Data suggest that with respect to our affluence we are not as happy as we ought to be. By the same token, data also suggest that we are not spreading happiness in the world as we ought to be. All of us are endowed with a right to be happy. Are we not so happy because we are not exercising our right well and full hearted or not allowing others to do so in their own right? Or is it because something or somebody is compromising that right- directly or indirectly, expressly or secretly, in good faith or maliciously? Or both, where the latter leads the former? This book is about how we construe democracy and its relation to happiness and our right to pursue it.
No matter what the scenario, it insinuates that our liberty, our very freedom must also be, and is getting trampled. If that is so, and it seems to be so, then one may ask in despair, what worth life is or a right to life is, if liberty is absent or sub optimal? This is quite a disturbing thought. However, before we rush hastily into a summary judgment to pointing fingers at terrorists or our own government (eavesdropping program) as the causal agents that threaten our freedom and happiness, can we take a pause and ask, could the above threats be a manifestation of some hitherto unexplored phenomenon? Could these be mere symptoms of a pathology that is something else and lies somewhere else? This book is a quest for that phenomenon/ pathology that is stealing away our liberty, and its relation to our view of democracy.
Our founding fathers assumed something as self evident (equality of creation) and then proceeded to assert some unalienable rights (life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness). Founding fathers made no mistake in the choice of their words. That assumption and those assertions made the bed rock of our democracy. Could it be that we misconstrued, misplaced, and mistook the assumption for the assertions? Are we fastidiously asserting and jealously pursuing inherently unachievable equality while simplistically assuming life, liberty and happiness as a given? Alexis Tocqueville, a visitor scholar from France surmised that we might be doing so. In recent times Francis Fukuyama has aired his similar concerns. This book is about our identity-identification crisis within our image of democracy.
Equality and happiness is not a promise of democracy exclusively. Many other forms of governments promise those and sometimes deliver their promise. However, freedom is a gift of democracy and democracy alone- only if we understood what freedom is. This book is about our notion of freedom in the context of democracy.
No critic or critique, no matter how sophisticated and convincing, can be complete unless it offers practicable solutions. This book in about the ways we may take back our freedom while still being just and democratic. Hopefully that will bring happiness which we may cherish and spread to the world.