Political Science

This Chart Shows How Much Freedom the World Has Won and Lost Since 1972

Looking at Freedom House's data from the perspective of individuals instead of states

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Your name, sir, is premature.
Fleer

Every year the human rights group Freedom House puts out a paper assessing how free each nation of the world is. You can quibble with its judgments in many individual cases, but overall it gives you a good sense of where people do or don't enjoy basic civil liberties and political rights.

It isn't immediately obvious what way is best to put all that data together. Freedom House tells us which countries are getting better or worse, but some countries are much bigger than others. How many individuals live under relatively free or unfree regimes?

Jay Ulfelder, a political scientist who blogs at Dart-Throwing Chimp, has taken a stab at an answer. He has published a chart showing the world's levels of liberty and self-government, as measured by Freedom House, from 1972 to 2014 (with a gap in 1981, when the group started publishing its data on a different schedule). The chart looks at the world as a whole, converting the individual states' scores into a single global figure weighted by population, with shifts in big countries moving the line more than shifts in little ones. If we want to approach this topic "from a classical liberal perspective," Ulfelder explains, "then individual people, not states, need to be our unit of observation."

On Ulfelder's scale, the freest possible Planet Earth would get a score of 10 and a prison world would get a 0. Here are his results:

Jay Ulfelder

Not what you were expecting, is it? "At first I thought I must have messed up the math, because everyone knows things got a lot better when Communism crumbled in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, right?" Ulfelder writes. "It turns out, though, that those swings are driven by changes in China and India, which together account for approximately one-third of the global population." China's Freedom House score worsened after the Tienanmen Square massacre of 1989, then improved a bit in 1998; India got somewhat less free in the early '90s, then freer a few years later.

Ulfelder also notes that the line has been close to flat for the last decade, albeit with an unsettling dip last year. That may also defy your expectations, given the widespread (though not very convincing) idea that global freedom has been in a severe decline over that time.

The chart is only as good as Freedom House's data, of course, and it thus has no way to account for any uneven distribution in liberty that may exist within individual countries. It is entirely possible, for example, that some Chinese jurisdictions have faced more stringent repression at the same time that others are loosening the leash. Still, as Ulfelder writes, this may be "a more accurate measure of overall freedom in the world if we care about people instead of states." It's certainly a bracingly different way to think about the last 25 years.

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  1. “If we want to approach this topic ‘from a classical liberal perspective,’ Ulfelder explains, ‘then individual people, not states, need to be our unit of observation.'”

    Yeppers. That’s the central and fundamental point of libertarianism. Individuals work, make money, make decisions, are happy, suffer, and so on. Collectives, not so much.

  2. What, no reason/rupe poll about if people FEEL like they are free?

    I really wanted to know people’s opinions on things vs. empirical data…

    1. Too many people FEEL they’re free, right up until the man with the baton convinces them otherwise. And even then, some still remain unconvinced.

      1. yes, and too many people FEEL that they don’t need vaccines. Too many people FEEL all sorts of things that aren’t supported by evidence. That’s why I hate their stupid polls.

        1. I FEEL you may be onto something. Wait..

        2. Tell us how you really FEEL

    2. What, no reason/rupe poll about if people FEEL like they are free?

      Remember, the most cited corruption index is Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. That’s how we know that Cuba’s actually not that bad.

    3. I really wanted to know people’s opinions on things vs. empirical data…

      As such, I refuse to accept any chart that doesn’t ignore the Medieval Warming Period, contain tree ring data, and look like a hockey stick.

      If we aren’t 0.2 +/- 0.5 degrees freer than we were a decade ago and a globally-averaged 1.4 degrees freer by the end of the century, I won’t believe it.

  3. I’m not seeing why the chart is surprising. I’d be more surprised if it ever went above 6. Individual liberty is becoming one of those quaint ideas that people used to have in the past. This isn’t the Wild West anymore, Walker.

    1. When the Cold War ended, I thought liberalism would take off across the world. And for a while, it did. Then it didn’t. And we’ve gotten much, much worse.

      1. Can probably thank the people who took it upon themselves to redefine liberal.

      2. I can’t wait until mass surveillance technology becomes really practical. We’re almost there, though not quite. You know that the government will want to use it, and constitutional protections have been gradually gutted over the last several both politically and socially, so I’m thinking we’ll be one big terrorist attack or campaign of smaller attacks away from a police state. And large numbers of people would cheer it on.

        1. so I’m thinking we’ll be one big terrorist attack or campaign of smaller attacks away from a police state.

          Look outside. You missed it.

        2. Vernor Vinge covered that in A Deepness in the Sky.

        3. It won’t even need to be mandatory. Most people will voluntary supply all the information the government would ever want.

      3. The seductive lure of collectivism seems to cause people to forget history and the many horrors collectivism has brought to the world. After all, everyone knows that those horrors only happened because the wrong people were in charge. It couldn’t be collectivism itself. I mean, how could all those good intentions possible result in horror and suffering? We will get it right this time. Just watch.

        1. I wish at least one country, especially the U.S., would stand against this wave. If the U.S. were going the other direction, we’d be many times more wealthy and powerful in comparison to the rest of the world, and would have a higher standard of living to boot.

          Instead, we simply benefit by being not as shitty as other countries, yet still increasing daily in shittiness ourselves.

          1. I wish at least one country, especially the U.S., would stand against this wave.

            What ‘wave’? What are you talking about? The world is for the most part getting less collectivist. Particularly SE Asia.

            1. Free markets and liberty abound. Heck, it’s practically an anarchy here in North America.

              1. Freer and freer markets do in most parts of the world yes. Even in America, previously unthinkable state-level labour and tax reforms multiply.

            2. Um, only SE Asia is getting less collectivist.

              1. And parts of Africa and large parts of Latin America. You can start saying accurate things any time now. BTW ‘only SE Asia’ includes billions of people.

                1. Okay, go to Indonesia and announce that you will be opening up a marijuana / hashish / cocaine cultivation and distribution business.

                  Let’s see how free you think it is then.

                  Better yet, go to Vietnam and announce that you will be introducing Cyto’s free market currency.

                  Let’s see how free you think it is then.

        2. Can’t we all just get along?

        3. I thought that the fall of the USSR would have been more of a blow for collectivists, and yet in recent years we’ve had things like Occupy and that doofus promoting communism in the pages of Rolling Stone.

          Related is the constant assumption that if only the US were more like the “social democracies” of Scandinavia, everything would be hunky-dory. These people all seem to have heard something back in college, but haven’t actually looked at any data. E.g. do they know that Sweden, Denmark, and Finland don’t have a minimum wage?

          1. Do they know that immigrant unemployment in Sweden is among the highest in the world?

            Do they know that Western Europe is almost completely stagnant economically and is in serious peril of going into terminal decline?

            Of course they don’t know these things. Learning about them might refute some cherished notions.

            1. Economic stagnation is a good thing! Fewer people getting rich means less inequality!

            2. One of my Swiss masters was in town and spoke with us… they really are counting on the US to carry the load, worldwide. He waved off Europe like it was already crawling to its economic deathbed. That was…refreshingly honest.

