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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Happiness’

TGIF: Pursue Your Happiness and Forget the Rest | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on December 31, 2021

How about we do something novel in the new year? Let’s stop worrying about the stuff most politicians, pundits, and activists want us to worry about and instead think about ourselves, our families, our friends, and whatever communities we choose to be part of. Let’s forget about “the country” and the rest of the world. Let’s individually pursue happiness.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/tgif-pursue-happiness/

by Sheldon Richman

How about we do something novel in the new year? Let’s stop worrying about the stuff most politicians, pundits, and activists want us to worry about and instead think about ourselves, our families, our friends, and whatever communities we choose to be part of. Let’s forget about “the country” and the rest of the world. Let’s individually pursue happiness.

All I’m saying is that it’s finally time for the politicians, bureaucrats, and know-it-all intelligentsia, left or right, to get out of the way and let us set our own agendas.

Too self-centered? Well, too bad. Much evil results from people failing to mind their own business. But what I have in mind does not involve wishing other people ill or seeing life as a zero-sum game in which you can win only if others lose. On the contrary, we benefit from other people’s, including distant strangers’, good fortune because at the very least it opens up opportunities for mutual gains from trade. (“The division of labor is limited by the extent of the market,” the wise Adam Smith pointed out some time ago.) In reality, it opens up so much more.

There’s little chance this sort of world would result in what is often stigmatized as “selfishness.” The vast majority of us understand that truly caring about oneself necessarily means caring about other people in a variety of proper ways. In fact, the person who claims to care only about himself actually cares little even about himself. That’s why mutually beneficial social arrangements have been bottom-up affairs. As Thomas Paine recognized in The Rights of Man:

Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government. It has its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man. It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished. The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the parts of civilised community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together. The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation, prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole. Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their law; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than the laws of government. In fine, society performs for itself almost everything which is ascribed to government.

Yet the policy elite and much of the ideological left and right don’t want us to understand this. They have other plans for us. They always do, don’t they? So they can’t let us get it into our heads that their agendas are illiberal impositions.

The ruling establishment and its mouthpiece media try to keep us agitated by a variety of threats. As Ted Galen Carpenter notes,

In recent years, U.S. executive branch officials and members of Congress from both political parties have routinely portrayed Russia or China (and frequently both countries) as existential threats to the United States. It also is becoming increasingly common to find news articles or opinion pieces that adopt the same theme. Moreover, a significant number of politicians and analysts put smaller powers, especially Iran and North Korea, and even non-state actors, such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, in that category. The concerted campaign on the part of opinion-shaping elites to hype the danger from such sources is leaving an indelible mark on public attitudes. Many Americans now believe that their country faces multiple, horrifying threats.

More sober reflection should cause the public to conclude that the dangers are greatly exaggerated, and that the individuals, agencies, and organizations that foster such hysteria are not doing the country any favors. (“Paranoid Superpower: Threat Inflation is the American Way.”)

Do the real or imagined threats to Ukraine or Taiwan really represent existential threats to the world including the American people?

Then there’s the so-called climate emergency, which doesn’t exist. After more than 40 years of the most ridiculously bad predictions of the imminent catastrophe, it’s time for those who still take the doomsday scenarios seriously to realize that “Wolf!” has been cried too many times. The same goes for other “crises,” like the ones supposedly presented by immigrants, global free trade, and the allegedly rampant racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and the assortment of imagined phobias.

We can also tell the “woke” left and the national conservative right that we have our own lives to live, thank you very much. And, no, we don’t have too much freedom, no matter what they may think. They can include us out of their culture wars.

The point of freedom is to be left unimpeded in our own individual and voluntary cooperative pursuits. It will forever be remarkable that the Declaration of Independence specified “the pursuit of happiness” in its examples of unalienable rights. Let’s never forget it.

Meanwhile, Happy New Year!

