The Pursuit of Happiness

What Is Your “Pursuit of Happiness”?

Thomas Jefferson may have been borrowing from the 17th century English philosopher John Locke when he coined the phrase, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” After all, nearly 100 years before Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, Locke wrote that the foundation of liberty is built on the need to pursue happiness. Locke noted that this pursuit is not merely an imaginary quest or a satisfaction of personal desires, but an ability to achieve the greatest good free from any predetermined will or forced action.

This pursuit is one of the unalienable and natural rights that Jefferson found so irresistible, but it dates back well before his or Locke’s time. It is indeed traceable to the 5th century B.C., and the Greek philosophers. They referred to “eudaimonia,” the Greek term for “happiness,” connoted as performing the right actions that result in the well-being of an individual. Happiness is a state of being based in morality, virtue, and utility, not an acquisition. In other words, humanity achieves its peak actualization by living a good life full of positive actions, not by acquiring things to demonstrate one lived “successfully.”

As America matures, misguided policy and hostile culture risk foreclosing this pursuit to future generations. To preserve this right, happy warriors must fight to enable the enrichment of opportunity and must become champions of the modern-day eudaimonia, the ability to “earn one’s success.” To this end, happiness is a fight for people, not against things.

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Deaths of Despair: Opioid Abuse Devastates America. There Is a Solution

Deaths of Despair: Opioid Abuse Devastates America. There Is a Solution

Low-income poorly educated whites between the ages of 45-54 are dying too soon. Unlike every other age, ethnic and racial, education, and income group, this group’s longevity is decreasing. Why? Opioid abuse.

That’s right, prescription painkillers, heroin, Fentanyl, and other opiate derivatives killed more than 33,000 Americans in 2015. That’s about four times the number of opioid-related drug overdose deaths than in 1999.

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Farm Subsidies: Not Your Father’s Cropshares

Farm Subsidies: Not Your Father’s Cropshares

Imagine this scenario: A massive disaster hits and America’s food sources are wiped out. Miles of crops no longer exist. The cost of food skyrockets. America’s farmers are devastated. The land is destroyed, the farm equipment turned to trash, homes and livelihoods are ruined.

The government mobilizes into action. How? By paying the farmers for their losses.

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How Work Requirement in Food Stamp Program Helped Reduce Poverty in Maine

How Work Requirement in Food Stamp Program Helped Reduce Poverty in Maine

TPOH has long advocated maintaining a safety net for those truly in need, but also supporting work as a means to build value in one’s lives and in the lives of others. Work provides meaning and purpose, despite those who wish to argue otherwise.

So it’s refreshing to read a strong rebuttal to a shocking claim that suggests proposed changes to the food stamp program will force people to hunt squirrels for food. Turns out such hyperbole doesn’t stand up to the evidence.

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Which Pays Better Wages? Government or Private Sector

The Congressional Budget Office, the federal government’s numbers cruncher, recently completed an analysis comparing salaries and benefits received by employees of federal and large private-sector employers, and concluded that all things being equal, the federal government pays better wages than the private sector.

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Rebuilding America: An Investment in Social Capital

No longer is this country based on loving they neighbor, but perhaps neighborliness is a lost art in need of a renaissance. That’s the gist of a new report just released by the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill. “What We Do Together: The State of Associational Life in America.”

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Everybody Lies: Except in a Google Search

Don’t bother answering questions by the next pollster who calls to do a survey. You’re probably going to lie to him. Pretty much everybody lies. And there’s no point in taking a survey if you’re going to lie. Besides, Google already got you on the truth meter.

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Sports Industry: The Economic Spillover of LeBron James

America loves its sports teams. There’s nothing like a cross-division rivalry to get people worked up and trash talking. Teams bring a great deal of pride to cities, and that’s why the years never blunt the hurt of a team’s move. Cross-country movements of teams remain psychologically, if not economically, important to cities.

But individual athletes also have their impacts on a town. Some of it is cultural or behavioral. Star athletes can be propped up as hometown heroes, or if they misbehave, they can be shamed out of a city.

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Getting Men Back to Work: A Little Public Shaming Doesn’t Hurt

Getting men back to work is not only critical for their own psyche, but also for their communities and the U.S. economy. In a long road map for reforms recently laid out by a group of policy experts, the authors cite a little public shaming, as well as a lively discussion of the dignity of hard work (as expertly expressed by Mike Rowe) as potential motivators to get men off the sidelines and back into the workforce.

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Numbers Don’t Lie: How Paid Parental Leave Helps the Economy

Several companies in the UK and India now provide “pawternity leave.” That’s paid time off for employees when a new pet becomes part of the family. The new approach to family care begs the question: If puppy parents are reaping the benefits of paid parental leave, can’t the United States provide comparable benefits to ensure human babies receive the same support?

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‘Choice Feminism’: Equal Opportunity and Gender Specialization

In fact, if we stopped to look at how millennial women — and men — now increasingly prefer traditional, female stay-at-home roles and male bread-winning roles, we might consider the principles of a certain kind of feminism that explains this recent shift.

It’s called “choice feminism,” and it is a term that has been adopted to describe the belief that women are free to choose the lifestyle they want, whether at home or in the workplace, without judgment.

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The Dignity of Work — A UK Model for the US

Leave it to Bruce Springsteen to celebrate the value and dignity of work in one of his most patriotic songs, “American Land.” It’s not surprising that he is appreciated as one of America’s greatest musicians by people from all walks of life, from poor to rich and old to young.

But what happens to the foundation of his song lyrics, and the American Dream, when the “hard-working man” begins to disappear from the picture?

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How Airline Apathy Explains the Need for School Choice

In a sarcastic and slightly cranky opinion piece, education reformer Rick Hess details a bad stroke of luck with American Airlines that ultimately prevents him from delivering an important lecture despite trying every maneuver possible to rebook flights, book car rentals, and hightail it through an airport.

The analogy is an excellent window into the experience of many parents when it comes to their children being stranded in a school system that drops the ball time and time again. Only with education, the stakes are much, much higher.

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