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According to a new study released by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, some of the most liberal U.S. states rank lowest when it comes to personal freedom.
“The problem is that the cultural values of liberal governments seem on balance to require more regulation of individual behavior than do the cultural values of conservative governments,” say the study’s authors. “While liberal states are freer than conservative states on marijuana and same-sex partnership policies, when it comes to gun owners, home schoolers, motorists, or smokers, liberal states are nanny states, while conservative states are more tolerant.”
The freest states in the country are New Hampshire, Colorado, and South Dakota, which together achieve a virtual tie for first place. All three states feature low taxes and government spending -- and middling levels of regulation and paternalism.