New Zeland Voted The #1 Freest Country In The World

Sauce: http://www.fraserinstitute.org/research-news/news/display.aspx?id=19171

America was voted 7th place...

So, how does this make you feel, New Zelanders? Can you feel the freedom coursing through your veins?

And what about you, American? How do you feel about the "Land of the Free" holding a lack-luster 7th place, behind even Hong Kong who, surprisingly, ranked a respectable 3rd.

I must admit, moving to the country seems very attractive right now, it's a beautiful country and it's rugby is awesome.

SacremPyrobolum:

I must admit, moving to the country seems very attractive right now, it's a beautiful country and it's rugby is awesome.

Not to mention the roving packs of sex-crazed women.

....what?

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/ch3-an-index-of-freedom-in-the-world.pdf

No comment. I would caution against using freedom as an end goal for society. I would like to add that fiscal heavens and several rather chaotic countries score high over there.

There are countries which aren't doing "well" either that are high on that list.

EDIT: Hong Kong the top third for example has 7.8 personal freedom, but 9.02 economic freedom, that's not necessarily good.

While I do like bashing the U.S because I think it sometimes deserves it, there are bigger concerns than this.

EDIT EDIT: Singapore is above Italy? France is only 33rd?! Huh, Israel is 105 while China is 100.

"Personal safety and physical security from harm is a basic indicator or
condition of freedom." Interesting study. So Somalia if it was featured would be pretty low with that criteria.

I disagree with a lot of it, but it did talk about "negative freedom".

I LIKE EDITING: New Zealand is pretty nice.

I wonder just how exactly this list defines freedom.

I think its stupid to have a "most free countries list" because freedom means different things to different people.

Hardcore_gamer:
I wonder just how exactly this list defines freedom.

I think its stupid to have a "most free countries list" because freedom means different things to different people.

They do have how the index is determined on the link, of course it's a pretty long read.

To me freedom means survival mode. I take what I want when I want or because I need it. I answer to no one. I don't go to work. Other people will try to take from me and or kill me. That's real freedom.

Most people just gather into groups, and then you do what the group wants, or you're on your own (free.) Those groups then vote for leaders, then it involves into governments and lines on a map are drawn.

People still try to take from you and kill you, but they do it by bullying, they do it by exposing your lies, or lying about you, trying to get your fired from your job, trying to ruin your career or finances. They kill with lies and authority in civilization, but I often fail to see the difference.

I don't kid myself that we are free anymore than we are "civilized."

SacremPyrobolum:
So, how does this make you feel, New Zelanders?

The only thing the kiwis will care about is placing higher than Australia.

It' doesn't feel so bad tbh. Just about as good as... http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/peo_nob_pri_lau-people-nobel-prize-laureates

xDarc:
To me freedom means survival mode. I take what I want when I want or because I need it. I answer to no one. I don't go to work. Other people will try to take from me and or kill me. That's real freedom.

Most people just gather into groups, and then you do what the group wants, or you're on your own (free.) Those groups then vote for leaders, then it involves into governments and lines on a map are drawn.

People still try to take from you and kill you, but they do it by bullying, they do it by exposing your lies, or lying about you, trying to get your fired from your job, trying to ruin your career or finances. They kill with lies and authority in civilization, but I often fail to see the difference.

I don't kid myself that we are free anymore than we are "civilized."

So you place no value on negative liberty?

Also the rest reads like a survivalist manifesto.

xDarc:
To me freedom means survival mode. I take what I want when I want or because I need it. I answer to no one. I don't go to work. Other people will try to take from me and or kill me. That's real freedom.

Who's stopping you from going all Bear Grylls indefinitely?

Could it be because beneath that gruff, gung-ho survivalist exterior you're still too attached to the comfort of the society you live in?

Most people just gather into groups, and then you do what the group wants, or you're on your own (free.) Those groups then vote for leaders, then it involves into governments and lines on a map are drawn.