              1. LTC – your Swiss masters are going to be sorely disappointed in the US. We are already as broke as Europe.

                1. But they are going to go into full blown retraction and demographic death spiral….2% growth ain’t much, but when you are already huge, that still means something.

                  But it is something to see that scrabbling for 1% of the US market means more than taking huge chunks of other markets.

          2. I don’t think the collectivists are what they used to be. This is about as good as it gets for them, and that’s not that good.

          3. Denmark (and I’m sure Sweden and Finland) has a minimum wage. Trust me, I grew up there.

            The constant clamoring to be more like Scandinavia hurts my brain. I now live in the US, and would not go back to Denmark unless I was absolutely forced to. It would feel like going to prison.

            I get to keep more of the money I earn with my body and mind, I get better and cheaper health care (surprise!), and I’m generally a better and more generous person as a result.

            I also have a completely new and healthy appreciation for various freedoms that are unheard of in Scandinavia. Things like being allowed to defend my own life or speak my mind, without facing charges.

            1. It’s even better than that, Holger! In Sweden, they actually charge newspapers with crimes for failure to censor hate speech in their comment sections.

              Man, I’d sure love to live in a country like that, wouldn’t you?

              1. Man, I’d sure love to live in a country like that, wouldn’t you?

                People who claim to be tolerant would cream their jeans to have that power. After all, tolerant people must censor intolerant speech in the name of tolerance.

              2. It’s simply outrageous.

                Just like Sweden sending an artist to jail for an art exhibition which, while incredibly tasteless, hurt no-one.

                The left has all along chided social conservatives for legislating from a moral (religious) bias, then extracted every gram of moral superiority from that as possible, and used it to do exactly the same in return.

                This is why freedom in Europe and the US is suffering, it’s an ideological war with individual rights as collateral, regardless of who wins.

                It’s probably also why both sides feverishly oppose Libertarian views, and spend every opportunity asserting their own brand of moral superiority to squash those views.

              3. You already do, my friend.

              1. Further research indicates there is no legally-mandated minimum wage in Denmark, but unions can and do negotiate them.

                1. Denmark has a legally mandated minimum wage for anyone who works for a company with a union contract. A union cannot, as I understand it, legally negotiate below minimum wage.

                  Up until at least the 80s, these contract negotiations happened on a national scale between umbrella organizations on both sides. This has fragmented a bit in later years.

                  I guess technically minimum wage does not apply to everyone in Denmark, but in practical terms, just about everyone in Denmark is a member of a union and works for a company with a union contract. Or their skill easily warrants a wage above the minimum.

                  Even if you are not a dues paying union member, you are typically covered by the contract, since they are company or industry-wide, and your union coworkers will not be shy about letting you know exactly what a monster you are.

                  1. Actually, I may stand corrected on this. I’m not sure there is a legally mandated minimum wage, even for agreements between unions and various employers/industries in Denmark.

            2. Nah, you’re a fucking idiot.

              1. “Nah, you’re a fucking idiot.”

                Great 🙂

                1. As you can see below, this is another incarnation of an infamous troll…

                  1. I would never have guessed 😉

                  2. Fuck you, I’ve been posting here for over a year. Are you seriously saying that one has to be an ‘infamous troll’, to think HolgerDanske is a fucking idiot?

                    You’re the fucking cunt who never seems to post on here, you are probably an incarnation of that so-called ‘infamous troll,’ looking to get the suspicion off yourself. How transparently cunty.

                    1. Let me add further, that I have good reason to call HolgerDanske a fucking idiot, as he changed his story three times. First he says there is a minimum wage, then there is no minimum wage, then there is. It’s like a fucking lame Zen riddle. This is not trolling, it’s constructive criticism, which Holger would have learned something from if you didn’t dive in and try to undermine it, Servator, you absolute retard.

                    2. You’re right, I did change my story.

                      I was wrong about the facts, realized it, and wasn’t shy about admitting it.

                      Guess I’m a “fucking idiot” indeed. Thanks for pointing it out in case anyone missed it 🙂

        4. The seductive lure of collectivism seems to cause people to forget history and the many horrors collectivism has brought to the world.

          I don’t like demonizing the word “collectivism”. Makes it sound like we are against human interaction and we think every man is an island.

          A free market is a collective of individuals making choices that better their position in life. I’m all for such a collective and the synergies it produces. I’m simply against being forced to participate.

          Thoughts?

          1. I think “collectivism” implies force, in the same way that “individualism” implies that voluntary collective action is fine. Though yes, that point should be made clearer sometimes. It’s an inevitable side effect of the shorthand terms everyone uses when discussing politics.

          2. Collectivism has come to mean every unit cooperating for the good of the whole. Each unit being able to make individual decisions that incidentally benefit the whole is not really collectivism. Think a Borg cube vs a Federation starship. At least that’s how I see it.

          3. I think you’re a fucking moron.

        5. Humans are a collectivist species. We are pack animals, like dogs. Individualism is a recent genetic anomaly.

      4. liberty is becoming one of those quaint ideas that people used to have in the past.

        we’ve gotten much, much worse.

        The chart makes clear that this is not the case. Please put a sock in the doomsaying already/

        1. Really, we’re freer than we were? That’s simply not the case.

          1. In many ways yes. Trade is freer. Unions don’t have the power they did. Anti-obscenity laws are weaker. Capital controls are far less prevalent. Gun laws are vastly better. MJ is getting legalized.

            What do libertarians get out of counter-factual doomsaying? What is it? Do they feel a primal need to be Cassandra? Because the data is clear that, while we are far from perfect, the world and even America is getting much better.

            1. While economic liberty is shrinking like a penis in a cold lake.

              1. Not globally. Further, the American picture is more complicated than that. We are getting state-level tax and labour reforms that would have been unthinkable several years ago.

                1. I live in that American picture. You don’t.

                  So pretty please, with sugar on top, go fuck yourself.

                  1. What a convincing counter-argument, with extra tedium on top. How about I don’t go fuck myself and just continue annoying you? You’re funny when you’re obviously buttmad over losing an argument.

                    1. Why would I bother using a convincing argument on a stubborn mule like you? I’m smarter than that.

                    2. Oh god the projection.

                2. We are getting state-level tax and labour

                  Ha ha ha! That isn’t even much of a shibboleth.

              2. It shrinks?

            2. In many ways, no. Free to choose to buy insurance or not? Free to allow smoking in businesses? Free to not bake a cake for a cause you oppose? Free to let our children play outside? Free to not wear a seatbelt when we drive? Free to buy ephedrine over the counter like we could in the 90s? Free to read a text or talk on the phone while we drive? Free to drink more than a miniscule amount of alcohol before driving home? Free from warrantless data collection and no-knock raids?

              As the federal and state registers expand with each year, and rules are piled upon rules, I shudder to think how much freer we’re becoming.

              1. Free to resist arrest?

                Free to drive without a license?

                Free to travel without being subjected to the molestations of the state’s privileged purveyors of violence?

                1. Just pick a date somewhere between 20 & 60 yrs. ago, and I’ll list a bunch of ways that haven’t been listed yet that we’re freer now in all or part of the USA than then.

