Further assorted links


JWatts, Barkley -

To my earlier point of whose deposits are being confiscated in Cyprus:


#4. Beware counterfeit journal websites.

>>Neither of the authentic journals has its own dedicated website<<

Serves them right for being Luddites.

#1: "The liability system is a ranking of state tort systems based on a survey of business owners and managers... [by] the Chamber of Commerce... It captures risks and costs that businesses [face]"

What exactly is the freedom here? The freedom for businesses to be held only minimally liable for negligence and misdeeds? Given that liability is such a keystone of libertarian theory, it is uninspiring to see that a subjective survey of executives and attorneys at companies with revenues over $100 million accounts for 10% of each state's entire score. At the very least, shouldn't this be balanced by an equally weighted survey of plaintiffs and their lawyers?

Wait, do caps and restrictions on torts count for or against a state's freedom score?

Seems to me that a libertarian would say that such restrictions on torts are anti-freedom since they expose individuals to the violation of their rights by others without any chance for compensation. By contrast, a conservative would argue that such restrictions are good because torts are economically burdensome to the defendants.

Whether those legal caps and restrictions are counted a "good" or "bad" in the Mercatus ranking will likely tell us a lot about whether its designers and their target audience are closer to libertarians or to conservatives.

Restrictions on torts are only anti-freedom in the absence of state regulation. Abolish or radically rollback the regulatory state and both libertarians and conservatives will happily trade away every cap and restriction.

"Whether those legal caps and restrictions are counted a “good” or “bad” in the Mercatus ranking will likely tell us a lot about whether its designers and their target audience are closer to libertarians or to conservatives."

The sub-score is based on a survey of lawyers and executives at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue - they are asked to rate "how reasonable and balanced the states’ tort liability systems are perceived to be". The 9 "Key Issues" that respondents came up with include "Limits on discovery" (the most popular) and "Cap/Limits on settlements/Damages", along with more benign things like "Fairness and impartiality". So yes, I would expect that caps on damages would generally lead to a higher Freedom score in this category.

The really weird thing is that this purely subjective survey that excludes plaintiffs and small businesses and has a highly questionable relation to any common notion of freedom accounts for 11.5 percent of a state's total score. Just seems odd.

In the last paragraph I should have said "non-business plaintiffs"; obviously big and small companies sue each other all the time. I like the idea of trying to measure how fair and well-informed the civil justice frameworks of various states are, but if the best data out there is a survey of such a narrow range of participants, then it probably shouldn't be included and certainly shouldn't be a big chunk of the score.

Assumes freedom is negative freedom only. What system of meta-ethics proves freedom and rights should be defined only negatively?

#5 you sure this isn't about intelligent design?

#1 you sure this isn't a ranking of the states where belief in intelligent design is highest?

Intelligent design: Perhaps "god" is a metaphor for alien intelligences.

Perhaps "intelligent design" is a metaphor for lower levels of science education.

Perhaps science education is not as useful as proponents think. It sure seems useful for left-wingers to pat themselves on the back over.

Yes, science education is so left-wing.

A pretty good debunking of #5:


Basically just an instance of a peer-reviewed journal getting hoodwinked.

It appears there's an inverse relationship between a state's freedom -as measured here - and state's standard of living.

Not surprising. Government services (environmental protection, social safety nets, etc.) are normal goods (in the economic sense of the phrase). As income rises, demand increases for government faster than demand for other goods.

Also an inverse relationship between freedom and where study co-author Jason Sorens chooses to live. He left the fabulous freedom of Texas supposedly because he hated the climate. He left for the delightful climate of...Buffalo in that hellhole of oppression, New York State, to be employed by...the taxpayers of the state.

Too funny. Couldn't even write fiction with this level of irony.

More like because he got a position as a professor in Buffalo. If he could get a position in NH, he would live there being that he helped found the Free State Project.

He could have been an adjunct professor in NH - the freedom - right to work - for sub-minimum wages is really high in NH, and the NH Republicans have been working hard to reduce the cost of tuition in NH by cutting off all aid to the universities and colleges for anything academic (trade training is getting support to buy off the businesses who pay the income taxes in the State which are hidden in "business enterprise" and "business profit" taxes. The BET is a tax on wages paid,and the profit tax is a tax on the small business owner's income.)

NH still has the highest tuition costs for any kind of higher ed.

So, what you are saying is taxes distort. I wish I'd thought of that.

Mississippi appears to be one of the least free states...

