The Cato Institute released its sixth-annual “Freedom in the 50 States” report this week. The index provides an “updated ranking of the American states on the basis of how their policies promote freedom in the fiscal, regulatory, and personal realms.” The index of freedoms in all 50 states shows that red states dominate the list in the states with the most freedoms, while the blue states with Democratic governors were often at the bottom of the list.
The authors of the study define “freedom” as:
We ground our conception of freedom on an individual rights framework. In our view, individuals should be allowed to dispose of their lives, liberties, and property as they see fit, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others. This understanding of freedom follows from the natural-rights liberal thought of John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and Robert Nozick, but it is also consistent with the rights-generating rule-utilitarianism of Herbert Spencer and others.