What is the right to pursue happiness?

Rights are not guarantees for successful action but are only guarantees to freedom of action. There is no guarantee to happiness – there is only the pursuit of happiness.

The right to life does not mean that one (or the government) can force others to support one’s life against their will, as this would be a violation of their rights. There is no such thing as the right to enslave (“the right to violate rights”). No one has the right to force others to give them food, health care, insurance, education, a house, or to force them to give up their property (wealth, money) to obtain these values. One may produce them or acquire them by reason (trade/ persuasion/ charity), but never by threatening force (coercion.)

The right to pursue happiness does not necessarily mean achievement — whether in one’s career, friendships, or marriage — it only means one is free to pursue what one thinks will make one happy, so long as one respects the rights of others.

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