My biweekly First Things column discusses the growing international movement to create societal “happiness” measuring criteria–partly intended to cover up reduced economic thriving from imposed environmentalist suppression of resource exploitation–that could replace more objective measurements such as GDP. A gaggle of “experts” is already hard at work over at HHS on this project–to eventually empower the government pursuit of happiness (if you will). I conceive of a new bureaucracy–HAA, the Happiness Advancement Administration–that could one day bring greater government intrusiveness into all our lives. From my piece:
You know the drill: Once government settles on happiness statistics, the next step will be to uncover a “happiness crisis,” requiring legislation and regulation—all facilitated by new bureaucracies to close the “happiness gap,” and promote “happiness equality.” In short, the government will grow like Jack’s beanstalk.
Think Mayor Bloomberg on stilts. I conclude:
The difference between a government that stays out of the way so we can pursue our own definitions of happiness and a government that presumes to measure and guarantee happiness on our behalf, is the distinction between liberty and happy-face statism.
The vivid Smiley Face cover of Jonah’s book just popped into my mind. Yikes.