The Mercatus Center recently released its Freedom in the 50 States report, and their analysis reaches some pretty ludicrous conclusions. North Dakota, which just banned abortion, was named the “most free” state. Reproductive liberty did not factor into the Mercatus Center’s analysis at all. Arizona also received a high ranking in spite of their abysmal civil liberties record, partially because immigration freedom was not a category in the Mercatus analysis.
But to see the true vulgar libertarianism in the Mercatus report, one should look at how they evaluate economic freedom. One significant portion of their evaluation of states was based on their “lawsuit climate.” But litigation is an important way to hold companies accountable for damage in a free society, and has in fact been unjustly limited by the rise of the regulatory state. They also treat “right to work laws” as a boon to freedom, even though the laws are a violation of free contract.
This ranking system is an embarrassment to libertarians. As an anarchist, I am skeptical about whether we can even rank governments on how compatible they are with freedom. However, if I were to develop rankings, I would not use the criteria employed by Mercatus. Their attitude seems to be that the rights of marginalized individuals are trivial and that “them pore ol’ bosses need all the help they can get.”