Heed them.

June 09, 2011

The War on Happiness

 "Puritanism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."
-H.L. Mencken

Recently I was asked at work to describe how I feel politically. I panicked and said "I'm a Progressive." I know what's wrong for society, and that's Conservatism, Religionism, Regression; any appeal to the past and the dark ages. Yet I had trouble self-identifying as a Liberal.

Liberals were behind the abolition of slavery, black suffrage, womens suffrage, the end of segregation, and civil rights laws. They were all about freedom. They were all about equality. And then some liberals thought of the children.

The Liberals didn't want to liberate children and they didn't want to fight for their rights. They wanted to protect them until they were mature enough(18, or 21, or never, as the case may be) to pursue their own happiness correctly. And that's what led to:

-The demonization of cigarette-smoking and ongoing restrictive laws and taxes
-The war on drugs
-Obscenity laws and the war on pornography
-The war on drugs
-The war on 'pornographic rock music' (remember EXPLICIT CONTENT labels? Thank Tipper Gore)
-The war on drugs
-The war on violent video games
-The war on drugs
-Network and cable TV-ratings
-The war on drugs 
-FCC control of network TV, cable TV and broadcast radio
-The war on drugs
-Censorship of the internet 

Liberals aren't solely responsible for this long regressive War on Fun, but so far they seem perfectly complicit and content to go along with it. Their mix of blind optimism about social-engineering to sanitize society mixes wholly harmoniously with the far-right religionists aims. The less fun everyone is having- the better. Instead of outlawing fun- they just make it expensive and annoying to get.

The puritanism is perfect. It is bipartisan, it is everywhere, and people vote to enact and uphold it.

All because of the children, who now have computers in their pockets.


  1. When I saw the title of the post, I thought you had read a lot of Graham's recent links and decided to be anti-happiness. So: Alex + Cobe vs Graham + Noodley Democrats + Christians

    Related: Steven Levitt, the Freakonomics economist, wrote of the "Daughter Test" of government prohibitions:
    Basically, on one hand, he thinks that anything between consenting adults should be legal, but, on the other, he would be horrified if his daughter were to become a prostitute. He's decided that he's okay with her being a poker champ, though. Thoughts?

  2. His feelings are a 1900's cliche- daddys little girl needs to be locked up and cut off from the scary world full of dicks and poker till she's marryin' age.

    Well I guess it's not that bad, but it's just a rewrite of "think of the children" to "I think of my children."

    If you have a daughter she will live her own life. Keeping someone ignorant or restricted to vice never did work, but it especially won't work in the information age. If you want to be 100% sure you'll never have a son or daughter become a prostitute or drug addict, then don't have children.