The movie presents an important concept and then stomps all over it.The concept comes when Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner, is opining about Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence.
If he had had the same will and desire and only slightly less talent, this story would have been a tragedy rather than a triumph.
Some facts about the “real” Chris Gardner flash upon the screen at the end.
That construction, however, makes the phrase effectively redundant with “liberty,” in the sense that both recognize a right to do what one wants to do.
More knowledgeable readers, thinking of Locke or the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, suggest that “happiness” is merely the Declaration’s synonym for property.
Only a couple of clauses down the Declaration affirms that when a government no longer secures the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the people have the right to “institute new government” on such principles and in such form “as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” The Declaration here refers to government forms and principles that establish or result in safety and happiness, not the conditions that allow people to seek after happiness.
This later use of “happiness” complicates the notion that the earlier reference to the “pursuit of happiness” means only the right to chase after happiness. In a 1964 article in the , titled “The Lost Meaning of ‘The Pursuit of Happiness,’” historian Arthur M.And, to be sure, the right to acquire the material conditions for life is an implication of this commitment. Before considering “happiness” proper, we need to look at the “pursuit” part of the phrase.Commentators often remark that the Declaration does not guarantee the right to obtain happiness, only the right to pursue what makes one happy.In 2006 he sold a minority share in the brokerage he started for a multi-million dollar profit — a profit that originates from a host of Chris Gardners slaving away at dead end jobs and who will never see the success of the protagonist.He succeeds wildly, but I couldn’t shake the tragedy of all those who didn’t have his skills, perseverance, or luck.Inalienability is a restriction on rights’ holders.This immediately changes implications of the terms.Schlesinger argues that “pursuit” should be understood when used in referring to, say, “the pursuit of law” or “the pursuit of medicine.” That is, pursuit refers to practice or vocation.This reading has the virtue of being more consistent with the Declaration’s later invocation of “safety and happiness.” As Schlesinger points out, understanding “pursuit” in this way gives a different cast to the phrase.The movie wanted to create a sense of loss and then have it redeemed through hard work and perseverance — the realization of the American Dream. Something is wrong when the United States Bankruptcy Code is the closest thing we have to a National Health Care Plan.Something is wrong when the richest country in the world has a large homeless population.