Drug Policy

Are Portugal , Canada, and Argentina More Libertarian Than the U.S.?


Inspired by the impending legalization of marijuana in Uruguay, The Telegraph's Alasdair Baverstock offers "a guide to the world's most libertarian countries." It is really more of a ranking in five specific areas: drug policy, gay rights, prostitution, taxes, and corruption. 

Under drug policy, Baverstock gives the highest marks to Portugal and the Czech Republic, both of which have decriminalized possession of drugs for personal use. For some reason, possibly because it rates well in two other categories, Baverstock omits the Netherlands, where retail sales of marijuana have long been tolerated although they remain technically illegal (as does growing marijuana). The Dutch cannabis café scene is unlikely to be replicated elsewhere anytime soon. Even in Colorado and Washington, which have legalized commercial production and distribution of marijuana, the rules will favor buying cannabis in sealed packages and taking it home to consume in private, as opposed to enjoying it in a tavern-like social setting. Still, by officially allowing private businesses to grow and sell marijuana, those states are going further than the Netherlands or Uruguay, which will allow home cultivation (up to six plants, as in Colorado) and nonprofit cooperatives but put the government in charge of buying marijuana from growers and selling it to consumers at pharmacies. Uruguay also plans to license marijuana consumers, a not-so-libertarian idea, and ban pot purchases by people visiting from other countries.

In addition to Portugal and the Czech Republic, Baverstock nominates North Korea:

Drug abusers in North Korea "will face a firing squad" according to of a recently-launched government campaign in Pyongyang. However, substances such as marijuana and opium are completely legal in the country, a feat achieved by the government's not recognising such substances as "drugs" in the first place. 

That joke, of course, hinges on the assumption that anything not explicitly prohibited is permitted, which is not a good rule of thumb in the totalitarian Hermit Kingdom.

Under gay rights, Baverstock picks Argentina, the Netherlands, and South Africa for pioneering legal recognition of same-sex marriages. Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands get nods for legal prostitution, while Andorra and Monaco get credit for not taxing income. Denmark and New Zealand, rated as the world's least corrupt countries by Transparency International, win in that category.

Not only does the U.S. not get credit for marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington, but Baverstock omits a category where it would have done well: freedom of speech. If you want to buy sex, Canada or Germany may be the place for you, but if you want to speak your mind, not so much. Both countries enforce speech taboos that would never pass muster under the First Amendment. You can be fined for condemning homosexuality in Canada, for instance, while glorifying Nazism or denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany.

Another interesting area is gambling law, where the U.K. would have come out looking good, since it allows various kinds of wagering that are illegal in some or all of the U.S., including sports betting and online poker. If you are more interested in drinking than betting, the comparison favors the U.S., which has much lower alcohol taxes. That difference presumably explains why Scotch is more expensive in London than in New York, Washington, or Dallas.

There are many other policies Baverstock could have considered, and a country that scores well in one area may not be so good in another. (The Netherlands, for instance, looks good in four of the areas Baverstock mentions, but its taxes are steep.) A real guide to the most libertarian countries would have to use various factors and assign weights to them based on the assessor's value judgments. What would your formula be? 

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  1. Are Portugal , Canada, and Argentina More Libertarian Than the U.S.?

    By practice or by law?

    By Law, the U.S. is the most libertarian country… I mean, if we obeyed our laws.

    1. I mean, if we Congress and the President obeyed our laws.

      1. Bulls-eye.

  2. drug policy, gay rights, prostitution, taxes, and corruption.

    So, nothing on civil liberties/due process, economic freedom, self-defense?

    Dare I say, this looks an awful lot like a cosmotarian rating?

    1. My thoughts, too.

      I don’t believe there’s another country in the world that has an explicit law or constitution which recognizes freedom of speech. Some European countries have an implied freedom of speech, but nothing codified. Don’t even begin to mention the idea of a regular citizen sitting in a Red Lobster with a .45 on your hip.

      1. French constitution :
        10.No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.
        11.The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.

      2. German constitution :
        Freedom of faith, of conscience and of creed
        4. – ( 1 ) Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom of creed religious or ideological, are inviolable.
        ( 2 ) The undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed.
        ( 3 ) No one may be compelled against his conscience to render war service as an armed combatant. Details will be regulated by a Federal law.
        Freedom of expression
        5. – ( 1 ) Everyone has the right freely to express and to disseminate his opinion by speech, writing and pictures and freely to inform himself from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by radio and motion pictures are guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.
        ( 2 ) These rights are limited by the provisions of the general laws, the provisions of law for the protection of youth and by the right to inviolability of personal honor.
        ( 3 ) Art and science, research and teaching are free. Freedom of teaching does not absolve from loyalty to the constitution.

