either. Most Americans still hold pride in the original values of the United States, but a growing number are not proud of the direction the country is heading, or the policies that are destroying the nation they love. They are also not proud of the values the United States is now exporting to the world: socialism, environmentalist extremism, transgenderism, weakness, and victimization. These values are more left-wing than those held by the socialist nations of Western Europe. When French President Emmanuel Macron, hardly a conservative, criticizes American-imported “woke culture” in France, it should be clear that the US has lost its way.

Freedom. Opportunity. Strength. Entrepreneurship. These are values to be proud of. They used to be considered uniquely American. Now they are being stamped out by individuals and groups who have never been proud of this country. The effect of these efforts is being felt not only in the US but also abroad, as Americans everywhere begin to lose pride in their nation, embarrassed by what it has become. I do hope that this loss of pride will galvanize a countermovement to fight the unhealthy transformation and return the nation to one that all good Americans can be proud of once again.