Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
The text of the second section of the Declaration of Independence reads:
"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". This means that government is morally obliged to serve people, namely by protecting life, liberty, and property. John Locke believed that there should be laws and principles in place limiting the power of government. He insisted that when government violates individual rights, people may legitimately rebel.
Now I am not saying people should get up in arms and rebel by any means. But our forefathers that wrote our constitution believed in Locke’s influential writings. And they used them as a stepping stone to write our constitution. Let’s look at these terms and think about what they mean.
Life: A human being has a fundamental right to live. Also this human being has the right not to be killed by another human being.
Liberty: A concept where human beings are able to govern themselves. They have the right to their own free will. And they should take responsibility for their own actions.
Pursuit of Happiness: A human being has the right to happiness as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.
I believe that our government, for the most part supports the fundamental right to life. Without it there wouldn’t be many people that would/could vote them into office. This does bring up the question of a socialized health care plan, but that is for another hub. The only issue to this right is the extent. If you are flipping burgers at the local burger joint it is not going to be easy to get to work. More than likely you will need a car. Okay you have a car? Great now you need to pay for an inspection, registration, tags, insurance, and gas. You have to be able to afford a roof over your head. You have to be able to afford sustenance like food and water. You have to be able to afford your utilities, insurance, taxes, etc… If you can’t afford some of these things, then how long do you think you will keep breathing or living?
As for liberty, I do not believe that the government backs us up as much on this one. I am truly against big government, especially on a Federal level. Let’s ask some questions here.
1. Do you have the right to kill yourself? The answer is no it is actually illegal to kill yourself.
2. Do you own your own home and the land that it sits on? The answer is not really. You are paying a mortgage. If you have paid off that mortgage then you are still paying taxes. If you stop paying your taxes, how long do you think the government is going to let you live in “your house”?
3. Do you own your own car? I would have to answer yes and no. If you paid it off it is yours, but you have to pay taxes on it, you have to register it, you have to have it inspected, you have to have it pass emissions.
The pursuit of Happiness isn’t even on the board anymore, or if it is then there is a huge gap in the scale. If you travel to other countries you will see people that are truly happy. They think Americans are crazy in the amount of hours that we put in at our jobs; and the amount of money we have to pay in taxes. They are able to spend time with their families and friends. Now I am not saying all countries, there are truly some horrible places in this world that people live in. I also believe that America is still a great country; it just isn’t as great as it used to be. But let’s get back to the point. Many of us suffer under a corporatized bureaucracy where basic needs are not met. Americans are living in poverty. Many are homeless, malnourished, uneducated, illiterate, jobless, and in need of healthcare, the list just goes on and on. Does this sound like happiness to you? When are we going to stop lining the pockets of those in Washington? When are we going to stop telling other countries what to do and start taking a good look at our own country?
America is a great country to live in. But we need to get away from big government and go back to the basics of what this country was built on. Government should be in place to keep its people civilized and to protect our unalienable rights. Over the years we got away from what should be a basic right of happiness and life to greed. Now we as Americans are living on credit to buy what we want not what we need. And the sad part is that many countries followed us in suit. What do you think? Do you believe that Americans still have the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?