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My blog friend Dave King has a post up detailing a libertarian think tank's recent study allegedly determining which state is the most "free." If you haven't read it yet, you should.
The "study" was done by the Mercatus Center, "a libertarian-oriented — and Koch brothers-affiliated — think tank based out of George Mason University.." Also noteworthy..."Charles Koch sits on its board, along with another high-ranking Koch Industries executive. Mercatus is effectively the in-house think tank for the Kochs, providing reports and research that support the ideological aims of the notorious brothers..."
(The study) found that the freest states tended to be conservative "red" states, while the least free were liberal "blue" states.
The freest state overall, the researchers concluded, was North Dakota, followed by South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire and Oklahoma. The least free state by far was New York, followed by California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Rhode Island.
What's interesting here, though not surprising in any way, is how the "study" was done.
“Economic freedom” is.....their (Mercatus Center"s) most important freedom, and so it is weighted the heaviest, with fiscal and regulatory matters making up a bit more than two-thirds of each state’s score.
I'm not sure that "fiscal and regulatory matters" would be the most representative determinant for some 200 million adult Americans if they were asked what "freedom" means to them.....but to the Koch Brother billionaires of big chemical fame and fortune, it's understandable.
As Alex Pareene in Slate points out....while North Dakota emerged as the most free state when using Koch-approved "study" guidelines.....when it comes to state ranking according to "Civil Liberties", North Dakota charts in at 39th among the 50 states. You see, in order for N. Dakota to be determined to be the most free state.....most if not all civil liberty considerations had to be rejected as not germane to the study. Who would have ever thought that "civil liberties" had nothing to do with "freedom?" Seems odd, doesn't it?
Not if an agenda is being pushed....and that's exactly what the Mercatus Center Koch Study was doing. In America's modern era, that is how it is always done. Whether it is "Fix the Debt" media-whore representatives attempting to deceive the American people into accepting cuts to Social Security and Medicare as the only reponsible way forward....or whether it's the Kochs bought-and-paid-for "study" suggesting that the freedom concerns of billionaire polluters are the same freedom concerns the rest of Americans have....it's always the same propaganda.
To this blogger it seems transparently clear that very wealthy barons have hijacked the concept of libertarianism in order to aid their wealth and power expansion. I personally believe that the Tea Party from it's inception was a creation of people like the Kochs. A handful of filthy rich corporate CEO's would not make a very convincing populist impression that billionaires were under siege and something needed to be done about it.....but thousands of "real Americans" carrying Taxed Enough Already signs in protest of Obama winning the White House.....well.....that's a different animal altogether.
And so it goes. Money can buy you most any "study" conclusion you would like....I mean, after all, this is America. We have choices. Yes, there is only a small contingency of filthy rich compared to the rest of us....but shouldn't those few have the right to choose their own facts when they're seeking to deceive the public?
Alex Pareene summarizes what "freedom" means to those who conducted the Mercatus Study at the behest of billionaire polluters.....
"...this is how the Mercatus Center defines freedom: the right of people with money to keep it all, and for everyone else to f**k off. Almost any Liberty issue that wouldn’t concern a straight, white, male capitalist is wholly ignored."
Sounds about right, no?