Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

March 10, 2010

Quote Of The Day

by Brad Warbiany

Economist Donald Marron:

I often tell my students that, in my humble opinion, one purpose of government is to help people be happy. The DC government did a good job on Wednesday.

I disagree with that on so many levels. The government’s job is to secure people’s rights, and as Thomas Jefferson so eloquently said, one of those inalienable rights is the pursuit of happiness. But we cannot move from a government built to secure negative rights to one built to fulfill positive rights just by wishing it so.

But this is one of those special cases where the government got it right. The government, through bigoted discrimination, was actively denying some citizens of their right to pursue happiness as they see fit. In this case, they did help people be happy, by getting out of the way.

Hat Tip: Ezra Klein

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  • http://www.no-treason.com Joshua Holmes

    Helping people secure their rights and resolve disputes doesn’t count as helping people be happy?

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