      3. Spanish constitution :
        The following rights are recognized and protected:
        a) The right to freely express and spread thoughts, ideas and opinions through words, in writing or by any other means of reproduction.
        b) The right to literary, artistic, scientific and technical production and creation.
        c) The right to academic freedom.
        d) The right to freely communicate or receive truthful information by any means of dissemination whatsoever. The law shall regulate the right to the clause of conscience and professional secrecy in the exercise of these freedoms.
        2. The exercise of these rights may not be restricted by any form of prior censorship.
        3. The law shall regulate the organization and parliamentary control of the masscommunication means under the control of the State or any public agency and shall guarantee access to such means by the significant social and political groups, respecting the pluralism of society and of the various languages of Spain.
        4. These freedoms are limited by respect for the rights recognized in this Part, by the legal provisions implementing it, and especially by the right to honour, to privacy, to the own image and to the protection of youth and childhood.
        5. The seizure of publications, recordings and other means of information may only be carried out by means of a court order.


        1. So basically, “You have freedom of speech, except when we say otherwise.” So no, no other country. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t carve out exceptions.

          1. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t carve out exceptions.

            Too bad legislators do carve out exceptions which are codified by the judiciary. On paper, the first amendment is golden (Congress shall make no law), in practice it gets trampled all of the time.

          2. “The U.S. Constitution doesn’t carve out exceptions.”

            Maybe (or maybe not). But saying “Some European countries have an implied freedom of speech, but nothing codified” it’s false. Almost every European country have a codified constitutional* free speech right. Maybe with exceptions, but not “implied”.

            *and there is also the European Convention on Human Rights

    2. Dare I say, this looks an awful lot like a cosmotarian rating?

      *nods affirmatively*

    3. If it ain’t cosmotarian, it ain’t libertarian.

      Besides, low taxes = economic freedom, you know.

      1. It’s one important part of it, but incomplete in itself. Economic freedoms include the right to own property, trade property and associate for commercial purposes as one pleases stifled by nothing more draconian than the NAP.

  3. Argentina? Currently….I have some doubts when we see how the current president Cristina Kirchner

    1. I submitted too fast, sorry. ^^;

      …how the current president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, lead the country…

    2. You might be better off hopping over the Andes to Chile.

      1. You would definitely be better off in Santiago, right now, than Buenos Aires, with the commie chick in chief fucking up the economy in Argentina.

        1. And it really is a shame, because Argentina is a beautiful country. I’ve never been there but my wife has been several times, and she loves it. We were actually planning a trip there, but now I think we’ll replace that notion with either Uruguay(no, I don’t smoke weed, but after watching several documentaries on the country on Globo, it looks like a very interesting place to visit), or Chile instead.

          1. Earlier this week I was talking to one of my friend’s down in Chile who is doing study abroad. She says it’s beautiful and the people are great, although it’s also really, really cold since it’s winter.

            1. My wife has a lot of respect for the Chileans, she’s always talking about how nice the country is and how almost everyone is well educated, and also, oddly, about how pretty the women are. I always find it interesting how women notice other women almost more than men notice women.

              1. That being said, I would love to visit there. No way I would live there, I hate earthquakes.

                1. My sister in law is Chilean. She moved to the states when she was 7-8.

                  However, unless your wife has awful taste (which I have no reason to think she does), she would not include my sister in law in her categorization of pretty Chilean woman.

              2. The few Chilean girls I’ve met were both very nice and stunning.

                I always find it interesting how women notice other women almost more than men notice women.

                Makes sense, you want to be mindful of your competition.

          2. We were actually planning a trip there

            Make sure you hit San Carlos de Bariloche and the rest of the Lake District. It’s awesome.

            1. Thanks for the tip. I was checking it out online, looks awesome. I’ve also always wanted to visit some areas of Patagonia, which looks to be not too far south of there.

        2. I’m scared of what’s on Chile’s horizon. Student protesters demanding free shit and Bachelet returning in a less…palatable form.

          1. True, but even the mainstream socialist party has it in their platform that they aren’t going to mess with the success of privatization and market reforms.

          2. Number seven on economic freedom list.

            1. That the US is ranked so high (10th), one must question the credibility of the rankings.

              1. It’s not the rankings it’s you.

          3. Oh, you mean…like Quebec?

            1. Almost, Quebec current Premier Pauline Marois hadn’t reached that level…yet.

        3. Chile was always more stable, no?

    3. Argentina? Libertarian?

      Wife and I were driving just south of Bariloche and we come around a corner to a military checkpoint. They checked our passports and searched our car before allowing us to go on our way.

      Then there’s property rights. They actually passed a law that Americans are not allowed to buy land within 50 KM of the Andes.

      We were considering buying property down there until we started researching the politics.

      Libertarian? Not remotely close.

      I hear good things about Chile, however.

      1. The place where Kirchner seized everyone’s 401k’s? What kind of shithead nominates them as libertarian, even if men can bugger each other?

      2. They actually passed a law that Americans are not allowed to buy land within 50 KM of the Andes.


        1. No. Movie stars were buying up “huge tracts of land” as vacation properties because it was so cheap (the front range of the Andes is a lot like Montana). They decided that wasn’t fair to the locals.

        2. Mexico recently repealed a law that prohibited foreigners from buying beach-front or beach-near property. Reason seems to yap on-and-on about free markets as if it’s the unilateral duty of the US to make it so.


