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Being Useful

Being Useful

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The Helgalian Chronicle, Ed. 05 The Pursuit of Happiness
The Helgalian Chronicle, Ed. 05 The Pursuit of Happiness

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Published by: David Arthur Walters on Jun 03, 2013
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10/29/2013

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The Helgalian Chronicle, Ed. 05
 
BEING USEFULBYDAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
What better life can there be than Being Useful?My Canadian friend Helga is amazed by the United States of America's declareddevotion to the pursuit of happiness extending beyond man's basic needs. She hasin a touching essay compared us with her socialist compatriots: Canadians are
 
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 presumably somewhat boring for the lack of our energetic pursuit of happiness. Irecall once again bits and pieces of her sentimental speech:
"It (the United States) is the only country I'm aware of that has articulated theright to pursuit of HAPPINESS... it recognizes that personhood has an emotional as well as PHYSICAL AND MENTAL component. An individual has the RIGHT TO emotional WELL-BEING and to seek to improve the quality of life. This goesbeyond the right to live and have one's basic needs met." 
 I responded that the pursuit of happiness was well known overseas: that, for instance, the Philosophic Radical Jeremy Bentham and his Utilitarian colleaguesmade quite a fuss over the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Yet theyfound little use in discussing metaphysical, arbitrary, and capricious sentiments;not they were devoid of sentiment: they were merely being objective in an effort tocome up with something everyone could appreciate. Moreover, I declared propertyto be the original ticket to real happiness in America.Helga felt I had callously disregarded her sentiments and that I had cynically takenher words out of context. Such was not my intention. It simply takes me quiteawhile to respond at length to old themes in the brief New World overtures. When'The Helgalian Chronicle' releases its last edition, I'm sure Helga will find her loveof the United States of America fully justified. In the interim, may I recommendinvesting in real estate? For real property is the basis of material wealth.Remember, the word "property" is the name of one of our inalienable Rights in arough draft of our Declaration of Independence; Jefferson later omitted it favor of the more sensible word for the revolutionary occasion: the euphemism,"happiness."Overseas, the French did not mince words in their 'Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen':
"2. The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, PROPERTY, security, and resistance to oppression." 
 Why prevaricate? Property is the basic bone of contention. Did not Proudhon proudly say "Property is theft" in answer to the capitalist property proposition?As for Happiness in France, Liberty is the sine qua non of French happiness. Infact, happiness would be an understatement in a French bill of rights. Frenchliberty is defined as follows:
 
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"4. Liberty consists in being able to do everything which injures no one else; hencethe exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those whichassure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. Theselimits can only be determined by law." 
 Even before those words were written, France, Great Britain and Spain took theliberty to participate in enormous land grabs in the Americas; the seizures were perfectly legal, in accord with the sovereign jungle rights of nations. The spread of the white man's natural rights accelerated imperially in the late 19th century: by1900 European civilization dominated the Earth. A fifth of the globe and one-tenthof its population had been overpowered. Nine-tenths of Africa was divvied up;France got the largest share, a land area twenty times the size of her national home.France was spreading her liberty in the Pacific as well, and in China where shetook control of a quarter of its southern provinces along with a fifth of its population. Britain, not to be out done, asserted its exclusive interest in theYangtze basin with over half the population of the Chinese empire. Russia movedin too--already in 1864, it had taken over in Central Asia an area larger than AsiaMinor. Imperial Germany's interests were small in comparison to that of the other  powers; still they amounted to over a million square miles in Africa and the Pacificislands, with a population of thirteen millions. The United States, quite busy withoccupying its own territory, still contributed to the global spread of freedom,moving in on Hawaii, and declaring war on Spain for dominion over her insular  jewels. The spread of white power was not merely for glory and wealth, it was adutiful service to mankind. In fact, the whole imperial venture was unprofitable;nonetheless, white colonists in their struggle with their own masters taught"coloured" people how to fight for their liberties. The industrial-scientificrevolution was no respecter of persons: Europe had unleashed a tiger on the world,a tiger that had sentiments of its own. (1)Jeremy Bentham saw the global revolution coming forth, and busied himself writing a constitution to ride the tiger anywhere. He did not constitute the divinemetaphysical right of kings whose ruled was based on the arbitrary and capricious, personal nature of a tyrant; rather, he constituted a government based on equitable positive laws. That does not mean he was a cold-hearted calculating man whoeschewed sentiment altogether; rather, he wanted objective reason for itsorganization. He knew very well that, when people have their own ground beneaththem, they can afford to have fine sentiments.When I discussed Bentham's greatest happiness principle, I certainly did not wantto give Helga the wrong impression of the "bloody English", or to reinforce

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