Santorum: Pursuit of Happiness means doing the morally right thing

On Sunday night, Rick Santorum explained what the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ clause really meant in the Declaration of Independence, and it isn’t this hedonistic version of happiness we think of today:



Just as a point of cross reference, Bill Whittle talked about ‘virtue’ a while back which ties hand in hand with this.

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56 thoughts on “Santorum: Pursuit of Happiness means doing the morally right thing

  1. Here is the problem, first, I have also consulted an 18th century dictionary and have found a different definition of happiness, one you would even find today:

    HAPPINESS [from happy] 1. Felicity; state in which the desires are satisfied. 2. Good luck; good fortune. 3. Fortuitous elegance.

    Source: Dictionary of the English Language, by Samuel Johnson, 1768.

    Second, government according to most of our founders was intended to protect life, liberty and property. The enforcement of a religious doctrine was not one of them, especially at the Federal level. There were disagreements in so far as the extent of local/state governments, but Santorum doesn’t see this distinction. However, founders like Jefferson and others held to the most limited ideal, where they saw that morality was to be handled by societal institutions such as families and churches, and the extent of government action was restricted ONLY to those acts which are injurious to others.

    “The error seems not sufficiently eradicated that the operations of the mind as well as
    the acts of the body are subject to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.”
    – Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XVII, 1782

  2. George Washington wrote to the Delaware Indian Chiefs (June 12, 1779) he said: “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention.

    http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4222683/k.FDB3/What_Are_Some_Examples_of_Historical_Revisionism.htm

    There’s a lot of revisionism in the early 20th century by the secularists.

    Sorry, there were probably a few atheists around the revolutionary period, but most of the founders were grounded in Judeo-Christian principles. It is unfortunate fact for people of today trying scrub our history, that George Washington was pretty devout Christian and a man of principles.

  3. Was this a church service? Is he running to be a minister?

    He is really, really, really strange. Get your spiritual food in your church.

    1. lol you’re such a troll who was slamming Sarah Palin on October 5th

      He is really, really, really strange. Get your spiritual food in your church.
      What’s strange? Most Christians believe in a devil. What’s strange because he mentioned the devil by name.
      well in 2008 he wasn’t running for president. He was a senator for 12 years, a national congressman for 4 years prior, who actually got NOTABLE legislation passed all across the board, economic, welfare, gun rights, partial birth abortion, Iran and Syria, a competent senator and now all of a sudden wer’e supposed to believe he’s crazy or irrational?? when PA a state filled with Democrats respected him?

      But we’re supposed to feel put off, because the LIBERAL MEDIA might not approve, so we’re fine with Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, but Santorum is the strange one.

      Pelosi Biden and Obama and Hilllary Clinton and Romney are NOT strange, because the press don’t sensationalize them for their convictions in marxism, saul alinsky??

      But Santorum is the strange one. Get outta here, ya looney.

      1. I am a Baptist preacher’s daughter. I know about ministers and about church services. Rick Santorum would make a fine preacher, he is not presidential material., Saying Santorum is preacher-like, does not make Hillary or Obama or any other liberal any better or worse.

        Sorry to disappoint you. He also is not a fiscal conservative. He is a big-government social conservative. I think most Americans do not want preaching from the oval office.

        1. I am the son of a college professor and administrator. I know about teaching, leading and managing. Santorum would make a fine president.

          See, I just refuted what you said with just about the same level of logic.

          Given your background, you should know about proof-texting. That is cherry picking specific Bible verse to back up an opinion, even though the Bible as a whole says something quite different. Look at Santorum’s voting record as a whole, rather than cherry pick a few votes. He is close to as good as you’ll get when you have to vote on a lot of bills and choose not to vote present. Only a handful of Senators (4 or 5) did better during his time in the Senate.

    2. Wouldn’t it be nice if more of our politicians actually had some understanding of what our Founding Fathers intended? or at least spent the mental energy to think about it.

