Get your happy on
Arthur Brooks wrote a book a few years back called “Gross National Happiness”, which discusses the same themes he brings up in this WSJ editorial. It was a good book, and this is a good editorial. So get some effen knowledge and read it.
The book focuses on “freedom” being the pivotal element in making one happy; that no matter what level of materialism/economic condition, those who are FREE are the most happy. The editorial focuses on “earned” success, rather than any material wealth that is received through freebies, lottery winnings, and (most significantly) government handouts/entitlements.
While earned success facilitates the pursuit of happiness, unearned transfers generally impede it. According to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, going on the welfare rolls increases by 16% the likelihood of a person saying he or she has felt inconsolably sad over the past month (even after controlling for poverty and unemployment). A study by economist John Ifcher at Santa Clara University shows that single mothers who were required by the 1990s welfare reform to work for their benefits—and therefore lost leisure time, had to find child care and the like—were still significantly happier about their lives after the reforms than before.
We may be providing shelter and food, but we cannot create happiness and fulfillment for the poor. Glenn Beck’s “Agenda 21” takes this idea to the extreme; a future where the government provides for all those “needs”. No longer does anyone have to struggle for food or shelter.
And, the misery ensues. Of course.
While the plot seems far-fetched (and ridiculous), the idea that society should provide for man’s most basic needs isn’t a fantasy, tin-foil-hat claim. It’s one repeated on college campuses, in the progressive newsletters, and at just about every liberal demonstration. These needs are RIGHTS.
Private property is bad. Private land ownership is bad. Equality for all means, basically, that the government needs to divy up everything, which of course then includes complete control of all our resources, so they can be used more efficiently. For the fairness.
Of course, perhaps it’s all just a conspiracy theory, fueled by Tea Party crazies. That’s certainly what those on the left say. It’s just some silly UN document.
But when so many people on the left basically SAY that the exact same things need to be done, which are listed on this “toothless” UN program, perhaps you should pay just a small bit of attention. This is the part of the document from the UN website, as cribbed from The Blaze:
The overall human settlement objective is to improve the social, economic and environmental quality of human settlements and the living and working environments of all people, in particular the urban and rural poor. Such improvement should be based on technical cooperation activities, partnerships among the public, private and community sectors and participation in the decision-making process by community groups and special interest groups such as women, indigenous people, the elderly and the disabled. These approaches should form the core principles of national settlement strategies. In developing these strategies, countries will need to set priorities among the eight programme areas in this chapter in accordance with their national plans and objectives, taking fully into account their social and cultural capabilities. Furthermore, countries should make appropriate provision to monitor the impact of their strategies on marginalized and disenfranchised groups, with particular reference to the needs of women.
7.5. The programme areas included in this chapter are:
(a) Providing adequate shelter for all;
(b) Improving human settlement management;
(c) Promoting sustainable land-use planning and management;
(d) Promoting the integrated provision of environmental infrastructure: water, sanitation, drainage and solid-waste management;
(e) Promoting sustainable energy and transport systems in human settlements;
(f) Promoting human settlement planning and management in disaster-prone areas;
(g) Promoting sustainable construction industry activities;
(h) Promoting human resource development and capacity-building for human settlement development.
Yea, that doesn’t sound scary at all.
To wrap all this up – the government can provide all these things for the people, and then we will wonder why we’re all so miserable.