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Remember Your Right to Happiness

Revolutions are not unique. Some countries have revolutions all the time until revolution becomes their national sport. In banana republics the overthrow of one dictator to make way for another gives everyone a day off from work.

These revolutions, no matter how they are cloaked in the familiar rhetoric of liberty, are nothing more than tyranny by other means.

What made the American Revolution unique was that its cause was not the mere transfer of power from one ruler to another or one system to another, but a fundamental transformation of the nature of rule.

Every revolution claims to be carried out in the name of the people, but it's never the people who end up running things.

The Declaration of Independence did more than talk about the rights of the people. It placed the people at the center of the nation and its government, not as an undifferentiated mass to be harnessed for whatever propaganda purposes they might be good for, but as individuals with hopes and dreams.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

That is not merely some bland reference to a mass of people. There is no collective here, only the individual. The greater good of independence is not some system that will meet with the approval of the mass, but that will make it possible for the individual, each individual, to live a free life, not a life lived purely for the good of the mass, but for his own sake.

In a time when government mandates what you can eat and how much of it, only one of the ways it seeks to regulate every aspect of daily life for the greater good-- the declaration that started it all declares that the purpose of government is not social justice, a minimally obese population, universal tolerance or even equality. Equality is acknowledged as a fact, not as a goal.

Instead the goal of government is to allow people to be happy.

That seems like a silly goal. What kind of great nation gets started by asserting that government exists to allow people to be happy? But look at the common condition of any tyranny. Take in that sense of 1984ness and its most obvious characteristic is unhappiness. People are persistently unhappy under a tyranny, whether they are rich or poor, because they are robbed of the necessary freedom to pursue individual happiness.

They are not allowed to be individuals.

We live in an age of collective tyrannies under systems that seek to maximize the ideal welfare of the group. They care nothing for the happiness of the individual. And they care even less for the notion that the individual has a right to achieve that happiness by pursuing it on its own terms, rather than through their socially-approved and market-tested form of happiness.

The Declaration of Independence lays out the conundrum that governments exist to allow individuals to pursue their own forms of happiness.

A government that makes it possible for individuals to do that cannot be a tyranny. And conversely a government that makes it impossible is a tyranny.

Modern revolutions are solution-based. So are modern governments. Redistribute the wealth. Power to the workers. Put X in charge. Strengthen Laws Y through Z. Impose your will on everyone else. And there is the Declaration of Independence, old and worn, offering up an idea as fragile as a butterfly, that government does not exist to impose solutions, but to protect the individual's pursuit of happiness.

What is it that threatens the individual pursuit of happiness? Government. The proper government that the Declaration of Independence gives weight to is one that protects the people from government; other governments as well as their own. It protects from them from being regarded as a mass, a great porridge of people to be poured into the proper molds. It protects them from being an undifferentiated mass reduced to a mathematical average of allotted happiness based on the latest trends in sociological happiness research.

It protects their individuality.

The pursuit of happiness is not necessarily wise. It is often foolish. One man finds happiness in overeating and yet he lives in a society where his pursuit of gorging on giant sodas and salty snacks is protected from all the fidgeting experts eager to rush in and begin prodding him into good health. Another man finds happiness in inventing airplanes and is free to attempt flight despite all the bearded men and women wearing fake Indian jewelery and smelling of patchouli who want him to write up an environmental impact statement.

Happiness is individual and individuals are eccentric. Their pursuits of happiness will lead to both good and bad. Individuality is the ultimate diversity and there is no substitute for it if you want a society that breaks through barriers, rather than wrestling in the streets over the fortieth revolution that will finally convince everyone that the right way to live is under Osceopeology. (It won't.)

The Declaration of Independence was not only a national statement, but an individual statement as well. It envisioned a government fit for individuals, rather than massive masses. A government that would free individuals to pursue their own goods, rather than enslaving them to the greater good that is intellectually fashionable at any given moment.

And that is what makes it more relevant than ever. The Redcoats are not about to march into Boston, but the Regulators are. The rising power of government has transformed its laws and systems into a means for the elites to impose their will on the whole country, to stamp out their private pursuits of happiness for collective ends.

