There is something I have been meaning to address for a while. That is the fact that happiness is more important to me than freedom. In a reply comment on her blog, Tessa Rose had this to say:
"...freedom is not my highest value, either -- happiness is. If I believed that
happiness for all of humanity could actually be achieved by a ruling elite, I
would be okay with that. I believe that maximum freedom is the road to happiness
for all, but anyone who wants to argue the point with me is free to do so!"
I agree with her. My only clarification would be that I don't think happiness for all of humanity can be achieved by any one strategy, be it freedom or "safety". Fortunately, freedom is not "one strategy", but encompasses an almost infinite number of ways to seek that which you really want. I know freedom is the best tool for finding your own optimal happiness. Freedom is the means to the end of happiness. Only freedom allows many different strategies to be used concurrently by different people with different values to find their own version of "happiness", or die trying.
Freedom means that if you want to live in a tightly controlled socialist community that has almost no liberty whatsoever, as long as you don't force unwilling people to join you (either by kidnapping them or by saying "this is now our territory- like it or leave it"), you would be free to do so. People need the freedom to give up their own freedom if the rest of us are to be consistent. Yes, I realize that sounds incredibly contradictory. Just remember that the rest of us have no obligation to house, clothe, feed, or otherwise rescue them from their own bad choices. Suicide is their absolute human right as long as they take no innocents with them.
The only thing that can never be allowed in this "pursuit of happiness" is those whose happiness depends upon harming the unwilling innocent. That means if it would make you happy to be a Ruler or other sort of sociopath, you are out of luck unless you find people willing to let you harm them (the basis of all government). You can not impose on those who are unwilling, and if you do, your victims have every right to stop you in any way necessary; your "rules" to the contrary notwithstanding.
My own pursuit of happiness means I would not waste my time telling those others how they should live. If they wish to pay attention and learn from examples, they would benefit. It also means that I will not submit to live under their system of restricted liberty, either. This is the offer of peace that statists can not abide because it undermines their entire society. Too bad for them.