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Human Respect: Beneath the obvious is a profound principle – The Exit Network

Posted by M. C. on June 3, 2021

The Exit Network

At The Exit Network, we consistently point the way towards Human Respect. This article explains a philosophy that’s based on a natural law, meaning you can test it.

https://theexitnetwork.substack.com/p/human-respect-beneath-the-obvious


Do you believe Americans are achieving maximum human happiness? Are we enjoying a time of heightened harmony? Is everyone able to access the paths to prosperity?

These three items are important to a healthy society. Happiness, Harmony, and Prosperity are the big three flourishing factors.

If you just answered “No” to those questions, then it’s hard to say that political action has worked. After all, every election includes campaign promises to improve our flourishing. So let’s put aside politics for a moment and ponder this question…

Woman climbing steps towards the light: Beneath the obvious is a profound principle.
Beneath the obvious is a profound principle.

You might think “the other side” is “twisted.” But do you recognize that those people want to increase flourishing? Their methods may be wrong, but can you see that both you and they want to ensure happiness and make the world a better place?

If your answer is “Yes,” then…

How do we elevate those flourishing factors?

Where do we begin?

Share

If you could identify some factor that was repeatedly reducing happiness, social peace, and abundance, would you want to stop it?

Like, if you swing a hammer at a nail but instead hit your thumb, do you fix the problem by swinging harder, or should you stop swinging?

The thing reducing our flourishing is harm. On a social basis, you and I are particularly concerned about basic injuries, as in…

  1. Does any individual feel increased happiness when someone launches a violent attack against them?
  2. Does any person’s happiness increase when they are subjected to theft, fraud, or vandalism?

The answer is, “Of course not.” Those two examples might seem obvious, yet they’re often dangerously overlooked.

These two injuries are our primary concern. Our ability to thrive may meet other impediments. But we cannot even begin to achieve our full potential without the basic ability to be secure in our person and property. In other words…

It’s impossible for you to increase your happiness while someone else is busy destroying it.

Read that sentence again, it’ll become important. As obvious as it is, most people believe they can make exceptions to it.

What is happiness?

See the rest here

Jim Babka is the host of The Exit Network. This is our temporary website. Please subscribe.

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Peace Brother/Sister

Posted by M. C. on May 12, 2021

peace, love and happiness.

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The Freedom To Pursue Happiness – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 31, 2020

SHEEPLE ALERT! Read at own risk.

It is hard to believe that any judge in America would permit a criminal trial of any person for violating a standard of behavior that has not been enacted into law by a legislature. We know this because under our system of representative government, separated powers and guaranteed liberties, only the legislative branch can craft laws and assign punishments for noncompliance. This is Constitutional Law 101.

But under the Constitution, these social-distancing, wear-your-mask, shut-your-business, stay-at-home edicts constitute mere recommendations that should induce rational voluntary compliance, because the government in America is without lawful power to compel compliance.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/12/andrew-p-napolitano/the-freedom-to-pursue-happiness-3/

By Andrew P. Napolitano

The governors of all 50 states, and the mayors of many large cities, have assumed unto themselves the powers to restrict private personal choices and lawful public behavior in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

They have done so not by enforcing previously existing legislation but by crafting their own executive orders, styling those orders as if they were laws, using state and local police to enforce those so-called laws and — presumably when life returns to normal and the courts reopen — prosecuting the alleged offenders in court.

It is hard to believe that any judge in America would permit a criminal trial of any person for violating a standard of behavior that has not been enacted into law by a legislature. We know this because under our system of representative government, separated powers and guaranteed liberties, only the legislative branch can craft laws and assign punishments for noncompliance. This is Constitutional Law 101. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has written that the executive branch cannot enforce a law that it has written. If it does, we will have approached tyranny.

Have we approached tyranny already?

During the past eight weeks, governors and mayors have closed most businesses, public venues and houses of worship, prohibited public assembly and restricted travel — all of which they have unilaterally decreed to be nonessential.

