❰PDF❯ ✑ In Pursuit : Of Happiness and Good Government Author Charles Murray – Motyourdrive.co.uk

In Pursuit : Of Happiness and Good Government files In Pursuit : Of Happiness and Good Government, read online In Pursuit : Of Happiness and Good Government, free In Pursuit : Of Happiness and Good Government, free In Pursuit : Of Happiness and Good Government, In Pursuit : Of Happiness and Good Government 9d4dd1e5d A Modern Classic Back In Print And Available Again Originally Published In , This Book Draws On Advances In Psychology And Sociology To Explore The Fundamental Questions Of What Is Meant By Success Rich In Fascinating Case Studies Line Drawings, Graphs And Tables

10 thoughts on “In Pursuit : Of Happiness and Good Government

  1. says:

    A Parallel Review of In Pursuit Of Happiness and Good Government by Charles Murray and Scientific Progress Goes Boink A Calvin and Hobbes Collection by Bill Watterson Calvin Why should I go to school Why can t I stay home Why do I have to learn Why can t I stay the way I am What s the point of this Why do things have to be this way Why can t things be different Calvin s Mom throwing Calvin out the door Life is full of mysteries, isn t it See you this afternoon Calvin at the bus stop At 7 00 AM Mom s not very philosophical Whether Calvin s mom agrees or not, the pursuit of happiness is a valid philosophical inquiry Libertarian sociologist Charles Murray argues that it is perhaps the most important philosophical inquiry, at least from an American perspective For the Founders, Murray writes, happiness was the obvious word to use because it was obvious to them that the pursuit of happiness is at the center of man s existence and that to permit man to pursue happiness is the central justification of government the object of government , as James Madison wrote in The Federalist No 62 Happiness must have a moral foundation the happiness that comes from skipping school doesn t count Murray argues that although we pursue happiness in different ways, all of us are pursuing the same end, the good one seeks for an end to itself and for no other reason Bill Watterson, the author of the long running alas, not long running enough Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, knows this intuitively He has Calvin the brat and Hobbes the tiger go outside on a winter s day, playing in the snow, and then running back to the fireplace, and then repeating the cycle again and again The only words in the strip come at the end, when Calvin tells Hobbes, If there s to life than this, I don t know what it is Calvin and Hobbes, of course, are named after dour Swiss preacher John Calvin and gloomy English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, hardly anyone s apostles of happiness Calvin and Hobbes aren t playing in the snow to seek social acceptance or popularity or any other goal except the central goal of happiness Calvin does imagine at one point that he can become a TV superstar through sledding So, with some strong visuals, our sled ride could conceivably make us cultural icons but he s looking for happiness Murray begins after a long period of noodling about definitions of happiness with the theory that happiness cannot exist until certain material needs are met One cannot pursue happiness if one is starving, or physically unsafe, and part of the legitimate role of government is to guarantee certain levels of nutrition say, through Department of Agriculture crop subsidies or food stamps and protection through military and criminal justice spending Watterson illustrates this by putting Calvin in an unsafe world He faces a number of threats, not the least of which is Moe the bully Moe not usually a prime source of irony explains to Calvin that he s not taking Calvin s toy truck You re giving it to me, because we ll both be happier that way Calvin must also confront the playful nature of Hobbes the tiger Hobbes greets Calvin at the door on schooldays, plowing him into the front yard at times A house with a tiger is never a home, Calvin grouses When Calvin tries to outwit Hobbes by fashioning a dummy and placing it by the door, Hobbes welcomes the dummy with open arms May I read all your comic books May I draw mustaches on all the superheroes I may Oh joy Calvin sits on the stoop, head in hands, growling, I ll get him for this if it takes my whole life Murray, however, is not making the point that government should take a greater role in providing the necessary preconditions of happiness i.e., a new Medicare prescription drug program Murray argues that the extraordinary paradox, You can t fix poverty by giving people money, has validity Money in itself, by itself does not inspire the dispirited homeless, make loving mothers of neglectful mothers, make a cheerful home of a dump A few days later, even if the money continues to be provided, the dispiritedness and neglectfuless will be back and the home will be a dump with different furniture Murray argues that although government should intervene to ensure a minimal level of material possessions somewhere close to subsistence anything than that won t lead to increased happiness Calvin wrestles with this issue, of course, given the parsimonious nature of his dad Hey Dad, Calvin asks, would you pay me a dollar to eat a bug No You d have to eat a bucket of bugs before I d pay you a dollar Further attempts aren t any successful Calvin devises a scheme where he would get 50 for each A in school, 10 for each B , 5 for each C , and 1 for each D Calvin s dad, who s obviously read Murray s book, isn t buying it, though I m not going to bribe you, Calvin You should apply yourself for your own good Rats, says Calvin I thought I could make an easy four bucks Murray also introduces us to the concept of the hedonic treadmill , the idea that it is not enough for us to be happy, but for us to be happier than our parents were, and to have an increasing degree of happiness Watterston captures this perfectly I m happy, says Calvin, but it s not like I m ecstatic He then takes off on a wild ride in his red wagon, declaiming, Every minute of every day should bring me greater joy than the previous minute I should always be saying, My life is better than I ever imagined it would be, and it s only going to improve I m just going to jump from peak to peak I m whoops As the wagon falls off the cliff, Hobbes notes, At least with flat places, you don t have so far to go down Calvin and Hobbes may disdain safety in their pursuit of happiness, but Murray does not He notes that the poorest rural Thai village is a better place to pursue happiness than the largest American housing project, mainly because the unsafe nature of the latter prohibits the formation of communities Murray endorses the broken windows theory of law enforcement, which says that policing minor crimes like broken windows increases the lawfulness of the neighborhood an approach adopted, with great success, by Mayor Giuliani in New York Calvin, by contrast, being the ultimate libertarian, questions the overall need for law enforcement Scientific Progress Goes Boink contains two of Calvin s titanic battles against Rosalynn the baby sitter, the closest thing the strip has to an authority figure In one instance, Calvin lures Rosalynn outside and locks the door on her something I tried once, myself and in another, adopts his secret identity of Stupendous Man to foil the machinations of Baby Sitter Girl Calvin also has the ultimate law enforcement officer to deal with Santa Claus That darn Santa has got me every way I turn, gripes Calvin One of the books funniest panels has Hobbes forging a letter to Calvin from Santa Claws , in which Calvin is told he s a rotten little kid Oh no Santa called me rotten I m DOOMED Calvin screeches The letter continues, I d suggest you start being kind to animals Perhaps you know an animal who would like a snack soon Or maybe you could let an animal read your comic books sometime Think about it Murray also focuses on some non material requirements for the pursuit of happiness One of these is self esteem, which Murray points out must be justified self esteem must rise from individual accomplishments One cannot have real self esteem that is based on a fantasy, as Calvin illustrates over and over again In one strip, Calvin pronounces himself with no particular justification as the inevitable end result of history All history up to this point has been spent preparing the world for my existence , he brags Hobbes soon punctures his bubble 4 1 2 billion years obviously wasn t long enough Another requirement of happiness is self actualization, the process of making ones visions a reality Murray pulls here from the work of Abraham Maslow, who stated that A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy What a man can be, he must be And the harder the task is, the better the feeling of accomplishment People have a deep need for the sense of competence that comes from mastering something that is difficult, argues Murray, and people derive intrinsic benefits from their labors Murray notes that for an individual to obtain these intrinsic benefits, he has to have control of the situation Again, Watterson provides an apt illustration Calvin goes walking in the snowy woods with his parents, complaining all the way I hate these forced marches, he whines Of course, once he gets home, the first thing he does is grab Hobbes and run out into the woods to have some uncontrolled fun Murray s book goes on from there, mostly on a public policy tangent One of his arguments is that teachers are underpaid for a reason, an argument that I urge you not to try on any teachers you know In Pursuit Of Happiness and Good Government is a seminal argument for rethinking our public policy outcome measures, combined with a good theoretical discussion of what happiness is and why it s important However, reading it isn t a happy experience it can be very technical and dry in places, despite Murray s gift in summarizing the theories of other philosophers Scientific Progress Goes Boink provides apt illustrations of Murray s principles, but unlike the thicker volume, it is much likely to produce the kind of happiness that we seek There s a laugh on every page, and wonders in every drawing Murray s book is about happiness, but Watterson s book is animated by a pervasive happiness that we all get to share One of Watterson s best pieces is a complete picture of happiness Calvin s Christmas Eve poem Christmas songs, familiar, slow Play softly on the radio Pops and hisses from the fire Whistle with the bells and choir My tiger is now fast asleep On his back and dreaming deep When the fire makes him hot He turns to warm whatever s not Propped against him on the rug I give my friend a gentle hug Tomorrow s what i m waiting for But I can wait a little .There s perfect happiness for you, marred only by the fact that Calvin and Hobbes isn t in the daily paper any.

