Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Pursuit of Happiness

In the Constitution of the United States it states that we Americans have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  Notice it says "pursuit of happiness."  Our Constitution does not guarantee that all will be happy, only that we have the right to seek that which we think will make us happy.
  Of course, because we live in a society, we may not be able to pursue some things that we think will bring us happiness because they may harm or be detrimental to someone else. That's one reason why we have laws to govern society.
For instance--
  You may like to drive fast; it gives you a high. But driving too fast on the highways may cause an accident which will do injury to others. Therefore, speed limits.
  You may like to get drunk; to party; to have a good time. But if you drink and drive, you may injure yourself or someone else. Therefore, laws against drunk driving.
  It may make you happy to have sex with multiple partners. But if one of those partners happens to get pregnant, the law says you are responsible for helping to support and care for the child.
  You may like to get high on illegal drugs. But the use of those drugs does harm not only to you, but to society as a whole.
  So you see, our rights are limited to those things that will not harm others. We live in a society that prides itself on individualism. But as Thomas Merton said, "No man is an island." Our laws have been established to allow us freedom, but freedom only so far as it does no harm to others.

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