How free is your state?

Check out this site from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, which gives rankings and assessments of the level of “freedom” in each state in the union.   According to these findings, New Hampshire (“Live free or die!”) is the state with the most freedoms, while New York is the most oppressive.  See

Now what is interesting is the way the study factors in both “economic freedom”  (low taxes, minimal government regulations on business, limited government, etc.) and also “personal freedom.”  This category includes both things conservatives like, such as openness to homeschooling and minimal gun control, but it also puts a premium on gay marriage and lax drug law enforcement.   Nevada scores big (at #6) because of its legalized gambling and because it allows localities to legalize prostitution.

Freedom in the 50 States | Mercatus.

Today conservatives tend to want economic freedom but decry this version of “personal freedom.”   While liberals demand this version of “personal freedom” while decrying “economic freedom.”

My prediction:  The new political and cultural consensus will demand both, with libertarianism reigning supreme.   Right now, this kind of libertarianism is opposed by both the left and the right, but for different reasons.  But I suspect a realignment may be in the future.  It’s already happening among some in the Republican elite.

So if you are a “freedom loving American” opposing government intrusions into the economy, how can you also oppose “personal freedoms” such as the liberty to use drugs and go to prostitutes?

Conversely, if you are a liberal who believes that gays should have the freedom to marry and that women should have the freedom to get an abortion, on what grounds would you deny a business owner the freedom to make money without government interference?

Or are you willing to accept libertarianism if it would give you whichever kind of freedom you find most important, even at the cost of the kind that you do not approve of?

HT:  Jackie

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jeremy

    “what grounds would you deny a business owner the freedom to make money without government interference?”

    Well, the government needs taxes to exist, and everyone needs the government for any type of physical security, so I don’t have a problem with taxes. As far as non-monetary regulations, I’m glad government has business restraints on using child labor, poisonous chemicals, etc.

  • Jeremy

    “what grounds would you deny a business owner the freedom to make money without government interference?”

    Well, the government needs taxes to exist, and everyone needs the government for any type of physical security, so I don’t have a problem with taxes. As far as non-monetary regulations, I’m glad government has business restraints on using child labor, poisonous chemicals, etc.

  • SKPeterson

    Jeremy – any type of physical security? Isn’t that a bit strong?
    Most times the police show up is to paint the outline of the body and haul the corpse away (and probably send you a bill for it to boot). Try to get a cop to show up if your house or car has already been broken into. The standard response around here is “Call your insurance company.” You’re on your own and/or cooperating with your neighbors for most of your physical security needs.

    The growth of libertarianism is a direct result of people recognizing that the government often fails at accomplishing even the most basic of its functions and the basis of most of its legitimacy: protecting lives and property. If it can’t even do that well, why should it try to control, regulate or police anything else?

  • SKPeterson

    Jeremy – any type of physical security? Isn’t that a bit strong?
    Most times the police show up is to paint the outline of the body and haul the corpse away (and probably send you a bill for it to boot). Try to get a cop to show up if your house or car has already been broken into. The standard response around here is “Call your insurance company.” You’re on your own and/or cooperating with your neighbors for most of your physical security needs.

    The growth of libertarianism is a direct result of people recognizing that the government often fails at accomplishing even the most basic of its functions and the basis of most of its legitimacy: protecting lives and property. If it can’t even do that well, why should it try to control, regulate or police anything else?

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Saw this Rand quote on a blog and thought it was appropriate to the discussion.
    ” “There is no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What is there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted-and you create a nation of law-breakers-and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

    -Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Saw this Rand quote on a blog and thought it was appropriate to the discussion.
    ” “There is no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What is there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted-and you create a nation of law-breakers-and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

    -Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

  • Tom Hering

    “The growth of libertarianism is a direct result of people recognizing that the government often fails at accomplishing even the most basic of its functions …”

    I don’t know where you live, SK, but around here we have clean water, sewers, garbage collection, recycling, paved and maintained streets, street lights, traffic management, sidewalks, public schools, community emergency sirens, firefighters, hazmat, SWAT team, bomb squad, etc., etc., etc. And the police show up pronto if there’s a crime – usually with multiple patrol cars. But then, I live in a city in the state ranked 25th on the “freedom scale.” Ahh, the price of security. I love it. Tax, baby, tax. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “The growth of libertarianism is a direct result of people recognizing that the government often fails at accomplishing even the most basic of its functions …”

    I don’t know where you live, SK, but around here we have clean water, sewers, garbage collection, recycling, paved and maintained streets, street lights, traffic management, sidewalks, public schools, community emergency sirens, firefighters, hazmat, SWAT team, bomb squad, etc., etc., etc. And the police show up pronto if there’s a crime – usually with multiple patrol cars. But then, I live in a city in the state ranked 25th on the “freedom scale.” Ahh, the price of security. I love it. Tax, baby, tax. :-D

  • John C

    But Tom, how much freedom do you really have?
    Don’t you ever get sick of the chains?