When people gather into groups, shit gets done. Also, if I recall correctly, you have voted without anyone having put a gun to your head.

People still try to take from you and kill you. Good thing your liberty to not get killed , but they do it by bullying, they do it by exposing your lies, or lying about you, trying to get your fired from your job, trying to ruin your career or finances. They kill with lies and authority in civilization, but I often fail to see the difference.

Yeah, the world's full of shit. We know. I'm not too fond of "people" as a whole myself, I have my close circle of those I trust and that's it.

I don't kid myself that we are free anymore than we are "civilized."

As I said. You could pick up and go Bear Grylls for life. Right now. Sit on a plane, find a place where you can do anything you want, and survive on your own fitness to survive.

Why don't you? It only comes across as if you don't really value freedom as much as you say you value it. Or as if you're not too certain you would come out on top of all that "survival of the fittest" thing.

The US has high taxes, fantastically inflated cost of living, companies are allowed to monitor your personal usage of the internet, draconian copyright laws, most Americans live in debt, and there are lobbies left and right trying to reduce personal freedom everywhere from the bedroom to the workplace.

So yes, it's no surprise that we are slipping.

cant say im surprised

-island nation
-no borders
-lots of open ocean (not really near anyone except for Australia)
-very small population
-small cities
-not very diverse population race-wise
-pretty much just christian and athiesm
-amazing weather (not too hot, not too cold)

dear lord, how do you screw that up? Even the US would be significantly better if it had those conditions....

We wouldnt have to worry about cartels or illegal goods. We wouldnt have nearly as much religious or racial tensions. We could better allocate resources. The possibilities are endless.

Even before this article, NZ seems like paradise on earth. But like many things in life, it comes down to dumb ole luck.

Vegosiux:

It only comes across as if you don't really value freedom as much as you say you value it.

There is no such thing as freedom in the world. The whole concept is ridiculous, it goes against human nature to be social animals, climb to the top of the heap, and force standards upon the collective. Those who go it alone are not free either, certainly not free from being killed by others, free from want or need of other people.

Freedom is just an idea we made up to hide the fact that life is always meant to be a struggle of sort, in any sense.

It is especially difficult to get a group of people to play house, follow rules, and work towards progress if they believe they are still fighting for their very survival.

Relax guy, you're "free." That's it, now go drown in debt and mortgage your entire future before you are old enough to even know better.

Ryotknife:
cant say im surprised

-island nation
-no borders
-lots of open ocean (not really near anyone except for Australia)
-very small population
-small cities
-not very diverse population race-wise
-pretty much just christian and athiesm
-amazing weather (not too hot, not too cold)

dear lord, how do you screw that up? Even the US would be significantly better if it had those conditions....

We wouldnt have to worry about cartels or illegal goods. We wouldnt have nearly as much religious or racial tensions. We could better allocate resources. The possibilities are endless.

Even before this article, NZ seems like paradise on earth. But like many things in life, it comes down to dumb ole luck.

Don't worry, we still complain about our country all the time. You are pretty much right about the things above except the "not very diverse population race-wise" while this is technically true we actually are still very ethnically diverse and have a smaller percentage of white people ("only" 69%) than the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. It seems that, of the other english speaking countries at least, we are the most racially diverse. Auckland, the biggest city, is the city with the biggest population of Pacific Islanders/polynesians.

Anyway its a minor quibble.

IMO I will have to read what their criteria for that was and then decide whether its even the best thing to strive for. Still I don't feel very repressed in NZ so it must count for something.

xDarc:

There is no such thing as freedom in the world. The whole concept is ridiculous, it goes against human nature to be social animals, climb to the top of the heap, and force standards upon the collective. Those who go it alone are not free either, certainly not free from being killed by others, free from want or need of other people.

