America's Freest States

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, May 30, 2009.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Greg Bobrinskoy Greg Bobrinskoy – Fri May 29, 1:00 am ET

    From indelibly American quotations like "Give me liberty or give me death" to the iconic pairing of "liberty and justice" in the Pledge of Allegiance, there's no shortage of examples demonstrating that Americans have historically placed a high value on the concept of freedom.

    But in a country as large and diverse as the United States, the concept of liberty is sure to have different definitions for different people. More complicating still is the fact that, beyond the overarching liberties defined by the Constitution, individual states have their own legislation to address individual freedoms that aren't explicitly covered in federal doctrine.

    In Depth: America's Top 10 Freest and Least Free States

    While the concept of freedom may be in the eye of the beholder, there's no question that each state has done their best to codify what actions they do and do not leave up to their residents' choice. But which states give their citizens the most leeway, and which have them on the tightest leash? A study entitled "Freedom In the 50 States: An Index of Personal And Economic Freedom," published by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, sets out to answer this question.

    The study, conducted by William P. Ruger and Jason ReSorens and released earlier this year, explores what the authors claim is the "first-ever comprehensive ranking of American states on their public policies affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres." To create this ranking, Ruger and ReSorens outline three categories into which freedoms fit: fiscal policy (which covers spending and taxation), regulatory policy (which refers to such issues as labor regulations and health insurance), and Paternalism (which includes such categories as gambling and alcohol regulations).

    This set of metrics was used to determine each state's ranking, which the authors of the study describe as the "ability to dispose of one's own life, liberty, and justly acquired property however one sees fit, so long as one does not coercively infringe on another individual's ability to do the same." Such indicators, which could prove controversial based on their potentially partisan associations, include citizens' right to educate one's child as well as the right to possess and carry guns "and be free from unreasonable search and seizure." Based on state gun laws, this metric would be more likely to favor conservative states, and the authors of the study concede as much when they note that freedom is defined differently by different people. However, liberties such as the right to smoke marijuana and same sex partners are factored in as well, which would lend weight to states with a more liberal sociopolitical bent.

    Still, when taking into account all of their factors, the study ends up naming primarily "red" states as the nation's freest, with New Hampshire, Colorado, South Dakota topping the list. All three voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 except for New Hampshire in the latter year. New Hampshire also went to Obama in the 2008 Presidential race, as did Colorado.

    On the other end of the spectrum, it was traditionally Democratic states that earned the title of "least free," according to the study. Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York-all of whom voted Democratic in the past three presidential elections-came in at 48th, 49th and 50th, respectively.

    However, it is important to note that the study's findings do not all fall along these predictable party lines. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Louisiana, for example, all fall in the bottom eleven among states with the most Personal Freedom. Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri, meanwhile finish fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively in that category. According to the authors of the study, while conservative states do perform better than liberal ones, it is moderately conservative states which are in fact the freest.

    Though the authors argue that the study could be advantageous for state governments looking for improvements or scholars to analyze the effect of government policy on particular industries, the main benefit may be for businesses interested in the size and scope of state government's tax and regulation policies.<!-- google_ad_section_end -->
    <!-- / message --> <!-- sig --> __________________
  2. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    Just another RINO coat of white-wash. I would love to see this study done unbiased with no political agenda.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    +1. Most of these "ratings" are biased for some reason or another, way too subjective to rely on, especially with the broad spectrum of criteria. [beer]
  4. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    DW and I have done our own resurch on this for the last several years. Looking at things that are important to us. Laws such as homeschoooling, gun, property right, taxes, raw milk, and personal rights.

    We rank Alaska as #1 and Missouri a close #2

    But your idea of freedom maybe different than our own. Bottom line do your own resurch and figure out whats best for you.

  5. ikean

    ikean Monkey++

    i see alaska, wasnt missouri where the said anyone who voted for a third party or whatever was a dom. terrrorist?what about texas. we have laws here but they dont enforce them(immigration).
survivalmonkey SSL seal warrant canary