Just goes to show that ideas about freedom are very different. If you read pro-business conservative publications you find that they often rank Singapore as one of the most free countries in the world.
That index was scored out of forty. Sweden got 38, Belgium scored 35, and the United States scored 33.
Singapore scored 11. Yay, Singapore.
The HFI measured so called "rights performance". It looked at an unweighted scale of 40 internationally recognised rights, with a point for each one available in each country.

The lowest scoring country, Iraq, had a score of zero, the highest, several in Scandinavia, had 38 or 39. The United States had 33 and the United Kingdom had 32, relatively low scores that they did not appreciate. China, to take another example, scored only two however.

As far as I can ascertain the human freedom index and political freedom index were both totally phased out after 1991 since they "were based on qualitative judgments, not quantifiable empirical data". Delete as applicable to work out your country's score :)

The 40 rights were:

The right to:
travel in own country
travel abroad
peacefully associate and assemble
teach ideas and receive information
monitor human rights violations
ethnic language

The freedom from:
forced or child labour
compulsory work permits
extra-judicial killings or "disappearances"
torture or coercion
capital punishment
corporal punishment
unlawful detention
compulsory party or organization membership
compulsory religion or state ideology in schools
arts control
political censorship of press
censorship of mail or telephone-tapping

The freedom for:
peaceful political opposition
multiparty elections by secret and universal ballot
political and legal equality for women
social and economic equality for ethnic minorities
independent newspapers
independent book publishing
independent radio and television networks
independent courts
independent trade unions

The right to:
a nationality
being considered innocent until proved guilty
free legal aid when necessary and counsel of own choice
open trial
prompt trial
freedom from police searches of home without a warrant
freedom from arbitrary seizure of personal property

The personal right to:
interracial, interreligious or civil marriage
equality of sexes during marriage and for divorce proceedings
homosexuality between consenting adults
practice any religion
determine the number of one's children

Well, folks, when I first read this, my reaction was one of simple shock. How could my own nation, the US, have been given a 33/40, or a B-?!

I thought I'd hurry up and node a rebuttal. I copied the list of rights into notepad and started sorting through them.

I don't like what I see.

First, I looked at the list as might someone totally brainwashed by the system. I was forced to discard:

This gave the US a 38/40, or a high A. Yay us.

I then started thinking, as nearly as I could, in a completely objective way, and went back through the list. I kicked out:


Barely made a B that time. The 32/40 I gave us shows that I grading harder than the UN did, or we've gotten less free. Take your pick.

Final round. This time, I was an absolute devil's advocate, leaving us with only those freedoms that I could find no reason to scratch off the list. I mercilessly wiped away:


The US, "Land of the free, and the home of the Brave," gets a 23/40. 57.5%.
Flunk out, go work at a fast food joint somewhere.

I'm eighteen years old. What kind of nation is this that I'm going to be living in?

* Many people have had property confiscated due to drug charges that were never brought to court.

** I'm a college student. Some of the things I have read about in the campus newspaper make it a miracle this one made it past the second pass.

I realize that this might be seen as one of those 'highly subjective writeups,' but I really think it's high time for some discussion on this. Any comments, by all means, respond below. As an American, some of the things I realized as I was typing this, to be blunt, really frightened me, and I think it needs discussion.

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