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  • Here’s a Fair Question: Are You Happy?

    In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that our country would be based on the rights (among others) to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But how can we get there from here?

    In his new book, The Road to Freedom, Arthur C. Brooks offers a map. Brooks explains that it isn’t money that makes people happy—it’s having the opportunity to earn success. And the free enterprise system is the best way humans have yet devised for individuals to earn success.

    During a recent speech at The Heritage Foundation, Brooks noted that since 1970, severe global poverty (the number of people living on $1 a day or less) has declined by 80 percent. In China alone, some 600 million people have been lifted out of poverty in that time. Brooks says it’s the global spread of free enterprise that’s saved and improved hundreds of millions of lives.

    The Founding Fathers recognized the power of free trade, which is why they crafted the Constitution to protect free enterprise and property rights. “As the Founders saw it, the right to property was not simply an economic concept, and was much more than owning a bit of land. It was a first principle of liberty,” writes Heritage’s Matthew Spalding in his book We Still Hold These Truths. “The essence of liberty is the freedom to develop one’s talents, pursue opportunity, and generally take responsibility for one’s own life and well-being.”

    As Brooks puts it, governments can’t give us the things that make us happy. They can redistribute income, taxing some and giving to others. But that only leads to feelings of “learned hopelessness” on the part of recipients, who find themselves dependent on government largesse.

    Americans overwhelmingly believe “fairness” means rewarding merit. Good government protects property rights, and by doing so it allows people to succeed based on ability and hard work. That’s the Road to Freedom, and the moral case for free enterprise.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Here’s a Fair Question: Are You Happy?

    1. Al from Fl says:

      Equally important, the Founding Fathers recognized that these rights come from God (Nature & Nature's Creator) not from the State. That's what sets this country apart from others – especially the socialist driven ones. True freedom thus makes for happiness as the author states.

    2. Helle Dale helledale says:

      Arthur Brooks is exactly right. Money in and of itself does not make you happy, achievement does.

    3. Vladislaw says:

      Yes I am happy. I am 55 years old, have had a good life, my kids are not in jail and are working. Life is good.

    4. See what else Mr. Jefferson has to say on his BLOG at http://ThomasJeffersonLeadership.com/blog/

      Three times each week, he posts briefly on a variety of topics, including government's proper role.

      Recent posts have dealt with that pesky "wall of separation," reasons for starting a university, and "the Mammoth cheese," made from the milk of 800 non-Federalist cows!

    5. Bobbie says:

      We're not happy. From where America should be to where it's going has become a daily deep concern to all of my family, kids included. The communist, socialist leaders (undeserving to be considered American) of this country are taking advantage of everything that's ours (our constitution, our independence, our personal ownership, our founding documents) including our livelihoods to spin into theirs. A simple man with integrity and dignity (two basic human qualities) can lead free people. This man and his title wants to take the "free" out of context and away from people.

      We could be happy if men in their positions respected us in ours (that's none of their business.) Or if men in their respective positions understood to respect their positions and respected America(ns) and her true interpretation! Hopefully soon the beacon of good will to humankind that only comes from humankind within ones own, will shine again in America without the degradation of government's unconstitutional control of it!

    6. Dick Gates says:

      Question: understand Planned Parenthood has an ad for Pres Obama. Also understand they a 501(c)(3) org and to retain tax free status, they prohibited from political advertising. What am I missing? Thank you.
      Dick Gates

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