  • John C

    But Tom, how much freedom do you really have?
    Don’t you ever get sick of the chains?

  • Chessieman

    May I ask where our freedoms to steal from our rich neighbor, kill an annoying little brother (or neighbor as we see fit), or mutilate that obnoxious loudmouth have gone.

    Obviously most, if not all people, will agree that these “freedoms” can not be tolerated in a civilized society. In the same way I believe that drugs, such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, meth, etc. should be illegal because from my experience in law enforcement, these dangerous drugs are one of the greatest contributing external factors to the crimes listed above. (ouch, alcohol? You bet. Living and working in Wisconsin, I consider it one of the most dangerous drugs, and it’s fully legal. Anyone else see the hypocrisy here?)

    .

    I have had numerous opportunities to talk to more experienced law enforcement officers, judges, and court reporters, and from their experience, outside of marriage/custody disputes, they concluded that over 95% of all criminal acts had drugs (including alcohol) as a primary contributing factor. (Without opening another can of worms, let me note that custody disputes and other marriage/relational issues are one reason why the government has a compelling interest to support and defend traditional marriage and discourage perversions, such as gay marriage and bestiality, and discourage broken families, premarital sex, and divorces.)

    Remember, Freedom is the liberty to do what I ought, not the license to do what I want.

  • Chessieman

    May I ask where our freedoms to steal from our rich neighbor, kill an annoying little brother (or neighbor as we see fit), or mutilate that obnoxious loudmouth have gone.

    Obviously most, if not all people, will agree that these “freedoms” can not be tolerated in a civilized society. In the same way I believe that drugs, such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, meth, etc. should be illegal because from my experience in law enforcement, these dangerous drugs are one of the greatest contributing external factors to the crimes listed above. (ouch, alcohol? You bet. Living and working in Wisconsin, I consider it one of the most dangerous drugs, and it’s fully legal. Anyone else see the hypocrisy here?)

    .

    I have had numerous opportunities to talk to more experienced law enforcement officers, judges, and court reporters, and from their experience, outside of marriage/custody disputes, they concluded that over 95% of all criminal acts had drugs (including alcohol) as a primary contributing factor. (Without opening another can of worms, let me note that custody disputes and other marriage/relational issues are one reason why the government has a compelling interest to support and defend traditional marriage and discourage perversions, such as gay marriage and bestiality, and discourage broken families, premarital sex, and divorces.)

    Remember, Freedom is the liberty to do what I ought, not the license to do what I want.

  • Carl Vehse

    According to the link, the paternalism category is 50 percent of the total weighting used to determine the free state rankings, and gun control is worth a seventh of that paternalism category. It was also noted that 26 states under the 2nd amendment, permit open carry of handguns.

    The Total Freedom graph is interesting. To no surprise, the Total Freedom score declines sharply as the Demonrat+Green vote share goes above 50 percent.

  • Carl Vehse

    According to the link, the paternalism category is 50 percent of the total weighting used to determine the free state rankings, and gun control is worth a seventh of that paternalism category. It was also noted that 26 states under the 2nd amendment, permit open carry of handguns.

    The Total Freedom graph is interesting. To no surprise, the Total Freedom score declines sharply as the Demonrat+Green vote share goes above 50 percent.

  • Cincinnatus

    Fun fact regarding the discussion about crime and the “need” for police: Colonial Williamsburg had no police, but also very little crime. Of course, we’re all sinners, but at a social level, the kind of people composing the community dictate the level of crime, not the amount of authority.

  • Cincinnatus

    Fun fact regarding the discussion about crime and the “need” for police: Colonial Williamsburg had no police, but also very little crime. Of course, we’re all sinners, but at a social level, the kind of people composing the community dictate the level of crime, not the amount of authority.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @4 – I actually live in a county with a very high ratio of police per capita, and they are constantly asking for more – higher salaries, more patrol cars, more this, more that – but they are rarely, if ever, seen. Now, I suppose they may decide that it is better to be heard than seen, but ….

    Many of the things you list though can be done privately – we have competing services for trash, and private fire and emergency services that are actually top notch – they will show up if you call. (I’ll also note, they aren’t union like the sheriffs, but hey, like chessie said, why open up another can of worms ;) ). I especially like your note on sidewalks – obviously an essential government service if ever one existed. And SWAT? Really, Tom? You’re one of our liberals here – and you like the jackbooted paramilitaries, eh? Nothing like the local police force with light tanks and full body armor to…. do what, exactly? Okay, to each his own, I suppose.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @4 – I actually live in a county with a very high ratio of police per capita, and they are constantly asking for more – higher salaries, more patrol cars, more this, more that – but they are rarely, if ever, seen. Now, I suppose they may decide that it is better to be heard than seen, but ….

