Monday, July 07, 2008

Freedom: First step in the pursuit of happiness

Actually I read this in the paper last night. Worth sharing here at least the point that caught my eye when I read it. There was another section I'm trying to find on line at the Trib's website so that I can share that with you as well.

From Steve Chapman's Trib column:
Other countries may have a similar inclination to quarrel over whether people have a legitimate claim to religious freedom, a fair trial, health care or housing. The right to life and the right to liberty, on the other hand, are common assumptions around the world. But only America was founded on a right that, even today, sounds eccentric: the right to the pursuit of happiness.

The delegates in Philadelphia who approved the Declaration of Independence had a long list of complaints about King George III. They excoriated him for maintaining a standing army, dissolving elected assemblies, imposing taxes without the consent of the taxpayers and sending out "swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

Those are all specific, tangible abuses understandable to anyone. But the idea that the king was somehow interfering with Americans' propensity to chase after bliss was a novel one at the time. No more. One of the notable changes in the world in recent decades is the spread of freedom, including the freedom of each person to pursue happiness as he or she conceives it.

Letting people do that, it turns out, actually makes them content. This may sound like the most incontestable of truisms, but it's not.

Some science suggests that happiness is essentially a fixed commodity. It may rise or fall sharply because of events—getting a raise, breaking a leg—but over the long run, people adapt to those experiences and revert to their natural level of satisfaction (or melancholy).

Scratch that theory. According to a recent global survey, happiness is not only variable but on the rise in most of the world.

Two things, it appears, are needed to increase the supply of happiness: freedom and money. As it happens, a substantial amount of freedom is crucial to the creation of wealth. There is no such thing as a rich totalitarian country, as even the onetime totalitarians in Beijing finally realized. So in a very real sense, freedom is the key to happiness.
What is freedom to you? If you were to ask me that question there would probably be some confusion. I'm not totally sure what this idea of freedom entails.

My answer would be that I'm free to live my life as I see fit. In addition whatever I choose to do in my life for a vocation is something that I enjoy and I'm successful at. No one should be able to restrict whether or not I have the ability to live my life as I see fit or in did to make a living in a career or job of my choice.(of course this should be within reason, especially law and at that law shouldn't restrict every single thing I do).

Of course the concept of freedom is different for everyone. For some freedom is the provision of certain services or goods such as housing, food or an education. For others freedom is the protection from the infringement of certain rights such as freedom of speech, practice of a religion, to petition a government, or even self-defense.

So the question still stands what is freedom to you?

1 comment:


How do you do… freedom

Feeling trapped?
Are those handcuffs?
Oh no, they’re not mind locked?


Freedom, free e dom, fr-eee-dom, FREEDOM! What actually is it? A concept, a reality, a belief, a fiction, a paradox, the meaning of life, the great invention, an unattainable ideal… just for starters. Getting to the bottom of it involves firstly climbing the mountain that it is. Makes you feel like a bookish Bear Grylls.

...more at

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