In his terrifying novel “1984” — which posits a future of total control of all persons by the government and total control of the government by one political party — George Orwell argued that he who controls the meaning of words controls the laws as well.

That Orwellian truism has been manifested like never before here in America, where executive branch officeholders have used state and local police to restrain people from engaging in private and public behavior which they concede was lawful two months ago because today it is not deemed “essential.”

Frankly, I am surprised at the ferocity of police enforcement and the lameness of police compliance. The police have taken the same oaths to uphold the same Bill of Rights — it’s not the Bill of Safety; it’s the Bill of Rights — as have all other officeholders. The police also know that it is unlawful for them to obey an unlawful order, particularly when they use force.

The lockdown orders are all unlawful because none of them — none — has been enacted by a legislature, and all of them — all — interfere with fundamental liberties, each of which is guaranteed — guaranteed — by the Constitution.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I recognize the scientific value of personal efforts to control contagion. But under the Constitution, these social-distancing, wear-your-mask, shut-your-business, stay-at-home edicts constitute mere recommendations that should induce rational voluntary compliance, because the government in America is without lawful power to compel compliance.

The governors complain about resistance. They need to know that Americans will resist efforts to interfere in behavior that remains as moral, natural, lawful and constitutional as it was 60 days ago.

Last week, President Donald Trump, sounding fed up with gubernatorial lockdown orders, declared that religious worship is essential — meaning, in his opinion, all houses of worship should be opened — and he offered that he was prepared to “override” any governors who disagreed with him.

When he realized that he lacked any authority to override even unlawful gubernatorial decrees, he dispatched the Department of Justice to begin filing challenges to governors in federal courts and to argue that constitutional freedoms are being impaired by the states.

I applaud this, but it is too little, too late. Where was the DOJ when Catholic priests were threatened with arrest for saying Mass or distributing palms and when Jewish rabbis were put in COVID-19-infested jails for holding funerals? At all these religious events, folks freely chose to exercise their freedom to worship; and to take their chances.

These DOJ interventions provoked the question: Who should decide what goods, services or venues are essential — the states or the federal government? The question is Orwellian, as the answer is: neither of them. The government in America — state or federal — has no power and no right to determine what goods, services and venues are essential.

Those determinations have been for individuals to make since 1776, and those individual choices have been constitutionally protected from the feds since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791 and from the states since the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868.

What is essential to the laborer or student or housewife may not be essential to the former Goldman Sachs partner who was elected governor of New Jersey, and who decreed last week, “It shall be the duty of every person or entity in this State… to cooperate fully” with his orders, or essential to the ideologue who is mayor of the Big Apple and who, for all his professed liberality, threatened to close permanently — permanently — businesses and houses of worship that flaunt his guidelines.

A duty is undertaken voluntarily or by nature, not by executive command, Governor Murphy. And the government cannot take property away from its owners except for a legitimate public use and only for just compensation, Mayor de Blasio.

Governors and mayors can make all the dictatorial pronouncements and threats that they wish. But they cannot use public assets to enforce them. And when they seek to use force, those from whom they seek it should decline the offer.

In America, we decide for ourselves what produces happiness. We have never delegated to the government — ever — the power to make personal choices for us.

And some of us are willing to take chances and even do “nonessential” things. The essence of the freedoms for which we have fought since 1776 is the liberty to be ourselves.

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Four things only libertarians can see about COVID-19

Posted by M. C. on April 7, 2020

What is unseen are the variety of harms that occur because people have been denied freedom of association and movement.

Second, don’t overlook the harm caused by government actors.

No matter the doomsday scenario, it’s hard to imagine a single governor (or president) outsmarting millions of people.