    Many of the things you list though can be done privately – we have competing services for trash, and private fire and emergency services that are actually top notch – they will show up if you call. (I’ll also note, they aren’t union like the sheriffs, but hey, like chessie said, why open up another can of worms ;) ). I especially like your note on sidewalks – obviously an essential government service if ever one existed. And SWAT? Really, Tom? You’re one of our liberals here – and you like the jackbooted paramilitaries, eh? Nothing like the local police force with light tanks and full body armor to…. do what, exactly? Okay, to each his own, I suppose.

  • Chessieman

    @Tom Herring: I feel compelled, as a fellow member of the great Badger state, to address a slight misconception regarding law enforcement and education. I am currently involved in both fields, and I’m afraid, at least from all of my experience, we have little to boast as far as catching criminals in the act, preventing them from committing greater criminal acts, or in regards to educating our next generation.

    In my experience in law enforcement, and from my extensive experiences talking to other members of law enforcement, law enforcement’s primary purpose is deterrence and figuring out whodunnit, not catching who’s-doing-it. In all my education we were never taught how to catch a person in the act as much as we were taught how to use clues to decipher who committed and got away with the crime or how to create a situation to induce them to commit the act again.

    Secondly, in regards to education. Ever since I stepped foot into our education system, I realized that the purpose of our system is to teach kids how to do the least work and expend the least amount of thinking, while still getting the “paper” at the end. There is no motivation to actually learn or think for yourself. Our teachers are infatuated with having the best scoring students so they dumb down our education to their level. Instead of instilling their students with aspirations to work hard, teachers inspire their students to cheat the system and find the best ways to legally rob the hard-working minority.

    So what are our tax dollars being used for? Law enforcement is necessary, but can it be made more efficient? (hey, making us pay for a bit of our insane pensions, like other state workers now do, would be a good start) Is our education system really working? Is this what we want to teach our kids? Could we rather get control of education back to a local, school-board level so we can crack down on disreputable teachers?

  • Chessieman

    @Tom Herring: I feel compelled, as a fellow member of the great Badger state, to address a slight misconception regarding law enforcement and education. I am currently involved in both fields, and I’m afraid, at least from all of my experience, we have little to boast as far as catching criminals in the act, preventing them from committing greater criminal acts, or in regards to educating our next generation.

    In my experience in law enforcement, and from my extensive experiences talking to other members of law enforcement, law enforcement’s primary purpose is deterrence and figuring out whodunnit, not catching who’s-doing-it. In all my education we were never taught how to catch a person in the act as much as we were taught how to use clues to decipher who committed and got away with the crime or how to create a situation to induce them to commit the act again.

    Secondly, in regards to education. Ever since I stepped foot into our education system, I realized that the purpose of our system is to teach kids how to do the least work and expend the least amount of thinking, while still getting the “paper” at the end. There is no motivation to actually learn or think for yourself. Our teachers are infatuated with having the best scoring students so they dumb down our education to their level. Instead of instilling their students with aspirations to work hard, teachers inspire their students to cheat the system and find the best ways to legally rob the hard-working minority.

    So what are our tax dollars being used for? Law enforcement is necessary, but can it be made more efficient? (hey, making us pay for a bit of our insane pensions, like other state workers now do, would be a good start) Is our education system really working? Is this what we want to teach our kids? Could we rather get control of education back to a local, school-board level so we can crack down on disreputable teachers?

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, Tom: it’s simply spurious to correlate a decline in personal freedom (or an increase in taxes and regulations) with a rise in the quality of public services and life.

    I live in a city in Wisconsin (Madison). I love it here for the time being, but we have astronomically high property taxes (one of the highest in the nation!) and regulatory schema placed on top of Wisconsin’s already rather anti-business regulatory and taxation environment. My in-laws, for instance, live in one of the highest-taxed counties in the nation in upstate New York, but they pay less in property taxes for a large four bedroom house in a wonderful suburban neighborhood than I do so for a small condo in Madison. For this, we get a rather incompetent police department (I call them “social workers with guns”), middling public schools, and utterly appalling roads–just appalling; more potholes than a trail through the African bush. They may as well leave them unpaved.

    While I don’t deny that taxes and regulations are necessary given our assumptions about what a good society looks like (it has to provide a set of services we like, etc.), you simply cannot make the claim you’re making. Certain neighborhoods in Madison may as well be grafted onto the South Side of Chicago. Others–like my own–are perfectly pleasant, with almost zero incidence of property or violent crime. I never see police in my neighborhood. Again, it’s about the people and whether they know what to do with freedom, not whether an appropriately restrictive regime of taxes and laws is in place.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, Tom: it’s simply spurious to correlate a decline in personal freedom (or an increase in taxes and regulations) with a rise in the quality of public services and life.

    I live in a city in Wisconsin (Madison). I love it here for the time being, but we have astronomically high property taxes (one of the highest in the nation!) and regulatory schema placed on top of Wisconsin’s already rather anti-business regulatory and taxation environment. My in-laws, for instance, live in one of the highest-taxed counties in the nation in upstate New York, but they pay less in property taxes for a large four bedroom house in a wonderful suburban neighborhood than I do so for a small condo in Madison. For this, we get a rather incompetent police department (I call them “social workers with guns”), middling public schools, and utterly appalling roads–just appalling; more potholes than a trail through the African bush. They may as well leave them unpaved.

