Monday, March 16, 2009

How Free Is Your State?

As someone of the libertarian persuasion, I am always interested in issues involving individual freedom and liberty, or the lack of them, that pop up around this country from time to time.

In these uncertain times, with government at all levels growing rapidly and assuming an ever increasing role in our lives, it is even more imperative that those of us who haven't yet lost our love for the hard-won freedoms we enjoy, be even more vigilant in seeing that they are defended.

I believe our irreplaceable freedoms and liberties are currently facing an assault unlike any other time in our history, many of which we stand to lose forever if we as a nation do not soon regain control of our own government.

A friend of mine who shares my interest in this area sent an email my way the other day that contained a study that dealt with the level of freedom enjoyed by the residents of all fifty states, and where each state ranks when compared with the other forty-nine. The study was conducted by William P. Ruger of Texas State University and Jason Sorens of the University of Buffalo and was released through the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

There are basically five categories the study looked at, which are Fiscal Policy, Regulatory Policy, Economic Freedom, Personal Freedom, and finally Overall Freedom.

I was pleased to see that my home state of Georgia scored in the top ten in the first three categories, but ranked a disappointing 42nd in the Personal Freedom category, which resulted in a slightly better than mid-pack rank of 17th in Overall Freedom.

I could not help but notice that most of the states that ranked at or near the bottom were run primarily by our friends on the so-called "freedom loving" left. New York, Rhode Island and Maine did not fair very well. As for you folks in California, you might want to start pricing real estate in New Hampshire, which ranked No. 1 in Overall Freedom.

If you are interested in where your state ranks, you can view a pdf of the study here, as well as a more detailed state-by-state breakdown here.

I think you'll find it to be interesting reading.

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When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered. -Dorothy Thompson