        2. You see that downward trend at the end of the chart? You expect that’s going to turn back up?

          1. Maybe, it did before. There’s no way of knowing. One blip =/= a trend btw.

            1. The default state of humanity for 99.9% of history has been slavery. If history is any guide, that’s where we’re headed after this blip of liberty runs its course. Human nature leads to collectivism. It just feels right.

              1. Human nature leads to collectivism.

                If that were true we would never have left it.

                If history is any guide, that’s where we’re headed after this blip of liberty runs its course.

                I guess we’re also going back to stone tools? Because TRENDZ.

                1. Wow. Talk about missing the point. If you weren’t such an obtuse contrarian you might actually be likeable. Nah. Probably not.

                  1. What is your point? That you’re Nostradamus?

                    1. My point is that human nature doesn’t change. You will always have people demanding collectivism, and over time they always win. At least that’s what history says. Yeah, I could be wrong. But history is not.

                    2. You will always have people demanding collectivism

                      More like, you will always have people seizing power in the name of collectivism. Few people actually want it.

                    3. Few people actually want it.

                      You kidding? Tons of people want it! Collectivism means free shit! It means we all work together! It means equality by tearing down the rich! It means free medical and free college and free everything! Everyone gets to live at the expense of everyone else! For free! Collectively! It’s….. evil.

                    4. OK, I’ll qualify it with “few people who see where it leads” want it. And the reason is human nature. People are greedy, selfish creatures, not good little collectivists. The only way it “wins” is by promising free shit but in reality making the majority poorer.

                    5. OK, I’ll qualify it with “few people who see where it leads” want it.

                      The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

                    6. Yeah, but you always have people demanding freedom too. That goes for pretty much everything people demand & its opposite. Except cake; they all seem to want cake, even the diabetics.

                    7. Yeah demanding freedom for themselves never for their neighbors and given a choice between controlling other people and being left alone most people seem to prefer controlling others.

                    8. Are you kidding? The movement against slavery was a mass movement. People are very, very concerned about other people when they get a chance. Sometimes that works in favor of liberty, sometimes against.

    2. I’m not seeing why the chart is surprising.

      Because you expect a big surge in 1989-91 and instead there’s a big dip.

      1. The only people expecting big surges anywhere are big dips.

      2. Iraq? Confusion in the former soviet states? Drug war? I mean, sure there was Wayne’s World on TV about to get a movie and Bleach was turning the music world on it’s side, but this was also the height of gang violence and police brutality… right? I mean, I was aged9-11 so I don’t really remember facts, just what the news told me and feelings I had.

        1. Maybe not you, but I was surprised just as the author was.

      3. Oh right, because the Berlin wall fell and allowed California to pick up where East Germany left off.

  4. Where does California fall on the scale of free nations?

    1. What I like most about you Paul is that you don’t even bother to read the post before deciding to publicly air your biases.

      1. You know what I like about you, Hugh?

        ..

        NOTHING!

  5. Here’s the problem with freedom: the more people there are in the world, the less freedom you can allow them to have. Can you imagine what the world would be like if you gave 7 billion people the ability to live their lives as they saw fit? It would be pure chaos. Anarchy. The human race would destroy itself. You have to take freedom away so that people can coexist. And the more people there are the less freedom they can be allowed.

    1. Hits sarcasm meter. Is this thing on? The scary thing is I can’t tell if this is for real or not.

      1. If you have to ask the question then the answer is yes.

    2. You have to take freedom away so that people can coexist.

      Suddenly, the bumper stickers make complete sense.

  6. Why do you guys still care about your petty Earth freedom when moon libertopia is in the offing.

    “The agency intends to “leverage the FAA’s existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis.”

    In other words, experts said, Bigelow could set up one of its proposed inflatable habitats on the moon, and expect to have exclusive rights to that territory – as well as related areas that might be tapped for mining, exploration and other activities.”

    YAY!

    “However, the FAA letter noted a concern flagged by the U.S. State Department that “the national regulatory framework, in its present form, is ill-equipped to enable the U.S. government to fulfill its obligations” under a 1967 United Nations treaty, which, in part, governs activities on the moon.”

    BOOOO!

    ‘”We didn’t give (Bigelow Aerospace) a license to land on the moon. We’re talking about a payload review that would potentially be part of a future launch license request. But it served a purpose of documenting a serious proposal for a U.S. company to engage in this activity that has high-level policy implications,”

    Might have been too quick with that ‘libertopia’ talk.

    1. Not if Bigelow (really?) Aerospace just launches from elsewhere and ignores the UN.

      1. The UN treaty is fucking idiotic. It seriously says that ‘space exploration must be for the good of all nations.’

        Hooray, space Communism! Good luck enforcing that, by the way. You know, with all those UN space marines who will be able to go up there and stop people if they disobey a UN treaty.

        1. You know, with all those UN space marines who will be able to go up there and stop people if they disobey a UN treaty.

          Like they do here on Earth.

          1. You mean the Blue Helmets would be too busy stepping aside or raping kids?

        2. Anybody up there when the space marines came would be doomed.

          *snickers*

      2. That’s precisely what will happen. Private actors will start putting people on other worlds, and the fait accompli will be that Earth governments will lose control at some point. Maybe even early on, depending on how things break.

        1. It’s not a fait accompli if those private entities lease protection from another sovereign or there own armed group.

    2. Someone setting up a libertarian society on the Moon is probably the fastest way to get the US back into the space business. It would be intolerable.

      1. Soon, the USG just won’t be able to afford that. If the moon-colony paid a tithe to a powerful or better yet sovereign entity the USG wouldn’t touch it.

    3. In other words, experts said, Bigelow could set up one of its proposed inflatable habitats on the moon, and expect to have exclusive rights to that territory – as well as related areas that might be tapped for mining, exploration and other activities.”

      A libertarian bouncy-house?

      “However, the FAA letter noted a concern flagged by the U.S. State Department that “the national regulatory framework, in its present form, is ill-equipped to enable the U.S. government to fulfill its obligations” under a 1967 United Nations treaty, which, in part, governs activities on the moon.”

      If you don’t think space won’t be treated like international waters, you’re mistaken.

  7. He has published a chart showing the world’s levels of liberty and self-government, as measured by Freedom House, from 1972 to 2014 (with a gap in 1981, when the group started publishing its data on a different schedule).

    Like to see the trend line of just the US since 1972.

    What say you? Up or down?

    1. Up. Freer trade, fewer capital controls, LOWER TAXES, disempowered private sector unions, and MUCH better gun laws, and legalization of MJ in some places. We have surveillance now but the FBI did plenty of hinky stuff back then too.

      1. I’m glad I got a Canadian’s view on how free my country is. Clearly Canadian Cytotoxic has a much better grasp of the intricacies of American regulatory law than I do, despite the fact that I’ve actually worked with American leasing and rent contracts in my job.

        I have run ins with state and federal regulatory agencies every single day. How frequently do you deal with American federal bureaucrats in the Great White North?

        1. Do you have an actual counter-argument or whiny sarc-style tedium? I am fully-aware there are a lot of problems in the US particularly out-of-control regulation.