    While I don’t deny that taxes and regulations are necessary given our assumptions about what a good society looks like (it has to provide a set of services we like, etc.), you simply cannot make the claim you’re making. Certain neighborhoods in Madison may as well be grafted onto the South Side of Chicago. Others–like my own–are perfectly pleasant, with almost zero incidence of property or violent crime. I never see police in my neighborhood. Again, it’s about the people and whether they know what to do with freedom, not whether an appropriately restrictive regime of taxes and laws is in place.

  • Dennis Peskey

    “According to these findings, New Hampshire (“Live free or die!”) is the state with the most freedoms, while New York is the most oppressive.” I noticed a correlation in this study between the States with the least population density ranking higher in freedom”and those states with higher population density ranking lower. Personally, I would attribute a major underlying factor of this “freedom” ranking to the proximity of sinful human beings. The solution will not be found in a political party which negates the primary function of government (regulation) but by a well-informed electorate choosing representatives on a case-by-case basis of qualifications deemed necessary for domestic tranquility.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    “According to these findings, New Hampshire (“Live free or die!”) is the state with the most freedoms, while New York is the most oppressive.” I noticed a correlation in this study between the States with the least population density ranking higher in freedom”and those states with higher population density ranking lower. Personally, I would attribute a major underlying factor of this “freedom” ranking to the proximity of sinful human beings. The solution will not be found in a political party which negates the primary function of government (regulation) but by a well-informed electorate choosing representatives on a case-by-case basis of qualifications deemed necessary for domestic tranquility.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Cincinnatus (#11) – Solution – move to Green Bay; lower taxes, better roads and a shorter drive to Lambeau Field. Go Pack Go!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Cincinnatus (#11) – Solution – move to Green Bay; lower taxes, better roads and a shorter drive to Lambeau Field. Go Pack Go!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • SKPeterson

    Dennis @12 – You may be on to something there. What you are noticing with population density is the old urban-rural divide that has given rise to the myth of rugged frontier individualism. While this notion of some sort of man v. nature in the Wild West is often evoked in arguing for a more liberal/libertarian society, the reality (cf. Anderson and Hill, http://www.amazon.com/Not-So-Wild-West-Economics/dp/0804748543) provides an even better argument for how a civil society and social cooperation – think here of the thesis that Cincinnatus raises in #8 and 11 above – can judiciously protect lives, rights and property in instances with minimal or non-existent “organized” government. A current, modern corollary is the response to the relief efforts in the wake of the Alabama tornadoes juxtaposed with the post-Katrina response.

  • SKPeterson

    Dennis @12 – You may be on to something there. What you are noticing with population density is the old urban-rural divide that has given rise to the myth of rugged frontier individualism. While this notion of some sort of man v. nature in the Wild West is often evoked in arguing for a more liberal/libertarian society, the reality (cf. Anderson and Hill, http://www.amazon.com/Not-So-Wild-West-Economics/dp/0804748543) provides an even better argument for how a civil society and social cooperation – think here of the thesis that Cincinnatus raises in #8 and 11 above – can judiciously protect lives, rights and property in instances with minimal or non-existent “organized” government. A current, modern corollary is the response to the relief efforts in the wake of the Alabama tornadoes juxtaposed with the post-Katrina response.

  • SKPeterson

    This is just an aside regarding the presentation of the study itself. I don’t really like these grab-all studies that compare states v. states, although I also recognize that the reality is that many statistics are available only as state aggregates. However, the interesting items are in the details and variations within states and between regions across states. Wyoming is very much in the limited government camp like its neighbor South Dakota. However, a substantial portion of Wyoming is “owned” by the federal government, compared with a significantly smaller amount in South Dakota. I’ll leave the reservations out of the picture – a better argument for libertarianism doesn’t exist imho, every pathology of the state is manifest there in spades. But within states we also have variation, as Dennis and Cincinnatus again display in comparing Madison with Green Bay. Both are homes to absolutely dreadful football teams, but they diverge considerably after that. In Tennessee, there is great variety between the eastern side and the west, especially Memphis. Upstate New York v. New York City. Boston v. New Hampshire v. Maine. Eastern Washington State v. the Puget Sound.

    These types of studies are interesting, no doubt, but the variations at the local level are more interesting. At least to me :) .

  • SKPeterson

    This is just an aside regarding the presentation of the study itself. I don’t really like these grab-all studies that compare states v. states, although I also recognize that the reality is that many statistics are available only as state aggregates. However, the interesting items are in the details and variations within states and between regions across states. Wyoming is very much in the limited government camp like its neighbor South Dakota. However, a substantial portion of Wyoming is “owned” by the federal government, compared with a significantly smaller amount in South Dakota. I’ll leave the reservations out of the picture – a better argument for libertarianism doesn’t exist imho, every pathology of the state is manifest there in spades. But within states we also have variation, as Dennis and Cincinnatus again display in comparing Madison with Green Bay. Both are homes to absolutely dreadful football teams, but they diverge considerably after that. In Tennessee, there is great variety between the eastern side and the west, especially Memphis. Upstate New York v. New York City. Boston v. New Hampshire v. Maine. Eastern Washington State v. the Puget Sound.

