According to the libertarian leaning Mercatus Center, Vermont ranks 2nd in the country when it comes to personal freedom. This result is covered in the following Burlington Free Press article. The problem is that we do so poorly on economic freedom that our overall freedom rank is 30th. With our neighbor New Hampshire ranking number 1 in overall freedom, we have a striking side by side contrast. Maine ranks behind Vermont at 33rd overall, but are on a trend where they were “the third most improved state in the country, when freedoms it offered citizens in 2007 were compared with those in 2009”.
I have long been dubious of the notion that personal and economic freedom can be separated. Freedom is an indivisible good. Furthermore, if you take away one’s economic freedom, you also remove their capacity for self government and increase their level of dependency. How can a people remain personally free when their dependency is increased and their self reliance is decreased. In such a scenario, any personal freedoms they may enjoy are are exercised at the whim of those they depend on. How can this be considered true freedom.
Here in Vermont the same social engineering mentality that negatively impacts our economic freedom is sure to rob us of our personal freedoms as well. Such a trend is starting to take place as evidenced in the following True North piece, which deals with our political leader’s obsession with behavior control. The reality is that we are heading down a path, which leads to neither personal or economic freedom. Perhaps the Mercatus Center may want to reconsider dividing these two aspects of freedom into separate categories.