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Friday, June 4, 2010

Economic Freedom and Happiness

The theme of Hanging by The Thread is the link between economic freedom and human happiness.

I find it ridiculous that so many politicians push for policies that destroy economic freedom. I find it equally ridiculous that every generation has the need to confront the idiocy of freedom destroying trends and philosophies. Staying free is a lot like keeping weeds down in a garden. Last week’s work, as thorough as it was, does nothing to pull this week’s weeds. We are in a constant battle for minds and hearts. How well we as a people understand freedom today will determine how free we are likely to be tomorrow.

If you corner those who would destroy economic freedom and ask them why they wish to spread Socialism, you will learn that—deep down—many people think that decreasing economic freedom will increase happiness. This is a fallacy.

The vicissitudes of freedom are the trials of a good life. The trials of freedom cause pain, discomfort, stress, agony, and so forth. But have you ever found someone who could be truly happy without the blessing and presence of hardship in their life? What would happen to our children if we sought to protect them from all discomfort? Hard lives are not necessarily miserable lives. Difficulty and work enrich the human soul and pull us toward God.

In light of these truths, the effort to remove freedom to protect people is an effort that will never increase happiness among humans. Economic security is not a worthy exchange for personal liberty.

I conclude with reference to a great thinker. Arthur C. Brooks, in his book Gross National Happiness, shows that the level of happiness of a people in a nation correlates strongly with levels of freedom in that nation. Those nations that have abandoned freedom in an effort to make their people equal and happy have lost not only some freedom but some happiness as well. Those nations that are freer economically report higher levels of happiness. I commend his book. It is a fascinating read. Here is a recent article from Brooks that hits these issues:

Anything we can do to spread the principles of freedom will bless our posterity more than almost any other thing we do. Galatians 5:1.


Paul Thomas Garner said...

Thanks for the excellent insight Donny. It is so simple and so frustrating to watch ourselves apathetically allow history to repeat by forgetting the 'why'of America at it's founding and the general concept of Liberty. I came across this video of Dennis Prager speaking on a very related topic, it is definitely worth the time:, or you can search 'Dennis Prager Q&A at University of Denver'.

Anonymous said...

First, I found you through your excellent guest-blog on Anne Bradshaw's blog. I read it to my husband and his comment was: "exactly right."

People have lost the concept of property. Even though we "own" our home--we must pay property taxes. Is there any property that the government does not claim a piece of?

As for economic liberty and happiness it was as if you were teaching from "The Proper Role of Government," by ET Benson. I also like the short Aesop fable about the lean wolf vs. the chained dog.

My husband is looking forward to reading your book with me.