You may have wondered why one of our unalienable rights is the Pursuit of Happiness, and not just Happiness. Why isn’t Happiness a right?
It’s easy to throw out expletives and say, “It’s because you have to get off your lazy ass and work for it!” That would be their pursuit, but not necessarily their happiness, nor yours. It could be mistaken as a right to endless pursuit, but never the achievement of happiness, and wouldn’t that be a good definition of slavery? What if a person’s concept of happiness was to sit on their lazy ass and not work for it?
Now, their pursuit of happiness is dependent on your pursuit of happiness, and your personal production in that pursuit to be of more value than what you need, want, and consume, plus what that person would need, want, and consume. That, of course, includes the largest drain of your time, expense, energy, and efforts, the Big Bad Government.
The big problem with da Gubmint is that it has coercive powers and police powers with which to extract things from you, even at gun-point if needed. It becomes more predatory, until you can’t drive down the street for fear of breaking a law. Better turn that signal on, or you are gonna git it. Hey, it’s for your safety, right? They will want your money, and they will take your money, which is a representation of your labor – your pursuit of happiness. It gradually, bit by bit, gets stolen away from you. It is your pursuit of happiness that is being taken.
Better have a helmet on for your peddle bike, or that’ll cost you too. Better put that money in that parking meter and pay for your right to exist, or you will pay even more. Pay your taxes, or go to jail. Life, liberty, and property? Not if you don’t pay those property taxes. Your property will be gone. It is another right that has been usurped. Gone!
After a time, bit by bit, almost noticeably, this “Pursuit of Happiness” begins to take on the flavor of slavery more than it does a pursuit of happiness.
I doubt there has ever been a truly happy slave. But there is something for all of us to consider about slavery, and that is the moments between the straps across back and what a relief that would be. God, that must feel good. But that moment of relief should never be viewed as happiness. Perhaps that has become our error.
So why is the pursuit of happiness a God Given Right and an Unalienable Right? Why isn’t “Happiness” itself a right? It’s pretty simple. You can be endowed with the right to pursue happiness. Although you may have the ability to be happy, that is something that cannot be bestowed or something you can be endowed with.
In 1690, Locke wrote, “The necessity of pursuing happiness is the foundation of liberty.”
“The foundation of liberty,” he says. Freedom, that’s what he’s talking about, the never ending pursuit of it. You will never find a truly happy slave. You will never find a prosperous slave. These can only be found in a state of freedom.
We should never accept the brief moments where you aren’t receiving those straps across your back as freedom, no matter how good that short relief might feel.