It’s easy to lose touch with just how extraordinary it is that America’s charting Declaration named “the pursuit of happiness” right up there with life and liberty as our opening argument to stick it in the king’s eye. And while the “created equal” part of this one remarkable sentence is a central part of our civic discussion, “the pursuit of happiness” gets so much less attention. Constitutional scholar Danielle Allen (who says the two are inexorably related) calls this “the Declaration’s most beautiful aspect” in that it makes us each our own judge of our happiness. But are we happy?
Join us as we become bound and re-determined to be happy. Together.
If you look at objective measures of late, the answer to the question is “notsomuch.” So we’ll dive right into some real talk about achieving happiness in this digital, distant, dissembling world of ours. While we’re getting all declaration-ey we’ll ponder whether our founders’ big idea (that was so patently absurd at the time they had it) requires more of us to make democracy happen than complaints from our living room couch? And is it possible the two could be related — by rising to our country’s generational challenge to save democracy of might we accidentally also find happiness a little less elusive? Hmmm.
Alexis de Tocqueville didn’t actually write this but we like it anyway: “America is great because it’s people are good. and if the people ever ceased being good they’d cease being great.