Government Must Promote Safety and Happiness

Posted on July 4, 2017

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There is a growing sense that our political system isn’t functioning as it should. There were similar feelings in the 1760’s and 1770’s, when the British overlords strayed onto a course that eventually led to political upheaval and revolution.

Public-spirited colonial leaders, as part of their quest for workable solutions to the crisis of their time, repeatedly expressed the well-known standard for good government: the SAFETY AND HAPPINESS of the people.

That phrase SAFETY AND HAPPINESS goes back to Roman philosopher Cicero, who wrote that “laws were invented for the SAFETY of citizens, the preservation of states, and the tranquility and HAPPINESS of human life.”

In other words, SAFETY-the protection of life, liberty and property-is a prerequisite for HAPPINESS, but it isn’t happiness itself.

These days, the nation is challenged by new technologies that enable our elections to be hacked, by a globalizing world that has unpredictable effects on the national economy, by the persistent threat of international terrorism, by growing income disparity within our borders, by the chronic issues of overspending and increasing public debt, and by a dysfunctional political system dominated by special interests that are inclined to disregard the aspirations of the American people.

While these problems are radically different from those faced by the Founders, the quest for workable solutions can easily be framed in the same terms as before, the SAFETY AND HAPPINESS of the people.

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