Okay, let's take the social limitations on freedom out of the equation a little. Even without that, we're limited by our biological needs. Take that out of the equation, we're limited by the fact that we can't wrestle down every hungry carnivore that comes our way. Further, even if you're the only living thing on the planet, who can sustain himself from the solar power alone, you're limited by laws of physics in that you have to fall back down if you jump, that you can't just quantum-tunnel (or teleport, if you want) anywhere you might want to be at the moment, that there's an upper limit to force your body can take without breaking...

So yes, in essence I agree, the universe imposes many many limits on us. But that is precisely why defining "freedom" as "absence of limitation" is such a load of nonsense to begin with.

Freedom is just an idea we made up to hide the fact that life is always meant to be a struggle of sort, in any sense.

Life isn't "meant" to be anything, it is what it is plus what you make of it, and when you're done with it the Milky Way still wheels on, oblivious. In time, even the stars will be gone.

And yeah, life does suck a lot, and then you die. Does it have a purpose? Not really, if you ask me, but what the hell, while I'm here I might as well get up to some stuff I enjoy. And most of that stuff depends in some way on other people.

It is especially difficult to get a group of people to play house, follow rules, and work towards progress if they believe they are still fighting for their very survival.

Depends on the size of the group. Monkeysphere and all. Then again, imminent threat of death does tend to make people work together if only so they can live long enough to continue plotting to backstab the other guy. Still, being a "social animal" has brought our species to a level of development never seen before on this planet. We've been here for what, a million years, give or take? It's resourcefulness, adaptability and ability to work towards a common goal that brought us to this level - and we're still just an unimportant speck in the grand scale of things.

Relax guy, you're "free." That's it, now go drown in debt and mortgage your entire future before you are old enough to even know better.

"Know better" than what? That the definition of "freedom" as "absence of all limits" is completely and utterly useless? I'll also have you know I'm the same age as you, so you don't get to pull the "You'll see when you grow up, kid" card on me.

As cynical and grumpy as I tend to be, I still don't want to get bored, and fuck, wallowing in self-pity about my mortgage and debts all the time would be more boring than a slow-motion documentary on drying paint playing at half speed on a broken VCR.

Vegosiux:

"Know better" than what? That the definition of "freedom" as "absence of all limits" is completely and utterly useless? I'll also have you know I'm the same age as you, so you don't get to pull the "You'll see when you grow up, kid" card on me.

I check profiles before I bother to respond to anyone. I need to start using italics when I write something in the abstract, as an example, without directing it anyone.

Anyhow, freedom defined as the absence of limits may be useless, but freedom as it exists in a structured society that slaves in the name of progress is a complete joke. I guess it could be worse, I could live in North Korea.

As for me, I'm doing ok. I live well below my means, bought a small house to keep a small mortgage payment, don't tap the credit lines much, don't owe any student loans. I've avoided the trap most people find themselves in before they're 30 and I am doing fine. The biggest struggle I face is getting out of bed and going to work in the morning, and getting there in one piece going up Detroit's main artery every day.

Point is, freedom in a group, a government, a society; fickle as those things often are, is also pretty damn flimsy.

P.S.

Vegosiux:

Life isn't "meant" to be anything, it is what it is plus what you make of it, and when you're done with it the Milky Way still wheels on, oblivious. In time, even the stars will be gone.

It's funny you should bring the universe into this, because that is the base model for life being a struggle, for duality, for positive and negative matter, for good and evil; the absence of existence without opposing forces.

Here's a question that was bothering me earlier today; if people lived in a hypothetical utopia where any want or need was instantaneously fulfilled- would people be happy?

I think the drugs should be legalised so they can be monitored better, not for extra "freedom". Oh well... I think the drug and gun laws pushed NZ above the rest. Too much freedom may not be a good thing, but... I love the place, being an Australian neighbour :-D

xDarc:
It goes against human nature to be social animals

I'm pretty sure that's not true. In the really literal sense of "Socializing is a biological imperative for humans".

All the other guff of civilization beyond basic tribal stuff seems to come with various technological advances.

Relax guy, you're "free." That's it, now go drown in debt and mortgage your entire future before you are old enough to even know better.