I find the Mercatus index to be a rather odd product. It suffers from the same problem as those lists of the most livable cities. It's a rather arbitrary list of characteristics compiled and ranked in a rather arbitrary manner. It doesn't approximate very well how people make calculations about where to live or set up businesses and it doesn't approximate very well how people interact with each other once they do locate somewhere. There are reasons why businesses aren't rushing to locate in North and South Dakota. The definition of freedom being put forth here might as well be, "least populated, with the least going on."

Further, the arbitrary ranking, and exclusion of some variables, is sort of antithetical to what libertarianism ought to be, which is the freedom to make your own choices about which freedoms you will and will not compromise.

A more interesting project would be to compare places that are demographically and economically similar, but have different levels of law enforcement and regulation.

One more thing, right to work doesn't make you any more free than closed shop. It just tips the scales from being in favor of union organization to being against it. Freedom would be laws that were completely indifferent to the union status of any workplace.

The ballpark urinal game pales in comparison of turning a stadium urinal into a slip and slide.

Hey Tyler, are there any non-virgin hetero Libertarians defending your colleagues' exclusion of reproductive rights in their Freedom in the 50 States assessment? Because North Dakota? Seriously?

Ordinarily I wouldn't bother commenting here but you and Alex are virtually down the hall from Ruger, Sorens, and their department heads.

If you see them you might ask if any of them have actually ever been to North Dakota, Tennessee, or Oklahoma for more than a weekend on-campus conference? You might further ask if any are considering moving there right away. If any of them are in long-term relationships, with women, you or Alex might also ask whether their partners would favor or resist suggestions to boost their overall freedom by moving to one of those states.

Don't be silly. All the people you are talking about are wealthy enough to travel to an unfree place like New York or California to get an abortion. Why would they care about those who lack such resources?

"exclusion of reproductive rights "

In which state are you not allowed to have kids?

Freedom to be born?

You know you have a bullsh*t freedom index serving only as an excuse for a conservative agenda when marriage freedom is 2% of the weight.

Indexing freedom (or democracy, or love) is inherently a highly subjective exercise. There's no non-bullshit way to do it. At best, it's a conversation starter that gets people to actually look at each component.

Very level headed response, point to you.. Really I'm just confused by the marriage between libertarians and conservatives... It seems Tyler sleeps in both camps and for what reason I do not know. You must admit the priorities of the index favor conservative values, why those are synonymous with freedom is beyond me

Thanks. I agree that the priorities for this are negative economic freedoms - so, yes, conservative values. A more libertarian framework would emphasize social issues more and a more liberal framework would emphasize both social issues and positive liberties (so, the stuff the libertarians and conservatives tend not to like). Which way you look at freedom depends on your values, but I don't think this is really worse than the other ways to do it.

But I think this establishes a false equivalency, while you are right that the conclusion of any such ranking would be determined in large part by the arbitrary weighting its various components, there are definitely some howlers in the analysis (such as weighing how heavy one's alcohol is taxed higher than universal rights to marriage). I feel there is some play with the perameters but the authors make some serious errors of judgement several orders of magnitude above what would be tolerable for a serious discussion.

This is the Mercatus Center, well known for its work on global warming.

What about this exercise, which seems to favor the places where fracking is easiest, is likely to make someone take Mercatus more seriously?

I don't know a single gay wanting to be married. 2% is probably overweight.

I'm also wondering how they calculate their "estimate of the crowding-out effects of government employment on the private sector," (2.8% of total score) especially in the past 4-5 years. I'm sure they meant to document this but it doesn't appear to be linked on the site. Maybe Tyler or Alex could ask?

Not to defend this bullshit "study" in any way, but somewhere between 2%-5% of the population is gay. Given that marriage is not the only freedom gay people care about, giving it 2% weight seems to be in the ballpark.

But this is a problem with using averages. For the vast majority of the population, the legality of gay marriage has literally zero effect on how "free" they are - they may find gay marriage (or the lack thereof) offensive, but it doesn't actually affect their legal freedom. For a small portion of the population, it has a huge effect. So how do you balance that out?

Dubious reasoning. If heterosexuals are 95%-98% of the population, what weight do we assign to heterosexual marriage? Does this mean all states are essentially equal in freedom?

Well this is a great point. Think of it this way. The percentage of human activities that are actually forbidden is, by any measure, vanishingly small. For every one activity you can name that's against the law, I can name a thousand that are lawful. Does that mean we are 99.9% free? Which just further shows that the very basis of the article - that you can assign a fixed numerical value to an amorphous concept like "freedom" - is hogwash.

1. California is only going to get worse.

And yet the revealed preference is to pay really high quantities of money to live there.

Right, California's an inherently desirable place to live due to its geography and climate. And the drawbacks to living in a diverse, progressive paradise fall much more heavily on middle class than on the wealthy. So it's no shock that rich people still like to live there.

