Freedom Rankings Are Useless

Yglesias criticizes the Mercatus Institute rankings of which states are most free here. OK, fine, I think he sometimes notes some bias in the ranking criteria. But the real point he ought to have made is that there is no "objective" ranking possible, absent some normative judgment of what freedoms are important and what ones aren't, a point he attempts to conceal by calling certain judgments that he doesn't like "arbitrary."

But once one makes such a judgment as to what freedoms are really important, any numerical ranking is likely to be otiose.


  1. Freedom Rankings are not objective, true. Any ranking will involve making normative judgments about what is or is not important. But that hardly makes them useless.

    1. Yeah, "useless" is too strong.

      "Not the objective measures they purport to be" is more like it.


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