Why does every post of yours seem to result in condescension towards young people? Are you still reveling in the ability to do that having turned old recently? I remember listening to a radio 4 interview with this woman who was 90-something and loving the ability to be condescending to 50-year-olds.

Frission:
http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/ch3-an-index-of-freedom-in-the-world.pdf

No comment. I would caution against using freedom as an end goal for society. I would like to add that fiscal heavens and several rather chaotic countries score high over there.

There are countries which aren't doing "well" either that are high on that list.

EDIT: Hong Kong the top third for example has 7.8 personal freedom, but 9.02 economic freedom, that's not necessarily good.

While I do like bashing the U.S because I think it sometimes deserves it, there are bigger concerns than this.

EDIT EDIT: Singapore is above Italy? France is only 33rd?! Huh, Israel is 105 while China is 100.

"Personal safety and physical security from harm is a basic indicator or
condition of freedom." Interesting study. So Somalia if it was featured would be pretty low with that criteria.

I disagree with a lot of it, but it did talk about "negative freedom".

I LIKE EDITING: New Zealand is pretty nice.

.
In Israel there's a lot of freedom to die. Y'Know, mandatory military service isn't that free. We got our fair share of issues.

Danny Ocean:

Relax guy, you're "free." That's it, now go drown in debt and mortgage your entire future before you are old enough to even know better.

Why does every post of yours seem to result in condescension towards young people?

It was a general statement of hyperbole as an example because I didn't feel like typing out the full bit.

It starts when you're young. They tell you anything to make you feel safe and secure, anything to keep those lizard/primate brains of yours sleeping away blissfully. They need you complacent so they need to saddle you with enough debt before you even knew what hit you to ensure you will have to work the rest of your life. It'll feel like a raw deal, but you'll be constantly reminded that you are free.

Do you think government or society would function if people were told expressly that they are not free?

If people felt like their survival was at stake, if there was no more reward for being civil, no carrot on a stick, no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, we'd all go back to just robbing, looting, raping and killing practically overnight. Shit, it doesn't take much, just have a sale on some TVs at walmart and you will see some good old fashioned lizard/primate brain action.

P.S.

Danny Ocean:

Why does every post of yours seem to result in condescension towards young people?

Probably has something to do with R&P threads all seeming to be"Rip&Poke" America lately. Sometimes it just wears thin being told all about your own country by someone who not only doesn't live here but is barely starting their own adult life.

I think it was last week that I was told about how America was after 9/11 by someone from Europe, who was 9 or 10 at the time. Seriously, I will never claim to know what happened in Britain or Australia in 1992. Even if I could go back and look at news media from that time about a particular event I wanted to discuss, I would never just assume the media gave me the full picture of what the country was actually going through.

It makes me grouchy that so many others do essentially the same thing without a second thought.

Denmark and USA tied for 7th? What the hell?
That can't be right.
Now I begin to wonder how they measured "Freedom" for this survey.

Wasn't there another thread on this already? I laughed when I read that and found a bunch of Americans getting huffy that they weren't #1. Such a small and sheltered world it must be.

Tayh:
Denmark and USA tied for 7th? What the hell?
That can't be right.
Now I begin to wonder how they measured "Freedom" for this survey.

They took a combination of 'classical' freedom, economic freedom, safety from crime and safety from persecution.

That economic bit probably pushed Denmark down. Which is a lot of rubbish of course. Being able to get filthy rich or to remain dirt poor is hardly an aspect of freedom. Would've been a better index if they scrapped the whole economic part.

Then again, I find the list highly suspect. Fraser institute is very very right wing and conservative. Apparently the conservative ultra-right Cato Institute was also involved in the list. Another involved in it is from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Some may recognize that name from Objectivist writings, and you're right, it's another ultra-right wing conservative lobby group.

