The Right To The Pursuit Of Happiness Is Our Culture

John Locke 1632-1704

No.  It is not an American cultural idea.  John Locke was an English philosopher.

Cameron must be consistent. Either General Well Being and happiness are important or they are not. If they are important, the key is the right to their pursuit. 

When we come to an expression of the values of society, it’s not good enough to list out excluded negatives. Cameron or anyone for that matter, has to articulate the basic elements of our culture in terms of its positives. 

For nigh on three hundred years, the most significant cultural positive we have lived with in our souls, has been the belief that we possess the inborn right to the pursuit of happiness.  It is the suppression of this inborn instinct by layer upon layer of bureaucratic government which is throttling us and our efforts to improve our world.

This philosophy, first espoused by philosopher John Locke, drove the Enlightenment, underpinned American Independence and created modern western civilisation.  It was revolutionary to imagine that individuals could have a significance other than as subjects of powerful governments, or as fodder for the Church’s teachings before Locke’s ideas became mainstream.  

Yet like all truly great things, once they have swept their way across the world, they become standard and the norm.   TRTTPOH has disappeared from consciousness as later generations have peddled their inferior versions of goodness, and suppressed the best of the past, to make their relative nonentity less apparent.

TRTTPOH should be at least mentioned in any big speech about the harmonisation of our culture with others, or as a topic in its own right.  This is the core value of our civilisation, and Cameron or anyone else, should be holding it up as our positive cultural identity to be brandished as our saviour as it was throughout the last 250 years.  

Or does Cameron want to undo the cultural progress of the last two hundred and fifty years, and allow our culture to control by bullying elitists?  Or does he think his Big Society will be sufficient to inspire the greatness of western civilisation into the future?  

History shows that there has been one and only one cultural factor in human endeavour which trails success, and that is contentment and its pursuit.  All other cultural specifications have led either to either mediocrity or disaster.

TRTTPOH is crying out for a modern champion to hang his policies upon.  If Cameron doesn’t want it, Farage should be grabbing it with both hands.

John Locke’s Political Philosophy

John Locke was a 17th-century philosopher concerned primarily with society and epistemology. An Englishman, Locke’s notions of a “government with the consent of the governed” and man’s natural rights – life, liberty, and estate (property) – had an enormous influence on the development of political philosophy.

His ideas formed the basis for the concepts used in American law and government, allowing the colonists to justify revolution. Locke’s epistemology and philosophy of mind also had a significant influence well into the Enlightenment period.

He first used the phrase ‘the right to the pursuit of happiness’.

Other memorable quotations

There cannot any one moral Rule be propos’d, whereof a Man may not justly demand a Reason.

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials for knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours. …To love truth for truth’s sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues. (John Locke)


Socialism is only a device to suppress people so they can be more easily repressed by a powerful elite, the concept of The Fabians, who wanted an end to the Old Order, and its replacement with a New World Order, in which Reason would predominate over the right to the pursuit of happiness. 

The Georgia Guidestones  state –  ”let these be guidestones to an age of reason…….listing out what that implies….the execution of 6 billion people being one interpretation of the section on population…

Reason would be exercised by a self-selecting elite which believed itself so far above the level of the masses that their ideas were entirely superior. GBS, HG Wells, the Webbs of the LSE before WW1 – and more recently the Blairs.

Multiculturalism serves the purposes of The Fabians, as it helps to override and destroy all previous cultural influences, making the way clear for Reason to rule.  Yet Reason, defined by a self-appointed elite,is far more limited in scope than the possibilities in permitting the Pursuit Of Happiness by all.  

Reason can justify anything you want it to, as Socrates demonstrated more than two thousand years ago.  As a device for defining ‘virtue’ or wisdom, it is useless.

Pacbell on Socrates

Protogoras’ arguments evidently did not convince Socrates; virtue and whetheror not it could be taught is the central subject of a later dialogue, the Meno.The dialogue opens with Meno’s question: “Can you tell me Socrates, canvirtue be taught? Or is it not teachable but the result of practice, or is itneither of these, but men possess it by nature or in some other way?” (Meno70a). Socrates replies that he must first know what virtue is before he cananswer Meno’s question. Socrates claims complete ignorance of virtue;furthermore, Socrates has never met anyone who could give an adequate definitionof virtue.

