Skip to comments.America Not Among Top Ten Freest
Posted on 02/19/2005 10:17:00 AM PST by The_Eaglet
America Not Among Top Ten Freest
By Chuck Baldwin
February 11, 2005
In a recent column, I noted how Americans have lost numerous freedoms since George W. Bush became president. Of course, the reality of the situation is, the federal government has been increasingly encroaching upon the liberties of the American people for decades. Unfortunately, that trend only seems to be escalating.Now, a new report states that the U.S. is not even among the top ten freest economies.
According to the Heritage Foundation, "The United States is tied for 12th place with Switzerland in the 2005 Index of Economic Freedom. The world's second largest economy, Japan, ranks 39th in the survey. The United States has dropped out of the world's top 10 'freest economies.'"
The Heritage report also said, "Perhaps the greatest surprise in this year's index is the failure, for the first time, of the United States to make the top 10."
Most Americans would probably be stunned to hear that their country is not even among the top ten freest nations. However, this should not come as a surprise.
For all intents and purposes, neither major party in Washington, D.C., gives a flip about securing God-given liberties. Both Democrat and Republican administrations (including the current one) have consistently led the charge against the Bill of Rights.
Furthermore, Congress and a majority of federal courts have been trampling constitutional protections of our liberties for most of my adult life. Therefore, how can we be surprised to learn that the United States is no longer anywhere close to being "the land of the free" that it once was?
In fact, an American missionary to China recently told me that America's laws and regulations are, on the whole, more restrictive than the laws and regulations of Communist China. That is an astounding statement to make, but he insists that it is true!
Then again, when one considers the innumerable permits, fees, federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes, property taxes, assessments, zoning laws, land-use regulations, building codes, animal protection laws, environmental laws, ad nauseum, ad infinitum that are part of America's everyday life, it becomes easily apparent that the American dream has become an American nightmare!
America can only be "the land of the free" as long as it is also "the home of the brave." Unfortunately, bravery is one thing that appears to be absent from the character of most pastors, businessmen, fathers, and politicians today!
Until God raises up some modern day Patrick Henrys and John Witherspoons, it seems that the United States will continue its collapse into ever increasing servitude. Therefore, don't be surprised if when the next Heritage report comes out that America is not even among the top twenty freest nations on earth. The only surprising thing would be if anyone noticed.
© Chuck Baldwin
NOTE TO THE READER:
Chuck Baldwin's commentaries are copyrighted and may be republished, reposted, or emailed providing the person or organization doing so does not charge for subscriptions or advertising and that the column is copied intact and that full credit is given and that Chuck's web site address is included. Editors or Publishers of publications charging for subscriptions or advertising who want to run these columns must contact Chuck Baldwin for permission. Radio or television Talk Show Hosts interested in scheduling an interview with Chuck should contact
email@example.com. Please visit Chuck's web site at http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/. When responding, please include your name, city and state. And, unless otherwise requested, all respondents will be added to the Chuck Wagon address list.
To subscribe to these columns, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words subscribe chuck-wagon in the body of the message. To unsubscribe put the words unsubscribe chuck-wagon in the body of the message.
And the top ten are . . . ?
The freedoms liberals fear we are losing are only the constraint of their unencoumbered failure to restrain themselves within the greater group. Privilege has its rewards and the rights taken only propose to rein in those who would harm society at large. It is not the individual rights of normal people lost but rather the right to be wrong when harm is the result.
I agree. This post would have more interest if the top ten were included. Also we could all make plans to emigrate to where it's really "free"/sarc
It's odd that Hong Kong was up there, but given Dr. Baldwin's missionary friend's findings (above), it's plausible.
Bull! Misleading headline...............
This is a ridiculous article. At its core, it makes a good point -- America isn't as free as it should be. But to say that the U.S. is "collapsing into servitude." is ridiculous. And where does he get off insulting American businessmen and fathers for a lack of bravery?
Want to be #1? It's simple. Close the IRS.
What is the criterion used for this rating system?
I've lived in New Zealand. Yes very free but a 39% marginal tax rate that kicks in very early, and 12.5% GST. Puts most folks well over the 50% tax rate, not counting property tax. Health care through the public system is free though.
And prostitution is legal.
I guess "freedom" is in the eye of the beholder.
WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP!!!
"the 2005 Index of Economic Freedom"
Economic Freedoms.... Are only one aspect of a society. Lets weigh in on others, like freedom of religion , the right to bear arms, etc...
While I am not surprised that the US ranking on Economic Freedom is so low, I would also like to see its rankings on other "freedoms".
You mean the UK is freer than the U.S.? Don't they have some crazy P.C. speech laws over there and higher taxes?
Obviously, it doesn't include the right to keep and bear arms.
