Do you ever grow irrationally angry just contemplating how far the tentacles of government reach into our lives? Does the notion that you are governed by a stack of laws as thick as a man’s leg every second of your life drive you crazy? I know how you feel.
America is famously known as the land of the free, but in reality we are really the land of litigation. Laws, laws and more laws, stretching to the Moon and back, wait to restrict your behavior, take your money, and potentially separate you from your loved ones.
Gone are simple, common sense laws founded on ancient and steadfast moral principles, and installed instead are laws designed to pad the government’s pocketbook.
Only the most radical escape from society can truly free you from the influence of said laws, but if you just want to be left alone to live your life in peace with minimum of government interference, you still have options.
Mercifully, some states in our Union still seem to be at least nominally friendly to the idea that a man should be able to live as he pleases with a minimum of interference.
Today, we will be sharing with you a list of the top five freest States along with the five that are the despicably least free in our Union.
Just. Leave. Us. Alone!
An old aphorism reminds us that “just because you aren’t interested in the government doesn’t mean the government isn’t interested in you,” and now as in eras past the government shows its interest in you by passing laws to govern your behavior.
And not only that, they pass laws to help extort money out of you in the form of taxes, fees, licenses, stamps, permits and more.
Want to build a deck on the back of your house? You’ll need to get a permit for that, and probably an inspection also. Failed to get the permit, or fail to get the inspection?
You are likely to be fined, your deck condemned and potentially even arrested. What a pain, lucky for you you just want to catch some rain water to have on hand in case you need to water your garden during a drought.
Not so fast, citizen! That rain water doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the state first and you can only catch a paltry amount and use it only for what the government says is okay.
Not to mention, your catchment system must be of a pre-approved type, and then inspected for your safety.
Also, inspections must be done to ensure that the catching of that rain water will not unduly harm nearby lakes, streams and tributaries, to say nothing of neighboring properties.
This is not hyperbole, reader. The above scenarios are entirely real and happen all the time around the nation. But, they only happen in lesser, tyrannical states.
What Do You Mean, “Free?”
Before we get to the list proper, we need to clear up a few things. It is a tricky, tricky thing to make a list of the most free and least free states considering that each and every one of these states is still jam-packed laws.
When I talk about freedom, I’m not talking about a place that is devoid of laws where you can, hopefully, go and live in pleasant, pastoral anarchy.
Furthermore, everyone has their own idea of what makes for intolerable laws. Some people, mostly filthy status, are entirely content to hand over most of their earned income to the state so long as the lies the state tells them about what they’ll spend it for press their virtue button.
Other folks can put up with a lot but cannot countenance any tyrannical infringement on their second amendment rights. Still others don’t care about anything except having devil-may-care property, zoning and building codes.
Ultimately, what is the most freeing for you may not be the most freeing for me depending upon our lifestyles. Keep that in mind.
I have not assembled this list with any sort of strict scientific metric, but have instead relied upon my own values that I believe are shared among the majority of preppers out there: the right to keep what I earn, the right to use my land how I see fit, the right to keep and bear arms and a general attitude of self-determinism and freedom and how I order and structure my life.
Accordingly, my top five freest states will reflect that. Conversely, the five dogs bringing up the tail end of the list as the least free states stand staunchly against those values and then some.
The 5 Freest States in the United States
Texas is a state that practically bleeds freedom. Seen as one of the most ruggedly individualistic out of all the states in our union, residents of Texas will enjoy minimally restrictive building codes in most places, and particularly in the remote, northern and western parts of the state meaning it is perfect for building your home and developing your property your way.
Even better, the state has ample opportunities for off-grid or personal power generation and will even incentivize you to do so.
Excellent knife and gun laws that have recently been improved, generally low taxes in most domains, and definitively pro freedom culture throughout means Texas takes Best in class on our list.
Tennessee is another superbly free state, and something of a sleeper compared to its southern neighbors, Alabama and Georgia. This is another state that emphasizes individual responsibility, self-sufficiency and minimal government intrusion into the lives of its citizens.
You’ll find that most places in Tennessee are suitable for farming and homesteading alike, and laws concerning use or development of property outside of major metropolitan areas are few and far between.
This is another state that is definitively and defiantly pro-gun, pro-knife, pro self defense and anti-criminal, meaning you’ll have little to fear from greasy, gun grabbing politicians. The cost of land is usually low, too, though prices are beginning to creep up in response to an influx of refugees from other states.
Alabama is a true gem of the American deep south, one with varied and typically pleasant weather, but more pertinent to our purposes one with land that is extremely affordable that comes bundled with superb property rights and state laws throughout that are highly amenable to living well and truly off grid in a community of like-minded people that you assembled yourself.
It should go without saying that Alabama is another pro gun and pro self-defense state, with fair knife laws, and decent trespassing laws, but it is also a state with mild taxes and generally few restrictions on the economic activity of citizens.
There are only a few isolated settlements that decidedly go against this grain, and the state enjoys sweeping powers of preemption against such places that would unduly burden citizens with laws that exceed the state’s own lax standards.
Louisiana has a reputation for being a remote and willow shaded swamp territory, but the state is actually an ecologically varied, beautiful and highly amenable place to live when you just want to be left alone.
Citizens of Louisiana enjoy excellent hunting seasons and fishing opportunities year-round, and most communities are very tight-knit by virtue thanks to minimal state level intrusion into the day to day running of things.
