measureSteven at the Scalduggery blog recently wrote a post about Measuring Freedom.  It tied in nicely with some questions that I posted in “What is Wrong with European Socialism.”  He referenced a post at the American Spectator (What’s your Metric) .  The American Spectator post does a better job than I did of focussing on the question at hand.  What is your measure of Freedom?

My questions were all pointed in that direction.  I was curious how our lives would change if the government took over healthcare, etc., etc.  What I really should have asked is:  What is Freedom and how do we know when we gain or lose some of it?  I don’t know the answer or at least, I can’t give you the perfect definition.  I also don’t know how to measure it, or better said, haw to describe how to measure it.  I do, however, feel when I have less of it.  Here are some examples that may help you tell me what my metric should be.  How should I measure FREEDOM?

1.  I like the fact that freedoms are always accompanied by responsibilities.  That is the theme of this entire exercise/this blog.  The more responsibilities I have is probably related to the number of Freedoms I enjoy.

2.  I feel that I am losing freedoms when I don’t do something and my reason is ‘there is too much liability.’

3.  I know I have lost some freedom when I discover I can’t just build my barn.  I have to get planning commission approval, building permits, electrical permits, sewage permits, permission to dig on my property, permission to take down some trees to make way for the barn, etc., etc., etc.

4.  I know I have lost some of my freedom when I take the time to think, “Is it legal to do this?”  My moral compass is pretty decent and if something seems perfectly alright to me and yet I wonder if it may be illegal, it must be that something I should be free to do, may not be so.

5.  I think one of my measures of Freedom lost is paperwork.  Each time I consider the amount of paperwork required to do something and how much of it is demanded by government regulation, insurance requirements, or fear of liability, I know I am less free.  For example, When I was just out of the Air Force and selling real estate in Northern Virginia in 1973/4, we had a one page, single side sales contract.  Today that contract is something like 11 pages.

What is your measure of Freedom gained or lost?