It would appear that Benjamin Franklin was the creator of the phrase “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Most of the words were written by Thomas Jefferson but Franklin is considered the one who changed the final idea to the pursuit of happiness.
This post title takes its inspiration from the proverb ‘”Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” This quote is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin since it appeared in his Poor Richard’s Almanack; however, it was first used in print by John Clarke in a 1639 book of English and Latin proverbs.
That general idea is usually considered to refer to the happiness of individuals but it might also be applied to whole nations of people. The individual human emotional terms happy and wise do not automatically transfer over to groups of people without a little stretching of the definitions, but words are always defined in relation to their surrounding context. Among the nations of the Earth when these terms are asked of people in survey polls, Americans generally consider themselves to be happy. I am not aware whether the question of being wise is ever polled, but after our last election, it will probably be added to the questionnaires.
The terms healthy and wealthy are more easily accepted as applicable to groups and to the American nation two centuries after their usage in the Declaration of Independence. It has been for a century the wealthiest nation ever to exist on Earth. My worry is whether the quest for wealth by the corporations has gone too far in their focus on bottom-line profits and thus interfered with the other three great goals of our Declaration of Independence. Are the people’s happy, healthy, wise goals being destroyed by the corporations’ need to maximize their profits?
I am a firm believer in Freedom of Speech being promoted to the maximum but that freedom does not include and permit lying about the source of the speech. Creating fake news and publishing it under false source names is a violation of the intent of free speech, which is to find the truth and make it public. The hope is that when all ideas are exposed and explored in an open forum that the truth will prevail. Truth comes about through the interchange between competing ideas. If an input from a hidden source is permitted to enter the conversation, then there is no interchange of ideas; and when that source is intentionally lying to create a manipulation of the truth that the public would not applaud if it knew the whole truth, then that source must be dismissed.
The institution permitting secret money and information entering the public debate must be exposed and brought back to open truth.