    These types of studies are interesting, no doubt, but the variations at the local level are more interesting. At least to me :) .

  • Tom Hering

    “But Tom, how much freedom do you really have?
    Don’t you ever get sick of the chains?” – John C @ 5.

    What chains? I can’t think of a freedom I want that I don’t have. Unless it’s the freedom to be a minimal-taxpaying, non-interdependent individual, who nevertheless prefers to live in a community that provides many (imperfect) advantages, because others pay more than minimal taxes. That’s a freedom I don’t have, and won’t ever have, until libertarians and other conservatives take us all back to their golden age of the ’50s. The 1850s. Giddyup. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “But Tom, how much freedom do you really have?
    Don’t you ever get sick of the chains?” – John C @ 5.

    What chains? I can’t think of a freedom I want that I don’t have. Unless it’s the freedom to be a minimal-taxpaying, non-interdependent individual, who nevertheless prefers to live in a community that provides many (imperfect) advantages, because others pay more than minimal taxes. That’s a freedom I don’t have, and won’t ever have, until libertarians and other conservatives take us all back to their golden age of the ’50s. The 1850s. Giddyup. :-D

  • Dennis Peskey

    SKPeterson (#15) – “Both are homes to absolutely dreadful football teams.” Heretic! Might I inquire where the Lombardi trophy resides?
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    SKPeterson (#15) – “Both are homes to absolutely dreadful football teams.” Heretic! Might I inquire where the Lombardi trophy resides?
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • SKPeterson

    Dennis @17 – an unrepentant heretic no less. Everyone knows the Lombardi trophy rightfully resides in Arlington nee Dallas.

  • SKPeterson

    Dennis @17 – an unrepentant heretic no less. Everyone knows the Lombardi trophy rightfully resides in Arlington nee Dallas.

  • Jonathan

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2011/06/the-fountainhead-of-satanism/joe-carter

    @3 PKyle, you might want to bone up a bit about Rand before you include her works in your canon. Ouch.

  • Jonathan

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2011/06/the-fountainhead-of-satanism/joe-carter

    @3 PKyle, you might want to bone up a bit about Rand before you include her works in your canon. Ouch.

  • Jonathan

    Here’s the money quote from Joe Carter’s article, linked @19:

    “But to be a follower of both Rand and Christ is not possible. The original Objectivist was a type of self-professed anti-Christ who hated Christianity and the self-sacrificial love of its founder. She recognized that those Christians who claimed to share her views didn’t seem to understand what she was saying.

    “Many conservatives admire Rand because she was anti-collectivist. But that is like admiring Stalin because he opposed Nazism. Stalin was against the Nazis because he wanted to make the world safe for Communism. Likewise, Rand stands against collectivism because she wants the freedom to abolish Judeo-Christian morality. Conservative Christians who embrace her as the ‘enemy-of-my-enemy’ seem to forget that she considered us the enemy. “

  • Jonathan

    Here’s the money quote from Joe Carter’s article, linked @19:

    “But to be a follower of both Rand and Christ is not possible. The original Objectivist was a type of self-professed anti-Christ who hated Christianity and the self-sacrificial love of its founder. She recognized that those Christians who claimed to share her views didn’t seem to understand what she was saying.

    “Many conservatives admire Rand because she was anti-collectivist. But that is like admiring Stalin because he opposed Nazism. Stalin was against the Nazis because he wanted to make the world safe for Communism. Likewise, Rand stands against collectivism because she wants the freedom to abolish Judeo-Christian morality. Conservative Christians who embrace her as the ‘enemy-of-my-enemy’ seem to forget that she considered us the enemy. “

  • Stephen

    Cheesieman -

    In your experience, is marriage the casue of disorder or is it more likely to be a force for a good and ordered society? If the latter, which I’m guessing you agree with, then why is gay marriage so “disorderly” and, I assume, and incentive to all the crime and chaos you decry? What specifically about the marriage committment between gay people is leading to all these problems? I’m talking marriage here, traditionally understood as between two people, except in this case, betweeen people of the same gender. What about that contributes to all the misery in our culture?

    And in regards to education, I thought it was the imposition of test-taking by conservatives (GW Bush and his “No Child Left Behind” idea) and tying this to the livelihood of public education that was discouraging actual teaching and actual learning in the way you describe. What about the role of the family in educating children? Surely it isn’t all the teacher’s fault. Their hands are largely tied as far as teaching away from the information required for the test. Without high test scores, the whole thing gets shut down. How is this all the teacher’s doing?

