The libertarian Mercatus Center, which is located at George Mason University, has issued its third edition of “Freedom in the 50 States.” It’s a color-coded map of how much freedom there is, state by state, in the US. Its freedom index is based on what Mercatur says is a “combination of personal and economic freedoms.”
So here’s what you learn:
- North Dakota is the freest state in the union! (It’s also a state that has effectively banned all abortions.)
- Texas is the 14th freest state in the union! (It has also the fourth highest incarceration rate.)
- California is the 49th and New York is the 50th freest state in the union! In other words, the least free states. Which is why we’re color-coded black on the map. Like North Korea at night.
Libertarian freedom: no abortion, everyone in jail, and the lights are on all the time. Free at last, free at last.
Update (9:30 pm)
Someone in the comments thread pointed out to me that one of the measures on the freedom index—that is, how free a state is—is “Bachelor Party.” What the hell is that, you ask? According to our friends at Mercatus: “This user-created category combines a variety of laws including those on alcohol, marijuana, prostitution, and fireworks.” Right. So no measure for abortion because, as the print edition of the report makes clear (see pp. 5-6), it is a controversial issue about which reasonable people disagree. But prostitution? Part, apparently, of what Rawls would call our “overlapping consensus.”