Walter Block on measuring economic freedom:

[I]t has long been my experience that whenever any person reasonably
but not fully sophisticated in economics sees the findings of these
studies [of economic freedom], he invariably objects on the ground that
his own country is rated far too highly.  My explanation for this
phenomenon is that most moderately informed people know the situation
in their own nation significantly better than for others.  They are
thus intimately acquianted with the machinations of their own
politicians, warts and all.  They think that if ever there was a
country to which the honorific “economic freedom” does not apply, it is
their own.  But they do not realize that other countries are in the
same boat, and sometimes a far worse one.

Scott Sumner on measuring Adam Smith’s support for economic freedom:

Mark Thoma recently
linked to a Gavin Kennedy post that argued Adam Smith did not favor
laissez-faire.  I don’t agree.  The evidence cited was a one page list
of government interventions that Smith favored.  The US, by contrast,
has enough government interventions to fill a New York City phone book,
if not a small library.  And the US is regarded by the Europeans as
“unbridled capitalism.”  Even Hong Kong intervenes in far more ways
than Adam Smith contemplated.   Of course Smith was not an anarchist,
he did favor some government intervention in the economy.  But relative
to any real world economy, his policies views were extremely

I see this as a common cognitive bias.  The Gavin Kennedy list
posted by Thoma certainly looks impressive, but when you think more
deeply about the issue it is a trivial set of policies.   I’m reminded
of what happens when I discuss Singapore, which usually ranks number
two in the world in lists of economic freedom.  People will often
respond by telling me about all the ways the Singapore government
intervenes.  My response is “so what?”  They could intervene in a 1000
different ways and still be vastly more laissez-faire than the US
government.  Laissez-faire is a relative concept, and always has been. 
I’ve read The Wealth of Nations, and Adam Smith is clearly a pragmatic libertarian.