THE BLOG

Three Myth Busters About the Land of the Free

05/12/2014 14:01 GMT | Updated 03/02/2015 10:59 GMT

The image of the US as the Land of the Free is being put into question. Ferguson, plus the cases of Tamir Rice, Darrien Hunt and Eric Garner, exposed America as an intolerant country where many are not free. The Prosperity Index shows this is true not only for African Americans, but for all citizens across the board. It paints a very accurate picture of current events in the country, where Americans are not buying into the myth of US's freedom and tolerance any more.

1. The US is the freest country in the world

NO: The US is not the freest country in the world in 2014 - actually New Zealand is. The US does not even make it to the top 20 this year, placing 21st below countries such as Uruguay, Costa Rica, Malta and Portugal. This represents a drop of 11 places since 2009. Freedom of choice in the US is at the lowest it has ever been since 2006, and this perception crosses almost all layers of society: all age brackets; all income levels; people in full-time employment and not; women; people who have completed tertiary education; and people from the rural parts of the country.

2. Freedom has been higher in the US under Obama

NO: The most satisfied Americans have ever been with freedom of choice has been between 2006 and 2008. From 2009 on, after President Obama's election, satisfaction has been declining. It is very interesting to note that this trend affects both people who approve and disapprove of government. 90% to 91% of people who approve of government declare to be satisfied with freedom choice since 2009, which although very high, pales in comparison with the 97% satisfaction in 2007. On the other hand, people who disapprove of government have never been as dissatisfied with freedom of choice as in more recent years, with a low 73% of satisfaction in 2013. In 2006 for example, 85% of the people who disapproved of the Bush administration were satisfied with freedom of choice.

3. There are not that many countries more tolerant than the US

NO: 81% of Americans say that the US is a good place to live for ethnic minorities, which, although high, places the US after such countries as Uruguay, Brazil, Senegal, and Mali in people's perceptions. The same happens with tolerance for immigrants, with the US falling behind countries such as Spain, Argentina and Taiwan.

The data warns that there are worrying trends in both tolerance and freedom that need to be addressed, confirming the concerning news that come in from the country. Due to recent cases, there is a clear picture forming of an US that needs to re-evaluate the way its citizens are being treated and the freedoms that are available to them. Americans take pride on US's freedom, tolerance and democracy. It would be a great lost to see these values abandon the Land of the Free.