Still, for a group that's about as biased and deluded about freedom as is possible given the current political spectrum, it's a somewhat respectable attempt at an index. You'd expect guys like that to exclusively write one-sided propaganda.

renegade7:
The US has high taxes, fantastically inflated cost of living, companies are allowed to monitor your personal usage of the internet, draconian copyright laws, most Americans live in debt, and there are lobbies left and right trying to reduce personal freedom everywhere from the bedroom to the workplace.

So yes, it's no surprise that we are slipping.

No offense, I think you're right on the dollar with most of that stuff... But the U.S. hardly has "High Taxes". Arguably, we have some of the lowest taxes in the western world. The only countries that I think would be able to match us/beat us tax wise are third world nations or "Uber Free Market" countries, and with all the sweat shops and unfair wages that are there, I don't think they're exactly idols to look up to.

Witty Name Here:

renegade7:
The US has high taxes, fantastically inflated cost of living, companies are allowed to monitor your personal usage of the internet, draconian copyright laws, most Americans live in debt, and there are lobbies left and right trying to reduce personal freedom everywhere from the bedroom to the workplace.

So yes, it's no surprise that we are slipping.

No offense, I think you're right on the dollar with most of that stuff... But the U.S. hardly has "High Taxes". Arguably, we have some of the lowest taxes in the western world. The only countries that I think would be able to match us/beat us tax wise are third world nations or "Uber Free Market" countries, and with all the sweat shops and unfair wages that are there, I don't think they're exactly idols to look up to.

Also think about the distribution of taxes and wealth. Problems with healthcare and insurances, etc.

Captcha: Accidentally on purpose... What? That's actually quite cool, captcha, will use that!

And "we" are holding steady at no.2, for the time being at least some of our personal liberties are to be axed (or at least curtailed if all the current plans go through)

The kind of freedom that xDarc talks about also means a complete lack of progress. Nobody would ever travel to the stars or develop targeted antibodies against specific cancer cells and the like. Humanity would be little more than the other animals: Living, feeding, fucking and dying on a day-by-day basis with no greater ambitions than mere survival and the next food intake. If that's freedom, then freedom is a hell of stagnation and death.

Luckily, my own understanding of freedom differs substantially from that.

I'm very confused that Denmark and the USA would be on par in this analysis. Depending what you put emphasis on, either one would qualify as massively freer than the other. But being on the same spot? That doesn't really work.

As for New Zealand? Very nice place. I've only been on the Southern island, but it was quite amazing. That said, it's obviously difficult to evaluate something like this as a tourist when you basically only see the facade. Good on them that, apparently, it's also quite nice behind that facade as well.

Skeleon:
The kind of freedom that xDarc talks about also means a complete lack of progress. Nobody would ever travel to the stars or develop targeted antibodies against specific cancer cells and the like. Humanity would be little more than the other animals: Living, feeding, fucking and dying on a day-by-day basis with no greater ambitions than mere survival and the next food intake. If that's freedom, then freedom is a hell of stagnation and death.

I think that's kinda the point. By the same logic, wild animals are free, because that's all they do. They have total freedom from obligations (other than biological imperatives), they don't have jobs or currency or rules, they just do what the fuck they like.

Of course, it's a stupid-ass point, given that many animals are deeply social/tribal and take on different roles(jobs) within their group but then I don't think it's an argument that has really been thought through very well. It just reads more as "I'm sick and tired of getting up and going to work every day for The Man, I wish I could just be free!" :-P

TheIronRuler:

In Israel there's a lot of freedom to die. Y'Know, mandatory military service isn't that free. We got our fair share of issues.

This study has it's own fair share of issues, the Swiss have compulsory service so Switzerland is now not free?
Military or any other civil service should not affect freedom, this is a must for any society in my book.
Any how i had a good laugh reading that study which claims that Israel is less safe than Niger, or the Congo....

Verbatim:
This study has it's own fair share of issues, the Swiss have compulsory service so Switzerland is now not free?

