• David Redding

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Pursuit



A primary distinction between a Statist and a Liberal is in how they each view the concept of happiness as opposed to Happiness.


For the high-Control Statist, “happiness” is a static and permanent state of bliss that is both the fundamental right of every individual to possess and the primary obligation of the governance to provide. In the Statist view, if a person is unhappy the fault is not with him, but rather with the governance for failing to provide it—or with those people, the “oppressors”, who continually conspire and collude to keep him from having it provided to him.


For the low-Control Liberal, Happiness is a fluctuating and transitory positive feeling governed by the Chaos of uncontrollable circumstance. It is transitory in the sense that a person can be Happy today because the sun is shining, and un-Happy tomorrow because it is raining. Unlike the Statist, the Liberal does not believe that the governance can (or should) provide Happiness any more than it can (or should) stop the rain from falling. At its best, it can give a man an umbrella—or more accurately, it can leave a man free to decide for himself whether he wants to pursue an umbrella, or whether he would prefer to let the rain fall upon his bare head. Whether either choice makes him Happy is up to the man himself.


More importantly, in the Liberal view it is not Happiness itself that is a fundamental right, but rather it’s pursuit. This belief is reflected in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, which lists the “pursuit of Happiness” as one of the three unalienable rights that governments are instituted to secure. Thus, for the Liberal, the governance is not obligated to provide Happiness to a citizen, but rather is restrained from impeding him from pursuing it for himself in any manner he chooses that does not intrude unduly on the rights of his fellow citizens to pursue their own Happiness. Because it is unalienable, Happiness’ pursuit is a God-given right to all men. It is not a benefit the governance provides, but rather a right that it is obligated to secure.


Moreover, for the Liberal, fluctuating, and transitory Happiness is far less important than Joy, which is the perpetual state of hopeful satisfaction that is undiminished by Chaos. The Liberal understands and expects the uncontrollable circumstance of the weather to periodically bring rain upon his head. While that might make him un-Happy in the moment, it has no impact on his Joy. Because he is highly Adaptable, he will make necessary and rapid adjustments to stay in motion (like opening an umbrella), or maybe just allow himself to get wet knowing that the sun will eventually emerge to render him warm and dry.


In fact, because he sees the Chaos of adverse weather as an Obstacle that fosters his Durability, the Liberal welcomes it, knowing that it will eventually increase his long-term Joy even while it is making him un-Happy in the short-term.


In this way Happiness’ pursuit is instrumental to a man’s ability to obtain Joy for himself. A governance intent upon foisting upon him that which the state decrees to be eternally blissful deprives him of the opportunity to determine for himself what will make him Happy and denies him the freedom to pursue it in the manner that he sees fit. That is why all Statist regimes start with the chimeric goal of providing universal happiness to the oppressed, but always end up confiscating Joy from all by impeding upon everyone’s right to pursue Happiness rather than securing it.


There can be no Joy absent Happiness’ pursuit. A Liberal recognizes that fundamental truth and operates under Governing Principles that protect that freedom.

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