A Less than Stunning Development

Didn’t catch this on Sunday, but to the surprise of absolutely no one the Free State came in dead last in personal freedom:

It’s no shock that Maryland falls on the nanny state side of the ledger.

But it was still a surprise to hear the finding in a recent study by libertarian professors that Maryland came in dead last in personal freedom among the 50 states. (Alaska is No. 1.)

Among the reasons: Maryland lacks gay marriage or civil unions, aggressively prosecutes victimless drug crimes, keeps tight controls on land use and has the nation’s second-strictest gun laws after California.

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“You might call it ‘suburban liberalism’ … kind of the idea that we need to take care of people, make sure they don’t harm themselves,” said Jason Sorens, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of political science at the University at Buffalo…..

….”For Maryland to end up last, that was a bit surprising, especially since the margin wasn’t terribly close,” Sorens said with a laugh.

The full report is available here. And it gets worse; according to the study, we are the fifth least free state overall when you tie in our ranking as the 34th least free state based on economic factors.

How does the study describe our personal freedom issues? Like this:

Maryland’s impositions on personal freedom include the second-strictest gun laws in the country, and marijuana laws are fairly harsh (except that the first offense of high-level possession is a misdemeanor, and there is a weak medical marijuana law), motorists’ freedoms are highly restricted, gambling laws are tight, home schooling laws are burdensome (curricula must be approved by the government), centralized land-use planning is very advanced, eminent domain abuse is totally unreformed, victimless crimes arrest rates are high, and civil unions are not recognized.

Yeah, that about sums it up nicely.

Now obviously, and as Hartley points out, Maryland is not going to be all things to all people when it comes to personal freedom. But there are a lot of personal freedom issues listed in that list that are anathema to all facets of conservatism, and several that will cross party lines. As we have talked about hte issue of Republican branding time and time again, it is incumbent upon us as Republicans to take on the mantra of the party of smaller government and try to champion a number of these issues. In Maryland, the Democrats are the party of the nannystate, and we as Republicans need to make them own it.


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