          1. My counter argument is that your claims about decreases in local regulation are lies. Regulation in all of the most populous states with the exception of Texas (New York, California, Illinois, etc.) are vastly worse now than they were even five years ago.

            California is at the point where they’re destroying the porn industry be requiring them to wear condoms and are forcing them out of the state. Illinois has 40% funded pensions, no means of paying for them, and will not do anything to fix the problem.

            American colleges are actively at war with both free speech and their students’ sexuality. We have 18 trillion dollars in debt and the president of the United States is proposing a 4 trillion dollar budget that would include a one time 14% surcharge on all money held by American corporations overseas.

            You sit up there in Canada telling me how great things have gotten, despite the fact that I actually deal with this shit day by day by day.

            My sarcasm stems from the fact that you’re constantly behaving as if you have anything to add to conversations you know nothing about, not to mention the fact that you behave as if you’re an American citizen with some sort of vested interest in the American army, American immigration laws, and some degree of knowledge of local American regulations.

            From fucking Canada, I find it unlikely that you know much about the state of Chicago’s regulatory environment.

            1. “your claims about decreases in local regulation” don’t exist except in your head. Please be more careful, I expect better. I just pointed out that there have been state-level reforms that are a pretty big deal. I am aware of the extreme debt problem held by the US.

              The last part of your post seems to imply that you can’t know anything about a place’s freedom unless you live there, which is retarded. Step it up or lose by default.

              1. Cytotoxic.

                Irish has a point, you know that?

                Look at it this way. Greek historians were often sharp and informative in their observations of Rome just like Arab and Jewish thinkers were of Western Europe during the Middle-Ages and Renaissance.

                Canadians occupy a similar seat. We’re lucky to be standing next to such a great country. They’re gracious enough to let us in and argue among them but we don’t have their passport.

              2. Your big deal state reforms don’t really include any of the state insurance commissioners, do they?

                Or class action suits or general state of tort law? Have you seen what Kaliforneya has done to consumer law in this country?

                I have to slog through ever more regulations, rules and statutes coming from the laboratories of liberty – the states.

                For every trucking deregulation or allowing people to brew beer, we have Codes, Revised Statutes, Rules of Professional Conduct, Licensing requirements, Certifications, bonds, insurance requirements and regulations, taxes, etc landing like a locust swarm on us.

                Try to sell an insurance policy in any state in this union….tell me how free we are getting.

                1. Was insurance significantly less regulated in 1972?

            2. Ahem.

              You forget Florida.

              … which is … um … actually how we kinda like it, ya damn carpetbaggers.

              My apologies for usurping, FloridaMan.

            3. Irish,

              You are so fucking stupid it’s painful. If anything is putting the porn industry out of business, it’s the unregulated tube sites which are basically stealing peoples hard (pun intended) work and making money off of it. The condom rules in LA County were bullshit,but production just mobved to other counties and now LA county doesn’t get the economic benefit. Why don’t you talk about something you know, you dumb motherfucker? Oh is it because everything you say is stupid?

              1. It’s the rebirth of On the Road to Mandalay…you’re not very clever, dipshit though I’d guess you think you are.

            4. The porn industry was barely legal in 1972! Publications had just started to come out from under exploiting “educational” exemptions from obscenity laws a couple years earlier.

          2. Reading comprehension. His counter-argument was quite clear.

            And you’ve already called Sarcasmic tedious, thus exceeding your quota. To be Canadian or redundant is forgivable, but not both. NOT BOTH.

    2. USA since 1972? Up, way up.

      In 1972 you couldn’t choose your phone co. You even needed a license for Citizen’s Band, although by then it was trivial to get. The Fairness Doctrine was still in effect, as were ownership limits on b’casting stns.

      There were no legal gambling casinos outside Nevada & Puerto Rico.

      Firearms & even fireworks possession was restricted more & in many more jurisdictions.

      There were still usury laws. There were a lot more restrictions in general on raising capital.

      Transportation of both passengers & freight was still cartelized. Even hitchhiking was illegal in many states.

      Many states decriminalized pot possession after 1972. Several drugs went from Rx-only to OTC. Although you have to sign now for pseudoephedrine, I think it still required a prescription in 1972; if not, it’d gone Rx-to-OTC only shortly before.

      Laws against sodomy were still enforced against homosexuals.

      Home schooling was much harder to practice legally as a substitute for school attendance.

      Nurse midwifery wasn’t legal in many states.

  8. Can the emo-tarians about to turn this thread into a doom-fest just, not do that? Just shut the hell up instead? Because you’re wrong.

    The world has just witnessed a long boom in political freedom, and the recent setbacks have barely put a dent in those gains. We may not live on Planet Liberty, but Planet Burma is still far away.

    https://reason.com/archives/2011/06/03/planet-burma

    1. Global freedom has increased as American freedom has plummeted like a stone. Both of these things can simultaneously be true and I can be happy about gains in freedom in China even as I bemoan the decay of the country I actually live in.

      1. Global freedom has increased as American freedom has plummeted like a stone.

        What do you mean? So what if it’s more difficult to start a business, or that we’re forced by law to purchase health insurance, or that taxes are going up to pay for more social programs, or that more people are on permanent disability than ever, or that more professions require licenses, or that companies like Uber are getting squashed in many cities?

        We got gay marriage and legal marijuana! Buttsex and drugs! Hooray!

        1. companies like Uber are getting squashed in many cities?

          Uber is not getting squashed. They are the squashers of city regulation.

          1. Uber is banned in Little Rock, Las Vegas, Portland OR, Richmond, and Cambridge. And you lecture me about being inaccurate. What a maroon.

            1. LOL. Uber operates in plenty of places it’s ‘banned’.

              http://www.out-law.com/en/arti…..rmany-ban/

              Would it kill you to know anything?

              1. And drugs are sold where they are banned too! I bet you didn’t know that!

                1. What an inapt analogy.

                  1. People engaging in banned economic activity compared to people engaging in banned economic activity. Yeah, really inept. Think I’m going to start calling you Bo Jr.

              2. You use Germany to refute my comment about US cities?

                I thought Bo was the analogy-challenged one. Guess there’s two.

                1. Fine.

                  In Philadelphia, UberX operates in defiance of a ban by the Philadelphia Parking Authority

                  http://www.philly.com/philly/b…..hila_.html

                  1. I bet people are selling drugs in Philly as well!

                    Freedumb!

            2. And where it’s not outright banned, they become the cronies themselves to survive.

              1. Cite? Gillespie has tried to peddle the ‘Uber is getting crony laws passed’ narrative and it’s been BS every time. Uber just concedes to some not great but not terrible laws that don’t affect its competitors any worse than they do Uber.

              2. And where it’s not outright banned, they become the cronies themselves to survive.

                I believe that’s Lyft, not Uber.

                1. I believe that’s Lyft, not Uber.

                  My apologies, but my point remains. You cannot do business without government sayso. It didn’t used to be like that and is therefore a reduction in liberty.

                  1. My apologies, but my point remains.

                    Oh, I agree. I was clarifying, not saying that to smugly refute your overall point. That’s what Cyto or Bo would do. I’m not them.

