Guest column: Respect for the pursuit of happiness
In preparing for my 2014 classes, I was reviewing the early material I cover—John Locke and his relationship to the Declaration of Independence. The former set the stage for the latter.
Locke wrote of life, liberty, and property. I could go into how respect for private ownership of land is a major component of a stable government, but that is not my intent. Jefferson, on the other hand, in the Declaration spoke of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and I have pondered why he changed the words.
We are all, perhaps, guilty of making assumptions or putting words into the mouths of our iconic men and women. Many a politician frequently remark that Martin Luther King would roll over in his grave if he knew what social programs have become. Others hold out Ronald Reagan as the icon of fiscal responsibility, when in truth his administration lived by the mantra of “borrow and spend” without raising taxes.