The discussion of virtue in the Meno illustrates some of Socrates’argumentative methods. First, Socrates emphasizes the necessity of adequatedefinitions. Socrates says he cannot determine if virtue can be taught since hedoes not know what virtue is, and he asks Meno to give a definition. Meno beginsby describing the virtue applicable to a man, a woman, a slave, and so forth.Socrates rejects the particularized definitions and presses Meno for acharacteristic common to the particular manifestations. Socrates also exposesMeno’s attempts to use the term to be defined with the definition.

The most prominent feature of Socrates’ argumentative technique is elenchus.After a provisional definition is formulated, Socrates asks questions which drawout the consequences of the definition. In addition, Socrates persuades hisinterlocutor to accept other premises, from which another series of consequencesis drawn, always with the interlocutor’s assent. Then Socrates springs his trap,as it were, and points out that the consequences of the definition contradictthe consequences of a secondary premise, and therefore at least one must beabandoned or revised. The technique of elenchus induces a state ofperplexity and confusion in Meno: “both my mind and my tongue are numb, andI have no answer for you.” (Meno 80b).

This numbness is precisely the result Socrates intends. In order to acquireknowledge, the detritus of false opinions must be discarded, and the very firstprecept which must go is the belief that one holds accurate knowledge. Accordingto Socrates, the realization that one’s beliefs are false is also motivation toseek true knowledge. 

As an example, take the case of paedophilia.  Reason could suggest that as it is a natural urge for some adults to want to have sex with children, it is part of Nature, and cannot be seen as entirely wrong.

Yet a philosophy based on the right to the pursuit of happiness would demand that no one person’s happiness could be achieved at the cost of another’s, and that paedophilia is therefore clearly wrong, as the victim’s right to be happy is removed.  The right to the pursuit of happiness is a defence against slavery of all kinds.  Reason can easily create slavery for all, to bring the results identified as of overriding importance by a dictator, or an elite.

The RTTPOH is the most crucial element of our culture, and it is being lost.
You wonder what Socrates would have made of it.  I don’t have any proof but I imagine would have preferred it to policies based on Logic or Reason. I doubt he would have agreed with any of the precepts of Fabianism.  His story demonstrates how philosophical ideas can dramatically affect real life politics. 


On a day in 399 BC the philosopher Socrates stood before a jury of 500 of his fellow Athenians accused of “refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state” and of “corrupting the youth.” If found guilty; his penalty could be death. The trial took place in the heart of the city, the jurors seated on wooden benches surrounded by a crowd of spectators. Socrates’ accusers (three Athenian citizens) were allotted three hours to present their case, after which, the philosopher would have three hours to defend himself.


Socrates was 70 years old and familiar to most Athenians. His anti-democratic views had turned many in the city against him. Two of his students, Alcibiades and Critias, had twice briefly overthrown the democratic government of the city, instituting a reign of terror in which thousands of citizens were deprived of their property and either banished from the city or executed.

After hearing the arguments of both Socrates and his accusers, the jury was asked to vote on his guilt. Under Athenian law the jurors did not deliberate the point. Instead, each juror registered his judgment by placing a small disk into an urn marked either “guilty” or “not guilty.” Socrates was found guilty by a vote of 280 to 220.

The jurors were next asked to determine Socrates’ penalty. His accusers argued for the death penalty. Socrates was given the opportunity to suggest his own punishment and could probably have avoided death by recommending exile. Instead, the philosopher initially offered the sarcastic recommendation that he be rewarded for his actions. When pressed for a realistic punishment, he proposed that he be fined a modest sum of money. Faced with the two choices, the jury selected death for Socrates.
The philosopher was taken to the near-by jail where his sentence would be carried out. Athenian law prescribed death by drinking a cup of poison hemlock. Socrates would be his own executioner.

“What must I do?”
Plato was Socrates’ most famous student. Although he was not present at his mentor’s death, he did know those who were there. Plato describes the scene through the narrative voice of the fictional character Phaedo.

“When Crito heard, he signaled to the slave who was standing by. The boy went out, and returned after a few moments with the man who was to administer the poison which he brought ready mixed in a cup. When Socrates saw him, he said, ‘Now, good sir, you understand these things. What must I do?’

‘Just drink it and walk around until your legs begin to feel heavy, then lie down. It will soon act.’ With that he offered Socrates the cup.

The latter took it quite cheerfully without a tremor.

More on the pursuit of happiness –

my own writing on business cultures covers similar ground from the point of view of the ideal inputs and outcomes –
refs to that are in pages ‘more bio’.
The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.

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