Vulgar Libertarianism from Mercatus


Glock27's picture

That was rather terse for an article, yet the points taken are not unreasonable, despite one post which clarifies Mercatus' position in ranking freedom. On the other hand I also find it somewhat unfair to aggress at an effort to present some reasonable data that affects everyone and not a limited segment of population. Here is an example of what I mean when a free society exists. Someone wants to lead as is in the case here. This brand of freedom I could do without. As I understand it under Natural law, induced abortion is not a natural occuring event. The body may at some point reject the growing human because of some form of complication. This, for me is not an easy issue to resolve.

Paul's picture

There are a few subjects (including abortion and term limits) where it is impossible to say what the pro-freedom position is. The only reasonable thing to do with such subjects, for anyone attempting this sort of ranking, is to leave them out of the calculation and let those for whom they are important make their own calculations about them. If you have 100 factors and 2 of them are problematical for many reasons, it makes no sense to include them. 98 factors will be good enough!

My problem with this ranking (and I was invited by Sorens to participate in this study, but declined) is that it is damn difficult to make such a ranking and make it reliable. It was even difficult with the Free State Project which only had a few states. Also, everyone has their own ideas what weights should be applied to these factors, but you are stuck with the weights they have applied. I don't fault these guys for taking on this gargantuan task, but I don't put much store in the results either. There are some things that just don't fit in a spreadsheet. Quantification of human actions is what governments do, after all. It's their life-blood. Should we be doing that?

Glock27's picture

Fundamentally my point would be how is it even possible to rank freedom. I think I understand what the group is trying to do but I think they may be missing the whole point of the issue of freedom. Currently any effort to pin point freedom is like trying to nail jello to a wall.
How is it possible that my idea of freedom can be the same as your? It can't--the reason I think why freedom cannot be pin pointed. Despite all this I think they achieved a decent effort for generalizing freedom under a select group of headings. It may not be the best nor the most accurate but for the general population it is going to work quiet well I believe.

Eric Field's picture

You hit it the nail on the head.  A quantitative measurement of subjective value probably says more about the opinions of the person conducting the research.