Monday, March 5, 2018

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sensation in America

The U.S. Declaration of Independence states that "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" are inalienable rights given to all human beings by their Creator, but what exactly does "the pursuit of Happiness" mean in the 21st century?

The Declaration of Independence characterizes the pursuit of happiness as autarchy, or self-rule, which includes prosperity, wellness, meeting needs and feeling good, but does the Declaration's right to pursue happiness guarantee booze, booty and bling for all?

According to philosopher John Locke, whose doctrines influenced the Declaration of Independence, political society exists to protect a person's "life, liberty and estate," and the power of the law is limited to preserving an individual's "life, liberty, health and indolency of body; and the possession of outward things."

The Virginia Declaration of Rights refers to "the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."

In writing The First Part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England, Sir Edward Coke declared, "It is commonly said that three things be favoured in law - Life, Liberty, Dower."  Dower involves real estate and economic power.

The 5th Amendment and 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declare that government cannot deprive a person of "life, liberty or property" without due process of law.

Can "the pursuit of Happiness" translate into "the pursuit of cash," "the pursuit of pleasure," "the pursuit of instant gratification" or "the pursuit of booze, booty and bling?"

Apparently so, and it is NOT the government's business to define what exactly constitutes happiness.

Morality cannot be properly legislated.  That is where religion, faith and spirituality all come into play.

Applying the U.S. Declaration of Independence, it can be said that the inalienable rights given to people by their Creator include life, liberty and the pursuit of whatever feels good and doesn't hurt anybody else -- the pursuit of sensation included.

Music video by Morning Harvey.