Libertarian Analysis of State Freedoms

17 05 2009

From the Department of Pulling Numbers out of Our Ass Mercatus Center at George Mason University …

A study was commissioned to look at the personal and economic freedoms enjoyed by the residents of all fifty states. They used two primary distinctions: personal freedoms (which includes gambling, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, campaign finance, automotive, and marriage rules) and economic freedoms (a combination score of both regulatory — labor, health insurance, eminent domain — and fiscal — tax burden, state/local spending — policies). I was intrigued by the study as MileHighGayGuy reports that Colorado rates fairly high on the index… #2 overall, in fact. I was intrigued futher when the top of the list included New Hampshire (#1), South Dakota (#3), Idaho (#4) and Texas (#5). Then I realized…
…oh, here there be libertarians. 
On the personal freedom scale, Ohio ranked #46 and #32 on the economic freedoms scale. Overall? We’re #38, which is awfully low, IMHO, but I’m not sure how to “take” the study except to go, “Um, ok.” This is what the study has to say about Ohio’s laws:

Ohio (#32 economic, #46 personal, #38 overall)has much to improve. Adjusted government spending is over a standard deviation higher than average. Ohio is higher than average in every spending category except transportation. Gun control laws are relatively poor, though not in a class with Illinois, New Jersey, and others. Marijuana laws are liberal overall, but cultivation and sale sentencing could be reformed. Most gambling is illegal. Private and home school regulations are unreasonable, including teacher licensure and mandatory state approval of home school curricula. Asset forfeiture rules are appropriate. Eminent domain reform has not gone nearly far enough. Draconian smoking bans are in place.

I think that this is, for the most part, it’s an interesting take with a bias, clearly. “True” libertarianism would indicate the abolition of the institution of marriage under civil law, as it is an unwanted involvement of the government in the private life of individuals.

I’ve often said that the majority of Americans are probably far more libertarian than they think… wishing for less governmental involvement, for the most part, in both their personal and economic lives. As it stands, the current Dem-Rep dichotomy allows for a progressive-conservative distinction, but little mixing of the two (and, far more often, social conservative/economic progressive candidate and, far more rarely, a social progressive/economic conservative).

Anyways, it’s an interesting look at us and the US.

The picture above is the results from the World’s Smallest Political Quiz at Advocates for Self Government. It’s very short, but it’s interesting. I think I actually agree with the results.
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