Logan A. Jobe
America’s entire belief system is based upon the phrase, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.[v] This phrase lists that every American has three unalienable rights. The right to live unharmed, the right to freely make your own decisions, and the right to gain unlimited happiness. However, do Americans today truly feel as if they possess the freedom to live how they want, do what they want, and to be as happy as they want? Or, do Americans feel as if they must pick a certain path, in order to utilize their unalienable rights?
Today, Americans have more freedom and possess more commodities than in the past. Despite these advancements, many Americans still feel constricted from achieving happiness, due to the unending sacrifices they must make. These sacrifices, in turn, limit people’s creativity and deters them from achieving their true ambitions. In Leonard E. Read’s, “I, Pencil,” he also believes that, “mankind is so unhappily losing” freedom.[i] For Read, freedom can only be earned by forming natural productive patterns through “human necessity and demand”.[i]
Read expresses throughout his essay that every person plays a role in their neighbor’s life which benefits not only the economy, but the entire world. Many may not ever need or know how to use a pencil, but “each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants”.[i] And thus, each of these millions create and exchange products for each other’s necessities and demands. Furthermore, these know-hows will, “automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand”, leading to the, “essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people”.[i] However because of the presence of “coercive [masterminds]”, this vital faith in mankind is nonexistent.[i]
Sadly, today’s Americans do not have confidence in themselves or others because no one is happy and engaged in their work. A recent study says, “less than 31.5%, of employees in the U.S. reported being ‘engaged’ at the office”. [iv] However, many workers do not have the opportunity to use their “talents and strengths, thus creating disengagement”.[iv] Today’s society feels pressured by our natural instinct to succeed since, “the US has a much higher percentage of low-income workers than most other developed countries”.[iii] People are accepting any job because many “career options aren’t even available anymore”.[iii] Americans are giving up their unalienable rights solely to fill and maintain their necessities, because they are “masterminded” by the instinct to succeed.
Therefore, America is far from having true life, liberty, and happiness. We have an economic “mastermind ” controlling our ability to freely create in response to our society’s demands and necessities.[i] Americans are too busy trying to find a career in a shrinking selection, so they must pick the most financially stable job, even if they are unhappy and unwilling to work proficiently. Americans have now been stripped of their unalienable rights to liberty and their pursuit of happiness because they are pressured by the “mastermind” into working all-day at an often disliked job. Because so many have these tiresome jobs, no one has the energy to put faith into a new system and change this distressing conflict. [ii] This leads to an unending spiral of dismay, which unknowingly undermines our Nation’s basic founding rights.
[i] Read, Eonard E. “I, Pencil – Wikisource, the Free Online Library.” Accessed October 21, 2016.
[ii] Rosen, Rebecca J. “America’s Workers: Stressed Out, Overwhelmed, Totally …” The Atlantic. March 25, 2014. Accessed October 21, 2016.
[iii] Eskow, Richard R.J. “Ten Ways Americans Have Lost Their Freedom – Salon.com.” Salon Magazine. August 31, 2012. Accessed October 21, 2016.
[iv] Taylor, Victoria. “Nearly 70% of U.S. Workers Not Engaged in Their Jobs …” Daily News. January 28, 2015. Accessed October 21, 2016.
[v] “Jeffersonian Perspective : Freedom , Liberty, Rights.” Accessed October 21, 2016.
Image: “Smirking Chimp Featured DVD – W T C 7.” Accessed October 21, 2016.