My latest Learn Liberty blog post is on the topic above and can be found here. Excerpt: Kant’s moral philosophy justifies extremely strong individual rights against coercion. The only justification for coercion in his philosophy seems to be defense of self or others. His ideal government therefore seems to be extremely limited and to allow … Continue reading Immanuel Kant, Philosopher of Freedom
I have just posted a couple of my working papers to SSRN for those who are interested. They are as follows: "Public Policy and Quality of Life: An Empirical Analysis of Interstate Migration, 2000-2012" Abstract: Individuals and households choose their political jurisdiction of residence on the basis of expected income differentials and jurisdiction-specific characteristics covered … Continue reading Working Papers on Federalism & Public Policy
Matt Zwolinski of Bleeding Heart Libertarians has written an excellent series of posts on the libertarian justification of property rights. Here's the latest. The first and most important thing to note about both Locke and Nozick’s arguments is that, unlike utilitarian arguments, they are individualistic rather than collectivistic in nature. For the utilitarian, all that … Continue reading Matt Zwolinski on Property Rights
Over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians, there have been some interesting posts recently on moralized and non-moralized conceptions of freedom. Jason Brennan says defining liberty to mean only negative liberty is "linguistic revisionism" without philosophic import. He then makes the case that bleeding-heart libertarianism (or Rawlsianism or various other non-traditionally-libertarian conceptions of property rights) does not … Continue reading Freedom as a Moral Concept (Update)
From "A Thought Experiment on Freedom," I thought these comments were worth highlighting. FreeDem: Freedom is more than marginal tax rates and the monetary value of different policies. Is there a way to calculate it though? I don’t know. I think of something like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we need a hierarchy of liberty/freedom that … Continue reading From the Comments (Thought Experiment on Freedom)
Imagine two countries, each the size of the U.S. In one of them, the average tax rate is 1% (of income) lower than the other, but unlike the other it randomly selects ten innocent individuals for execution each year (perhaps ritual human sacrifice!). Assuming personal income of $12 trillion like the United States, the lower … Continue reading A Thought Experiment on Freedom
Libertarians have generally opposed government mandates to participate in commerce on moral, economic, and constitutional grounds. Certainly, a federal government mandate to buy private health insurance contradicts standard libertarian understandings of the right to property and self-determination and the ability of individuals to decide for themselves their need for insurance (and concomitant skepticism of paternalist … Continue reading A Health Insurance Mandate Libertarians Can Support
What do big businesses and small businesses want from government? Pretty much the same thing.
Jordan Rappaport, "Moving to Nice Weather," Regional Science and Urban Economics. U.S. residents have been moving en masse to places with nice weather. Well known is the migration towards places with warm winters, which is often attributed to the introduction of air conditioning. But people have also been moving to places with cooler, less-humid summers, … Continue reading Today in Neat-o Research
Having taken on left-liberals in my last post, it's only fair to take a shot at the right too. Here's the Deseret News editorializing on why our recommendations for Utah are wrong: The report's authors are clear about their definition of freedom. "In our view, individuals should be allowed to dispose of their lives, liberties, … Continue reading How Do Conservative Paternalists Define Freedom?
Matt Yglesias throws some scorn the way of Freedom in the 50 States 2011: Reasonable people can disagree as to whether there’s more freedom in Los Angeles or Brooklyn, and there may be good reasons to move from either place to Sioux Falls, but obviously “for the freedom” is not one of those reasons. For … Continue reading How Do Libgressives Define Freedom?
I've just gotten back from a Cato Institute event discussing the new study, Freedom in the 50 States, with my coauthor William Ruger, John Samples, and Michael Barone. I'll post the video when it's available. The Mercatus site for the study allows you to download the study and to use a calculator to see how … Continue reading Freedom in the 50 States
At Volokh, Ilya Somin presents the evidence that people vote for economic freedom with their feet internationally and domestically. Pileus on inter-state migration here. Update: Somin has more on this issue here. And of course, please feel free to examine the original study comparing the states cited by both Eric Crampton and Somin.
Many may have forgotten that Milton Friedman begins Capitalism and Freedom with a critique of President Kennedy's inaugural speech. It is well-worth another look - so dig out your dusty and yellowed copy and read the introduction again. The key line is this one: The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can … Continue reading Milton Friedman on JFK’s Speech
At the NY Times' Economix blog, Ed Glaeser takes up explanations for the relative population growth enjoyed by Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada, compared to relative decline in New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. If we ignore international migration, which tends to increase the population of Mexican border states especially, and natural increase, then the … Continue reading Taxation, Regulation, and Migration
Police are using regulatory inspections as a pretext for warrantless, apparently racially biased searches. If you're going to support occupational and business licensing, you're going to have to accept a hobbled Fourth Amendment.
The Financial Times has an interesting piece and photo essay on Kennesaw, Georgia, where gun ownership is legally required. Naturally, I disagree with any law forcing individuals to purchase something from the private sector - whether it is health insurance or a gun. However, as laws go, this is pretty harmless since it is not enforced and there … Continue reading Mandatory Gun Ownership – and an Aside on the Confederacy
Clearly, the recession caused state revenues to fall short of projections, opening up budget deficits. However, some states dealt with more serious fiscal problems than others. California's, New York's, and Illinois' woes have been in the news quite a bit lately. A new paper by Matt Mitchell at the Mercatus Center finds that states with … Continue reading What Caused the State Budget Gaps? UPDATED
Conor Friedersdorf says no, but at Mother Jones Kevin Drum totes up the scorecard and says, pretty much, yes: If you can find liberals who favor charter schools, less regulation of small businesses, and an end to Fannie Mae, that's well and good. But that's 10% or less of my worldview. I also favor high … Continue reading Are Liberals Statists?
In the WSJ yesterday, Peggy Noonan argued that President Obama might have been well served if he had had some "adult supervision"---someone, that is, older and wiser who could have advised Obama to steer away from issues that appealed to him out of his youthful but naive enthusiasm and toward issues that mattered more for the … Continue reading Children and Adults
Given my estimate of the effect of the size of the liberty constituency on freedom, what would be expected to happen to freedom in New Hampshire if the liberty constituency in that state grew?
To test the political influence of libertarians, I model state respect for individual freedom as a function of libertarian constituency, liberal constituency, political institutions, and some demographic controls. All my hypotheses are confirmed, and most interestingly, we see that states with more libertarians are freer.
Today an Arizona bill allowing police to arrest anyone not carrying valid identification went to the governor's desk for her signature.