                  2. That’s the problem with cunts like you, you view some business that you have nothing to do with as representative of your liberty. It’s typical ass crawling pathetic behavior that I would expect fro a toadying cocksucker like you. The world would be a much better place if you committed suicide, shithead.

            3. Uber wasn’t even thought of in 1972! If it had been, do you think it’d’ve been legal in any more places than now?

        2. Don’t forget laws against milk and soda. Arresting parents and stealing their kids for allowing them to play alone outside. Kids arrested for making poptart guns.

          Let freedom ring!

          1. But Cyto says we’re more free because we’ve got legal buttsex and marijuana!

            Freedumb!

            1. DUR DUR I CANT RGUE GOOD /sarc

              Christ what a tedious asshole you are.

              1. You’re the one who said that encroachments on economic liberty are overshadowed by gay marriage and legal dope, dope.

                1. You can have economic liberty without freedom, but you can’t have freedom without economic liberty.

                  1. You can have economic liberty without freedom, but you can’t have freedom without economic liberty.

                    Yep.

                  2. I think it goes both ways, and both can be had to some extent without the other, but not fully.

                    For example, in a country where sodomy is illegal, am I allowed to open a gay prostitution business? If drugs are illegal, am I allowed to sell them in my store? These things are violations of economic freedom just as much as making a construction business jump through burdensome licensing hoops (well, even more so since at least the construction business has a chance to legally operate).

                    1. For example, in a country where sodomy is illegal, am I allowed to open a gay prostitution business?

                      None the less, Pinochet had similar social issues that stuck in his craw but he was more hands off of the economy than any country in South America had seen in a long time.

                      I think it goes both ways, and both can be had to some extent without the other, but not fully.

                      To take your logic to it’s conclusion, would be to say that only anarcho-capaitalism amounts to true economic liberty and I actually agree with that. But we both know that when speaking of economic liberty we’re being relative to the alternative.

                      The fact is that you can have what may be considered a relatively free economy without having minimal social policy. But a free society cannot be said to be free at all, if they aren’t free to exchange and create property. Property rights are the foundation of freedom and self-ownership itself is the original property right.

                    2. I don’t really draw a categorical difference between economic and personal freedom. To me, they are the same thing.

          2. Francisco the Cunt,

            Are you really so fucking stupid that you will equate misapplications of the law with bad law. You pathetic fuck, please never speak to anyone again as your cuntishness will spread. You fucking dumb fuck.

            1. What’s the matter sweetie? Did mommy forget to put your apple juice in your lunch box?

          3. You can buy & sell milk across more state lines now than in 1972.

      2. American freedom has plummeted like a stone

        Over what time scale? There has been an increase in USG aggressiveness since about the year 2000 but there has also been aggressive state-level reform of taxes, labour laws, gun laws, and MJ.

  9. World B. Free never saw a shot he wouldn’t take.

    The 75-76 Philadelphia 76ers with World B. Free, Dr. J, George McGinnis, Darryl Dawkins, and Doug Collins were like the Harlem Globetrotters of the NBA.

  10. Repeatedly throughout the document it’s implied that somehow “democracy” equals liberty. Considering the human race is primarily made of those who will happily trade off liberties in exchange for a temporary illusion of security and those who feel they’re so superior in every respect to all others that they must make everyone else’s choices for them, the last thing I’d want my liberty to hinge upon is democracy.

    1. It can’t be pointed out enough that License is not Liberty.

  11. I don’t always dominate a thread, but when I do, it’s awesome. Later, bitches.

    1. Don’t break your shoulder patting yourself on the back, fuckwad. After you leave this thread please Google Dunning-Kruger.

      1. He’s Canadian. What do you expect?

        1. Hey, I take offense to that, what have Canadians other than Cytotoxic done to you, besides export our horrible pop musicians?

          1. besides export our horrible pop musicians?

            As if that isn’t enough by itself.

            1. Hey, we can’t put them on ice flows and push them out to sea like we used to, the UN got all bitchy about ‘human rights violations’.

          2. Hey, I take offense to that, what have Canadians other than Cytotoxic done to you, besides export our horrible pop musicians?

            Paging Mr. Steyn.

            Mr. Mark Steyn to the white courtesy phone.

        2. After seeing him spell words like labor as labour more than a few times…

    2. Imagine if you spend this much energy looking for a job.

      1. The fact that he doesn’t need a job shows just how free he is.

        1. The only thing worse than having a job is not having a job.

      2. I suggested Canadian military awhile back because their physical standards are nothing. Apparently he doesn’t like waking up early in the morning.

      3. Or trying to gain some muscle.

        1. Bodybuilding makes the only muscle that counts look smaller by comparison. No thanks.

    3. C-ya, Bo Jr!

      1. MNG and joe liked to boast they fought off the entire board as well.

        Of course, joe was the captain of his high school debate team and a very important person.

        1. Show me an adult who brags about anything related to high school, and I will show you a fucking loser.

          1. I got a handjob on a log flume in high school. Does that count?

              1. It was from a girl…

                1. The fact that you felt the need to explain…

                  1. That was for your benefit, sarc.

                2. Be more impressive if you got it from the log flume.

                  1. The “log flume” should sound manly, but does the opposite.

                3. Weinar.

                4. Was she a Canukastani?

    4. I am still looking forward to the time you actually do something other than boast and embarrass yourself…but I am a patient man. The day may come yet.

  12. I think there’s a tendency among many libertarians to take a very pessimistic view of the state of liberty, and I think this often leads to an overexaggeration of how bad things are. I think it’s pretty clear that globally, the world is more free today than it was in 1972. In the US, it’s not as clear, but there’s been good and bad on both sides. Even sticking to just economic freedom, remember that in 1972 marginal tax rates were about 70%. I think the last 15 years have been more negative, but not completely (i.e. some repeal of certain gun control laws, marijuana legalization, gay marriage, etc.). It’s important to keep in mind that in the long run, the US has become more free over the course of its history. The country as a whole is significantly more free than it was 100 or 200 years ago.

    1. It’s not that it’s a setback everywhere you look, but it’s not safe or smart to ignore the incredible increase in government power over the last century in the U.S. We’re quickly approaching a point (and some would say we’ve passed it), where there is no real limit on government power.

      If that’s true, how safe are our liberties then? We’re already seeing incursions in a number of areas, from unrestricted and illegal domestic spying to growing attacks on free speech. I say nothing of the unprecedented theft from taxpayers and the future.

      1. We’re quickly approaching a point (and some would say we’ve passed it), where there is no real limit on government power.

        Current interpretation of the Commerce Clause basically gives the government unlimited power over the economy. They can’t tell us what we may or may not buy, but they tell sellers what they may or may not sell. The end result is the same.

      2. I don’t disagree with you, my point is that one shouldn’t exaggerate and whitewash the past to make it seem as if there has been a steady constant decline in liberty.

        “We’re already seeing incursions in a number of areas, from unrestricted and illegal domestic spying to growing attacks on free speech.”

