Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I have been thinking and reading about happiness ever since I came across the work of Michael Argyle on the subject in the 1970s. And I think I can finally summarize the facts about it very simply.

It seems that happiness is to a quite extraordinary degree a trait rather than a state. In other words, we are born happy, unhappy or somewhere in-between. There are a lot of people who are always miserable (most Leftists, for instance) and some who are always sunny in mood no matter what. Even when we find that some classes of people (e.g. married people) are happier than others, it seems likely that it is more a case of happier people tending to marry rather than marriage making you happy.

That is of course rather counter-intuitive. We can all think of events that have made us happy or unhappy so we assume that it is events (or at least external things) that are responsible for our degree of happiness. But it is not so. The events only ever have a transitory effect. We soon settle back to how we were before. The most striking evidence of that is that people who have accidents that leave them paraplegic or quadriplegic (i.e. with very limited use of their limbs) do not sink into irretrievable depths of despair but in fact report after a year or so that they are roughly as happy after their accident as they were before their accident.

So policies aimed at making people happy are pissing into the wind. They are trying to alter what basically cannot be much altered. So in a democracy, political policies have to be aimed at what people WANT, not at what will make them happy -- because nothing can do that.

Which is very pesky for the Left. They have recently discovered the happiness research literature and it has perked them up greatly. "If money will not make you happy, then there's no problem with us taking it off you", has been their hopeful cry. By the same reasoning one might argue that if losing your legs does not make you lastingly unhappy, then there is no harm cutting everybody's legs off either.



Hamas Murders Children in Palestine, Blames Israel: "An Israel Defense Forces intelligence officer has confirmed that the explosion that killed eight Palestinians on Friday, was caused by a stockpile of Hamas explosives. "Shortly after we stopped defensive firing at Hamas rocket launch pads which were deployed behind Palestinian human shields, members of Hamas scrambled to fire more rockets at our positions," said Col. M. "We have eyes on every meter of Gaza, from the sky, from the ground and from the sea. One of their rocket tripods collapsed inadvertently setting off an explosion of a stockpile of Qassam rockets. The Palestinians killed their own children. And this was not the first time." Hamas terrorists fired rockets and mortar bombs from a crowded Gaza beach at southern Israel. Some of the rockets fell near the Israel city of Ashkelon. Some 17 rockets were fired between Saturday and Sunday morning. A man at a school in the Israel town of Sderot was wounded, Israel officials said. Israel Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant said today that the Israel Defense Forces has additional evidence that it wasn't Israel artillery that hit the beach in Gaza. Galant, who commands Israel's southern command, said Israel stopped firing 15 minutes before the explosion. It's all on secure videotape from both sides of the conflict". (*HT Jihad Watch)

Lots of sarcasm from Larry Kudlow: "So the estate tax cut went down in the Senate, to the cheers of class warriors everywhere.... Our rich people don't need another tax break. No, they need higher taxes. And they should be vilified, too. That's right: America should attack rich people. In fact, we must abolish wealth, which is a tremendous drag on our economy. It's high time that we made the rich poor. As for all the xenophobes who want to deport the illegal immigrants who toil in this economy, may I respectfully suggest that their generals (i.e., Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchanan, and Tom Tancredo) consider expanding their dragnet? Let's deport rich people, too! These rich people are bad for America. We don't need their ingenuity, their entrepreneurship, or their capital investment. In the name of egalitarian socialism, the only thing we need from them is more tax dollars. We now tax their incomes as salary, corporate profits, dividends, capital gains, and at death. But we must do better. Perhaps we can tax them when they contribute to charities, or the building of a new church or synagogue, or a symphony orchestra, or a small-town cultural center; or when they create another college; or when they finance private scholarships for inner-city educations. But we can't stop there. Let's criminalize the entire class of successful American entrepreneurs."

Ban the falafel?: "Recent news reports from the Iraqi capital indicate radical Islamists are launching a campaign to prohibit the sale of ... falafel. Yes, you heard right, falafel. While this is the sort of news you might expect to hear from a late-night stand-up comedian on television, sadly, this is not a joke, and a number of falafel vendors who failed to heed the warnings have paid with their lives. Several vendors of the popular deep-fried chickpea sandwich were told they had just two weeks to change their profession or face death. And indeed, several vendors where shot and killed simply for selling falafel sandwiches. The logic offered by the religious zealots -- if there is any -- in imposing this inane diktat on the people is that there were no falafels in the time of the Prophet Muhammad."

The answer to panic about America's debt: "The second mistake was pointed out, as best I recall from my high school researches, by Daniel Webster c. 1832. Then as now, there were vocal worries about foreigners owning too much of America. Webster pointed out that foreign investment meant, not that they had our stuff, but that we had their money. If push came to shove, if foreign governments tried to pressure the U.S. by threatening to withdraw their citizens' investments, we could keep it-refuse to pay back the debt. Their capital, after all, in the form of canals and the first railroads, was immovably located under our jurisidiction."

MSM: Terrorists now "security forces": "Palestinian security forces were on high alert Monday after Palestinian Authority and Hamas security forces clashed in Rafah, resulting in two deaths. Hamas forces also fired shots at a government building in Rafah. In response, Fatah supporters set fire to a building used by the Hamas-led government in Ramallah" (*HT Reliapundit)

Leftist Rabbi wants libertarian marriage for homosexuals: "Marriage ought to be taken out of the state's hands entirely. Let people be wed in the private realm with no official legal sanction. Then, religious communities that oppose gay marriage will not sanction them, and those like mine that sanction the practice will conduct it. Rather than issuing marriage certificates or divorces, the state would simply enforce civil unions as contracts between consenting adults and enforce laws imposing obligations on people who bring children into the world." (*HT Liberty & Power)



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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