          Didn’t hear a peep about it here. I could be wrong, link challenge.

      3. Brazilians have stopped vacationing there so much because of the actions of Kirchner, and from what I hear, a lot of Dollars and Reais have disappeared out of banks there as of late. And when I say disappeared, I mean the people have withdrawn them while they still can.

        All socialist are morons, I really am totally convinced of that.

        1. And most Brazilians are socialist as fuck.

          Their recent demonstrations were all about “but where’s MY free shit”. They have zero ideological problems with taxing the rich. They were simply mad that the money went to someone else.

  4. I don’t see anything about free markets, open trade, or minimal regulation/licensing/obstacles to doing business. Except for low taxes, I see more of a list of some of the things that are definitely part of a libertarian philosophy, but are commonly used to deride libertarians as fringe (“all they want is legal hookers and blow.”)

  5. And I thought Somalia was supposed to the #1 example of libertarian paradise.

    1. Their gun laws are pretty lax.

      1. There is something to be said for the freedom to drive around the roadless wastes chewing qat in a Toyota Hi-lux with a mounted crew served weapon in the bed.

        Twin-.50s or a 105mm recoiless give one a much more effective political voice than our meaningless “voting”.

        1. It is my opinion that voting is the most dangerous act a citizen can commit.

          1. That’s a dumb opinion.

            1. Democracy has always been regarded at least by critical thinkers and those possessed of a modicum of common sense, as, in the words of Hans Herman-Hoppe, “a soft variant of communism”.

              Democracy sucks. Democracies are more apt to make war and become interventionist, meddlesome troublemakers.

              1. “Democracies are more apt to make war and become interventionist, meddlesome troublemakers.”

                Compared to what? History has shown that monarchies, fascist states, communist states, etc. have shown themselves more than willing to make war and intervene as they please. Not that I’m a huge fan of democracy, but I would still much rather live in the average modern democracy than an autocratic state.

                1. Do you have an example of an ‘average modern democracy’?

                  1. I don’t really have to. Whatever country I’d say, people could argue semantics about whether or not it qualifies as “average.” Bottom line, I think if you evaluate the level of freedom and prosperity in modern democracies, you will find that they are both tend to be far higher than in autocratic states.

              2. Voting =/= democracy

                1. That’s true. And for the record, I’m using the term “democracy” as it’s generally used today, not its the more correct and precise definition

        2. There is something to be said for the freedom to drive around the roadless wastes chewing qat in a Toyota Hi-lux with a mounted crew served weapon in the bed.

          I think cockfighting is legal there, too. So all your core issues are covered.

            1. Why doesn’t it surprise me that you’re excited about cockfighting?

            2. Al, it’s not like sword fighting, it’s chickens battling for cash. Which is cool in its own right, but not what you’re thinking of.

    2. They were until they got all uppity with their new government and roadz.

    3. In his zeal to get North Korea in there, he forgot all about Somalia.

  6. For all this country’s faults, it’s still a lot closer to libertopia than most other countries.

    We’re good on free speech, gotten much better on gun rights, and gay marriage and weed are on their way.

    Of course the dragon we have yet to slay is Wickard and the income tax.

    1. At least we have this constitution thingy that we libertarians can wrap ourselves in while making our arguments. You have none of that practically every other country.

      I’d rather have a Bill of Rights no one pays any attention to, than no Bill of Rights at all.

      1. Abraham Lincoln: As a nation, we began by declaring that “All men are created equal.” We now practically read it, “All men are created equal, except Negroes.” Soon, it will read “All men are created equal, except Negroes, and Foreigners and Catholics.” When it comes to this, I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty. To Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

    2. and gay marriage and weed are on their way.

      Except that when gay marriage comes, many states will trample liberty by making it a hate crime punishable by lawsuit or worse if you refuse to bake the cake for the wedding on principle. And weed will get legalized, while tobacco becomes a substance treated like crack.

    3. We’re good on free speech, gotten much better on gun rights, and gay marriage and weed are on their way.

      We’re good on free speech, but it seems that we’re always just a quick vote away from fucking it up (see the kerfuffle after Benghazi when vast swaths of progressive America were advocating for free speech restrictions.

      Gun rights are always under attack. Always. But it seems that the SCOTUS is intent on halting the most egregious attacks in their tracks.

      Agreed on gay marriage and weed.

      Of course the dragon we have yet to slay is Wickard and the income tax.

      I suspect that neither will be addressed adequately in our lifetimes.

    4. Wickard is supreme bullshit.

  7. Canada more libertarian than USA? Who comes up with this shit? Seriously, I want to meet them so I can shove some caribou vomit down their throats. Freedom of speech is some of the time pass time here.


    I don’t know what this means but, for the fun of it (yes, I’m that wild), I looked at total the tax dollars received by Revenue Canada and the IRS and measured it against GDP. In Canada, the economy is $1.6 trillion while pulling in about $267 billion in taxes – or 14.8% of GDP. The U.S. economy is $15 trillion with the IRS collecting $2.7 trillion in total tax receipts or about 19%.

