What’s My Metric?

In a comment to Oh, I Thought I’d Answered That, Joe Huffman misunderstands the point of the post:

Then your measure of how our ideals are better is, in essence, a vote of sorts. That so many want to be here, that our armies were not feared when they marched into a conquered city.

And my devils advocate response is, “What makes you think voting proves anything?”

Joe had asked by what scale I measured the superiority of the Western, particularly American philosophy. Err, no, Joe. It’s not voting that’s the metric, it’s the pursuit of happyness.

Joe says:

I want a number or set of numbers. I want science to answer the question of what type of society is best. Using this measure we can more easily compare and perhaps explore new society types that have not yet been tried.

The best number I can come up with is a measurement of the ability of of individuals to pursue their happiness.

I remember seeing a sentence carefully painted in large blue block letters on the white wall of an Assemblies of God church building: “Happiness is Submission to God”. Here in America, if that’s what floats your boat… On the vacuous side, “He who dies with the most toys – WINS!” America is the place where you get to pursue your happiness, and its success – spiritual, material, financial, medical, and all other metrics – is all related to that. People achieve the most when free to pursue their personal desires. I thought the quote from Dinesh D’Souza’s piece was the key, which is why I put it first.

It’s not what people vote to come to, it’s what they do once they’re here. Check the numbers.

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