        Fair points, but again, not necessarily unprecedented. Speech restrictions in the WW1 era were far more egregious than today, for example. One could even go back as far as the Alien and Sedition Acts of the 1700s. Recent trends in domestic spying are concerning, but let’s not pretend that the government hasn’t done similar things in less-technologically advanced times. You talk about limits on government power, but let’s not forget that the government put over 100,000 people in concentration camps in WWII based on nothing more than their ancestry. State governments in the past century had incredibly cruel and controlling laws that thankfully no longer exist (i.e. Jim Crow, sodomy laws, eugenics programs, etc.). And as I said earlier, taxes have been higher for long periods of time than they are time (although granted, spending levels are unprecedented).

        My point is not to downplay current concerns as no big deal, just that they must be placed in an accurate, proper context in American history, not distorted by misperceptions.

        1. sarc is “plac[ing][current status of economic liberty] in an accurate, proper context in American history,” as he is not allowing some generalized, undifferentiated attempts to be nuanced to distort the reality.

          1. First off, my comment was not a reply to sarc, and if you read Pro Libertate’s comment, it was not in regards to just economic liberty.

            Secondly, how am I generalizing? I pointed to very specific examples in the past where the government has censored speech, violated civil liberties, taxed, etc. in a manner comparable or worse to today, which demonstrate that there has not been some constant decline in liberty, and that the government has held many of these powers in the past. How is that distorting reality?

            1. There are just too many facts that contradict the narrative that we are freer today than we were in 1972, 1932 or 1912.

              Let me give you the following in support of my point:

              (1) Resisting arrest. In 1972, 1932 and 1912, an individual had a far greater ability to legally resist arrest than does an individual today. The common law in almost all states, at one time, permitted an individual to resist arrest if the individual could demonstrate that the arrest was not lawful. Not so today.

              (2) The right to travel. This right has faced relentless assault. Prior to WWI, most of the world could, including Americans, travel without passports. In some areas of the world, no driver’s license was required to operate a motor car. Ditto with registration.

              Today, just try driving in the US without a driver’s license and without plates.

              Even as it is, one is subject to highway robbery. Have you heard of asset forfeiture? How about speed traps? DUI checkpoints? Homeland Security checkpoints? Never mind all of the fees and taxes associated with operating a car – see excise, gas, and sales taxes along with registration / transfer / title, etc.

              Don’t forget about mandatory auto insurance.

              1. (3) Public accommodation. Prior to 1965, one could freely discriminate against another and not have to worry about being regulated and sued out of business. Thus, if A owns a wedding cake business, and if A does not want to make cakes for transgendered folk because they are transgendered, A risks losing his business upon the altruist (in the Rand sense) altar of diversity.

                (4) Subsidizing professional sports franchises. A 100 years ago, the public did not subsidize the construction of professional sports stadia as is the case with most new ballparks that have been built in the last two generations.

                (5) The Federal Register. Take a look at that sucker today and compare it to 1972. The number of pages has just exploded (therefore, more and more regulations).

                (6) Prosecutorial and judicial immunity. The courts have bent over backwards to shield the actions of prosecutors and judges from liability. What is worse has been the rationale undergirding judicial decisions immunizing public employees from liability – their work is too important for them to be burdened with the threat of being sued.

                1. “(3) Public accommodation. Prior to 1965, one could freely discriminate against another and not have to worry about being regulated and sued out of business. Thus, if A owns a wedding cake business, and if A does not want to make cakes for transgendered folk because they are transgendered, A risks losing his business upon the altruist (in the Rand sense) altar of diversity.”

                  Are you forgetting that in many states, businesses were forced to do the opposite (forced to discriminate based on race and other characteristics)? I’m not a fan of public accommodations laws, but I prefer them to laws mandating discrimination by businesses, and that doesn’t even touch on all the other areas of Jim Crow.

                  I agree with on 4, though other forms of subsidies and corruption certainly existed, though again, in the grand scheme of things it’s not exactly the most egregious violation of liberty we’ve ever had.

                  Agree on 5

                  I’m not an expert on how this has developed over the course of US history, so I won’t argue it, but I have pointed out elsewhere how there were some giant flaws in our justice system back in the day that have gotten at least somewhat better.

                  1. *In paragraph 4, the second “though” should be an “and”

                2. As to #3, remember that most states adopted those antidiscrimination laws re public accommodations long before the feds. As to #4, that says nothing about the total fraction of business establishments that were subsidized or otherwise collectivized. #5 means nothing without the details; it takes just as many pages to publish a liberty-neutral or even liberty-enhancing change in regs as a liberty-diminishing one. The size of the Federal Register is affected by, more than anything else, the amount & length of public comments on proposed rule-makings. #6 is the same as it’s always been, you just didn’t know it.

              2. “(1) Resisting arrest. In 1972, 1932 and 1912, an individual had a far greater ability to legally resist arrest than does an individual today. The common law in almost all states, at one time, permitted an individual to resist arrest if the individual could demonstrate that the arrest was not lawful. Not so today.”

                Highly dependent on who you were and where you were. I wouldn’t be surprised if police treatment of white Americans is significantly worse today than in the past, but the same can’t necessarily be said for black Americans.

                I don’t agree with most of the stuff you list, but that all is pretty trivial compared to stuff like Jim Crow, Japanese internment, eugenics, illegal sodomy, etc. You also had higher tariffs, higher income taxes starting in 1932 (or so) and ending in the mid 80s, egregious speech violations in the WW1 era, de facto legal lynching, and more. Again, starting around the early 70s or so, I think you can make a reasonable argument that we are less free today, one I’d probably agree with many respects. Go back 60, 100, or 200 years and it becomes ridiculous.

                1. Of course, there were many southern states that forced businesses to abide by Jim Crow. The elimination of that type of regime is a boost to liberty.

                  Nonetheless, you appear to just discard all of the liberty that has been lost in forced public accommodation. That which has been lost is not trivial.

                  As for resisting arrest, I was thinking that you might make the point about the treatment of blacks at the hand of the cops – anywhere in the country as it was awful in the north and west as well as the south.

                  However, as a whole, individuals, white or black, have lost quite a bit of ground on this score. Furthermore, third parties were allowed to come in and aid the person being illegally arrested – try that today.

                  1. Also, why are you dismissing or trivializing things like the right to travel?

                    1. I’m not trivializing that, or public accommodations, or anything else you bring up. I’m saying they’re trivial IN COMPARISON to the things I mention. Yeah, I’d love to travel without a passport, but not being able to do so doesn’t mean I have it as bad as a black person during Jim Crow, or a Japanese person during WW2, or someone who was the victim of eugenics programs, a gay person arrested for sodomy, an interracial couple arrested for being with each other, etc.

                    2. This whole conversation has been about the state of American liberty over time and how it compares now to various times in the past. Saying something is trivial compared to extremely egregious violations of liberty, such as the ones I’ve mentioned, is not meant to say that it’s ok today.

                    3. Travel has been more enhanced by deregul’n than burdened by security measures. You couldn’t even legally hitchhike in many states around here when I was young. Would you give up the TSA if you had to pay the air fares that would’ve been today, and the choices you would’ve had, without deregul’n? Not to mention bus travel.

