When you think of freedom it’s obvious that one of the first places that should come into your mind is North Dakota. Well the Mercatus Institute thinks so too in their ranking of U.S. states by levels of freedom. This ranking is based on one particular freedom, economic, given that this is an organization that is primary run by the Koch brothers and vocal libertarians. Which is fine, except we’re missing huge pieces of information to determine the definition of freedom. So it doesn’t matter that North Dakota has cracked down on every other freedom, such as their recent ban on abortions, and stand against gay marriage. They also seem to gloss over any law that has to do with anti-discrimination. No worries though, you’d be free.
Of course they might have taken into account “freedom from other people,” at which point North Dakota would of course be top dog, given the constant decline of their population. South Dakota lost out by a hair, I think it was because they counted the heads on Mount Rushmore. That might also explain why California and New York are bottoming out on this list, ironic, as author Alex Pareene puts it:
“Koch industries co-owner David Koch, for the record, lives in New York City. I imagine he and his brother will soon pack up and relocate to sunny, free Grand Forks.”
The very real and sad part of this survey is that we are ranking our freedom not by how our people are able to live their lives freely, and without persecution, but by how they keep their buck. A person’s bank account seems to be better protected, and more revered than the human life sitting next to you. Their lives, their choices, can’t possibly stand up to that. A person should absolutely be able to enjoy the benefits of their hard work, but that isn’t the only indicator of freedom.
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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