    Canada collects less in taxes?

    1. Don’t forget to add the provincial governments tax revenues to the balance.

    2. Yes, Canada collects less tax. No inheritance tax. Corporate income tax and capital gains are WAY better here than in America.

      1. I have to admit, 20% corporate tax here in Quebec. Ironies abound.

      2. no lottery taxes!

    3. Bear in mind, Canada doesn’t have any immigration besides highly skilled people from Europe and Asia.

      So it doesn’t have to support a lot of low skill people who don’t speak the language.

      Also the whole military.

      And somehow (like every other country with socialized medicine), they pay a lot less for health care

      1. WRONG. Canada has lots of immigration-more than America-and they run the gamut from skilled to unskilled. Not that your point is anything but worthless given that immigrants use less welfare than natives.

        1. now now Natives aren’t considering themselves on welfare, they just think they’re getting what the treaties say they deserve

          /they’re on WELFARE

          1. Pantsfan, good thing there aren’t any leftie Canadians on here to call you a RAAAAACIST for that 100% accurate remark. Kids from off the rez outside my town who bothered to come to school actually got paid to do so. Treaty rights!

            /pretty sure these Americans didn’t get your Native Canadian=First Nations joke.

            1. Why wouldn’t we get it? Our default term for feather indians is “native”. If he’d made a crack about First Nations someone would’ve been confused.

              We were just checking Pantsfan’s white privelege by not responding.

              1. Fair enough, I guess I need to check my “assuming stuff about stuff” privilege. Cross-check it into the boards, that is.

                I just always hear Americans say the full “Native American” when that’s what they mean, whereas you’ll hear (usually older) Canadians refer to them as just “Natives” sometimes.

                1. And I just body-checked your “spelling ‘privilege’ correctly privilege.” Bam!

                  At least there was no “d” involved. At a parking lot I sometimes walk past, the sign proudly declares there shall be no “in-and-out priviledges.” Forget checking, I want to throw their “making signs privilege” off a very high ledge.

                2. Here the word ‘Natives’ is usually followed by ‘be sneaking up on your ass.’ The term ‘Native American’ reflects the racist desire to keep them docile.

                3. When you compare the two “natives” definitely makes me wince a bit, like reading some colonial British ode to colonization.

                  Pick up the white man’s burden!

                  What is this cross-checking into boards you speak of, is that part of curling or something? (I kid)

                  1. I’ve always thought ‘native American’ sounded like a throwback phrase. It’s the PC crowd that promotes it, but are their ears so tone deaf they don’t hear the connotation? ‘Indigenous Americans’ and ‘First Nations’ sound both accurate in terms of a neutral English usage and less fraught with the oddities of our history.

            2. It’s amazing that the most mild-mannered canuk turns into a slobbering racist bastard when discussing the first nations.

              Not that I think our local pants enthusiast is racist, but I’ve seen a lot of supposedly liberal canadians go apeshit over their injuns.

              Is anyone else’s preview and submit buttons giant and green all of a sudden?

              1. Yes.

                Jessie tells me if I change my profile to a link rather than an email address, my preview button will work. He says you’re the expert. True?

                1. Er…when I said ‘native’ I meant ‘non-immigrant’.

                2. Sigh Jessie = short for Jessica, Jesse = Biblical name for boys.

                  1. Sorry man. I humbly apologize for any unintended othering.

                    1. No worries. I have an uncle who manages to spell my name every possible way but the correct one. Even when he’s sending me an email at jesse@[domain].com.

                      He also goes ballistic when anyone spells his wife’s name incorrectly and she’s got a very unusual spelling of her name.

                    2. So was Rick Springfield actually lusting over a lesbian?

                    3. I had a coworker who LOVED Rick Springfield, so much so that whenever we crossed paths at work (small office, so quite frequently) she’d start screaming lyrics to Jessie’s Girl (it was unpleasant). Men are named Jessie now, and it’s getting more common, but it’s because parents are retarded, not because it’s acceptable. Next we’ll have boys named Jessi who will be destined for the stripper pole by the i at the end of their name. It’s just wrong.

                      When I first started commenting I tested preview on FF and Chrome with and without an email attached. I presented my findings and it seemed that people who had websites or no link were able to preview, and emails only caused the glitch. Reasonable did not make a difference, nor did greasemonkey.

                    4. Do dude strippers have stupid names like girl ones?

                    5. I think jesse just othered and microaggressed against the womyn here by showing his disappointment over be called by a traditional cis/trans gender feminine name. Also, as a white male, Jesse let his privilege mask slip by assuming that he, as a white male, was being addressed and not a Womyn by the name of Jessie.

                      He probably thinks girls don’t know anything about computers and perpetuates that myth of the patriarchy subconsciously.

                    6. But what about my preview button?

                    7. I don’t know. What browser are you using?

                      I don’t have an email under my handle, but I did…


                      It worked fine. It wasn’t huge and puke green colored, though. I’m pissed at this new change. This totally wouldn’t have happened if Postrel was still charge.