      We wouldn’t be in the mess we are today. Our Constitutional form of government is not about managing welfare programs or redistributing wealth.

      The Declaration of Independence clearly states that governments are formed to protect our unalienable rights. What Santorum is talking about here is one of the three rights enumerated in the Declaration. (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness).

      Understanding these basics and being able to communicate them to a nation gone awry, should be the bare minimal requirement for anyone who seeks the Presidency.

    3. He mentioned “Pastor Lee” at the beginning of video. So yes, it was a church service, specifically at First Redeemer Church in GA.

      Is there a better place to talk about God and Country than church? Please suggest.

  4. I hope the debate tomorrow the first questions is about SATAN!

    lol

    So Rick would have to answer for comments he made to other Catholics, referring to an article of his faith. Stuff some bad priests don’t even acknowledge anymore, and we’re supposed to be worried about electability, compared to Romney who is a Mormon bishop, and Obama who got elected in spite of his Church pulpit saying we deserved 9/11………

    …………….. “Well isn’t that special??? ”

  5. He’s correct. the founding fathers were not talking in teh materialistic sense. Or the selfish “me me me” culture we see today.

  6. Pursuit of happiness was used instead of property. Read a little classical liberal beliefs from the era. Locke, etc.

    Life, Liberty and Property. These are based upon individual rights and freedoms.

    See, if you do not allow people to own property outright, people would never be out from under yolk of government taxation.

    Ever hear about allodial title?

    I think he is completely wrong in the first half of the video, so I am going to not listen to the rest.

    1. while I’ll give you that after the enlightenment, some erroneous philosophy crept into the revolutionary periods, but in the 17th 18th century, the patriarchs of that period were still in tune with Christendom, and Religious life was still rampant and contextually immersed in the writings of the fathers. Even Jefferson , as much as he was a Deist, still had Christian understandings of thing. Property as it stands today isn’t understood differntly…. For instance, St. Thomas Aquinas says that the possession of private property is not an absolute necessity, it is a MORAL necessity…

      Why is this? To keep BIG GOVERNMENT in check? If you can feed yourself then there is only so far someone can go to oppress you. If you can’t do that you are at the disposal for everything they do.

      1. Through all of my reading, I think the founders made a huge mistake changing the property to pursuit of happiness. They attempted to fix it by the 5th amendment but of course that right has been taken from us as well.

        One of the problems of non originalist viewpoints of the Constitution, is that the Constitution has to be taken as a whole. You cannot just look at one word or one phrase within it, that is done to change the meaning of the original. You have to take it within the context of the entire document.

        Like what I brought up, allodial title. We no longer actually own property anymore. If we did, we would have what is called an allodial title to property. As far as I know, the right to own property without taxation, is completely lost to us now here in the US. We always have to pay a tax or rent on our property. It is a type of serfdom. We can never throw the yolk off. We will always be paying for our right to own property which makes it not a right.

        That is why I have for the last twenty years of my life decided to try to limit the government to a sales tax alone. No other taxation whatsoever. You want to buy a house, you would be required to pay say a 25% tax. This tax would have to be uniform for all products. You could spur something you wanted to, by eliminating the tax, but in no way have varying levels of taxation. The government is NOT there to pick winners or losers. This consumption tax would also apply to say stocks. This would eliminate gambling and foment investment only. This would also spur the economy here by collecting taxes from components from other countries. Now, this tax would NOT apply to goods sold in other countries. If a foreign country wanted to apply the same tax to our products overseas, they could apply the same taxation.

        This is a simplistic system that attempts to eliminate many problems and pretty much eliminates almost all immediately with our economy and tax structure. It is completely fair across the board. The more you make and spend, the more you pay. It also forces savings instead of debt.

        Anyway, liked your comment. Later.

  7. Okay he has a right to come up with his version of what pursuit of happiness means.

    Having said that I’m still wondering if he has any ideas of his own? Of course the DOI is free for any candidate to use but Santorum and Romney both don’t seem to be able to articulate anything without using Gingrich’s ideas.

