by Joshua D. Glawson
It is often said that North Carolina was "First in Freedom." From the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and the Halifax Resolves, North Carolina became the first state to resist the tyranny of Great Britain. Yet, throughout NC state history there have been incremental attacks on that freedom, whether through state controls, state income taxes, bureaucratic red tape, or an overzealous police force. This deterioration of Liberty in North Carolina is hastening.
According to World Population Review, North Carolina now ranks as number 18 in freedom, as of 2023, while, according to the Cato Institute, North Carolina was number 16 in 2019. North Carolina was ranked number 10 in the US as of 2008.
Cato's report suggests the main reasons for the decline in freedom within the state have been caused predominantly by state fiscal spending policies, dwindling affordable housing supply caused by bureaucracy, stringent controls on occupational freedoms, higher percentages of victimless-crime incarcerations, and lower-than-average personal freedoms permitted by state and local laws.
Health: North Carolina spends nearly twice as much tax dollars on hospitals as other states when compared to tax percentages. With regulations preventing the expansion of the private medical market in the state, Certificate of Need laws have increased state spending on hospitals while simultaneously limiting patient access to medical care. These regulations have undermined the quality of medical care available in North Carolina. US News has ranked NC as number 30 for health care.
Housing: In the NC housing market, there has been steady growth over the past decade, but affordable housing has also become an issue. The John Locke Foundation notes that this is primarily due to state regulations that put strict limits on lot sizes, home sizes, parking, multi-unit housing, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). These bureaucratic limitations have prevented people from creating more affordable housing and a possible source of income, while cookie-cutter neighborhoods by larger corporations continue to populate large swaths of the state.
Civil: When comparing North Carolina's victimless crimes incarceration rates, punishment percentages, and civil restrictions to the rest of the US, a recent report has ranked North Carolina at a dismal 42 out of 50 states. This goes beyond the overreaching ABC control state policies, perpetuation of the unjust War on Drugs, marijuana legalization, out-of-touch digital gambling policies, and strict approaches to gun laws (35/50). The Institute for Justice has indicated that North Carolina's Department of Justice continues large transfers of taxes to the DOJ in their equity program, and some of that money is obtained from asset forfeiture programs.
With these three key areas in mind, we as Libertarians of North Carolina can begin working together towards making improvements and corrections. If we continue to focus solely on big-picture and national-level ideas, we will miss our mark here in our own state of North Carolina. Change begins within each individual and works its way outward through our relationships, our work, our cities, our counties, our state, our region, and finally to the national level and beyond. By focusing more of our energy and efforts on these we can show true improvement and incremental progress for our Movement and the state of North Carolina in the name of Liberty. But we can't do it alone, we need your skills and abilities.
Just as free and voluntary division of labor brings success in unhampered markets, this microcosmic Movement in North Carolina will only gain ground with your help. Whether that help is writing articles, tabling or boothing, writing our representatives or our senators, petitioning, public protesting, helping with your Libertarian Party county website, podcasting, providing video and marketing materials, sharing ideas, etc., we will be far more successful with you on our team.
How long will it take you to make a decision? Should you wait until NC plummets to rankings across the board of 50 out of 50, or do we do something about it now while we have a chance? Are you dreaming that Democrats or Republicans will be swayed? Do you wait on the state to make appropriate changes, or are you a person of action that takes your sovereignty into your own hands?
"The urge toward action, i.e., improvement of the conditions of life, is inborn in man. Man himself changes from moment to moment and his valuations, volitions, and acts change with him. In the realm of action there is nothing perpetual but change." - Ludwig von Mises
Joshua D. Glawson is a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com).