The Freest State – Being Number One Isn’t Good

freedomThe Oklahoma Watchdog has an article about a report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University which pegs Oklahoma as the fifth freest state in the nation.  Oklahoma’s new Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon said, “I think it is exciting news. It’s an affirmation of the direction we’ve taken since Republicans gained control of the state House of Representatives in 2004. This is affirmation of the pro-growth and liberty policies that have been put in place since then.”

Shannon also said, “I am hopeful to get a whole wave of new good laws passed that will improve our ranking in an analysis like this. On the House side we’ve advanced all of our significant agenda items, and I think we’ll get most of all of those through with the help of the Senate. I am very optimistic.”

In the last twelve years Oklahoma has moved from the 31st freest to 5th freest.  The scholars who compiled the report credited Oklahoma’s shift in public policy for the dramatic change, which was second only to North Dakota’s.  Not surprisingly, California and New York are the lowest rated states in the report.

Naturally, the state president of the ACLU, Ryan Kiesel, disagrees with the report’s findings. He said, “We must have a different definition of freedom than the Mercatus Center. I hardly think that a state that routinely considers legislation and passes laws that interfere with a woman’s right to make healthcare decisions, openly discriminates against its LGBT citizens, and incarcerates over 26,000 of its people, many needlessly caught up in the failed war on drugs, is the fifth freest state in the nation.  The study’s suggestion that Oklahoma’s shortcomings in personal freedoms are somehow offset by economic freedom also misses the mark. Try explaining that ranking to the one in four Oklahoma children who go to bed hungry each night or the over 100,000 Oklahomans without health insurance because of Gov. Fallin’s cold-hearted refusal to expand Medicaid.”

While there are some good things about this report from a fiscal standpoint the subcategory scores are a definite reflection of the analysts self-described “libertarian or classical liberal” status.  For example, Oklahoma scored 28th in personal freedom.  But what is included in the personal freedom category?  Items such as “victimless crime freedom”, which includes arrests for crimes such as prostitution and the drug enforcement rate.  Also included in the personal freedom category is “marriage freedom” which is a euphemism for allowing gay marriage.  Other subcategories that make up the personal freedom index include legalized marijuana, physician-assisted suicide, legalizing prostitution and public financing of political campaigns.

I would agree with Mr. Kiesel that we have different a different definition of freedom from the Mercatus Center.  But I completely disagree with him about what constitutes personal freedom.  If abortions, letting gays marry, smoking marijuana, doctors killing patients, legalizing hookers and using tax dollars to pay for political campaigns is how the people who wrote this report define personal freedom then it is my sincere hope that Oklahoma stays far, far away from number one. With freedom comes responsibility and I see nothing responsible about some of the ‘freedoms’ advocated by the Mercatus Center. 

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2 comments to The Freest State – Being Number One Isn’t Good

  • LD Jackson

    You missed the point, Charles. The people advocating that kind of personal freedom want no responsibility to rest with those who choose it. In other words, they want the freedom to choose that kind of lifestyle, while at the same time, forcing us to accept their perverted version of freedom.

  • It’s people like that who confuse licentiousness with freedom. And you’re right; responsibility has no part in it.