The Principle of Human Respect is a natural, cause-and-effect relationship. If I rob you at gunpoint, your happiness decreases. Social harmony and prosperity are diminished too.

https://www.theadvocates.org/2020/03/four-things-only-libertarians-can-see-about-covid-19/

A new form of political correctness has spread, like a virus, across the fruited plain. Libertarians are taking heat – getting angry responses for criticizing governors who have used the spread of COVID-19 to issue edicts that shutter businesses and impose martial law-like schemes.

coronavirus covid-19 libertarians politics

Still, libertarians find they cannot keep quiet. Their philosophy of self-government is forged in an understanding of consequences. Libertarians are the only members of society who can see – even foresee – the following four things about the State’s edicts and regulations…

The seen and the unseen

First, libertarians can visualize the Unseen.

What is seen is that which is obvious to us. In the present case, it’s easy for us to see the way the virus is spreading and how the healthcare system is overrun in Italy.

What is unseen are the variety of harms that occur because people have been denied freedom of association and movement. Politicians are using wartime powers and preening before TV cameras. There will be short-term and long-term effects stemming from their actions. Nearly everyone, especially the regime media, is overlooking these costs.

The proper way to analyze this situation is to take all of the effects into account.

Libertarians are just like you; they’re sheltering and practicing physical distance. But let’s be clear, not everyone has that luxury. There’s no way that a governor could anticipate, let alone solve all of these sticky issues. Edicts are “one size fits all.” Each person understands their unique situation better than a politician in a distant capitol could. There are many scenarios to consider. Here’s a sampling…

  • Right now, families are trapped in a home with an abuser. Perhaps the abuser’s workday was a time of relief, or the victim’s school or work was an escape path to safety.
  • Suicides will increase during the crisis.
  • Addiction will worsen because the sense of purpose or even mere interruption that occupational work provides has been stolen away.
  • Businesses that were operating on a thin margin will fold, crushing dreams, resulting in unemployment, and even reducing supply. Supply reductions will fuel price increases for all of us.

Notice State failures

Second, don’t overlook the harm caused by government actors. For example, Donald Trump’s aides were afraid to give their reelection-minded boss any bad news until it was too late. And the sudden, jarring, gubernatorial edicts have caused fear, uncertainty, and doubt – provoking shortages.

In a libertarian world, reliable tests would already be for sale! And if the tests were universally available, the crisis would’ve been far smaller and Americans would be back to work.

There are two reasons tests are not already on the market.

  1. Political suppression of information. If they had gotten the signal earlier, then entrepreneurs, inventors, and existing businesses would’ve started delivering tests by now. We know there was sufficient time because a handful of U.S. Senators were briefed in January. After seeing the impending crisis, they sold off their stocks.
  2. Ironically, regulations are supposed to make us safer. What they do instead is create barriers which increase delays and costs. Frequently, the innovator realizes that no action is profitable, choosing not to invent (another unseen effect). The FDA has been in the way of tests getting to market.

Wisdom of the crowd

Third, self-government is the best solution to the Knowledge Problem. No matter the doomsday scenario, it’s hard to imagine a single governor (or president) outsmarting millions of people.

No matter how brilliant the governor and his or her advisors are, he or she lacks the capacity to win a problem-solving contest against tens of millions of people.

Worse, political acts are prone to cause injuries (which tend to be unseen and unreported). The miracle of “stuff” arriving on our store shelves involves millions of micro-decisions. Sudden edicts have replaced that. Shortages result because the governor deploys unanticipated force. Consider…

Restaurants who planned menus suddenly have too much food. Grocery stores, who thought people would be at restaurants, find that they have new customers instead. The restaurant owner takes a bath.

Even with nearly-empty shelves, stores need to make sure they don’t over-order in response. Grocers know these effects are temporary, but they don’t know when they will end. They don’t want to end up like the restaurants, stuck with too much stock on hand. Uncertainty prevails. Shortages will remain a problem until governors back out of the equation.

Human respect

Fourth and most important of all, is the matter of Human Respect. The libertarian uniquely recognizes that everyone seeks happiness and that no one person can make everyone happy.

The Principle of Human Respect is a natural, cause-and-effect relationship. If I rob you at gunpoint, your happiness decreases. Social harmony and prosperity are diminished too.