    I hope Gingrich shames them both into another debate. I liked Newt’s line at one of his speeches where he said, “If they’re afraid to debate me how are they going to get the nerve to debate Obama”. Not an exact quote but close.

  8. It’s strange to hear a politician in this day and age who actually “gets it”. Reminds me of the founding of our country. The first generation of Pilgrims came to the New World with God in their hearts. But even on the ride over, they foresaw trouble as some who were on the voyage with them didn’t share their views of morality and peace. There were many on the ship that came to the New World for gold and the prospect of wealth. So, the Pilgrims penned America’s first legal document, The Mayflower Compact, which set forth rules of law for everyone on the voyage coming to the New World.

    By the second generation, settlers had already forgotten God, the peace their fathers had brought with them and companionship they shared with the Indians. And so greed and expansion took hold and bitterness arose between the white man and the Indians.

    It’s no different today. There are many who simply fail to understand America. Who it’s Founder is. What its role is. And the fact that it doesn’t exist simply to line people’s pockets with prosperity, but more importantly to be a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14).

    Santorum’s quote by Adams is the cornerstone of what defines America, what separates it from secular nations, even if this generation has forgotten it:

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams

    And so it takes a second generation immigrant to remind us once again of what many of us have long forgotten, America is a moral nation and it will rise and fall based upon how closely it guards that moral foundation.

  9. There’s an LDS scripture verse that says, “they lived after the manner of happiness,” indicating that there is a way to live which will surely bring happiness and that true joy is bound to the choices one makes. I LOVE that Santorum ties happiness to virtue, since our pop-culture sends a clear message that we will only be happy if we’re doing whatever we want, whenever we want, with whomever we want and dodging the consequences of our bad choices.

    1. Other’s might have their version of happiness, fulfilling a dream of molesting as many kids as they can, or raping as many women as possible. Fulfilling a decent dream is fine, but think of how many disturbed people who’s happiness is something perverted, does that mean they can have the freedom to pursue what makes them happy?

      “There are two freedoms: the false where a man is free to do what he likes; and the true where a man is free to do as he ought.” Charles Kingsley

      “Men qualify for freedom in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power is put somewhere on will and appetite, and the less of it there is within, the more their must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
      Edmund Burke

      I’m not saying whatever your dream is is not something good, but others may not be so well as intended as yours. We’ll all have to follow rules in this life, and while a good and just society as the founders envisioned would have people restraining themselves, that doesn’t seem the case anymore, so we have government putting more restraints on the rest of us. We can though have the choice of who we have making the rules. I’d take Santorum’s ideas over dear leader any day.

    2. I believe Rick Santorum is making a true and important point.

      The original meaning of the pursuit of happiness, and the only general concept of happiness around which a society can possibly be stably organized, necessarily entails virtue–not just desire.

  10. I am SO glad to hear this!!! He is so right! I am so sick and tired of stuff too- I’m sick of the pathetic commericalism at Christmas, then after you go out and buy that biggest flat screen TV and put yourself into debt, then you have valentine’s day- gotta go out and buy that big glittery rock for your girl right? She’s expecting it, so go deeper into the debt hole. Are you really happy now? Everyone is so focused on getting what they “deserve”, if I hear that in one more commercial, I’m going to puke. Gotta have a 4 bedroom house in that gated community, stocked with all the fancy new stuff.. latest car, latest gadget. It’s even in many of the touchy feely “live your best life now” prosperity gospel churches. You know, those churches that have cafes, auditorium flash, strobe light party type atmosphere where you’re told if you just believe and have enough faith, you can have anything you want! Name it and claim it! Some how these guys believe God wants everyone to be wealthy and have the best of everything.

