Can one pursue happiness without good healthcare, housing, access to food, education and adequate income? The Declaration of Independence said that at least three things were our inalienable rights as humans life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is not guaranteed but it is implied the government should not keep you from them and assist them as necessary. We live in the wealthiest country in the world and yet have some of the fewest services for these things. We are the wealthiest country but we rate number 18 in the world in happiness.
We know from studies the necessary things we need for happiness. The first is a secure income that provides for what our needs for the what are consider needs in the modern society. The second is the ability to have a few things that are wants and not needs. With these two things in hand what else we may obtain it will not make us any happier. There is a limit to what happiness money and things can bring.
So Americans that insist they need to cling to more and more money and this is what the social contract of our country demands are wrong. More and more does not help in the pursuit of happiness. Some of course will say it impinges on my Liberty to be taxed to help others. Again studies disagree with this. One of the things that help with feeling good is giving to the community and helping others. Now there may be some aberrant to this but not only scientific studies but all the major religions say this is the way to live a fulfilled life.
For some reason instead of being proud and happy with what we can give to help the welfare of our country through taxes we are angry. Some say the government is too big and I do not want to give it more money to grow. Of course this is a one-sided coin argument. How big should the government be. The right answer would have to be something like this: the right government size is the size that allows the government to protect its citizens and provide for the common welfare. Even if you disagree with this definition this is more correct than bluntly saying, “government is too big” Ultimately government should be the people’s creation and they decide how big and what services the government provides.
But if one thought what programs should the government provide to help people in their pursuit of happiness. Would the programs be education, parks, arts, aid to insure a secure old age, help during extreme sickness, food security, and unemployment to name a few? It is peculiar that all these programs are the ones targeted by the government is too big crowd. Yet all these programs help in securing happiness among our citizens.
And contrary to some on the far-right others having these benefits does not affect your liberty. Unless you wish to have the liberty to be cold-hearted. Liberty here is primarily about not being put in prison, free speech, class mobility, travel mobility and the right to representation of your views in the decision-making bodies of your government. If liberty about taxes was meant it was not from taxes but that famous phrase no taxation without representation.
So it is time we change our views about taxation from what a horrible thing taxes are but instead are we obtaining the services from our government that help us in the pursuit of happiness, liberty, and life. And as our government provides this we should be happy and acknowledge our satisfaction with words of appreciation. I am proud of our park services that preserve the lands and allows us to have a place to experience and explore nature. I am glad to contribute so that our elders can live their lives without poverty and appropriate healthcare. The list could go on to appreciate libraries, bridges, roads and our military and police.
So let us form a government that makes happiness more accessible to all and not a few who have had good fortune, connections, and health. This would be how we continue the dream of creating a more perfect union.