right to the pursuit of happiness


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Noun1.right to the pursuit of happiness - the right to try to find happiness
human right - (law) any basic right or freedom to which all human beings are entitled and in whose exercise a government may not interfere (including rights to life and liberty as well as freedom of thought and expression and equality before the law)
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* The right to the pursuit of happiness, which is the prerogative to pursue the goals and values of one's own choosing.
The wise fathers, when they builded the fundamental documents of this Government so thought, for Thomas Jefferson positively assumes mankind entitled to the right to the pursuit of happiness. Note, he said nothing of its capture, which was a further indication of his great wisdom, for it is probably realized by those of us who have reached middle-age that in the pursuit lies the real joy and that the capture or culmination comes but seldom.
Founding Fathers recognized the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. Similarly, British philosophers have talked about "the greatest good for the greatest number." while Bhutan has famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than Gross National Product (GNP).
The right to the pursuit of happiness is precisely that, the right to the pursuit--to a certain type of action and its result--not to any guarantee that other people will make you happy or even try to do so.
Bassani asserts, "The right to the pursuit of happiness appears to be so all-encompassing as to include the right of property." (27) It could also be asserted that by generalizing all other natural human rights as the pursuit of happiness, Jefferson was vocalizing his distaste of government influence over the lives of its citizens.
Or take "the right to the pursuit of happiness." Everyone understands what this right means in a situation where a religion or government claims to impose a certain conception of "the good life." But when churches as well as governments have renounced this claim, what does the exercise of this right mean?
How Could one fence off claims on government resources or demands for the exercise of government power, if the right to the pursuit of happiness, for example, became a font of positive economic rights?