  • Stephen

    Cheesieman -

    In your experience, is marriage the casue of disorder or is it more likely to be a force for a good and ordered society? If the latter, which I’m guessing you agree with, then why is gay marriage so “disorderly” and, I assume, and incentive to all the crime and chaos you decry? What specifically about the marriage committment between gay people is leading to all these problems? I’m talking marriage here, traditionally understood as between two people, except in this case, betweeen people of the same gender. What about that contributes to all the misery in our culture?

    And in regards to education, I thought it was the imposition of test-taking by conservatives (GW Bush and his “No Child Left Behind” idea) and tying this to the livelihood of public education that was discouraging actual teaching and actual learning in the way you describe. What about the role of the family in educating children? Surely it isn’t all the teacher’s fault. Their hands are largely tied as far as teaching away from the information required for the test. Without high test scores, the whole thing gets shut down. How is this all the teacher’s doing?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 20 Folks who learn something from Rand aren’t slaves to her every thought. They can pick and choose lucid arguments from her works. All folks are fallen. However ideas exist independent of their originators or those who simply repeat and recycle old ideas. If Hitler or Stalin said that people shouldn’t steal from others, should we conclude the idea is wrong because both were monsters? This is just the ad hominem fallacy again. Discerning folks can glean truths from all sorts of works from pagans and fallen humans without falling for the untruths those same pagans also wrote. Enemies can have good ideas.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 20 Folks who learn something from Rand aren’t slaves to her every thought. They can pick and choose lucid arguments from her works. All folks are fallen. However ideas exist independent of their originators or those who simply repeat and recycle old ideas. If Hitler or Stalin said that people shouldn’t steal from others, should we conclude the idea is wrong because both were monsters? This is just the ad hominem fallacy again. Discerning folks can glean truths from all sorts of works from pagans and fallen humans without falling for the untruths those same pagans also wrote. Enemies can have good ideas.

  • Cincinnatus

    FACT CHECK: George W. Bush was no conservative, and Ted Kennedy wrote the No Child Left Behind Act

    SKPeterson and Dennis: Your observations regarding population density is a good one, I think. On the other hand, New Mexico, Utah, and other sparsely populated states aren’t doing so well by the Mercatus metrics. Could this be the result of local variations–i.e., Salt Lake City dictates policies more “oppressive” than what would be preferred in the rural deserts–or is population density not actually a good variable to use here?

  • Cincinnatus

    FACT CHECK: George W. Bush was no conservative, and Ted Kennedy wrote the No Child Left Behind Act

    SKPeterson and Dennis: Your observations regarding population density is a good one, I think. On the other hand, New Mexico, Utah, and other sparsely populated states aren’t doing so well by the Mercatus metrics. Could this be the result of local variations–i.e., Salt Lake City dictates policies more “oppressive” than what would be preferred in the rural deserts–or is population density not actually a good variable to use here?

  • Jonathan

    @22 you’re right. As I always tell my children, “Remember that Hitler and Stalin don’t want you to steal.”

  • Jonathan

    @22 you’re right. As I always tell my children, “Remember that Hitler and Stalin don’t want you to steal.”

  • Cincinnatus

    Jonathan: Way to miss the point.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jonathan: Way to miss the point.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus -

    Okay, bipartisan proposed and signed by GW. Correction noted. They’re all screwing us over, though I guess I also need to rewiew what conservative is.

    Moving on.

  • Stephen

    Cinncinatus -

    Okay, bipartisan proposed and signed by GW. Correction noted. They’re all screwing us over, though I guess I also need to rewiew what conservative is.

    Moving on.

  • DonS

    I don’t know where you live, SK, but around here we have clean water, sewers, garbage collection, recycling, paved and maintained streets, street lights, traffic management, sidewalks, public schools, community emergency sirens, firefighters, hazmat, SWAT team, bomb squad, etc., etc., etc.

    Tom @ 4, that has got to be the most eclectic list of vital government services I’ve seen, especially from a professed liberal. :-)

    Recycling? Yes, definitely right up there with paved streets and police protection. “Recycling” means sending your trash to the dump via the recycling center rather than directly, in many cases, since no one has ever bothered creating a market for all of the trash we try to recycle. That is an expensive government mandate, not a service. And community emergency sirens? Is that what our taxes, amounting to about 40% of the total economy, are going for? Sirens?

  • DonS

    I don’t know where you live, SK, but around here we have clean water, sewers, garbage collection, recycling, paved and maintained streets, street lights, traffic management, sidewalks, public schools, community emergency sirens, firefighters, hazmat, SWAT team, bomb squad, etc., etc., etc.

    Tom @ 4, that has got to be the most eclectic list of vital government services I’ve seen, especially from a professed liberal. :-)

    Recycling? Yes, definitely right up there with paved streets and police protection. “Recycling” means sending your trash to the dump via the recycling center rather than directly, in many cases, since no one has ever bothered creating a market for all of the trash we try to recycle. That is an expensive government mandate, not a service. And community emergency sirens? Is that what our taxes, amounting to about 40% of the total economy, are going for? Sirens?

