Virtue and the Pursuit of Happiness

As the midterm elections heat up, candidates from the Democratic Party will beat the “economic unfairness” drum. They will declare that their constituents' “pursuit of happiness” is being thwarted by corporate evil, an evil championed by Republicans. Once again the airwaves will echo that the 1%, even though it is fluid and open to all Americans, is closed to the rest of the 99% of “hard-working, unfairly treated” Americans.

Obama’s 1% campaign was a phenomenal success that helped him win a second term in office. However, the 1% campaign is a balloon of hot air, and the only instrument that will burst it is an educated populace who truly understands what “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” really means.

Aristotle examines happiness in his Nicomachean Ethics. He states that "the human good comes to be disclosed as a being-at-work of the soul in accordance with virtue.” Washington stated, “There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness.”

Democrats and progressives want to redefine the “pursuit of happiness” as the “pursuit of money,” coupled with the institutionalization of the belief that Americans are automatically guaranteed this “happiness.” The Democrats' efforts are like The Wizard of Oz. This great orchestration, the illusion behind the curtain, is really a manipulation. They do not want Americans to rediscover that virtue and the pursuit of happiness are intertwined because if Americans revive their virtue, then all hope is lost for the Democrats, whose principles are both self-serving and false.

As a culture, Americans have been steered down a progressive path by a constant barrage of “if only” and “keeping up with the Joneses.” These new “government is the answer” and “I am owed happiness” mentalities are like quicksand sucking up the only viable path for both personal and republican freedom.

How far Americans have strayed from the true intent and knowledge of what “happiness,” really is. Is this any surprise? Recent generations have been educated in public schools and colleges that deny students knowledge of the fundamental principles upon which “happiness” is built – God and virtue. God is obsolete from the schools, as is the focus that virtue leads to a purposeful, productive life both as a person and as citizen. Our republic, a country that embodies and operates upon the principles of inherent rights, cannot survive without educating the nation’s children about “Nature’s God” and the fact that happiness begins within one’s own character.

Our culture and our schools have incubated and birthed the “new principle” that we are “owed” happiness, that society “owes” happiness to others. This fallacy has been promulgated by a progressive movement – a movement that has been unchecked by a lazy citizenry.

If we are to survive as a truly charitable people and a free, good society independent from government, then we have to honor and understand why principles matter. We have to immerse the culture, in a non-judgmental way, with a message that virtue is the compass for happiness and that it is not simply an old, prudish characteristic pushed by conservatives. The correlation between virtue and the pursuit of happiness is non-partisan.

Without a doubt, there must be checks and balances in all regards, yet, as a nation, we need to quit pointing the finger at others, blaming and judging, and instead point the finger at ourselves. The answer is not “out there” -- owed to us. It is “in here” -- inside our own souls and dependent upon our own virtue.

As we start the new year, it is a perfect time to discuss virtue at the dinner table with our kids, for as Ronald Reagan said, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” Our nation’s kids no longer learn about Providence or Nature’s God -- God has been deemed offensive in schools. There is not enough time in the curriculum for virtue, and Constitutional values are not endorsed, as progressives subscribe to the belief that it is an outdated document. Thus, it all the more vital that those of us who understand these necessities discuss them at the dinner table -- that God and virtue are crucial to the personal responsibility of pursuing happiness.