Do I detect a whiff of Dopertarian in this?
Exactly! The article is totally misleading. What does the list of Social Freedoms look like?
Does he really mean, "America Not Among Top Ten Freest Economies?
I think not.
Nice critique of the study from the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
I have noticed that an increasing number of materialists here worship money over all else.
They see real freedom as something you buy with money.
And if you don't have money, your $hit out of luck.
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Most are high density populations, where real freedom is not a birthright, but something you must have money to buy.
It appears that this article used the term "economic freedom" to mean those guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
The Heritage Foundation on their web site identifies what they mean.
They are not the same.
The rights prescribed by our Declaration of Independence as coming from God - have it's own consequences - the Ten Commandments. Liberals ignore the consequences.
When the commandment says "Thou shall honor their father and mother." It has no exception.
Freedom of Speech that certain liberal professors profess as guaranteeing their rights should have consequences.
"Freedom" to this author means 'freedom' from responsiblity and accountablitity.
He would pretend there are no earthly consequences for these "freedoms".
Assuredly, he finds the Netherlands 'most free', due to lack of restrictions on:
Dr. assisted suicide,
family directed murder of the elderly and infirm,
nursing home and hospital staff directed murder of the inconvenient,
restrictions on free speech AGAINST any of the above.
(did I miss anything?)
Is that the "freedom" the author advocates for the U.S.?
Good point. I think the best test of an economy is the amount of wealth it produces per person. By that measure, I think the U.S. is at or near the very top.
We're not as free as we should be, Lord knows, and I hope we keep working on that. But overall things are pretty good, and I wish more of the world would manage their own economies better (i.e. more like ours) -- that would be a benefit to the whole world.
The title of this article is extremely misleading, because the list refers only to "economic freedoms". While economic freedoms are extremely important, many of the countries listed above the United States have much less in the way of other freedoms, such as the right to keep and bear arms, the right of free speech, the right to be secure in their houses and effects, the right to a jury trial, etc.
I hate it when "reports" weave back and forth between two distinctly different phrases for presumably the "same" things.
Which is it? "Economic freedom"? or "Freest Economies" (ambiguous term, at the least).
Can anyone provide a brief history of the Heritage Foundation?
As an aside, Most if not all of Europe's legal system differs from ours in that in legal matters, one is considered guilty until proven innocent. To me, that disqualifies any European country from any pretense of being "free".
Singapore, where you go to jail for littering and executed for possession of drugs. I guess it all comes down to the meaning of the word "free".
None of the top ten, except Britain, and possibly Switzerland has any appreciable military, and none, except Britain, Switzerland, and Singapore has a large minority presence or could be called "multicultural." Those are two big reasons why government grows: big military establishments require high taxes government expenditures, and in ethically diverse countries, various groups scramble for government aid, and any number of programs can be accepted on the theory that they keep the country together.
For a third reason, there are probably practical limits to how high the salaries are that corporate executives can vote themselves in small countries like Estonia, Denmark, or Switzerland. Executives may take less in salary or benefits, expecting that the envy factor will be less than in some other countries, and taxes lower.
It's striking how a country like Britain or New Zealand, Denmark or Estonia could become appreciably freer in recent decades, though. It is worth noting that the in top tax bracket in Denmark taxes are still higher than in the comparable bracket here in the US.
Something by this name got zotted last week...
Poor reporting! The subject is the top 10 freest, the reporter only mentions 3 countries, and does not specify any country which made the top ten list.
Second, this list is a good thing (unless you are an ultra-nationalist who enjoys the suffering of others.) The U.S. has not gotten less free since the last list -- it's just that several other countries (none of which in population -- except for the U.K. & Chili -- would rank in our top eight states) have gotten more free.
Ireland is in the top five. But I'm not sure what this study means.
Ireland's come quite a way economically in recent years, but our tax rate is still quite high.
Not exactly the most eloquent of columns, but its substance stands.
America has lost freedoms during the four years in which George W. Bush has been president. There's no argument about that, and it's not worth contesting. What's worth contesting is the claim, often tossed around by the left, that freedom has taken some sort of unusually devastating blow during these four years.
As the writer points out, liberty has been getting blasted away for quite a while now; there's nothing unusual about this latest four-year block.
Further, the responsibility lies not at the feet of President Bush, or of any one president. The responsibility lies with the American people.
The problem, ultimately, is democracy. Democracy is necessary in a free society, of course, but it's best described as a necessary evil. As many of the country's more prescient founders warned long ago, democracy can be liberty's most dangerous threat. Its danger is particuarly potent because it is stealthy and often unseen.
Voting allows groups of individuals to pillage the rights of other individuals. That this pillaging is executed by elected representatives doesn't make the representatives themselves directly responsible; they are, after all, merely representing.