                      I am using chrome will all sorts of doodads running.

                    8. I use chrome too.

                      I’ll try a link and see if preview works. I assume u r using reasonable?

                    9. Yup, I’m perpin’ reasonable. You gots to nowadays.

        2. More immigration than Canada? Citation.

  8. Portugal, maybe. Their drug policies are more liberal, anyway.

    Argentina? I don’t think so. At least not economic wise. Their president is a a commie.

    1. Harper has done some decent things up here. The economy remains okay while he scrapped the long gun registry which was a total useless mess. But he’s still more neocon than anything – he still spends a lot. Still – sigh – he’s a better option that the other parties though if you can believe it. It’s not that hard with wackos like the NDP and the stagnant Liberal party.

      Again, not sure if that makes Canada more libertarian. And then there’s Quebec…fucking commie xenophobes.

      1. Harper is awful. I’m actually warming up to Trudeau’s Liberals. He advocates legal MJ!

        1. How can you warm up to that empty suit?

          You’re kidding right?

          Harper is a better option – and way smarter. Not my cup of tea but, again, more serious than the other clowns.

          1. Smarter?!?! RUFKM? Harper is a moron who ran into a lot of good luck and still nearly blew it. Awful strategist and he hates freedom. I’ll take the ’empty suit’ who so far is exceeding expectations.

            1. Cyotoxic. I take it you’re liberal, right?

              By saying he exceeded expectations is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard yet. I guess standards are real low in the liberal ranks.

              Trudeau is vapid, vacuous and needs to button up.

              1. Cytotoxic. I take it you’re liberal, right?

                LOL! Yeah, Cyto is a huge liberal. Infamous.

                Seriously though, Harper is shit. He says some small government words every now and then while practising the same sort of statism and spending binges that conservatives loved to complain about when the Liberals were doing it.

                Junking the CWB and killing the long gun registry were nice. Tax free savings accounts are great. But I’m stretching to think of anything else the gov’t has done that’s even half good from a libertarian POV. Harper’s also a notorious micromanager which is pretty hard to square with libertarianism given how much power the ruling party has to dick around in the economy if it chooses to do so.

                And Jason Kenney is just a piece of shit, had to put that in there somewhere.

                1. I tend to look at it that way as well, Bradley. My friend works for the diplomatic corps and that much about Harper’s micro-managing is true.

                  Truth is, we don’t have much of a libertarian option here.

                  Shortcomings aside, he’s still better than Mulcair and Trudeau.

            2. I’ll take the ’empty suit’ who so far is exceeding expectations.

              So he’s a Canadian Obama?

              LOL! Yeah, Cyto is a huge liberal. Infamous.

              Well he did say that he voted Liberal last election and presumably will again in 2015….

              Truth is, we don’t have much of a libertarian option here.

              No Shit.

              1. The funny thing is that while the conservatives aren’t so hot the Liberal party of Canada is a mess and is in far worse shape. I stopped voting Liberal in the 90s and now is definitely not the time to vote for them – picking Trudeau over Garneau to lead the party was sad.

                Trudeau represents Canada’s version of the Kennedy dynasty. So yes, Obama, Kennedy and emotional lefty rantings are all part and parcel of his shtick.

                1. Considering that Trudeau was the decisive break from old-style classical liberalism in favour of US-style (oh the irony!) modern liberalism then more Trudeaus is about the last thing Canada needs.

              2. Hey Cyto maybe you should join the Liberals? Interesting to see how far you can go by being libertarian and supporting interventionism.

                1. I follow the policies. Trudeau’s policies seem…ill-defined but what little there is is not bad. MJ legalization! I just want Harper out ASAP because he’s the worst PM since Trudeau Sr. He’s our Bush essentially. I want Harper to be followed by something relatively benign, and I think Trudeau Jr is that placeholder. Gives time for the Contards to pull their heads out.

                  Re: calling me a ‘liberal’. Gold. Pure gold. That’s just…wow. Way to be every unthinking Contard partisan in Canada. ‘You voted for TEAM RED a couple times so must be a secret mole for them or something!!1’

                  1. As someone who doesn’t know too much about Canadian politics (beyond the basics), this conversation amuses me

                    1. As someone who doesn’t know too much about Canadian politics (beyond the basics), this conversation amuses me

                      Lucky you.

                  2. Fuck both of those teams.

                    We have another option you know.


                    1. Fuck both of those teams.

                      Mulcair has a sad.

                  3. I have a some respect for Trudeau, for finally broaching marijuana legalization. Harper is basically an opportunist; he’ll cave on this when it starts to threaten the Conservatives’ voting bloc. We need to shift public opinion in certain demographics to make that happen, and Trudeau’s support helps.

                    Which is not to say I’m voting for him, however. I’m not interested in electoral politics anymore.

      2. Canada has single payer health care.

        Doesn’t that make you a communist Hell?

        1. Just for you, left-wing Palin.


          Not commie but ossified. I guess that goes hand in hand with socialism.

          1. I oppose single payer.

            I like the market based system we have here – but I hate Medicare/caid.