  • Jonathan

    @25 Cincinnatus.

    Way to miss the point.

  • Jonathan

    @25 Cincinnatus.

    Way to miss the point.

  • DonS

    To respond to Dr. Veith’s original post, those who decry government regulation and interventionism in the lives of the citizens need to be consistent. The government’s role is to preserve social order, so that citizens can thrive and have the liberty to pursue their lives and exercise their rights under the Constitution. The regulation of behavior should be limited to ensuring that no one interferes with each citizen’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In other words, that the actions of some do not harm others to the point that their rights are unduly curtailed. In the realm of vices such as alcohol, drugs, smoking, prostitution, etc., you cannot prevent bad behavior by prohibiting it, nor do we want a godless government determining what is bad behavior. Regulation of these things should be directed to preventing harm and undue interference to and with those not engaging in them, i.e. the innocent bystander.

  • DonS

    To respond to Dr. Veith’s original post, those who decry government regulation and interventionism in the lives of the citizens need to be consistent. The government’s role is to preserve social order, so that citizens can thrive and have the liberty to pursue their lives and exercise their rights under the Constitution. The regulation of behavior should be limited to ensuring that no one interferes with each citizen’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In other words, that the actions of some do not harm others to the point that their rights are unduly curtailed. In the realm of vices such as alcohol, drugs, smoking, prostitution, etc., you cannot prevent bad behavior by prohibiting it, nor do we want a godless government determining what is bad behavior. Regulation of these things should be directed to preventing harm and undue interference to and with those not engaging in them, i.e. the innocent bystander.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Regulation of these things should be directed to preventing harm and undue interference to and with those not engaging in them, i.e. the innocent bystander.”

    Who is the innocent bystander? That is kind of like asking, who is my neighbor? The experiment of prohibition of the sale and transport of alcohol indicates that enough citizens felt their liberties were in fact curtailed by the drunkenness of others that they passed a constitutional amendment to try to reduce the problem. The innocent bystanders wanted their freedom from the drunks. Almost 25 years later folks had changed their minds. What happened? Prohibiting alcohol was a huge cultural shift. It was incredibly, almost unfathomably progressive. It was a movement led very prominently by women. How did the reactionaries manage such a comeback?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Regulation of these things should be directed to preventing harm and undue interference to and with those not engaging in them, i.e. the innocent bystander.”

    Who is the innocent bystander? That is kind of like asking, who is my neighbor? The experiment of prohibition of the sale and transport of alcohol indicates that enough citizens felt their liberties were in fact curtailed by the drunkenness of others that they passed a constitutional amendment to try to reduce the problem. The innocent bystanders wanted their freedom from the drunks. Almost 25 years later folks had changed their minds. What happened? Prohibiting alcohol was a huge cultural shift. It was incredibly, almost unfathomably progressive. It was a movement led very prominently by women. How did the reactionaries manage such a comeback?

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Johnathan,
    I am not a slavish follower of Rand. Some of her ideas are repugnant and her personal life was a train wreck. However, I admire some of her insights into how governments oppress those under them. These insights are in many cases brilliant and written with uncommon clarity. I do not embrace formal Objectivism. Does this constitute a level of commitment to her views that would negate my faith in Christ?

    Also, critiques of her ideas from some quarters are rife with with a fundamentalist hysteria. Hence you find statements like your quote above negating the faith of any who might find value in some of her stuff. Some of her observations and ideas are true, but not for the reasons she ascribes to them. sg@22 is right.

    Maybe more to the point, it seems you take issue with me for some reason. Care to elaborate?

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Johnathan,
    I am not a slavish follower of Rand. Some of her ideas are repugnant and her personal life was a train wreck. However, I admire some of her insights into how governments oppress those under them. These insights are in many cases brilliant and written with uncommon clarity. I do not embrace formal Objectivism. Does this constitute a level of commitment to her views that would negate my faith in Christ?

    Also, critiques of her ideas from some quarters are rife with with a fundamentalist hysteria. Hence you find statements like your quote above negating the faith of any who might find value in some of her stuff. Some of her observations and ideas are true, but not for the reasons she ascribes to them. sg@22 is right.

    Maybe more to the point, it seems you take issue with me for some reason. Care to elaborate?

  • DonS

    sg @ 30: Prohibiting a person from having a glass of wine in their home was clearly overreaching, which is why Prohibition failed. The issue of appropriate regulation, respecting libertarian principles while also protecting the innocent bystander, is a matter for legislators to determine. It’s a philosophy that is grounded in common sense. Unfortunately, we have lost sight of this notion of reasonable regulation, because we focus on an abstract notion of “societal good”, rather than the protection 0f individual rights. As you, yourself, often acknowledge, our society is far too diverse today to even attempt to define societal good. Our focus should be on protecting the individual and maintaining reasonable societal order.