Ooo, diversity! Scary!

Sorry, but there are actually millions of middle class white people who don't shit their pants at the thought of living in the same city as a bunch of blacks, Latinos and Asians.

Oh really? Then why don't hardly any of them actually do it?

" why don’t hardly any of them actually do it?'

Exactly, because they 'don't shit their pants' from afar. Look how many of that demographic are leaving California. That's the actual revealed preference.

http://freedominthe50states.org/ - Registrant Organization:IHS and Mercatus - no IPv4 problem here, obviously. And no stagnation in new DNS names (anyone thought to register 'whoreallyownsthatdomain'?)

Cut out or SEO optimization?

Who cares? - it seems like those dedicated to defending the free market require a multitude of domain names, to help ensure that domain registrars can stay in business, and provide the web spiders a bit more work.

I could even imagine another reason or two - after all why should IHS be the place to discover what IHS offers to students when IHS's registered kosmosonline does such a good job - of at least increasing the search position.

They seemed to put a lot of weight on California's minor variations from broader US gun laws. Ideological.

In regards to the freedom index for the 50 states: I'll admit is kinda cool when you look at each individual category, but I'd say the "overall" freedom category that lumps everything together is pretty heavily biased.

Obviously anything that has California ranked at the bottom with Oklahoma at the top, in terms of "overall freedom" at least, is skewed towards a hardline conservative point of view.

When lumped together the whole thing seems a little too arbitrary for someone to take anything meaningful away from it.

When it's all said and done, however, I think Tiebout still wins the argument...everyone will just move to wherever they can find like-minded folks, they organize their communities in such a fashion that makes everyone as happy as possible, and we all live happily ever after, the end.

"everyone will just move to wherever they can find like-minded folks, they organize their communities in such a fashion that makes everyone as happy as possible, and we all live happily ever after, the end."

With the minor complication of our increasingly totalitarian Federal Government.

"With the minor complication of our increasingly totalitarian Federal Government."

How does the federal government prevent you from moving somewhere else you'd feel more free? You're welcome to leave your location at any time...you'll just have to accept driving on those totalitarian-built highways is all, if you can stomach that much at least.

How does "freedom to be infected with HIV and HepC" get ranked in the freedom index??

Does the Oklahoma action in response to the suspected infection at a poorly run and pretty clearly medically unsafe oral surgery dentist practice increase or reduce the Oklahoma freedom index?

Would preventing future public health risks like that raise or lower the Oklahoma freedom index?

Given the freedom to infect available to the New England Compounding supply, is Mass higher or lower on the freedom index than Oklahoma on that particular public health issue?

Is the ease of filing and winning lawsuits for such infection torts a higher or lower number in the freedom index?

When looking at all the sub-categories, I often couldn't figure out whether absence of presence, or more or less, of something made for more freedom or less freedom. I don't know if the fiscal variables even belong in there. The only thing reassuring about the overall index is that New York and California are rock bottom.

Warning: the 'Freedom in the 50 states' list was compiled by authors affiliated with the 'think tank' financed by the Koch brothers. Proceed with caution.

America after the revolutionary war had much more debt than before the war. Debt for some reason here counts against freedom so post revolutionary war America was less free, according to the authors. Hmmm...

All else being equal, yes. I don't think all else was equal.
Put your mommy back on the computer.

Yeah, the fact that I have to hold $250,000 of wealth back in respect of taxes owed but not paid on money the government has already spent doesn't interfere with my inalienable freedom to screw the next generation, right?

But after the war, and in fact during the war, the Continental Congress not only had means to repay the debts, but for many they had no intention of repaying the debt because many argued they didn't agreed to the debt, and were happy before the war.

Michele Bachmann was expressing the pre-Constitution view of US debt - why should I pay for what was already spent.

Of course, the reason for the US Constitution was to get the power to tax to pay debt, and then ensure that future borrow and spend were possible - these were #1 and #2 in priority in the powers of Congress.

If Rhode Island had agreed to a tax in 1786, the US would be like the EU and Euozone.

#1. Wow. The freedom rankings are seriously stupid.

Who runs this "Mercatus Center," anyway, and how did they let this nonsense get through?

I was somewhat surprised at the "Education" category, which apparently does not count PhD's per capita but rather makes subjective determinations of whether things like vouchers are allowed. Hence "Wyoming" and the other Big Sky states are #1 in education. Rather bogus. Interesting that VA comes in as the Top Five for economic freedom while CA comes next to last, but having lived in both states I rather be in California. When CA is hot, more and better jobs, better climate, more free enterprise, etc. But northern VA is a rent seekers paradise, so you cannot dismiss it.