Since this is a principle, even governors cannot violate it. Bans and edicts are ultimately enforced by armed men and women. These are not acts of persuasion; they are threats to achieve a desired result. When anyone, be they a criminal or your governor, coerces another human being, they never increase happiness. And in the present situation, the bans have obviously decreased social peace and material prosperity.

The damage to prosperity is already so obvious that no one is contesting it.

And before the governors started acting, we had peaceful cooperation. Most people were already practicing physical distancing. We also witnessed allegedly greedy corporations voluntarily sacrificing many millions of dollars. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 the NCAA closed events to the public. Then, the NBA suspended its season and Disney closed its parks. Like falling dominoes, tons of businesses followed.

AFTER that, governors forced the holdouts to close. Libertarians began raising important questions like the four you’ve just reviewed. They’re getting accused of wanting to clog hospitals and increase the death toll. Therefore, consider the role politicians are playing. Are their acts increasing harmony or did they introduce new divisions into our society?

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Happiness: What It Is, Why It Is Important, and How to Cultivate More of It

Posted by M. C. on April 30, 2019

  • Study Stoic philosophy. Stoicism is an ancient philosophy that can help you find the strength and stamina to gracefully handle the challenges of everyday life, improve your health, and experience true happiness.

https://readynutrition.com/resources/happiness-what-it-is-why-it-is-important-and-how-to-cultivate-more-of-it_08042019/https://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/happiness-what-it-is-why-it-is-important-and-how-to-cultivate-more-of-it_04232019

Lisa Egan

What is happiness?

Ask several people this question (including yourself), and you will likely get a wide variety of answers.

While it plays an important role in our lives, researchers have yet to agree on a definition or framework for happiness because it is hard to define scientifically. In fact, happiness guru Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, recently told Forbes that there are 15 academic definitions of happiness!

Most of us probably don’t think too much about an actual definition for happiness anyway – we know it when we feel it.

However, in the last few decades, researchers have learned a lot about happiness.

Experts have developed several theories about what happiness is.

Researchers in the positive psychology field (the scientific study of what makes life most worth living) use the term happiness interchangeably with “subjective well-being,” according to Greater Good Magazine. This is measured by simply asking people to report how satisfied they feel with their own lives and how much positive and negative emotion they’re experiencing.

The article What is Happiness and Why is It Important? (+ Definition in Psychology) explains that there are many different theories of happiness, but they generally fall into one of two categories based on how they conceptualize happiness (or well-being):

Hedonic happiness/well-being is happiness conceptualized as experiencing more pleasure and less pain; it is composed of an affective component (high positive affect and low negative affect) and a cognitive component (satisfaction with one’s life).

Eudaimonic happiness/well-being conceptualizes happiness as the result of the pursuit and attainment of life purpose, meaning, challenge, and personal growth; happiness is based on reaching one’s full potential and operating at full functioning (AIPC, 2011). (source)

In the book, The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

Happiness International has developed a theory on happiness that is largely based on scientific discoveries about how the brain works and on current happiness theories. It “identifies 9 universal and overlapping human needs which go by the handy acronym WE PROMISE.” Read the rest of this entry »

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This School Banned Cell Phones And Happiness Followed | The Daily Sheeple

Posted by M. C. on July 11, 2018

http://www.thedailysheeple.com/this-school-banned-cell-phones-and-happiness-followed_072018

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As research into EMF sensitivity and social media addiction continues to surface, it’s no surprise that some institutions are trying their own little happiness experiments. After all, schools are supposed to be for focused education, and the added distractions and social pressures of cell phones may further zap the joy right out of students.

Researchers, for instance, recently discovered that smart phones were the culprit behind the depression spikes and suicide attempts among teens in the last decade. That little-known discovery has serious implications for the future of humanity. But is anyone paying attention? (or are they on Snapchat!)

Four years ago, a French school trepidatiously banned the use of cell phones – and something interesting followed.

GNN reports: Read the rest of this entry »

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