    I used to buy into that once upon a time ago- then I woke up. And I wasn’t very happy. My ex and I were not too deep into debt, but deep enough because we were chasing that fake American dream of getting stuff. Now, I don’t have much, but what we’ve got is paid for. I have chosen to forgo a higher tax bracket by staying home to raise my boy. I’ve made the decision that the best thing for my family is to have a stay home mom, and homeschool, even though it means we have no money for anything extra. Even through 3 years of no income during unemployment, it was scary, but some of the happiest days of my life because my husband was around when I needed him, our son had both of us around, and we were able to do simple things as a family, like go for hikes, work in the gardens and learn basic living- which is awesome! Do I miss having some nice things? Sometimes- but now I store my treasures where neither rust nor thieves can touch them, in heaven. Is every day blissful, and perfect, not by a long shot, and many days I cry in frustration of not being able to teach my son something, or he just gets on my last nerve. But I’d have those days even if I lived in a fancy mansion in the most luxurious community. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and many days it doesn’t seem to be worth it- but I keep “pursuing” it because even if we’re not considered successful in this life, I know I’ve lived it in a way that I was meant to live.

    Now please don’t think I’m bashing capitalism, because I’m all for it when it’s compassionate, and I don’t think everyone needs to be poor in order to be happy or good, it’s just how one goes about getting “things” they get. One can be a generouse, Godly person and be wealthy, and one can be poor and a miser. It’s all about using our God given talents, gifts and using them in a way which enriches others before enriching ourselves.
    Thank you Rick for speaking the truth about what happiness really is.

    1. Drudge = Romney, Romney, he’s our man, if he can’t do it no one can.

      Romney = McCain

      I heard that Drudge picked a Romney hemorrhoid out of his ear this morning.

      Hemorrhoids as well as sh*t, happens.

  11. Santorum’s point about the real meaning of the pursuit of happiness as the founding fathers understood it is pivotal to the thoroughgoing and long-term success of conservatism.

    The following excerpted disucussion of the origin of the phrase is from George Mason University:

    It seems unlikely that Jefferson plucked “the pursuit of happiness” from the prose of a Tory like Dr. Johnson. Jefferson’s intellectual heroes were Newton, Bacon, and Locke, and it was actually in Locke that he must have found the phrase. It appears not in the Two Treatises on Government but in the 1690 essay Concerning Human Understanding. There, in a long and thorny passage, Locke wrote:

    The necessity of pursuing happiness [is] the foundation of liberty. As therefore the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness; so the care of ourselves, that we mistake not imaginary for real happiness, is the necessary foundation of our liberty. The stronger ties we have to an unalterable pursuit of happiness in general, which is our greatest good, and which, as such, our desires always follow, the more are we free from any necessary determination of our will to any particular action, and from a necessary compliance with our desire, set upon any particular, and then appearing preferable good, till we have duly examined whether it has a tendency to, or be inconsistent with, our real happiness: and therefore, till we are as much informed upon this inquiry as the weight of the matter, and the nature of the case demands, we are, by the necessity of preferring and pursuing true happiness as our greatest good, obliged to suspend the satisfaction of our desires in particular cases.

    Just as the ideas that inspired our intellectual Founders were primarily European imports, so that defining American phrase, “the pursuit of happiness,” is not native to our shores. Furthermore, as the quotation from Locke demonstrates, “the pursuit of happiness” is a complicated concept. It is not merely sensual or hedonistic, but engages the intellect, requiring the careful discrimination of imaginary happiness from “true and solid” happiness. It is the “foundation of liberty” because it frees us from enslavement to particular desires.

    Here are a couple more representative quotes from the time period of the founding.

    SOME TRUTHS ABOUT PUBLIC HAPPINESS

    . . . this eternal truth, that public happiness depends on a virtuous and unshaken attachment to a free constitution.

    Dr. Joseph Warren (Emphasis per original.) (Oration, Boston, March 5, 1772)

    As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality . . .

    Massachusetts Bill of Rights, 1780

  12. But the problem with the President getting involved with this question is who is the arbiter of what is morally right? I’m not comfortable giving any President that power even if I agree with him.

