Amer­ica’s free­dom edge is slip­ping

Since its very found­ing, the United States of Amer­ica has served as a bea­con and ex­em­plar of free­dom in the world. But that man­tle has been slip­ping in re­cent years, ac­cord­ing to a Cato In­sti­tute anal­y­sis.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION -

Put sim­ply, the gap be­tween the U.S. and most of the rest of the world with re­gard to per­sonal and eco­nomic lib­er­ties has nar­rowed the past cou­ple of decades. Some of this is for good rea­son: The rest of the world is sim­ply fol­low­ing our lead and catch­ing up in cer­tain ar­eas. The U.S. has al­ways scored well in civil lib­er­ties and the free and demo­cratic elec­tion of po­lit­i­cal leaders, for ex­am­ple, but, in re­cent decades, these free­doms have im­proved in many other na­tions, clos­ing the gap.

But some of the rea­son for the nar­row­ing is be­cause the U.S. is headed in the wrong di­rec­tion. Free­dom of the press has steadily fallen since 1993, drop­ping from a score of 12 to 22 by 2014 on a 100-point scale, ac­cord­ing to Free­dom House. Pub­lic per­cep­tions of ac­count­abil­ity, and cor­rup­tion and crony­ism, have also de­te­ri­o­rated fairly sig­nif­i­cantly over the past 20 years.

The di­min­ished eco­nomic free­dom gap is an ex­am­ple of both im­prove­ments in the rest of the world and re­gres­sion at home. The rest of the world has con­tin­ued to im­prove. Mean­while, af­ter U.S. eco­nomic free­dom grew con­tin­u­ously from 1970 to 2000, ac­cord­ing to the Fraser In­sti­tute, it has fallen rapidly since — be­cause of in­creas­ing reg­u­la­tion, a weak­en­ing of the rule of law and mis­guided wars on ter­ror­ism and drugs — al­most back to 1970 lev­els.

“Amer­i­cans have long en­joyed a level of free­dom and qual­ity of in­sti­tu­tions that are still de­nied to the ma­jor­ity of hu­man­ity,” writes Mar­ian Tupy, se­nior pol­icy an­a­lyst at the Cato In­sti­tute and editor of Cato’s Hu­manProgress.org pro­ject. “But if some of the wor­ry­ing trends that can be seen above con­tinue, Amer­ica may not al­ways be the ‘land of the free.’”

The United States is still one of the freest na­tions in the world, but its gov­ern­ment has be­come in­creas­ingly com­pla­cent and heavy-handed in re­cent decades. We must reded­i­cate our­selves to pre­serv­ing the per­sonal and eco­nomic lib­er­ties that made our na­tion so great if we are to con­tinue to lead and pro­vide younger gen­er­a­tions with the same pros­per­ity and op­por­tu­nity. — Los Angeles Daily News,

Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Free­dom of the press has steadily fallen since 1993, drop­ping from a score of 12 to 22 by 2014 on a 100-point scale, ac­cord­ing to Free­dom House.

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