Switserland hasn't got compulsory military service, they have compulsory reservist service who practise occasionally. Something which only works because they're a backwards country that nobody cares to invade, and they don't give a fuck about anyone except themselves. Hell will freeze over before you see the Swiss ever making the difference anywhere, unless it involves money laundering or stashing nazi gold.

But if you looked into it, you'd find Switserland to be a very unfree country to European standards, yes.

Blablahb:

Verbatim:
This study has it's own fair share of issues, the Swiss have compulsory service so Switzerland is now not free?

Switserland hasn't got compulsory military service, they have compulsory reservist service who practise occasionally. Something which only works because they're a backwards country that nobody cares to invade, and they don't give a fuck about anyone except themselves. Hell will freeze over before you see the Swiss ever making the difference anywhere, unless it involves money laundering or stashing nazi gold.

But if you looked into it, you'd find Switserland to be a very unfree country to European standards, yes.

Can you quantify how Switzerland is any less free than EU countries?
And the Swiss do have a conscription, call it what you like, but at the age of 19 you go into the Army for at least 6 months for basic training and orientation.
The Netherlands had conscription till the mid 90's Germany had it officially till 2011 i don't see how conscription into the armed forces or civil service is makes your country more or less free.

Verbatim:
i don't see how conscription into the armed forces or civil service is makes your country more or less free.

because its a compulsion ?

it is, in a very tangible way, the state making you do something and it directly butts against multiple widely held and ratified civilian "freedoms" such as freedom of self determination, freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of assembly etc etc.

by almost anyones definition if you are in the military you are not "free" not least because there a crapload of military rules to follow or you'll be locked up...or in war, worse.

The US has a capitalism driven prison industry and a bigger prison population percentage than most dictatorships. I'm actually shocked we got as high as 7th in light of that.

Verbatim:
Can you quantify how Switzerland is any less free than EU countries?
And the Swiss do have a conscription, call it what you like, but at the age of 19 you go into the Army for at least 6 months for basic training and orientation.
The Netherlands had conscription till the mid 90's Germany had it officially till 2011 i don't see how conscription into the armed forces or civil service is makes your country more or less free.

Well, for one thing, they only achieve women's voting rights in 1991, the last country in Europe to do so. Religious freedom exists only on paper and it's clear that catholicism is the favoured religion. Which also is imposed on people, because Switserland has severe restrictions on abortion. Not to mention outsiders aren't cared for much. Switzerland is a major thoroughfare for human trafficking, but doesn't do much about it. They're listed as 'tier 2' in human trafficking evaluations, which is a polite way of saying they don't care and are hardly trying to stop it. Victims of human trafficking are brutally deported after a short waiting period, humanitarian concerns be damned. Switzerland has a soaring rate of family dramas where someone kills their wife or children. Women are pretty much second rate citizens in Switzerland, with a large wage gap, work participation, life expectancy, acces to healthcare and education being less.

To illustrate: While most of the Europe tops equality charts, Switzerland is stuck somewhere down below, below countries like Lesotho and the Philippines.


By the way, might also want to check on what of conscription there is. Dutch conscription ended in august 1996 when the last conscripts had served their time, nobody was actually called into service in those days anymore. By that time the conscription time had been reduced to only 87 days, meaning that if you had to serve that right now today, you'd be done by mid april. It was barely enough time to complete a basic military training, and that's what it had been since the mid 80's, even before the cold war had ended. Must've been somewhere around that time when the term was reduced to 87, from 100 days.

Sleekit:

Verbatim:
i don't see how conscription into the armed forces or civil service is makes your country more or less free.

because its a compulsion ?

it is, in a very tangible way, the state making you do something and it directly butts against multiple widely held and ratified civilian "freedoms" such as freedom of self determination, freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of assembly etc etc.

by almost anyones definition if you are in the military you are not "free" not least because there a crapload of military rules to follow or you'll be locked up...or in war, worse.

So are taxes, jury duty, and laws preventing you from killing annoying people with an axe....

 

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