You’ll find no small lack of land for nearly any purpose, and if you are anywhere outside of major cities you can build pretty much anything you want, however you want to.
For folks who want to live an alternative lifestyle in an alternative dwelling, Louisiana has much to recommend it, though there is a fly in the ointment: compared to other states in our top five, administrative property and water rights are only middling.
Nonetheless, compared to most other places in the country it is still first class, so don’t let that dissuade you!
Read more on Louisiana’s laws here.
Utah is a state of contrasts. Greatly varying weather, tremendous variety in terrain, and equally variable local cultures depending on where you are.
But there are quite a few things that remain uniform throughout: excellent privacy rights, dependably solid gun rights and strong personal property rights concerning use, access and zoning. If minding your own business is your personal code, you’ll probably love Utah.
However, there are a few things to be aware of. Both the federal government and the state own an awful lot of land throughout, meaning that in the future even more purchases will be likely.
If you own property next to an existing government parcel, or wind up owning property next to one of their recent acquisitions, you could be at risk of eminent domain.
Also, a few areas throughout the state level have bafflingly high taxes, though these are few and far between. If you aren’t too worried about the notion of getting caught up in a government land grab there’s a lot to love about Utah.
Check out Utah’s knife laws here.
The 5 Least Free States in the United States
You probably knew what was going to be leading the list on the list free states as soon as you clicked onto this article.
Every, single bad thing that freedom loving people say about the state of New York is all true, and then some. This is a state that is absolutely drowning in tax, every interaction, everything you buy, everything you own, do, or don’t do will have the government picking your pocket, and gleefully so.
What’s worse, there is no facet of life that is not utterly controlled in the state, from positively draconian gun land knife laws to stringent building codes, restrictions and tax on the alcohol and tobacco and scandalous roadblocking of homeschooling initiatives.
You live in New York, and you are a subject, not a citizen. At least things are nominally better if only slightly outside of New York City and surrounding boroughs. Head for the hills, literally, if you’re going to make a go of it here.
New Jersey only just tails New York when it comes to tyrannical intrusion into citizens’ lives, and in some ways it is even worse than its Yankee neighbor.
New Jersey is a state that is rightly infamous for corruption; severe gun and knife rights issues, including restrictions all the way down to what type of ammunition you can carry legally loaded into magazines or chambers, taxes for every conceivable action you might take and more.
Particularly egregious, the state heavily taxes personal vices like alcohol and tobacco and has strict requirements concerning land and water use as well as your rights to both on your very own property.
New Jersey is also infamous for its byzantine, expensive and inefficient department of motor vehicles, meaning that licensing, inspection and even more tax grafting is coming your way if you want the privilege of owning and operating a car in the state. Avoid, unless you hate yourself.
Maryland is known for many things, but for those of us who love freedom it is most known for economic and business restrictions, stringent building codes with harsh penalties for even the most cursory violations, rampant taxation on personal vices, smoking in particular and restrictive gun laws.
That is a shame, too, because Maryland is certainly a beautiful state with many pleasant and idyllic remote wildernesses that would be perfect for setting up your own patch.
Unfortunately, you should admire them from afar because even if you do buy land and this exorbitantly expensive state your options for developing and using it according to your wins will be sharply limited. Visit for the seafood, then return to America.
Its knife laws are surprisingly decent, though, more on that here.
Ah, California. The poster child for big government run amok, and the darling of leftists who just want to be stepped on harder, and worse, want to inflict this level of government control on the rest of the nation.
California might be beautiful and stereotypically a laid-back surfer or hippie culture, but this candy shell veneer of relaxation cannot hide a government that is ever growing and impossibly busy when it comes to draining wealth from its citizenry.
California is notorious for constant and big spending at the state level on crazy projects both large and small. This means that taxation is constant in every facet of citizens’ lives, and always increasing.
What’s worse, though the government is byzantine and impenetrable when citizens need it for any purpose, it is frighteningly centralized and efficient when it comes to expanding and cementing its own power.
The sprinkles on top of this shitty sundae are the state’s unbelievably restrictive gun laws, getting worse by the year. The major cities in California are all dystopian hellscapes, and the rest of the state will be right behind it if this government largesse cannot be arrested.
Knife laws may seem OK, but that’s not exactly the case. I explain why right here.
Rhode Island is bringing up the rear on our list of least free states, and does it mostly by being less oppressively terrible than its competitors. On the surface, nothing is particularly wrong with
Rhode Island, and even after reviewing the state statutes you might not see too much objectionable about it. But, regrettably, you’d be wrong as the state has a well-earned reputation for being consistently restrictive when it comes to citizens’ economic practices, and it is only so-so when it comes to personal freedoms.
Gun laws, knife laws, alcohol, tobacco and personal property rights laws are all fairly stiff, and this is another state that is tax crazy, although not quite to the same extent as its neighbors in New England.
Additionally, the laws are written in such a way and organized accordingly to make them virtually impenetrable to those without a law degree.
This can put lay people at a decided disadvantage when it comes to figuring out their rights, necessitating expensive legal counsel for even the most mundane conflicts of interest.
Getting out from beneath the government’s thumb entirely is a pipe dream for most of us, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay in a place where government overreach and intrusion into every, single facet of citizens’ lives is as much a part of your day as the rising and setting of the sun.
The bottom line is that some states are significantly freer than others, and unless you have personal or familial obligations keeping you in a state with a reputation for being decidedly unfree, you should pack your bags and head for greener pastures.
You could hardly go wrong with any of the free states listed above.