    1. God decides what is right. The President doesn’t have that power and Santorum is not seeking that power. This idea that Santorum wants to interfere in a persons bed room, ban contraception or establish a theocracy is idiotic. Santorum can talk about and promote moral values without to legislate them. Liberals don’t understand this because they do try to impose their values on the rest of us

    2. Santorum believes in subsidiarity. This means that such things are decided at the lowest possible level. Families should teach their children morals. It is the individuals responsibility to self-govern themselves. Other influences would be schools, churches/temples, local communities and other local institutions.

      Higher levels of government should only be involved when the rights of others are being trampled upon.

  13. So we should avoid Obama’s fascist Government controlling our choices (for our own good) and vote for Santorum to control all our choices in a Fascist manner (for the glory of God or something)?

    Basically neither choice gives a damn about individual rights, freedom or liberty? Well that’s a bummer. the Declaration of Independence was declaring our right to be controlled by the government to do God’s will (as interpreted by Government officials), by force if need be?

    So… how do I get one of those medically induced comas again? That’s sounding like a better choice every day.

    1. Somebody has to challenge you on this. Name one choice that Santorum wants to control in a Fascist manner? I’ll exclude abortion and gay marriage. Santorum is with the majority (however slight) on these issues and they will be battled over for many years to come.

      Since I’m not even sure what a ‘Fascist manner’ is, I’ll settle for you just indicating what things does Santorum want the government to dictate that you can or cannot do. I won’t require that he has to do it in a Fascist manner. You said that Santorum wants to ‘control all our choices’. You should have many pages worth of stuff if that is true.

      There is a big difference between promoting and advocating certain behavior and making it government mandated.

    1. The government at all levels does every day in every way. What do you think a law is? A law makes a legal claim as to what is right and wrong.

      1. And what government thinks is right, is that little ole’ me pay more in federal taxes than GE last year, and GM this year, combined. If you paid more than one dollar in federal taxes, you paid more than they also. In fact, if you got a refund you still paid more because GE got a multi-billion dollar refund. In other words, my and your federal taxes went to GE. It goes without saying that many billions went to GM and the UAW too, as a gift.

        There may be “something rotten in Denmark” but the buzzards are circling here.

    2. That is the liberal approach – everybody gets to decide for themselves what is moral. And enforcing these things via government is part of the liberal approach. For example, ‘contraception is good’ therefore it must be provided ‘free’ by government fiat, even though it is already available to anyone that wants it.

      Christians believe that what is moral comes from God, and we can see God’s revelation in the Bible. That is our standard. What is the liberal standard?

      Note that conservatives, except in a few cases (abortion and gay marriage), do not want the government to enforce their idea of moral behavior on others. But we sure don’t want the government to tell us we have to do things we consider immoral.

      There is a big difference between personal morality and government enforced morality.

    3. Science and statistics should decide, not agenda groups pressure.

      Santorum is correct.
      Promiscuity, most especially the SS kind, is correlated with dramatically increased incidence of all sorts of emotional illness: depression, domestic violence, addiction and suicide. There is also the increased incidence of STDs and violence with promiscuity. The highest being M/M with more than 40 times the incidence of AIDS and the highest risk of STDs and the lowest being a faithful, respectful, loving heterose* ual marriage. Contraception does not reliably prevent disease, unwanted pregnancy or the emotional and physical consequences.

      Here is Miriam Grossman, M.D., psychiatrist, on the devastating consequences of the hook-up culture on young bodies and minds. http://www.miriamgrossmanmd.com/; http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/200234-1
      Here is a Psychologist, Professor and researcher with the latest in science research: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/01/same-sex-science; Original article – http://www.wheaton.edu/CACE/Hot-Topics

      1. The trouble is that certain science is not to be mentioned publicly since it conflicts with the liberal vision. The same is true for certain statistics. This is exceedingly bad, since withholding this information may well be leading many people into a lifestyle that is going to have tragic consequences.