            1. I think that’s wise.

    2. No Portugal is not freer than America. Their drug laws aren’t that great.

      1. They don’t throw drug uers in prison, or bust their doors down in the middle of the night and terrorize their family, and shoot their dogs.

        I don’t think so anyway.

        My daughter-in-law just moved there. She doesn’t do drugs, and is very conservative like her mom, so I won’t be having that conversation with her anytime soon. But I might be able to get a feel for how it feels to live there, from her, when we go there to see her.

        1. users, damnit

        2. If you store or traffic or make drugs you’re getting a visit from Civil Protection in Portugal as much as in America.

  9. Apologies to grammar. I blame the wine.

    1. Of course, by “wine” you mean “laudanum”.

      1. I had to look that up.

      1. Fuck that. I’ve moved on to Averna.

  10. …Argentina … blazed another libertarian trail by allowing transgender citizens to have their sex altered on their birth certificates.

    Hmmm. I’m not in favor of changing facts and altering historical records. I’m philosophical featherweight, but that strikes me as out-of-bounds.

    1. Being able to change history to fit your own preferences is the essence of libertarianism. Amirite?

      1. If we’re not free to change our birth certificates to reflect our present gender identity, it means the terrorists have won.

    2. I guess it doesn’t harm anyone, but damned if I can figure out how not having that option is an unacceptable abridgment of liberty.

    3. That’s Widget Buffett you address sir, first born (illegitimate) son of Warren and Princess Grace. It says so on my Argentina birth certificate.

  11. BTW, where’s my h/t for this story? I’m not sure I’m the first one here to post the link, but I did post a link to this early today.

      1. Well, I’m glad at least someone appreciates my efforts.

        1. I was going to link that first, but couldn’t resist a clip that depicts Patrick Stewart smacking Wil Wheaton.

  12. I live in Canada, and we don’t have heroin in every high school vending machine!

    1. You statist fucks!

    2. I bet your home is painted the colour red and you drink liters of your favourite beer brewed by a syndicalist co-op.

      1. Stop talkin bad aboot the Canuks, eh.

        1. Take off – yer blowin’ the floor, ya fuckin’ Newfie.

          1. Ah, Newfie jokes where have ye gone?

  13. Provincial Sales Tax in Manitoba is now 8%.

    1. I would support a 15% sales tax on non-food items if there were no income or property tax.

      1. Widespread implementation of sales taxes is a huge plus here in Canada.

      2. we have income tax and property tax and Goods and Srvcs Tax! !

        1. In Canada, those are pluses too!

          Just keep your listeria-ridden cheese curd stuffed bellies on the North side of the line.

          1. Can do, as a mere possession charge makes it not worth the hassle.

      3. I would support a 15% sales tax on non-food items if there were no income or property tax.


        Income tax is immoral. Property tax is straight-up evil.

    2. Most US states have their own sales tax. Does Canada have both a provincial and national sales tax? I could look that up but I’m too lazy.

      The State of California has both state-wide and local add-on sales taxes. It’s a fucking mess at that.

      1. Does Canada have both a provincial and national sales tax?


      2. In Ontario, I pay a federal income tax (29%), a provincial income tax (17.41%), a federal sales tax (5%) and a provincial sales tax (8%).

        There’s also a provincial “health care premium” that’s a function of income but is not explicitly a “tax”.

        Aside from those, there are the usual municipal property taxes, and a wide assortment of excise taxes on gasoline, alcohol, tobacco, etc…

        1. Yeah, Canada is way more heavily taxed than America. The 13% sales tax was ridiculous, not to mention the $5 or so per gallon of gas, which must mean rapacious fuel taxes.

          And all that was on top of stuff costing about twice what it costs in the states.

          Plus, the microbrew beer by the fucking CN tower ($44 bucks to ride to the top) tasted like Budweiser.

          I can’t think of anything I like about Ontario, except for some hot Asian chicks.

  14. Canada may be de facto more libertarian than the US, but de jure, we’re not even close.

    Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is, in its very first clause, constrained to “such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”. Simply put, our rights are not absolute.

    Furthermore in the Charter,
    1) there is absolutely no mention of property rights,
    2) there is explicit permission for “Affirmative Action Programs”,
    3) there is explicit permission for any legislature, provincial or federal, to pass any law “notwithstanding” any of the fundamental freedoms, legal rights or equality rights that are supposedly protected in the Charter, with the only restriction being that the over-riding law has to be re-enacted every five years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S…..d_Freedoms

    1. Precisely. The “reasonable limits” clause is the ultimate copout: “as a Canuck I have rights until my betters decide that they have such an outstanding deal for me — which I can’t refuse — that I shall surrender my rights”.

      I like this country (Canada) very much but I agree w/ Torontonian.

      1. The ‘notwithstanding clause’ is a disgrace to freedom thinking minds.

        But to Canada it’s “intelligent compromise.”

        Fuck it and fuck them.

