Freedom by the Numbers


Two of the major indices that count the crumbs of liberty our governments have seen fit to toss us each year were released recently. Local developments notwithstanding, both find that humanity is a little freer now than it was this time last year.

Freedom House's annual Freedom in the World report tracks political and civil liberties, and even has a nifty map showing the global distribution of freedom.

The Economic Freedom of the World report, put out by an international consortium of free-market policy shops, uses a wide variety of metrics to rank 123 countries from most to least economically free. Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom top out the list. At the bottom of the list, we find that judicious government planning has made Guinea-Bissau, Algeria, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Myanmar the paradises on earth they are today.


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  1. “Local developments notwithstanding, both find that humanity is a little freer now than it was this time last year. ”

    in what way am I, a US citizen, less free than last year (as you seem to imply)? I see this meme everywhere, yet see little objective evidence.

  2. US oppressed?: I think you’ll find your answer in the item directly above this one. It’s not that every American citizen has less freedom than s/he used to; it’s that American government as a whole has become less devoted to respect for those liberties on which our nation was founded. You may not feel less free, but your government is certainly allowing less freedom than it used to.

  3. Waco? Japanese Internment? COINTELPRO?

    yeah, whatever

  4. A general increase in freedom does not mean that one should not be careful of the risk of decreased freedom, nor does a general increase in freedom mean (in and of itself) that freedom has increased in all measurable areas.

    While there is often the typical activist doomsaying exaggeration going on about lost freedoms, the fact that people exaggerate a problem also is not proof that there is no problem.

    All that being said, some historical perspective from people would be nice. I don’t expect to see it, but it’d be nice.

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