How To Declare Independence And Start Pursuing Your Happiness

Bookmark and Share

Many folks think Thomas Jefferson “borrowed” the phrase “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” from John Locke. The 17th Century British philosopher and physician famously wrote, in the unsigned Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government, that government exists to protect one’s life, liberty, and property. Sounds awfully similar to the words used by our Founding Father nearly ninety years later.

Significantly, Locke’s focus on personal “property” breaks from the sense of Thomas Hobbes. In his 1651 treatise Leviathan, Hobbes paints a sovereign-centric ideal. In this “social contract,” citizens cede personal freedoms to the ruler in exchange for protection. Without such protection, the contract is invalidated.

Bear in mind, Hobbes wrote this while in exile during the English Civil War between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists. He rejected Aristotle’s premise that man is driven by Continue Reading “How To Declare Independence And Start Pursuing Your Happiness”

American Egalitarianism

Bookmark and Share

[This Commentary originally appeared in the October 25, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Is America equal?

We immediately respond with a resounding “Yes!” As youngsters, we begin learning the lessons of the American saga. A free and open democracy – like that in the United States – implies and demands a society of equals. Our founding fathers’ forged the idea of “one man, one vote.” (Most of us forgive our ancestors, who took nearly 150 years to add “one woman, one vote” to our forbears’ edict.)

Yet, can a society in which less than 1 percent of the population owns more than 20Continue Reading “American Egalitarianism”

Happy 4th of July! (?)

Bookmark and Share

[This Commentary originally appeared in the August 2, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Thomas Jefferson and John Adams bickered constantly during their lives. I don’t know too much about what they argued about. From the little reading I’ve done on the matter, though, it seems they agreed to disagree on just about everything.

We do know they agreed on at least three important things. First, they agreed the American colonies should be free from the reign of King George of Britain. This led to perhaps their best known Continue Reading “Happy 4th of July! (?)”

Skip to content