most free country

I was doing some quick research on wikipedia to find out Estonia’s total population (1,342,409) and discovered that the “freest country” in the world is Estonia as declared by the State of World Liberty Index.

The 2006 State of World Liberty Index is a compilation of data from four major freedom indices: The Fraser Institute and The Cato Institute “2005 Economic Freedom of the World”; The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal “2006 Index of Economic Freedom”; Freedom House “2005 Freedom in the World”; and Reporters without Borders “Press Freedom Index”. The SoWL Index scores and ranks 166 countries based on three criteria: individual freedom, economic freedom and government size and taxation.

Estonia finally won their freedom following the 1987-1991 Singing Revolution, in which Estonians gathered night after night, singing national songs and hymns banned by the Soviets and listening to rock music. When the Soviets attempted to quell the revolution, the Estonians used their bodies to shield radio and TV stations from being attacked by tanks. The revolution ended without any bloodshed, with 1/5th of the population having participated at some point. It marks one of the greatest triumphs of the power of liberty over authoritarianism in history. Estonia has since established a solid government, liberalized trade and expanded individual freedom. The Estonian Reform Party, a free market liberal political party, is also gaining influence and has made a significant impact on Estonian politics, controlling about 18% of parliament. While Estonia is far from a libertarian paradise (with a score of only 85.3%), it is closer than any other country on this list. link.

The top 10 “most free” countries are the following:
1 Estonia
2 Ireland
3 Canada
4 Switzerland
5 Iceland
6 Bahamas
7 United Kingdom
8 United States
9 Cyprus
10 New Zealand

full list of rankings here