  2. says:

    Interesting read, about how happiness can influence policy, but I think Dr Murray was out of touch both then and now about what affects real people other than himself.

  3. says:

    I had issues with the upside down triangle of opportunity.

  4. says:

    I first read this classic of libertarian thought about 20 years ago, and I m glad I pulled it back off the shelf and re read it I find Murray s analysis to be fascinating because he has not aligned himself with a cause or even with Left or Right positions He simply goes back to the basics about what government is for and what accomplishes those goals It s easy to lose sight of these principles in the murky world of day to day politics.Reminding the reader that a legitimate goal of gov t is to allow the individual to pursue happiness seems a weird place for an analysis to begin, but it ends up being central to his understanding I love the way he takes complicated issues and views them from the perspective of one individual s needs For a social scientist to move beyond the numbers and look at the individual is refreshing.The book starts a little dry and abstract, but it becomes increasingly exciting as he moves to thought experiments and applications I ve never read any author who better explained the likelihood of unintended consequences of broad social programs better than he The free market has its invisible hand, but gov t programs have an invisible foot that constantly frustrates the plans of social engineers.I go away from the book wondering just how much fulfilling life would be if we all retained the responsibility of doing those most important and difficult and satisfying things in life without the interference of the Generous Outside Agency GOA Our policy debates are now so far from this perspective that one feels a bit of despair at the end of the book But a return to Jeffersonian ideals wouldn t be the strangest thing that ever happened in our society I recommend the book to anyone on the left or right who has a concern for the general welfare and has an open mind.

  5. says:

    For than just monetary reasons, it s best if the government steps down and communities step up when it comes to solving social problems The government s job shouldn t be to social engineer our lives, it should be to remove the impediments to us pursuing our own happiness with self esteem respect, responsibility, effort, etc.

  6. says:

    By focusing on happiness Murray shows that so many of the social programs that purport to do good actually do harm, by isolating individuals and destroying communities that income transfer is a net detriment, and that communities of free people unimpeded by government except to prevent force and fraud would be far closer to utopia than the failed welfare state.

  7. says:

    This was the third book I had to read to review for Tony Litherland s Into to Poli Sci class See my seven page book review for my thoughts,

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