Essential Liberty
The Bob Zadek Show
Ranking Freedom in the 50 States

Ranking Freedom in the 50 States

Jason Sorens and AIER President William Ruger on Cato's index of state freedoms

William Ruger and Jason Sorens are the authors of the “Freedom in the 50 States” report, a Cato Institute project which gives an annual assessment of which states are increasing and decreasing in the rankings of a broad index of liberties. The Cato Institute has been publishing this detailed compendium, using hundreds of various weighted variables.

They both joined my show for the first time to discuss how the index weighs different broad categories of freedom – from regulatory, to financial to personal – as well as specific freedoms that vary in importance for different people. Of course, there are many people who would be happy to live in a state that restricts other people’s liberty, while their own cherished freedoms are left untouched. But which states guarantee liberty for all?

Read the report


In this episode, we discuss:

  • Cato’s Annual Freedom in the 50 States report

  • New Hampshire - The Free State Project

  • How is freedom defined and measured, given moral disagreements over issues like abortion?

  • Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia, and the concept of Distributive Justice. Is wealth really ever “distributed”?

  • What makes people devalue freedom?

  • The Urban vs. Rural divide. Why are free states more rural?

  • How high do taxes have to go before citizens start to leave a state?

  • How do less free states compensate their residents for the lack of freedom?

Essential Liberty
The Bob Zadek Show
Bob talks about the issues that affect our lives on a daily basis from a purely libertarian standpoint. He believes in small government, fewer taxes, and greater personal freedom.<br /><br />America has lost its way, but it cannot and does not need to be reinvented. Our founders were correct about their approach to government, as were John Locke, Adam Smith and the other great political philosophers who influenced them. The country’s first principles are economic and social freedom, republicanism, the rule of law, and liberty. Bob believes we must take the best of our founding principles and work from them because a country without principles is just a landmass.