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Tags: gop | pursuit | happiness | life | liberty

Hey GOP, Resolve to Commit to the Pursuit of Happiness!

weathered wood background with text life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Ralph Benko By Wednesday, 28 December 2022 12:41 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Republicans wail over the disappointing midterm results.

The mega-MAGAs, idolizing Donald Trump, went into '22 to relitigate 2020 election results. And underperformed.

Republican Regulars, playing mostly playing "duck and cover," barely held on.

The issues on which they all campaigned didn't inspire much enthusiasm. To reprise what Churchill once remarked to his waiter: "Take away that pudding – it has no theme."

High time for Republicans to get an electoral theme. Moreover, we deserve better than mere pwning the libs or Sen. Rick Scott's, R-Fla., inane proposal of a tax increase on poor and working Americans.

What theme? How about ... the pursuit of Happiness.

Sometimes, the unseen (or unheard) is more significant than that which is seen (or heard). In "Silver Blaze," Sherlock Holmes inferred the true nature of the crime from  ... the dog that did not bark in the night.

So, what?

Frédéric Bastiat is famous for, among other things, his essay "What is Seen and What is Not Seen."

"There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.

"Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil."

What the GOP is fulminating over is not interesting. What's interesting is what it's missing.

The current GOP's pudding has no theme. How about a truth proclaimed as God-given by the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Life? Check. Substantial organizations are dedicated to defending the right to life.

Liberty? Check. Invocations of liberty are commonplace, as are libertarian think tanks and even a splinter political party dedicated to liberty.

Pursuit of happiness? Crickets.

Several years ago, writing at Forbes, I protested the lack of advocacy for the unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. The Democrats historically have a deficit there.

As I wrote, "One is reminded of the definition by the divine H.L. Mencken, in Sententiæ 'Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.'"

Sound like the holier-than-thou woke mob? You bet!

"This is Mencken using Puritans to stand for killjoys. ... Let it not pass notice that by Puritans Mencken was addressing the progressives of his day.

"As he wrote in the Little Book in C Major: 'At the bottom of Puritanism one finds envy of the fellow who is having a better time in the world, and hence hatred of him.  At the bottom of democracy, one finds the same thing.

"This is why all Puritans are democrats and all democrats are Puritans.' ... As noted by the Wikipedia, 'Puritans sought both individual and corporate conformity to the teaching of the Bible, with moral purity pursued down to the smallest detail, as well as ecclesiastical purity to the highest level.' …

"Recently, Larissa MacFarquhar wrote a mesmerizing essay for The New Yorker entitled Where the Small-Town American Dream Lives On. It's about the pursuit of Happiness. She takes us to Orange City, population 6,000, in Iowa and observes: … [T]his meant building their lives around relationships rather than professional ambition. Imagine valuing relationships at least equally with achievement." (Emphasis supplied.)

The GOP is AWOL on happiness (except happiness derived from tax cuts and deregulation). Weird.

How to get happy? As I observed, again at Forbes, Harvard University is conducting a multi-decade study of what makes for happiness:

" ... The upshot of 50 years of happiness research is that the quantity and quality of a person's social connections—friendships, relationships with family members, closeness to neighbors, etc.—is so closely related to well-being and personal happiness the two can practically be equated.  ...

"Proposing to secure our happiness by policies well calculated to reweave the social fabric is the platform that would give social conservatives possession of the commanding political heights."

Apparently, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats, conservatives nor progressives read those columns. Killjoys!

Time to restore the pursuit of Happiness, together with Life and Liberty, unalienable rights, to the center of our personal, and political, world order. Hey GOP?

Resolve that our 2023 New Year's resolution includes the commitment to the pursuit of Happiness. Jefferson smiles.

Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply-Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $94T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.

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The GOP is AWOL on happiness (except happiness derived from tax cuts and deregulation). Weird.
gop, pursuit, happiness, life, liberty
Wednesday, 28 December 2022 12:41 PM
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