Pursuit of happiness? Are people taught what the phrase means? The United States Constitution does not include the word “happiness.” The meaning, as understood by our forefathers, is equivalent to today’s word “happenstance.” By happenstance (luck), or by hard work, you make a discovery. It is the first step of making an invention.
The Constitution addresses property, not happiness. But happenstance is incorporated into the Constitution if we understand Article I, Section 8. “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The patent office recognizes that discovery is property. Or you trip, fall into a stream, and discover gold nuggets. The government created the ability for people to file mining claims. It created the legal foundations for people to pursue happiness.
We are not guaranteed that our pursuits will be successful. Indeed, failure is often a better teacher than success. Thomas Edison discovered perhaps a thousand things that would not make electric light bulbs. His pursuit finally brought success. He had not given up.
We would not have happiness if the government immediately confiscated every discovery. People would not even try to invent or make new things for there would be no benefit. Our right to pursue happiness, in the Declaration of Independence and incorporated into the Constitution, does not guarantee success, but the right to try, fail, learn, and try again until we succeed.
So, what responsibility is associated with the pursuit of happiness? It would seem logical that we are required to pursue our education, employment, and protect our family, friends, community, and country. Personal success and care of our family are the true sources of happiness.
Too many people have been indoctrinated to think that government handouts create happiness. Quite the opposite is true. Those who allow themselves to become dependent (read held in slavery) to the whims of politicians live in fear. Their food, housing, and medical care can be removed by the same politicians who provide it. Does public education subtly teach people to become dependent on the government? It is nearly impossible to get free. Those held in dependency slavery are not happy.
Getting a good education can create real happiness (and sometimes the happenstance of good luck). Far more lifelong success comes from studying actual books rather than watching TV, or playing on sports fields. Far more happiness exists in the lives of people who, like those who founded this country, accept the responsibility to create their own “happenstances.” Happiness is created by our own actions, and most often by sharing love and knowledge with family and other people. Happiness is not handed to us by the government, and certainly success cannot be guaranteed by anyone. However, every person will fail by simply not trying to improve their life, and the lives of others.