Ethics are tied not only to ordered liberty, but also to happiness. But take note: The Founders did not cite the unalienable right to happiness, but to the pursuit of it! Today we see a huge emphasis on happiness. I think that most people have only heard of the right to pursue happiness in the Declaration of Independence, and they forget that the pursuit of happiness is sometimes costly. Again, happiness itself is not an unalienable right! Also, many are confused about what happiness is. Does it really mean doing whatever gives you warm fuzzies inside, or is there more to it?
Once again, let’s turn to Sir William Blackstone, who provides both insight and historical context. Blackstone wrote, “That man should pursue his own happiness. This is the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law.” Thus, happiness is to be the foundation of ethics, but not arbitrary ethics. The ethical consensus of a free society must be accordance with natural law— “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
Thus, as the Founders used it, the term happiness isn’t referring to what we want or might do in order to “feel good” or to satisfy selfish desires. Rather, it is speaking to a standard, a righteous way to live. Blackstone continues describing the pursuit of happiness:
That this or that action tends to man’s real happiness, and therefore very justly concluding that the performance of it is part of the law of nature; or, on the other hand that this or that action is destructive of man’s real happiness, and therefore that law of nature forbids it.
Therefore, we see a distinction between felt happiness (the warm fuzzies) and a deep, bedrock happiness that addresses real needs as opposed to felt ones. Genuine happiness is tied to the laws of nature, and nature’s laws cannot contradict the laws of God’s Revelation. Remember, too, that according to Blackstone, man’s laws must not contradict either of these two standards. The pursuit of happiness is a great ethic as long as we are talking about real happiness (as opposed to a felt happiness).
Political commentator, writer and speaker, Ben Shapiro, understands the difference between happiness as the Founders saw it and the happiness promoted in today’s self-centered culture. Citing the rich meaning behind the term as the Founders used it, Shapiro writes,
The very terminology for happiness is imbued with such meaning in both the Judeo-Christian and the Greek context. The Hebrew Bible calls happiness simcha; Aristotle called happiness eudaimonia. What does the Bible mean by simcha? It means right action in accordance with God’s will.
Let this sink in: The right to pursue never gives anyone an excuse to do what he or she wants to do or has an urge to do. It is rather a call to live our lives according to God’s will and Word. The pursuit of happiness speaks to a very specific ethic, an ethic that requires us to remember God. This principle is embedded in the Declaration of Independence!
When a nation remembers God, the people of that nation acknowledge that there is Someone above them upon whom they are dependent and to whom they are accountable. They, therefore, look to Him for their national set of ethics. When the people of a nation do this, they will:
Have no other gods before God
Not make carved images, or idols to worship instead of God
Not take the Lord’s name in vain (they will acknowledge their respect for the sacred, most obviously by showing God the respect and reverence He is due)
Remember the Sabbath day by resting from regular work and setting aside time to worship the Lord
Of course, I am speaking in general terms. The harsh reality of our day is that Americans do worship other gods, including those they’ve constructed in their quest to become happy. God either is ignored or treated in a thoroughly casual manner. His name is not revered. Moreover, it is no coincidence that as America has become increasingly secular and materialistic, she has come to treat Sunday as being like every other day of the week.
It can’t be a surprise, then, that these manifestations of forgetting God are accompanied by another one—that of trading ethics for entertainment.
This article is an excerpt from the book 5 Steps to Kill a Nation and how to Stop the Bleeding by Pastor Sam Jones. The foreword was written by Dr Mike Spaulding. To order this book today, click here.
As we enter the Christmas season, it’s important to remember the reason for the season… and that is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior. As a tradition symbolizing the gifts the wisemen brought Jesus, we as Christians give gifts to those we love.
Here’s some ideas of gifts that will also help support what we are doing here at The GateKeepers.
MyPillow is not just a pillow company, although their pillows are amazing! They also have sheets, blankets, sweats, shirts, dog beds and (my favorite) slippers and moccasins. Since switching to MyPillow, my back pain has gone away and I’ve not stopped wearing MySlippers because they are the most comfortable shoes I have. Most of their products are made in the USA. If you use code FFN, you can get up to 66% off of anything in their store! http://mypillow.com
Freedom Phone is the perfect gift for your friends and family who are concerned with Big Tech and Silicon Valley. Erik Finman, the founder and CEO, created this phone to protect your data and security, ensuring that only the data that you intentionally want to send to third party apps is sent. Stop supporting the progressive leftist companies that hate America. Use code MAGA for $50 off. http://freedomphone.com
Freedom First Coffee is the official coffee of patriots! Developed by Jeff Dornik and JD Rucker, this coffee is 100% organic and fire-roasted in a Victorian-era coffee roaster, bringing out the perfect flavor… it tastes like FREEDOM! It’s roasted on Main Street USA… literally. Start your day with a cup of Freedom! Use code GATE at checkout for 10% off. http://freedomfirstcoffee.com
The GK Store is full of amazing books and resources. We’ve published several books, including Social Injustice: Exposing the False Gospel of the Social Justice Movement (by Brannon Howse, Dr Andy Woods, Dr Mike Spaulding and more), Church & State: How the Left Used the Church to Conquer America (by Pastor Greg Locke, Denise McAllister, Pastor Cary Gordon and more), 5 Steps to Kill a Nation and How to Stop the Bleeding (by Pastor Sam Jones) and you can even pre-order the upcoming book by Dr Bobby Lopez Cancel-Proof Christianity. Use code GATE for 10% off. http://gatekeepersonline.com/store
Plugged In is our membership program that gets you complete access to the full library of GKTV shows, including Dr Mike Live, Conversations with Jeff, The Shining Light Podcasts, The Big Brown Gadfly and A Stonewall’s Perspective. On top of that, you’ll get FREE access to all of our online conferences, discounted admission to in-person events, the recordings of all our conferences and 30% off in The GK Store. Get Plugged In today! http://gatekeepersonline.com/pluggedin
And then, finally, if you’d like to simply support what we are doing here with The GateKeepers, you could simply send us a donation. We are working hard to expand our reach and get the message of the Gospel out to as many people as possible. As a thank you for any donation over $20, we’ll send you a copy of Church & State: How the Left Used the Church to Conquer America. http://gatekeepersonline.com/donate
We are truly grateful for your support and hope that these gift suggestions are a help to you. By taking advantage of any of these offers, you are not only giving your friends and family an amazing gift, but supporting us here at The GateKeepers. Thank you… and Merry Christmas!