“The “pursuit of happiness” is such a key element of the “American (ideological) dream” that one tends to forget the contingent origin of this phrase:

“We holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Where did the somewhat awkward “pursuit of happiness” come from in this famous opening passage of the US Declaration of Independence? The origin of it is John Locke, who claimed that all men had the natural rights of life, liberty, and property— the latter was replaced by “the pursuit of happiness” during negotiations of the drafting of the Declaration, as a way to negate the black slaves’ right to property.”

― Slavoj Žižek, In Defense of Lost Causes




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Bartleby, the Scrivener: “I would prefer not to.
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