Review “We Have No Right to Happiness”

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In class, we studied three essays: ‘The Dying family’ by J. H. Plumb, ‘Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?’ by Daniel Gilbert, and ‘We Have No Right to Happiness’ by C. S. Lewis. After analyzing all three essays, I have selected my favorite, the one that I both agree and disagree with the most – ‘We have no Right to Happiness’. This essay effectively presents a convincing argument.

Some people think that happiness is a right and should be guaranteed or imposed by the government. However, this is partially true as we do have the right to happiness; nevertheless, we also have the right to work towards our own happiness. We all possess the means required to achieve it. Similar to other rights, there are restrictions involved. For instance, while we have freedom of speech, it doesn’t imply that we can verbally attack President Obama without facing repercussions. Similarly, we have the right to own firearms under specific conditions.

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Thus, the author presents a case for justifying all rights, including the right to pursue happiness. However, different interpretations of this statement exist. In my personal viewpoint, this right represents an opportunity to bring joy both to ourselves and others. Nonetheless, it requires active engagement and initiative on our part. Personally, I find happiness attained through endeavor to be more satisfying than happiness bestowed upon us. Merely declaring happiness as a right does not resonate with me.

Despite not supporting the idea of intentionally causing harm to others in order to achieve personal happiness, such as in the case of Mr. A driving his wife to suicide before leaving her, it is crucial to take reasonable actions. Similar to Mr. A, Mrs. A also had the right to seek happiness but failed to act accordingly. The author further contends that a “right to happiness” is illogical, just like a “right to be six feet tall” or having affluent parents or perfect weather for a picnic. Although our genetic makeup and social connections inherited from our parents might impact our happiness, we still have the opportunity to strive for it ourselves. It is likely that your parents obtained their social status through hard work, and similarly, you have the chance to pursue your own happiness with determination. This perspective may vary depending on your background and available opportunities thus far; nevertheless, individual happiness should not be the government’s responsibility.

I believe that the government provides excessive assistance to individuals, even those who do not merit it or are uninterested in earning it. As Lewis points out, the notion of the “right to happiness” is often linked with sexual desires, but this should not be the sole emphasis. Sexual contentment is a distinct aspect and it is unwise to act on every sexual impulse in pursuit of happiness. Although you have the right to pursue sexual gratification for your own happiness, it may not result in authentic happiness; instead, it might appear superficial.

While leaving your wife to marry another may not be ideal for some, others may view it as a viable option. However, depending solely on such situations is not advisable for your overall well-being.

Life is short, and although it’s understandable to strive for happiness, relying exclusively on these factors can result in disappointment. Attaining sexual, financial, social, or relationship happiness may appear challenging as achieving one often necessitates sacrificing another. Requesting all these forms of happiness might be seen as excessive.

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Review “We Have No Right to Happiness”. (2017, Mar 23). Retrieved from

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