A Narrow Definition Of Freedom

The Mercatus Center, which skews Libertarian, has ranked the 50 states in terms of freedom. The results:

Freedom Map

Timothy B. Lee asks “whether it makes sense to have a political ideology that’s focused on freedom, narrowly defined, to the exclusion of other values”:

There are some obvious problems with Mercatus’s methodology. Theoretically, libertarians are “economically conservative and socially liberal,” but the libertarians at Mercatus have given economic policy more than twice as much weight as “personal freedom.” On top of that, it uses a pretty right-leaning conception of “personal freedom.” The right to smoke is given almost twice as much weight as marriage equality. The right to own a gun is given five times as much weight as the “civil liberties” category, described as a “grab bag of mostly unrelated policies, including raw milk laws, fireworks laws, prostitution laws, physician-assisted suicide laws, religious freedom restoration acts, rules on taking DNA samples from criminal suspects, trans-fat bans, and laws that can be used to prosecute people who audiorecord public officials in the performance of their duties.” Reproductive freedom isn’t taken into account at all. Little surprise that the top of the list is dominated by red states.

Waldman and Pareene add their two cents.