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The Pursuit of Happiness: Which Part is Guaranteed?
If you follow my Twitter account, you probably already read this. But it was good enough I wanted to share here, and maybe expound a bit. The context was a larger political rant which I’ll spare you.
The Right to Pursue Happiness vs the Right to Happiness
this country was founded on the right to pursue happiness. to have the right to pursue, you have to have the right to fail at your pursuit.September 22, 2010 6:41 pm via TweetDeckdanielthepoet
I object to the political parties who say we need bigger government in order to control all the poverty, and solve all the needy people’s problems. Each nation is built to fulfill a purpose, and it’s laws are constructed in such a way as to uphold that vision.
The United States of America were built upon basic inalienable rights. The right to life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness. Having a right to life means no one has the right to take your life from you. Having the right to liberty means no one can take your liberty from you. Having the right to pursue something means no one has permission to prevent you from pursuing happiness.
Our founding fathers were very careful and deliberate with their word choice here. Part of having liberty means you can pursue your own happiness to the degree that it doesn’t squelch anyone else’s life, liberty or pursuit. That leaves the door rather wide open.
Freedom to Fail
If you have the freedom to pursue, that means the outcome is uncertain. It’s your right to pursue happiness. You might get it. You might not. But if you drink away your house and marriage, it’s not the government’s responsibility to hand out money so that you can continue your lifestyle of choice. You get to pursue happiness through the means you choose. But if your choices fail to bring you happiness, you have no one else to blame or demand reparation from.
If you are free to pursue, you are free to choose HOW you pursue. And if you are free to choose how, then you are free to royally screw up your chance. And that has to be okay. Because you are free to try.
Here’s a bonus:
I agree with the Democrats' concern for the poor, the unfortunate, and the minority. i disagree that it's the government's job to fix.September 22, 2010 6:13 pm via TweetDeckdanielthepoet
Caring Doesn’t Equal Solving
It saddens me to see that the Democratic Party has become known as the sympathetic party. I love their heart for the poor and oppressed and unfortunate. I really do. But it’s not enough to care. Caring doesn’t equal solving. You can be dying of a gunshot wound to the chest and I can care so much for your pain that I run to the street corner and petition people to form committees to investigate the bullet hole, the cause of shooting in America, and what type of lifestyle needs you might have as a gunshot victim. I can spend time and money organizing. Meanwhile you’re dying. And you won’t make it another hour, much less in the time it would take to conclude our investigation and appeal to others for funding.
But I cared about you! I tried to help you! So much more than those other snobs who walked by and only said they cared. At least I DID something! But wait. This isn’t about making ME feel good. It’s about saving your life. It’s about doing what actually needs to be done, rather than what satisfies my need to feel charitable. I should have just laid my hand on you, commanded your body to be healed, and then driven you quickly to the hospital if nothing happened instantly.
You are not guaranteed health. You are not guaranteed happiness. You are given the freedom to pursue those things. But the government is not your parent. It’s not their job to clean up your mess.
The Right to Accept Favor and Grace
Let’s stretch our minds here just a second, and apply this to the Kingdom of God. We read about what God has said He’s given us: favor, grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, righteousness, etc. But I know many Christians, including myself, who aren’t experiencing these all the time.
Some will argue with my word choice here, but I wonder if it wouldn’t be more accurate to say God gave us the freedom to pursue favor, grace, and mercy. It’s more than that, I know. He actually HAS made it available. It’s really there, for the taking. But we don’t automatically walk in the realization or experience of those things just because we believe. We can accept Christ as Lord and Savior and still misunderstand plenty about who He is, what His intentions are, and what He thinks of us after we mess up.
And some of us will wait on our duffs for the day when God drops the answer out of the sky. But what if He already did? What if your answer is already there, and you’re just not seeing it?