              3. #1 may have been true in theory, but in practice it was always, you can beat the rap but not the ride (to jail).

        2. What you’re describing is an apparatus that has learned from past mistakes. If you take away freedom in big chunks, people notice and get rightly pissed. So what you do instead is slowly nibble the edges away, taking years instead of days to accomplish the same end. It works best when it can be spread over generations as the young begin at a starting point that is worse off but they don’t know any better.

          Instead of taking away right X, they take away right X-1. And since you don’t have right X-1 anymore, you really don’t need right X-2. And since you don’t have right X-2 anymore, you really don’t need right X-3…

          1. “What you’re describing is an apparatus that has learned from past mistakes. If you take away freedom in big chunks, people notice and get rightly pissed.”

            I don’t think that necessarily describes all of the examples I gave. Slavery was the status quo when the US became a country and outrage against it gradually rose over the course of 90 years. The segregation that replaced it was an improvement, but still awful, and remained the status quo for another 100 years. Japanese internment ended because the war ended, not because people were outraged. The massive tax hikes of the 30s were wittled away over the course of decades.

            Nonetheless, I do agree with your larger point that the populace is generally much more willing to concede liberty gradually than suddenly and drastically (except in times of crisis). And I’m not saying we shouldn’t be vigilant in guarding against that. I’m just saying that inaccurately representing the present and/or the past does nothing to help the cause of liberty. That is all.

            1. Slavery was indeed awful, and it is good that it has been abolished. I would argue though that the economically disadvantaged are being pushed into that hole. Through regulation the government is acting in a way that guarantees certain people will never be able to break out of their status.

              Compare Japanese internment to where this country is heading in regards to Muslims. I for one will not be surprised when things start to get ugly.

              Regarding segregation, we’ve gone so far away from racial segregation that freedom of association is being taken away. Sure, there should be no government enforced segregation. But neither should there be government forced association.

              1. “Slavery was indeed awful, and it is good that it has been abolished. I would argue though that the economically disadvantaged are being pushed into that hole. Through regulation the government is acting in a way that guarantees certain people will never be able to break out of their status.”

                I agree with you 100% on the bad effects of government regulation and economic policy, but it’s still nowhere near being even remotely as bad as chattel slavery.

                I agree with you regarding the possibility of future major violations of the rights of Muslim Americans, but I would still say the chances of anything as bad as internment happening are unlikely, and in any case, the future possibility of that can’t be held against the present United States since it hasn’t happened and we don’t know if it will.

                I agree with regarding freedom of associate, but as you yourself acknowledged, there wasn’t freedom of association before. Business were forced to discriminate (which IMO is definitely worse than laws mandating service, though I dislike both), interracial marriages were illegal, homosexuality was illegal, etc. Segregation also oppressed black Americans in many other ways besides limiting freedom of association. Again, I’m not a fan of public accommodations laws today, but they can’t be equivocated with Jim Crow.

                1. Once again, I’m not trying to say the concerns you raise aren’t valid, or that they shouldn’t be opposed. I’m just saying that past violations of liberty should be acknowledged for what they were and that an inaccurate telling of the status of liberty over the course of American history does nothing to help the cause.

                  1. I understand, I’m just presenting my point of view on some of your points. I’m not trying to call you out on anything. We just have different viewpoints on the long term effects of things that are happening now. I don’t see a problem with that.

                    1. I don’t necessarily disagree with you in that there are bad long-term effects to current government economic policy, or on the existence of public accommodations laws, or that there could possibly be mass oppression of Muslims in the future. I’m just saying that the scale of the first two is nowhere near as bad as the things you compared them to, and the last one is as of yet still mostly a hypothetical that hasn’t come close to approaching what it is compared to.

                      I do appreciate the civil conversation btw.

            2. It describes exactly why you knucle under under in advocating more state power and why twits like you are dangerous.

              1. Maybe you should try to comment for the first time when you’re not drunk or high or whatever it is that’s causing you to make shit up and make absolutely no sense.

          2. Oh, bull shit. You’re describing “an apparatus” as if it were a conspiracy. The world we have is the result of the interplay of billions with their own desires. There was no grand plan to take away freedom in big chunks or nibbles. Hell, even Communazis mostly just wanted to get laid, and thought the cool uniforms and purges would help.

        3. Attacks on free speech?! Municipal censorship of pornography was pretty much the norm up to the 1960s. A D.A. would be laughed out of court if he sought the destruction of text as obscene today. It was also illegal to advertise many professional services, such as law, medicine, dentistry, & opticians.

      3. But as gov’t power has increased, so has people power.

        Look, basically the only restraint on gov’t power has always been an intangible thing: precedent. There’s really never been any real restraint at all, going back to before there were even human beings and it was animals biting each other. However, the power of humanity generally has increased, so the ability of people to tame, constrain, and escape gov’t has never been greater.

        1. It’s worth noting that prior to the advent of the ‘democratic state’ tax rates above a few percent were nearly unimaginable. There have historically been very real constraints on government power, namely the ruling family’s mortality and sense of property rights over the principalities which they ruled. Both of those limitations were eviscerated by democratic institutions, directly proportional to the pervasiveness of suffrage.

          1. But that wasn’t the only factor. In days of old, you needed 90% of your income just to subsist. People are richer now, so they can afford to be taxed more.

          2. Yes, because the aristocracies and monarchies of the pre-modern period were such bastions of individual freedom. Slaves and serfs had such great amounts of economic and personal freedom. Even on taxes, your argument isn’t even necessarily accurate. Here’s a description of French taxation pre-Revolution:

            “Peasants were also required to pay a tenth of their income or produce to the church (the tithe), a land tax to the state (the taille), a 5% property tax (the vingti?me), and a tax on the number of people in the family (capitation). Further royal and seigneurial obligations might be paid in several ways: in labor (the corv?e), in kind, or, rarely, in coin. Peasants were also obligated to their landlords for: rent in cash (the cens), a payment related to their amount of annual production (the champart), and taxes on the use of the nobles’ mills, wine-presses, and bakeries (the banalit?s). In good times, the taxes were burdensome; in harsh times, they were devastating. After a less-than-fulsome harvest, people would starve to death during the winter.”

            Democracy is a flawed system, very much so when it’s unrestrained, but for God’s sake do not whitewash the pre-democratic era as some golden age of liberty when that’s pure bullshit.

        2. You are fucking delusional.

    2. For the most part economic liberty, as in the right to engage in commerce without asking permission and obeying orders, has been chipped away at a steadily increasing rate in the US.

      Marijuana legalization is a great example of this. Sure a couple states allow people to sell it legally, but it is so tightly regulated (as in sellers must ask permission and obey orders at every turn) that the legal stuff costs more than the black market stuff. That shows that the point of legalizing it is not to eliminate the black market, but to control legal sellers while extracting as much money from them as possible. That’s the antithesis of economic liberty.

      1. “For the most part economic liberty, as in the right to engage in commerce without asking permission and obeying orders, has been chipped away at a steadily increasing rate in the US.”

