Sunday, June 12, 2005

Happiness and Equality

Will Wilkinson has another insightful post about happiness, equality, and the "libertarian regime." When it comes to egalitarianism, the conclusion that we inevitably reach is the anti-thesis of every sappy elementary school poster; if we're all made equal, then we are no different from one another, we are not unique or special. Not that we're really that special in the first place anyway, of course.

The more important consideration in egalitarianism is the fact that, when made equal, people become interchangeable. If one person dies, then we simply replace another, who is equal, in their stead. There is no importance in individuality, and people are simply subject to the whims of a government that can't tell any difference between them.

Will's bigger point is that even a libertarian regime doesn't have to create happiness, which is a rather self evident point, or at least should be. No single government, person, or regime can or will make someone happy. Rather, one makes oneself happy, and it is the libertarian regime that allows the most freedom to be able to do just that. When governmental restrictions are lifted and individual liberties are returned, people are able to pursue happiness. The constitution doesn't say anything about America making people happy, rather, it opens America up as a land where people can pursue happiness.

No governmental system, neither egalitarianism nor libertarianism, will make American people happy. Rather, American people make themselves happy, and the government provides an arena for that happiness.

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