I recently sent this link to some friends, which lists “10 Things You Could Do in 1975 That You Can’t Do Now.” The list included:
2. You could buy cough syrup without showing an ID
4. You could buy a gun without showing an ID
5. You could pull as much cash out of your bank account without the bank filing a report with the government
6. You could get a job without having to prove you were an American
9. You could open a stock brokerage account without having to explain where the money came from
10. You could open a Swiss bank account with ease. All Swiss banks were willing and happy to open accounts for Americans
I opined: “We are FAR less free than we used to be. The “War on Drugs” is a major cause, but general government encroachment for its own sake is behind most of it.”
My friend Singapore Pundit responded:
[Lex], I have to challenge your theory that we are “FAR less” than free we use to be. Here is a short list of things from the 70’s which we are free from today: The military draft; 70% marginal tax rates on income; airline price regulation by the federal government; forced busing of school children; gas rationing by the federal government (Nixon); legalized monopoly of telecommunications; US gov. restricted travel to China, Vietnam, Russia and east Europe; banned importation of books based on ideology; tariffs on goods from Canada and Mexico; federal government price controls (Nixon); 25% of workers in unions (now it’s 7%). Here are somethings we have today versus the 70’s which I would argue make us freer: charter schools; home schooling; the internet and access by it to free information; 401K; more right-to-work states; right to vote for citizens over 18.
I had to concede these were all good things.
So, on net, are we freer or less free?