Indeed, it's quite telling that so many people mentally assign this kind of power and responsibility to the office of president. That itself is symbolic of Americans' increasing failure to properly understand liberty.
If a president is stripping rights from Americans, it is because Americans, via democracy, have asked him to strip those rights. They have empowered their representatives -- whether President Bush, President Johnson or Sen. Whoever -- to assume this kind of authority. It is inaccurate, for example, to say that "the president raised taxes." The accurate way to express it is, "My fellow citizens and I have decided to take money from each other."
Nothing will change unless Americans suddenly grasp just what they've done to themselves over time. The story of the past two centuries is a tale of increasing self-imposed tyranny, interrupted only occasionally by moments of increased liberty (e.g., the abolition of slavery).
The most important goal for conservatives in this new century is to help turn back the most damaging product of democracy: the elevation of "equality" over liberty. Democracy will always be one of freedom's most dangerous enemies, but with awareness and deliberate purpose can also be employed for a good cause.
I read through this study - taxation is only one element of it; the amount of red tape and having a reliable system of property laws is another.
To be fair to America, I think their ratings are skewed by the blue states.
Yes, it reeks. Especially heavy at post 17.
Perhaps the boat?
Your post was an attempt at "ironic humor."
It took me a little while to make my way through it. You know, 'cause my freedoms have been curtailed and everything by Bush and all.
Thank you for seeing the crystal clear truth. And for sharing it.
Now, could you please pass the bong?
The problem with lists like this one lies with the very narrow measure of "freedom" used - and how one defines the term. Every leftist from Marx onward has consistenly used the terms "freedom" and "democracy" to mask a totalitarian agenda.
Hong Kong - while there are economic freedoms enjoyed by businesses (especially if they are large enough to include party functionaries on their board of directors), there is no political freedom. It's a closed, crony-capitalist type of system. Hong Kong is ruled by Beijing.
Singapore - similar situation, except that it's a more benign dicatatorship than China.
Estonia - haven't read very much about this Baltic country, apart from their suicidal desire to submit to the totalitarian empire being established in Brussels after breaking free from Soviet totalitarianism.
All of the other countries on the list are heavily socialist, with extensive welfare benefits (though Ireland's are less odious than most, which likely accounts for its rapid rate of growth in recent years). Chile was smart enough to allow those in its equivalent of social security to invest some of the money in the private markets, which worked quite well for those in the system. The European nations listed and New Zealand all severely restrict political speech through Orwellian Hate-speech laws, multicultural mandates, and the like. The EU states will not have to worry much longer about such niceties, since the hordes of Muslims they are allowing in will eventually establish an Islamic empire upon the rotting carcass of Europe, and all business will be conducted according to the dictates of Sharia law.
It's true we have lost liberties in the US, and we should be ever vigilant to preserve what's left and work to restore those already gone. I still think that we are better off, overall, than any nation on Earth.
Excellent pont. Americans have exactly the kind of government they voted for.
Here's a quote from John Adams, who understood the problem as well:
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
"Gallantry", for those unfamiliar with its 18th-century usage, refers not to bravery but to licentous sexual behavior. Bill Clinton was the most "gallant" president in recent memory under this definition.
That sounds like servitude to me.
I think the term "economic freedom" is far too vague. Also, I don't believe it is truly possible to have economic freedom in a totalitarian state like China. Yes, there are folks getting rich over there but it is very much a closed system controlled by oligarchs, who've partnered up with their Western comrades to exploit the system to its best advantage.
The thing we're seeing there now are some of our own oligarchs like Bill Gates making laughable remarks about how "free" things are there - a "new kind of capitalism". Yes, the ruling class is free to do whatever they wish - including the employment of slave labor - and to profit handsomely. The folks at Tienamen Square were slaughtered en masse when they started petitioning for liberty, however. The "new kind of capitalism" ebvisioned by poeple like Bill Gates bears a great deal of resemblance to the kind of "free enterprise system" mamaged by the Krups and other large concerns for Adolf Hitler.
Good point, though I think the U.S. could improve in these areas too.
I think the comparison of freedom is silly. Each of our States has laws and so do the more localized communities.
Add all that up with Federal laws and regs ... of course.. we are "less" free from laws and regs!
Nevertheless, OUR Constitution is the finest in the world... bar none.
I remember a time, not all that long ago, that in England one had to prove he was not guilty in a criminal case. There was no presumption of innocence at all. And, do not forget. that their gun laws are horrid.
The USA has set liberty as a standard( flag/banner) for the entire world to see and immulate. PERIOD!!
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. As a general rule we as Americans need to exercise more personal responsibility in order to preserve our freedoms.