Have been since June 2006. It was over an argument about breastfeeding, in which I was in the right and Six Apart/LJ Abuse was in the wrong, but, well, my cause was right, my heart was high, and yeah: I got banned.
Hmm. I thought there was some kind of meta comm over here. Perhaps it could be resurrected.
There's a meta comm, I think, but I don't go much for meta just as meta: there are specific meta discussions I'd like to join in with sometimes, but they usually all happen on livejournal. So it goes.
Leaving the country is tough. Most of the industrialized countries either wouldn't take Americans, or have similar systems. The USNA government would also make it very difficult for someone to leave, by seizing their assets and possibly arresting them for treason.
No more foreign holidays... George W. Bush's kinda country.
As far as not owning slaves, the only way to do that without ending up in jail eventually is to keep your income below the threshold. The problem with that is that it means you have little ability to influence public opinion or the law.
Well, it's a decision, isn't it? If enough people decided not to be complicit in the system, just to refuse to own slaves, the system would break down. And the only way that happens is by people actually doing that - not striving to earn enough money to become slave owners themselves, but working together to keep their friends and neighbours from slavery and making careful use of their income and property so that they don't ever officially reach the threshold at which they have to buy a slave.
For the people who were born with enough wealth that it would be a question of giving it away/paying fines, like Dylan, and who inherited slaves that they are not allowed to free, it would be too difficult a choice to join the people who do not and will not own slaves. I think you did an excellent job of conveying that. But Dylan won't ever influence public opinion much so long as he's living a comfortable slaveowner's lifestyle: you would have to get inside his head (as you did) to show how he is almost as much trapped into that lifestyle as his slaves - almost, because he does have the option of quitting - like a cigarette addict has the "option" of giving up cigarettes. I'm sure free people enjoy listening to Dylan: he lets them feel they can continue their aspirations towards the comfortable middle class so long as they treat their slaves decently.