Civic happiness or ethnic meaning
More or less all my “thinking life” I have wondered at the third component in that little phrase in the American Bill of Rights, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” How, I asked myself, could serious people raise happiness (the pursuit of), a product of many factors and passing circumstances, most of them not within the gift of politicians, to the status of an existential absolute? If one needed an explanation of how we children of the liberal age, when given the choice of wealth or goodness, choose wealth, choose materialism, hedonism, nihilism, it is pretty much enshined in those four words.
To my mind, happiness as an abstracted and singularised human purpose leads away from itself. It does it by creating in the mind of the subject a cheap and cheapening, easily met standard for itself. For example, civic nationalists are satisfied with the lowest-hanging of political fruit - a few gestures in the direction of la patria, a flag, some symbols of military power, a bit of back-slapping with perfect strangers over some feigned shared value ... It means nothing. It is nothing compared to the sum at which the true nationalist prices the human meaning and worth found in the familial and in kind, in brotherhood, rootedness, belonging, trust, love, and the good of his people.
These are, in reality, the psychological essentials. But, politically, they belong to another universe, a nationalist universe too discreet for non-nationalists to penetrate. Even ones who are psychologists.
From a study published earlier this month in the Association of Psychological Science:
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