        Over what time period? Up until 150 years ago millions of people didn’t even have the freedom to contract their own labor, choose where to live, or really anything else. Jim Crow laws in many ways tightly regulated economic freedom. Over the last 100 or so years, there has been an increase in the regulatory state, especially at the federal level, but it hasn’t been totally constant (i.e. post WW2 and in the late 70s/early 80s some aspects of the regulatory state were rolled back). Income taxes have seen some significant fluctuation since they were implemented, and today are still lower than they were from the early 30s until the mid 80s.

        I agree with re: the reason behind government motives regarding marijuana legalization, but that doesn’t mean taxed and regulated marijuana is somehow a greater restriction on liberty than illegal marijuana.

        1. I’m trying to draw a distinction between economic liberty and other liberty. Economic liberty has been on a down slide and I don’t see that changing.

          1. I realize that. I addressed that in my post. How are slavery, Jim Crow, the regulatory state, and taxes not related to economic freedom?

            Over a much shorter time period (such as 40-45 years) I would largely agree with you, although I would still disagree that it has been constant and without some increases in the other direction. The last 15 years have been pretty bad in that regard, with only a couple things here there to offset the decreases. But again, that’s different from saying there’s been a constant decline in economic liberty throughout US history.

            1. You are being too general in your attempts to be nuanced.

              1. And you aren’t saying anything meaningful at all. If you disagree with me, then explain how I am wrong.

                1. See above.

            2. Who the fuck gives a shit about liberty 150 years ago you fucking dolt.You are talking about picking daisies in 1860 which has nothing to do with the far more advanced methods fedgov has to put it’s boot on our collective necks.

              If you can’t see the difference you are dumber than most progs (oh wait, you are a prog). Piss off, hoser.

              1. Maybe if you weren’t a fucking idiot you would be able to see that this entire discussion has been about changes in liberty over time, which makes the past condition of liberty pretty fucking relevant.

      2. You’re grasping at straws if you give the fact of people fleeing the black market for the legal one, because legal restrictions have been reduced, as an example of increasing control!

    3. The sad state of liberty should always be over exaggerated. The squeaky wheel gets the grease; one can never have too much liberty.

      1. I disagree. We must be vigilant, but there are 2 reasons why overexaggeration is bad:

        1) It downplays past violations of liberty
        And
        2) It reduces credibility. If someone said the USA in 2015 was as unfree as Nazi Germany or the USSR under Stalin, no reasonable person would take them seriously, and they’re thus not going to listen some of the concerns they have about threats to liberty that may be reasonable.

        1. 1) I couldn’t care less about “past violations of liberty.” I live in the present and plan for the future, the past is done and has little value.
          2) See #1 above. -and additionally- The present liberty I experience has components not granted by man, therefore those components are never negotiable.

          1. 1. Past violations of liberty are pretty important, because there’s never any guarantee that they can’t return. Downplaying them makes them seem less egregious and more reasonable. And if they do return, then you’ve shot yourself in the foot if you then complain about them.

            2. I don’t see how you addressed my point at all. Losing credibility makes you much less effective in your ability to protect liberty.

            1. You’re a fucking proggie, Callie, just admit it The pretending thing doesn’t make the grade.

              Dipshit, liberty has been encroached on for centuries.

              You are making excuses for the present bunch, fuck off.

              1. Oooh, random new commentator called me a proggie, I guess the gig is up.

                “Dipshit, liberty has been encroached on for centuries.”

                Well no shit, you could change centuries to “millenia” to be more accurate. There are always encroachments on liberty. At times, there are also expansions of it. My entire point is that encroachment on liberty in the US is not something new that only started in the last 20, 50, or 100 years. There have been ups and downs throughout US history. Things haven’t gotten constantly better, but they haven’t gotten constantly worse either. How the fuck does acknowledging that reality make me a “proggie”?

                “You are making excuses for the present bunch, fuck off.”

                I have done no such thing. Acknowledging past violations of liberty and their severity does not somehow excuse or justify present violations, and I have in no way stated or implied that. If you got that impression, that’s due to your lack of reading comprehension, not anything I wrote.

                Also, who the fuck are you to tell me to fuck off? I’ve never seen you before on this site, that’s a pretty odd thing to say for someone who just suddenly pops into a thread hours after it died down.

        2. What about a blanket statement that the USA of 2015 is, in all respects, freer than Nazi Germany?

          One who utters the above statement demonstrates that one is some kind of ignorant douche who loses all credibility.

          1. Well I didn’t say that, first off. Secondly, while it may not be technically true, in that you could probably find a couple ways in which Nazi Germany was more free than the modern US, a general statement that “The USA in 2015 is far freer than Nazi Germany” is definitely accurate. Lastly, such as a statement would still be much less ignorant and inaccurate than a statement that the USA in 2015 is as unfree or worse than Nazi Germany.

            1. Were German citizens and expats subject to an income tax on their extra-Deutschland earnings like Americans?

              Were German citizens and expats subject to something akin to FACTA?

              Could a German wedding cake director openly refuse to serve a homosexual couple upon the basis of her religious beliefs?

              Could a German restaurant have a smoking policy in which its patrons could choose to smoke?

              1. Are you trolling at this point? You can’t fucking be serious? On the one hand, you had those things, and on the other you have the fucking Holocaust, starting WW2, mass conscription, insane restrictions on speech, civil liberties, the economy, and a lot more. Clearly a reasonable comparison.

                And also, the Nazis had very strict anti-smoking laws, so that was a bad example in any case.

                1. Yes, I forgot they were fucking Nazis about smoking.

                  No, not trolling – just pointing out specific examples to counter the narrative, that’s all.

                  To be sure, the Nazis, if they had the means that our rulers have today, would surely take advantage of them.

                  1. “No, not trolling – just pointing out specific examples to counter the narrative, that’s all.”

                    But those example don’t really counter the narrative to any significant extent. They all pale in comparison to the absolute horror the Nazis inflicted on people in and out of Germany during the 12 years they held power. It’s not a reasonable comparison and does nothing to counter the plainly true argument that the modern US is much, much, much, much (xinfinity) more free than Nazi Germany. As I said in my replies to the other guy, such comparisons just hurt one’s credibility in trying to argue against present violations of liberty.

                    1. On a related note, have you spent any time in China?

                      How about any friends / associates / family members?

                      I ask because there are two people who I know who have spent considerable time in China over the last 10 years and both take pains to articulate the point that the Chinese, in some areas of life, enjoy more freedom than do we.

                    2. Being better than Nazi Germany is sort of a low bar to set. The US may be freer than the Stalin’s USSR in every single way right down to the last grain of sand, but that doesn’t mean that’s good enough for human dignity.

                    3. FS,

                      Again, I’m not trying to say that we shouldn’t focus on protecting liberty because we are freer than Nazi Germany or the USSR. I’m saying that when arguing for the protection of liberty today, massive overexaggerations (such as comparisons to those two countries) hurt your credibility and ultimately are detrimental to your cause. That was my entire point.

      2. For every squeaky wheel you got, I got a boy crying wolf.

  13. Why does it spike downward in 1976?

    Just curious what political event this is supposedly representing.

    1. Why the Bicentennial, of course!

    2. Check developments in India & China.

  14. Another raping of a dead thread by the resident troll Robert.

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