        For example, we are now teaching our kids at a very young age that homosexuality is just fine and is just another equally valid lifestyle. Focusing on male homosexuality, we don’t bother to tell them what the life expectancy of a male homosexual vs a male heterosexual is (more than 20 years shorter). We don’t tell them about the emotional consequences. I would not be surprised that if a teacher told the kids the truth they would be subject to discipline and possible firing. Things have gone that far.

    4. Santorum is right – the US taxpayer should not have to fund what is unhealthy or violates their conscience, beliefs, or even approve what reason and evidence tell us is dangerous and increases risk of disease and early death. Such approval is what which the sexual agenda groups demand – from everyone including churches.

      They want Christians and all taxpayers to approve and pay for abortion, contraception despite the statistics and science that show promiscuity increases negative mental, physical and relational health outcomes.
      They want Christians and all taxpayers to approve homosexuality and let them teach it as a normal lifestyle in schools despite the proof of negative outcomes.

      Planned ‘Parenthood’ (oxymoron for an abortion facility?)

      It’s not your mother’s Planned Parenthood anymore.

      Here’s what the PP is up to nowadays LINK – WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT – http://www.therightscoop.com/disturbing-report-on-planned-parenthood-hooking-kids-on-sex/

      Get’m while they are young.

      Then you can make the rest of their lives a living HELL with increased risk of emotional and physical illness. The more partners, the less likely to be able to get and stay married. The likelihood of a committed longterm marriage decreases with the number of partners.

      SEXUAL addiction is the crack cocaine pandemic of this century, psychologists say.
      Preachers, priests, bishops, teachers, dads and moms, TSA, CDC employees, businesspersons and politicians have been caught in this addiction in record numbers.

      Year by year, PORN and sexual behaviors are getting more evil, vile, violent, and deviant with younger and younger victims in the films. This is a drug that changes the brain, emotional/physical responses and behavior just like a chemical drug. Porn destroys the ability to relate to others, male or female, to bond normally and to have a faithful healthy respectful marriage.

      The goal of Planned Parenthood, to increase business and sales of services, without any decrease from generation to generation, decade to decade. Planned Parenthood wants to create sexual addiction and normalize it, sell it to you, make a great big profit, then pass the bill on you via taxpayer support. The cost of doctor and mental health care for the misery and disease they pass on to you, and to your children and grandchildren as well.

    5. GOD has, is and always will decide what is moral. There is a way to find out what the answer to the question “what is moral?”. I seriously doubt there are many alive today with the capacity to know or discover the answer. Rick Santorum knows what is moral and could teach a child. I doubt, seriously, he could “dumb it down” enough to teach any confessing liberal.

  14. “The freedom to do, not what we want to do, but what we ought to do.” This presupposes people know what they ought to do. If Santorum is elected, the churches will need to teach more than the modern day version of happiness. In other words, they will need to step up to the level of this brother’s ideas.

  15. …Senator Santorum you sir will WIN IN A LANDSLIDE if you keep speaking the TRUTH for the TRUTH will set AMERICA and the rest of WESTERN CIVILIZATION FREE from the EVIL that is converging on all the CHRISTIANS & JEWS .

    My prayers are with you sir for your safety and success in getting the Nomination for President of the United States.”

    1. Bill Whittle is an enigma.

      NOTHING – is known or published anywhere about his education, job experience (except pilot, screenwriter, writer) family, background or political credentials.

      1. He spoke about his childhood and early adult desire to be an astronaut in one of his videos once if I remember correctly. I saw it here several weeks ago.

  16. He needs to lay off the quarter pounders or ditch the sweater vests.

    I seriously doubt this generation, born of cellphones and free music and free software, can contemplate what he is saying about responsibility. Most of them have no idea what work is, or putting in their time. It’s all just shortcut right to top because they are breathing they think they are entitled. And like Mehgan McCain has shown the world, they truly think they have some clues.

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