  • DonS

    sg @ 30: Prohibiting a person from having a glass of wine in their home was clearly overreaching, which is why Prohibition failed. The issue of appropriate regulation, respecting libertarian principles while also protecting the innocent bystander, is a matter for legislators to determine. It’s a philosophy that is grounded in common sense. Unfortunately, we have lost sight of this notion of reasonable regulation, because we focus on an abstract notion of “societal good”, rather than the protection 0f individual rights. As you, yourself, often acknowledge, our society is far too diverse today to even attempt to define societal good. Our focus should be on protecting the individual and maintaining reasonable societal order.

  • SKPeterson

    Cincinnatus @23 – population density in general can be used as a proxy however imperfect it may be. Urbanized areas have often been the loci of greater levels of regulation and intrusion – ostensibly to allow for large numbers of people to live together without trampling each other, while rural areas have had less need of the same. A corollary is that urban areas often can “afford” such intrusions, as there is a larger population to spread the costs over, etc. However, it should also be noted that historically, the regulations in urban areas have lagged the increased population densities and the economic gains that accrue to urban areas due to the proximity of individuals and the economies of scale and scope that develop in urban areas. This generates increasing incomes which can then be tapped by taxation or redirected by regulation. The issue then becomes when does the level or regulation and taxation begin to choke, or kill, the goose that lays the golden eggs. The works of Jane Jacobs, especially The Economy of Cities, address this phenomenon. A more theoretical examination can be found in Zoltan Acs’s Innovation and the Growth of Cities.

    Rural areas have generally lacked the requisite population densities to provide extensive services and/or to be able to afford a more intrusive regulatory regime.

    That being said, you do see local variation, which I would like to see more of in these types of studies. Also urban-to-urban comparisons; why have civic leaders from San Francisco and Los Angeles traveled to Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston to look into the more robust economic performance of the Texas cities compared to the California case? How can urban growth engines be shut off (Detroit, any major city in Ohio, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia) and how can they expand and grow (Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte)? What are the commonalities and differences within and between regions. This study hints at those issues, but that is where the real meat for discussing government regulation and tax policy exists – at the local level.

  • SKPeterson

    Cincinnatus @23 – population density in general can be used as a proxy however imperfect it may be. Urbanized areas have often been the loci of greater levels of regulation and intrusion – ostensibly to allow for large numbers of people to live together without trampling each other, while rural areas have had less need of the same. A corollary is that urban areas often can “afford” such intrusions, as there is a larger population to spread the costs over, etc. However, it should also be noted that historically, the regulations in urban areas have lagged the increased population densities and the economic gains that accrue to urban areas due to the proximity of individuals and the economies of scale and scope that develop in urban areas. This generates increasing incomes which can then be tapped by taxation or redirected by regulation. The issue then becomes when does the level or regulation and taxation begin to choke, or kill, the goose that lays the golden eggs. The works of Jane Jacobs, especially The Economy of Cities, address this phenomenon. A more theoretical examination can be found in Zoltan Acs’s Innovation and the Growth of Cities.

    Rural areas have generally lacked the requisite population densities to provide extensive services and/or to be able to afford a more intrusive regulatory regime.

    That being said, you do see local variation, which I would like to see more of in these types of studies. Also urban-to-urban comparisons; why have civic leaders from San Francisco and Los Angeles traveled to Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston to look into the more robust economic performance of the Texas cities compared to the California case? How can urban growth engines be shut off (Detroit, any major city in Ohio, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia) and how can they expand and grow (Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte)? What are the commonalities and differences within and between regions. This study hints at those issues, but that is where the real meat for discussing government regulation and tax policy exists – at the local level.

  • John C

    @16
    A very good decade in a very good century, Tom.
    Australia had to wait another 120 years for universal health care but it was worth the wait.

  • John C

    @16
    A very good decade in a very good century, Tom.
    Australia had to wait another 120 years for universal health care but it was worth the wait.

  • Mike Baker

    Utah probably got “medium blue” on their drinking laws alone! :P

  • Mike Baker

    Utah probably got “medium blue” on their drinking laws alone! :P

  • Eric Brown

    I started moving towards Libertarianism 14 years ago in college when I came to the conclusion that part of defending liberty as an idea is defending another’s right to do something which you never would. Too often politics is used as a tool of force to “make” another do what you want them to, what you think is best for them. This is antithetical to liberty. Joined the party on election night, 2000.

  • Eric Brown

    I started moving towards Libertarianism 14 years ago in college when I came to the conclusion that part of defending liberty as an idea is defending another’s right to do something which you never would. Too often politics is used as a tool of force to “make” another do what you want them to, what you think is best for them. This is antithetical to liberty. Joined the party on election night, 2000.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin
  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin
  • Chips

    New Hampshire, despite its many Massachusetts liberals who have hypocritically moved to the state for tax reasons, is the freest state in the Union. New Hampshire people have best kept the New England tradition of individual responsibility.

  • Chips

    New Hampshire, despite its many Massachusetts liberals who have hypocritically moved to the state for tax reasons, is the freest state in the Union. New Hampshire people have best kept the New England tradition of individual responsibility.


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