    2. What Torontonian said (or, as we pronounced it in my Toronto-based pipe band – “Taranah”)

      As is tradition…

    3. Turdeau most have gotten it from the beloved Soviet Constitution…

  15. this is a pointless exercise and the only proof you need is to go to any of these other places and see how quickly the locals recognize you are not one of them. Contrast that to anyone from any of those nations coming here and blending in instantly. And that’s just one difference. Add to that private property rights, gun rights, and a fairly explicit right to free speech, and all the drug and prostitute laws pale by comparison.

    1. Baverstock didn’t mention private property rights. But if you’re talking about money as private property then the best cases are probably Hong Kong, Singapore, and several island nations. If you’re talking about doing whatever you want on your own property, the US has be far down on list.

      1. You’re ok in the US doing stuff on your own property, as long as the cops don’t think you have illegal drugs, an illegal deer, or a dog to use for target practice.

  16. Do these other nations allow their unions to threaten to poison people’s food if they don’t get their way? If not, how free can they really be?

  17. this is a pointless exercise and the only proof you need is to go to any of these other places and see how quickly the locals recognize you are not one of them

    I’m not sure exactly what that means. There are other countries that are as much of a melting pot as the US, for example, Brazil and Canada, so I don’t think I get the point.

    1. it means that culturally, we are not like any other nation on earth and that’s by design. At times, it seems we move from melting pot to salad bowl as time goes on but the point is, no one looks out of place here.

      How many countries can one of us go and blend in instantly? Here, it’s impossible to tell if someone’s been in country for five generations or five minutes.

      1. the nye Mets are my favorite squadron!

      2. How many countries can one of us go and blend in instantly?

        Brazil, especially the South. Until you start talking and don’t know the language, but even then, no one will think ‘Oh noes, a gringo! We’ve never seen one of those before!’

    1. Can’t you guys just sell off some bottled glacier water and cover all your expenses? I mean, your population is pretty small, and can anyone really live more than 200 miles north of the US border, unless they’re like an Eskimo? And also, people here will pay stupid prices for glacier water even though they can’t tell it from shitty tap water, proven by an episode of Penn and Teller Bullshit.

      1. Canada is a branch plant economy for the U.S. It was one of the last things I came to terms with as I matured as a man.

        All this Canadian nationalist bull shit and navel gazing was just a strawman to this fact and reality.

        We’re a resource based economy with too small of an advanced, service industry.

        Canada’s pass time is to bitch and moan about America and how ignorant they are yet it’s the U.S. economy that feeds us.

        1. Maybe they can legalize some of that VC bud to go with the glacier water?

  18. Taxes in Argentina:

    Highest marginal rate: 35% (starts at about USD 30,000)
    Sales Tax: 21% (Including food)
    Provincial sales tax: 3%
    Payroll Tax: 30% the minimum, if you are unionized is bigger
    Exports on agriculture products: depending on the commodity, can be 35% for soybeans.
    Assets tax: around 1% of property
    Bank deposit tax!: 1.2% of all deposits for corporations. (Savings accounts exempted)
    In adition, to buy US dollars you need authorization from the government.
    There’s more, but I guess this is enough

    1. I like the idea of Chile and Argentina as a comparative experiment in free-market economics vs socialism.

      Both countries transitioned from military juntas to democracies and have chosen opposite paths for their economy. Clearly, Chile has been far more successful.

      1. Your betters in DC like the idea of a world empire, so you don’t get any choice.

      2. Argentina was one of the wealthiest countries in the world before Peronism

        1. Argentina was one of the wealthiest countries in the world

          Governments excel in curing such conditions as wealth and prosperity.

          1. Governments excel in curing such conditions as at stealing wealth and squandering prosperity.


            It’s not that the wealth just disappears. It’s that it gets transferred to those who are politically connected. They don’t fuck things up until there is no wealth left. They steal it and give it to their buddies to the detriment of everyone else.

  19. No, no, no.

    As a lifelong and frequent visitor to my favorite neighbor to the South (Windsor, ya’ll), East, North AND West, I know I’m a little bit freer when I cross the border back into ‘murca.

    But Canadian pipe bands are still MILES better…

    Speaking of which, good luck to mah pals with the Toronto Police, Peel Regional Police and 78th Fraser Highlanders pipe bands at the North American and World championships!

    1. Oh, and, PS – the US is trying mightily to pass other nations in a race to “less free than thou”.


  20. North Korea opposes the USG and its corporations and its spies so of course it is libertopia….Oh wait, thought I was back on antiwar.com and LewRockwell.com.

  21. Speaking of Canada, what sort of internet surveillance does CSIS do? And does it co-operate with the NSA?

    1. I’m pretty sure they cooperate. CSIS has no real agents on the ground from what I hear. It’s still a rather amateurish intelligence agency.

      1. Haven’t heard anything about it. Since Obama is probably more popular in Canada than he is the US (*barf*) I think I can see why it wouldn’t be talked about.

        1. It’s true he is quite popular here. Case in point my 77 year old father who has voted Conservative his whole life is gaga over Obummer, it’s all he’s so reasonable and intelligent and better then Bush. I kinda blew his mind today when I told him that I think in his own way he’s done at least as much damage to America as Dubya.

