Tuesday 22 February 2011


I'm this week guest blogging at Pileus. I've opened there by pondering the impossibility of the Maryland libertarian. Can freedom really not be worth a commute from Pennsylvania or Virginia, or just leaving?
You don’t have to move as far as New Zealand either. Just crossing a state line can make a difference: Virginia beats Maryland on every measure of freedom and is right next door. The ranking of states by respect for personal freedoms puts Virginia ninth of fifty and Maryland dead last. But Jason Sorens found there are about as many libertarian voters in Maryland as in Virginia. If libertarian voters won’t suffer a longer commute from Pennsylvania or Virginia to a job in Maryland, how much value do we put on freedom? And if we personally put little value on freedom in the personal sphere, our calls against eroding it in the political sphere might ring a bit hollow.

Nobody’s demand curve for freedom is or should be completely inelastic. New York and Boston are awesome cities filled with great amenities; that’s one reason their mayors can afford such awful policies. I can imagine living in unfree places if the compensation bundle were good enough – liberty matters, but so do wealth and other amenities. But I wonder how cheaply we’re trading freedom. Give me Liberty or give me … a one course reduction, an accelerated tenure clock and a corner office?

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