For example, what is poverty? I personally know any number of people who are well above the "poverty line," but whose lives are spiritually and intellectually impoverished. Retarded, even. We call them "liberals."
Or think of GPA, which is an attempt to measure a construct called "intelligence." Sometimes it correlates, but there's certainly no causal connection between the two (not to mention all the corrupting factors, e.g., grade inflation). And life itself will sort the intelligent from the stupid much more efficiently than any test one could design, for the test is supposed to be a representative sample of "life," just as money is supposed (by the left) to be an analogue of happiness.
I'm currently reading a book about my FFF (Favorite Founding Father), Alexander Hamilton, and indeed one of the most appealing things about him is that he rocketed to the top of Cosmo-American history on wings of pure brilliance and practical intelligence, unlike, say, Obama, who was empowered by white liberal guilt, political thuggery, and a glib appeal to low-information voters, i.e., none other than the intellectually and spiritually impoverished folkers he promises to rescue from their squalor.
Obama likes to pretend his ascent was a quintessentially American one, but it is the very opposite, given the inverted world of the left, in which the scum rises to the top.
In Hamilton's case, he truly had nothing going for him but his own gifts, a "penniless, illegitimate, West Indian immigrant barely out of his teens" when plucked from obscurity by George Washington. In contrast, Obama was plucked from obscurity by people who wish to destroy America, such as Bill Ayers and Frank Marshall. Mission Accomplished.
Now, this question of happiness is a crucial one, because the vast majority of unconstitutional policies promoted by the left find safe harbor under the rubric of "the pursuit of happiness." Someone's supposed "unhappiness" pretty much justifies anything the left wishes to do to us, just as desire instantaneously converts to constitutionality for the left, i.e., "if I want it, it's a right" (say, if I want to murder my baby or force someone else to pay for my birth control).
Since happiness is a (supposedly) nebulous concept, it is reduced to the crude quantitative metric of the "poverty line." But in reality, there is no reason to assume that human beings below this imaginary line are "unhappy," nor that they are all alike. Really, it's just a pretext for the state to get involved in everybody's business. It's a little like the state saying, "from now on we're only going to help the 50% of people who are below average. Once they are brought up to average or above, we'll quit."
The problem, of course, is that half of the citizenry is by definition below average. Which is also why the percentage of people living "beneath the poverty line" never changes. A free society is going to be pretty efficient at sorting people along these lines. The mistake is to use a snapshot instead of a motion picture to examine the data.
In short, there is no such thing as the poor, since the composition of the group is constantly changing, with people coming and going for a host of reasons, everything from talent to bad luck to divorce to stupidity to drugs to being a victim of the liberal educational establishment.
Let's look it up, just to make sure I'm not being a polemical assoul. Here it is:
Virtually no change between 1965 and the present. And prior to 1965, when the spending floodgate was opened, you can see that the line was dropping sharply. Heckuva a job, Lyndie!
(And this doesn't even get into the massive destruction of whole communities as a result of the Law of Unintended Catastrophes, since the benevolent feelings of liberals never result in such things. Conversely, conservatives by definition have bad intentions, so the fact that their policies actually help people is quite beside the point. In their wildest dreams the KKK couldn't have accomplished what the left has done -- and Obama is doing -- to blacks. But that's what leftists do: to paraphrase Thomas Sowell, they replace what works with what sounds good.)
Blah blah blah, this is what I really wanted to highlight: Murray suggests that "Money buys access to things and possibilities but not to the capacity to enjoy them" (emphasis mine).
That particular sentence really arrested my attention, but I'll continue:
"In that sense, the privileged are not those with the most money but those with other gifts -- natural abilities, curiosity and interests, realized through education -- and enough money (which is not necessarily a lot) to exercise them."
Could it be that the most important factor in happiness is this mysterious "capacity to enjoy?"
Lets' get down to cases, in this case, mine. This will no doubt sound outrageously narcissistic to some -- a nutcase -- but it's not intended to, and besides, I have a feeling that it applies to most Raccoons. The essential point is that I get such a kick out of just being myself -- in the fullest sense of the term -- that nothing else in the world -- certainly no amount of money -- could ever replace it.
I think this explains why, when I was "poor" -- which I suppose I must have been, but never bothered to check -- I was not only not unhappy, but again, getting an intrinsic kick out of just being me. In fact, now that I think about it, this intrinsic enjoyment may be the key to my lack of conventional achievement, thank God! I mean, if you're already yourself, what's to achieve except more of it?
Interestingly, I get essentially the same kick out of my son. I feel so privileged to just know this unusual soul, and to be able to interact with him on a day-to-day basis, that it is literally impossible for me to imagine something more meaningful, more joyous, and more conducive to happiness. And it's a truly egalitarian form of happiness, because it's available to most everyone.
And feminists gave this up for some stupid corporate job? Or, like the archetypal liberalette, Julia, a marriage to the state? No wonder they're miserable.
To be continued....