  22. Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands get nods for legal prostitution

    FWIW, while prostitution itself is legal in Canada, everything that makes it possible to carry out safely, or in the open, is illegal. Communicating for the purpose of prostitution in a public place is illegal, running a brothel (or setting foot in one) is illegal, and so on. Nevada, it isn’t.

    1. Did you use to publish at antiwar.com or am I thinking of another Bradley?

      1. Someone else. I’ve only posted a few comments on AWC, and they probably weren’t under this handle.

    2. What happens in Canada stays in Canada. The rest of the world wouldn’t have it any other way.

    3. I believe the laws are currently in flux, because of a recent court decision, but Canada is still just a technically-legal-but-really-illegal country regarding prostitution. Germany and the Netherlands both have legal prostitution but with a lot of restrictions.

      By all the accounts I’ve read, New Zealand is clearly the freest country regarding prostitution laws, followed by some states in Australia (but other states are strictly illegal).

  23. The UK is even more progressive libertarian than these nations listed:

    “It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us,” he said. “It upsets me because I want it so much ? a big lavish ceremony, the whole works. I just don’t think it is going to happen straight away.”

    1. Also IRA terrorists have guns and sell drugs. Libertarian!

      1. Ugh. Under that “Will Trudeau be the next PM?”

        Insufferable and dramatic as he is, I’m afraid he will be PM. The West won’t vote for him so it boils down to Ontario since Quebec would likely give him a shot.

        The Trudeau’s have been known to praise Castro. Meanwhile, a friend I just got into business with is Cuban-American and explained to me how Castro stole his family’s properties.

        1. Well just hope Sinclair-Trudeau is a liar and a closet libertarian who will do the opposite of Obama.

        2. PM Trudeau Jr will be harmless. He won’t even have a majority. Relax.

          1. You know who else didn’t have a majority and was supposed to be harmless?

            1. BOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!!!11!!eleventy!!111

  24. Jack Smack said he will be all over that man.


  25. Canada more libertarian than USA?

    Canada is a boring, expensive nanny state. I was recently trying to escape from Ontario, and the top speed was 100 km/hr (about 60 MPH), with a crapload of nannystate signs every few miles nagging me about seat belts and the demerits I would get for minor traffic infractions, and how a bit of speeding would get your vehicle stolen by the police and you fined and jailed.

    Only Canada could make me GLAD to be entering Detroit. That, and the American Nazi-lite border guard grilling me about shit that was none of his fucking business as I tried to escape into Murica.

    Fuck both Canada and the U.S. federal govt.

    1. Ontario sucks. Other parts of Canada are better. Well…most parts. At least some parts. Alberta.

  26. For comparisons like this, the Free Existence index (http://www.freeexistence.org/freedom.shtml) is nice, because you can assign weights to different freedoms and rank countries based on what’s most important to you.

    Also, while what things you care about vary from individual to individual, some freedoms can be used to defend freedom in general, while others cannot be, or at least not as well. You can use free speech to defend your right to smoke pot. You cannot smoke pot to defend your right of free speech.

    1. I put “crucial” for all the options and it gave me Chile.

      I like that you can chose your criteria. I don’t really care about corruption. I figure if I’m free to do all the other stuff, there won’t be enough laws to allow politicians to be bought. More laws = more corruption.

    2. Thanks for posting this. Very interesting.

    3. Unfortunately, my criteria led me to . . .

      The United States. Chile was #2 with an overall score 1 point lower than the US. Upon examining the results it’s clear that Gun Rights was what skewed the results to the US.

  27. “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value… It’s not my job to give value to an American concept.”


    1. Borovoy also noted that under Section 13, “Intent is not a requirement, and truth and reasonable belief in the truth is no defence.” He has said that when he and other human rights activists advocated the creation of human rights commissions they “never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech” and that censorship was not the role he had envisioned for the commissions.

      Borovoy further added that:

      “Although it’s true that they have nailed some genuine hatemongers with it, it has nevertheless been used or threatened to be used against a wide variety of constituencies who don’t bear the slightest resemblance to the kind of hatemongers that were originally envisioned: anti-American protesters, French-Canadian nationalists, a film sympathetic to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, a pro-Zionist book, a Jewish community leader, Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and even a couple years ago, a pro-Israeli speaker was briefed about the anti-hate law by a police detective before he went in to make a speech.”

      1. Wow, I really feel bad that your big government rights commission totally backfired. Couldn’t you see that a country like the US, whose constitution reads “shall make no law” regarding speech, has about a zillion laws limiting speech. What did you think was going to happen giving the government even a modicum of power?

        I love it when statists are totally shocked, SHOCKED!, I tell ya!, when their little social justice projects bite them in the ass.

        1. The folly is pretty obvious once you realize the basis for these laws was to outlaw Neo-Nazis. Yes we have to end freedom of speech in order to save it.

          1. I know progressives here who think the same thing. The lack of self-awareness, it burns!

      2. S13 is on track to die in less than a year.

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