Action for Happiness?

I’ve read a few articles from my GReader feed and links that Michael is sneding me to the effect that there are publicised moves towards raising the agenda of ‘happiness’. This sounds so damned vague and I fear that the operationalisation of such a term posited in such a manner to be deemed uncontraversial is a dangerous political dogmatism in one thought, and I am also thinking about the ways in which people are simply unable to be happy in the UK today:

  • Unemployment is currently around 2.48 million
  • Eurozone countries are in dire straits and will affect all trading countries
  • Public services which (I assert) are vital for the wellbeing of the nation are either seriously cut or undermined: the ambulance service, the police, various local services, welfare for the seriously disabled, numerous community and arts projects and the health service. Most of which constitute as both necessary and sufficient conditions conducive to happiness
  • This sounds like a subversion of terms, what is happiness? This is an interesting and distinct question sui generis; but what is happiness at the cost of these social services and with increasing poverty? Rhetoric.

This policy move gives the appearance of a government that seems to be genuinely interested, without an integrated approach to the bases of wellbeing of which the government is responsible in contribution to the change (for the worse) to millions of lives. A campaign for ‘happiness’ sounds as absurd as giving a homeless person a bottle of gin (spiritual and proverbial), instead of dealing with the social conditions which form the base, like dealing with housing or employment. Aristotle says that even the virtuous man cannot be happy if her situation cannot allow it to be possible, like wise Priam who inevitably loses a war.