Monday, February 05, 2007

the pursuit of happiness

Well, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes were given their chances, but the honor of being the first to publish a letter to the editor, from me, fell to Catholic New York, January 18, 2007. I have made the big time at last.

Since letters aren't available in the online edition, I'll humbly post it here. I think the context should be clear from the letter. They did edit it (thank God), although there is one sentence which is pretty tangled up. I think that's their doing, though it certainly could be mine. The title is theirs.
Another Quest
To The Editor:

In the January 4 issue of CNY, Mary DeTurris writes: "In some ways, even our Declaration of Independence prods us to keep up the quest [to want more]. The 'pursuit of happiness' is our birthright for goodness' sake. It's almost like it's required, and what is the pursuit of happiness if not the quest for more - of everything."

Perhaps Mrs. DeTurris' personal definition of "the pursuit of happiness" is "the quest for more - of everything." However, I think if Ms. DeTurris were to attempt to understand the minds of the men who wrote those lines, and what motivated them to do [so] "for goodness' sake," she might realize that not only is the "pursuit of happiness" the normal condition for any living thing, but that freedom from tyranny and oppression - which was very much on the minds of the courageous authors of the Declaration of Independence - is the very mission of Jesus Christ and the Church.

It appears that Ms. DeTurris' issue is with the attempt to purchase happiness, which is quite a different matter. In case Ms. DeTurris counters that all she would advocate is the "pursuit of contentment," as is implied in her piece, I submit that there is no meaningful distinction between the two.


Well, then. If you think I was a little hard on Ms./Mrs. DeTurris, God bless her, you know why I'm thankful that they edited the letter. When a friend left a voicemail for me saying, "I saw your letter in Catholic New York," I thought about crawling under my desk for fear of who else might see it...because, as I remember it, the day I wrote the rebuttal was a cold, drizzly and winterish one and I was not really being a good sport.

Ms./Mrs. DeTurris' original OpEd really rubbed me the wrong way, and, since she mentioned her children's insatiable desire for "more" in that piece, I mentioned it in my rebuttal, which was surely too personal (for me if not for her). I'll even take the grammatical oversights in exchange for the grace of being made to look more charitable than I was.

Thanks, CNY, and here's to the big time!

(This is also posted on {Speculations}. Because one blog just can't contain me, that's why).


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