How many people have PhDs? 1 in 1000? 1 in 100? And how in hell does PhD resemble freedom? It's a system whereby everyone has to go through it in order for advisors to be dysregulated. I think that's the opposite of freedom on a 2 dimension where the majority are coerced and the rulers have impunity. You hit a sore spot on that one.

Why does it matter how much debt a state has taken on? The only thing a state can do about existing debt is pay it down now, or pay it down in the future. Whichever is chosen, either current or future residents will bear exactly the same burden (in expected present value). Why penalize a state now for past decisions that cannot be reversed in the present? What a state can control is its current government spending, and the future spending its policies entail. It can also control the efficiency of its tax system.

A broader issue is that if people were to choose between certain public goods and certain private goods, they might often pick the public goods. Nobody has thought of a way to let people freely make this choice, though, since public goods induce free rider problems. We either have to cross our fingers, hope people would choose the public good, and then force them to pay for it, or we cross our fingers, hope people wouldn't choose it, and then don't provide it. We're reducing people's options either way, and so in some sense they're free if we choose the right horn of this dilemma, and unfree if we don't, but it isn't obvious which is the right horn. The beginning of a solution is to let people move easily between states, so states can figure out which public goods they want by the effect of these decisions on people's residency decision. It's not perfect (New York has a lot of great qualities unrelated to public policy, so its residents will put up with a lot more crap than residents of North Dakota), but it at least puts a floor under the badness of decisions about this stuff. And if we have any confidence in this setup, then it makes no sense to ask how free people in state X are, since a big piece of their freedom, bigger than any state-level policy, is their freedom to move between states. So why are we even asking this question? A better question might just be, "what sorts of public goods do people vote for (with their feet)"?

3. This is fascinating reading , almost Orwellian. Surprised there have been no comments yet on this.

Hey dumbasses. If you don't like the freedom index, use the conveniently offered widgets to create your own. For christ sakes.

uh..no, they are the dumbasses. Just to give one example there is no mention of abortion restrictions in their supposedly "most free states". Ok, wait one more. How about no mention of restrictions on non hetero adoptions? I especially like the "Ranking of State Liability Systems; A measure of a state's liability system from the US Chamber of Commerce."

In fact I now release my rankings of rankings by institutes. They are at the bottom.

lol at caring about non hetero adoptions, we're really rearranging deck chairs on the titanic now aren't we

Yeah, use the conveniently offered widgets to create any result you want and pretend it is some kind of scholarly research. This is fun.

Will the Mercatus Center give mine its imprimatur?

Will anyone pretend that my ratings are serious scholarly work?

Look Andrew, the problem is not that a couple of people put out some dumbass ratings. It's that an organization making the following claim:

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is committed to the highest standards of academic quality and credibility for our research procedures and products. We ensure these through rigorous internal review, peer review, and a transparent process for selecting and undertaking research projects.

put this nonsense out.

Let's play "spot the policies that have played significant roles in prominent conservative healthcare reform initiatives":
"Health insurance includes state-level health insurance mandates, small group rate review, guaranteed issue regulations, individual market community rating, mandated direct access to providers, individual market rate review, and a host of lower-impact regulations on managed care organizations (HMOs). State-level health insurance mandates, the second most significant variable in this category at 1.7 percent of the freedom index, impose direct costs of nearly $9 billion a year."

Seriously, though, healthcare's an incredibly tricky issue and the reflexive demonization of seemingly all measures designed to improve it are one reason why conservatives haven't gotten much traction on it (even though they've managed to demagogue Obamacare, which admittedly has major flaws).

But Obama started with the conservative and Republican blueprint for health reform, proposed by Republicans in the early 90s, endorsed by Heritage, promised by candidate Dole in 96, and negotiated and signed into law by Romney as his 2008 ticket to the White House.

So, now Obamacare is a total government takeover of health care because it seeks to stop the freedom to get life saving health care for free by simply not paying for it while depending on the Federal mandate that your treatment is provided regardless of your ability to pay for it, signed into law by President Reagan.

Free health care by government mandate must be high on the freedom index which is why Obamacare's obstacles to free health care by Federal mandate is a loss of freedom.

can someone explain how the fake journal scam works? is it routine for authors to pay money to have their articles printed in journals?

I seldom comment, however i did some searching and wound up here Further assorted links.
And I do have 2 questions for you if it's allright. Is it only me or does it seem like a few of the remarks come across as if they are written by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are posting at other social sites, I'd like to follow everything new you have to post.

Could you list of all of your public pages like your Facebook
page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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