The Cato Institute released their yearly ranking of the most and least free states titled Freedom in the 50 States. Authors William Ruger and Jason Sorens found that liberty across the United States is declining due to federal impositions via the Biden administration and authoritarian state-level actors.
Ruger and Sorens determined the level of liberty in each of the fifty states by examining personal freedom, fiscal policy, and regulatory policy.
The personal freedom category looked at state policies affecting guns, travel, civil liberties, incarceration rates, and a multitude of different areas. The fiscal policy category compared state taxation, government consumption, and government debt. Lastly, for regulatory policy, Ruger and Sorens evaluated freedom regarding land use, health insurance, occupational freedom, and other categories.
Ruger and Soren chose these metrics to see if states fit their definition of freedom:
“We ground our conception of freedom on an individual rights framework. In our view, individuals should be allowed to dispose of their lives, liberties, and property as they see fit, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others. This understanding of freedom follows from the natural-rights liberal thought of John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and Robert Nozick.”
Unsurprisingly, the least free states all have Democratic leadership. New York leads the tyrannical left as it ranks last in both economic and personal freedom. With New York’s Key to NYC pass banning unvaccinated five-year-olds from indoor dining and a variety of other ridiculous liberty infringing policies, the state can barely call itself a part of the land of the free.
The other two least free states are Hawaii and California. While California prides itself on leading the nation in reproductive freedom, meaning they give free abortions to illegal immigrants, they severely restrict freedom in areas unrelated to baby killing.
Much of the same is true for Hawaii. Despite its gorgeous scenery, the state has seen an outflow of citizens due to extremely high state-level taxes and infringements on personal liberties, such as the right to bear arms.
Despite many federal and state politicians using the pandemic to seize power, some states have been able to maintain and even expand the freedom of their constituents. According to the Cato Institute, the top three most free states are New Hampshire, Florida, and Nevada.
Through the Cato Institute’s evaluation, New Hampshire ranked #1 in freedom. With the state motto “Live Free or Die,” New Hampshire offers its citizens an extremely low tax burden and extremely high levels of personal freedom.
Florida was a close second to New Hampshire, as the Sunshine State had previously secured the top ranking in the Freedom in the 50 States fifth edition. Under DeSantis’ leadership, Florida has seen waves of increased immigration due to its pro-liberty stance on personal freedoms and fiscal policy.
William Ruger and Jason Sorens’ study, Freedom in the 50 States, is a comprehensive analysis of the level of liberty in the land of the free. Such studies are necessary now more than ever as we face authoritarian overreach from Democrat politicians at the federal and state level.