Minority of One blog

Yes, America has gotten freer

In a recent post on Sen. Ron Johnson's comments on "Atlas Shrugged," I noted that in many ways the country has gotten freer since it was published in 1957. A skeptical reader demanded to know in what ways. Here's a preliminary list:

--Women enjoy legal equality and are no longer barred by law or custom from many jobs.

--Jim Crow is dead and minorities are protected from discrimination. 

--Industries like telecommunications, banking, trucking and airlines have been deregulated.

--Import barriers have been lowered or eliminated.

--Radio and TV stations are far freer to air opinions.

--Gambling and pornography are legal.

--Medical marijuana is allowed in many states.

--Sodomy laws are history.

--The military draft has been abolished.

--The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns, and most states have permissive concealed-carry laws.

--School choice is a reality in many places.

--Marginal tax rates are lower.

I'm sure there are others I'm overlooking. All this represents an impressive expansion of personal liberty.

Rand admirers can complain that government is bigger and taxes take a bigger share of our income, and they're right. But that's very far from the whole story.