The pursuit of happiness

Monday, July 04, 2011
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

The first sentence of the second paragraph of the American Declaration of Independence is one of the most profoundly subversive sentences ever written. Its simple declaration that all men are born equal is a direct rejection of the notion that the blood of of Kings and elites separate them from, and place them above, the masses. It then states that all men, regardless of their station, inherently possess the right of liberty and happiness. 

We often times forget the revolutionary power of that sentence. In 35 words Jefferson strikes down the age old justifications of Kings, petty nobility, landed gentry and air force Colonels turned presidents by dint of coups. The Lord and the peasant are equal. It is such an influential sentence that no matter how thuggish the dictator, or arrogant the trans-nationalist, they have to write it into their constitutions and charters.

It is the American experiment in a nutshell. 

I quite like the sentence fragment "the pursuit of happiness". It humanizes the American experiment in a remarkable manner. It frees us from having to drag blocks of granite to build the Pharaoh's tomb, or to spend our Saturday mornings studying the wisdom of Mao. Instead, who ever we are, whatever our situation, we can look to our own interests and amusements.

And so, as a monument to Jefferson's insight, for this post I've included pictures of smiling and happy people. They're from a website called Foundphotos. The person who runs the site searches the web for shared folders of pictures, and then posts some of them. The collection a hodgepodge of different topics -- vacations, parties, portraits, mugging for the camera and the like -- all people going about their pursuits of happiness.

Not all of the photos are Americans. No matter, the King be damned, Jefferson extended these rights to all. That's why the elites hate us.

There are more pictures after the jump, and many more at Foundphotos.


Sorry, but I couldn't resist the last one. Have a happy 4th of July.