The nanny state, like every good nanny, is suspicious of private and unsupervised pursuits of happiness. It accepts equality not as a fact, but as a goal, whose achievement requires the absolute and total regulation of all private matters and activities. It has no truck with liberty because it understands, rightly, that liberty imposes limitations on its powers of control.

The Fourth is not only a celebration of nationhood, but of a nation of individuals. It is as much a celebration of private freedoms as of public ones. It is a celebration of a nation of individuals capable of voluntarily pursuing their happiness by securing a nation, rather than a nation of slaves waiting to be given their marching orders by another government agency.

An inalienable right can be restricted or taken away, but it never disappears. It never goes away because its origin source in a Divine Power transcends governments and ideologies. It is not bound by the fashions of the day. It is a permanent and absolute statement that the dignity of the individual is not distributed with a soup ladle in the shelter of the state, but comes from the individual.

It is not the people that need governments. It is governments that need people.

As we celebrate the Fourth in an America where the pursuit of individual happiness has been forgotten and repressed, mark the occasion by exercising your right to the pursuit of your happiness.


  1. Well said Daniel and happy 4th to all of us. I would add 'behavioral and social scientists' to the danger posed by regulators as the recent Facebook disclosures demonstrate. All through the actual Common Core K-12 implementation documents and the open-ended questions looking to see what strategies and concepts students apply when there is intentionally no correct answer we are collecting personal behavioral data. It need not be personally identifiable to be useful because it still shows what causes changes in perceptions and how.

    Instead of the individual determining their own paths to happiness we have a government that has declared that our 'subjective wellbeing' is its responsibility and thus officially being manipulated. Individuals with a well stocked mind of facts can perceive the world accurately and reliably interpret likely consequences. These days that Axemaker Mind is under constant assault from education and the media.

    Thanks for everything you do to penetrate the assigned narrative. Your work is part of keeping us all independent and able to make our own decisions. Government planners and their cronies hate that. Too bad.

  2. Anonymous4/7/14

    “Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” – Daniel Webster

  3. Anonymous4/7/14

    great article as usual ... and any faults lie with your readers ... those who (knee jerk) disagree because of years of school/academic brainwashing can neither accept or comprehend what you have written here ... but even if they could understand, that's no reason to believe they'd accept ... take Bill Ayres for example ...but stay n the battle ... as we know you will ...taking back America

  4. Anonymous4/7/14

    “If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” – Samuel Adams

    Happy Birthday, America! Happy Fourth, Daniel! Thank you for standing in the gap and joining the ranks as one of America's "experience patriots." Our beloved country is in need for her patriots to fight for liberty. We stand with you for her.

  5. Anonymous4/7/14

    Happiness used to be a very high priority for centuries before and awhile after America's founding and youth. It was known and believed, as reflected by the writings of those such as St Thomas Aquinas, that God’s will for man was man’s happiness. People understood that God's laws and ways towards man was for his benefit and tranquility. In turn, people understood that man's laws were only good laws if they facilitated a peaceful and happy society.

    An amazing transformation has taken place since around the beginning of the 20th Century. As America and the world have turned away from God, they have also turned away from their own happiness and replaced it with a sort of mix of guilt and self-justification, becoming hard on themselves and those around them.

    America and the world seem to have lost the sense that peace and quietness as well as happiness are God's gifts, because they have lost sight of the Giver.

    May America’s youth be renewed like a eagle’s and let freedom ring. May the Lord again sweep over this land and this world to bring many back to Himself in these last days.

    Happy Fourth of July.

  6. Anonymous4/7/14

    Have you ever written a piece on Happiness, or Eudaimonia?

  7. Anonymous4/7/14

    When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found - They forgot where they came from.
    - Carl Sandburg
    - BarbaCat

  8. Anonymous4/7/14

    Good article, really bad title. There is no such things as a "right to happiness". There is a right to pursue happiness, but the two are not remotely the same thing.

  9. Common 'tater5/7/14

    Thanks for the reminder of our origins. The founders of this country believed it was government's role to protect our freedom, not free us from the consequences of making poor choices nor prohibit us from reaping the rewards of our good choices.


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