We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
From the review of the book "Perpetual Euphoria" in the WSJ:
Instead of rehearsing the usual explanations about the rise of science and technology, Mr. Bruckner claims that the Christian attitude to pain contained the seeds of its own undoing. Many Christians naturally desired to hasten the coming of the Messiah, who would deliver them from their earthly torment. During the French Revolution, this urgent desire was secularized into utopian designs—as when idealists like Robespierre tried to eliminate the misery of the ancien regime and remake society in accordance with republican virtue. But for Mr. Bruckner, as much as for Edmund Burke, any attempt to usher in a reign of felicity will be marked by folly—and may well create new forms of misery. He notes that the more secular Western societies have become, the more sensitive they are to suffering that is no longer justifiable as part of a divine plan.
The reviewer concludes:
Mr. Bruckner himself comes across as neither a stoic who advocates giving up on happiness nor a sentimentalist who thinks pain has some intrinsic or artistic value. We are only happy, he believes, in spite of the suffering around us, and only for rare, unexpected and often inexplicable moments. Happiness, he implies, may not be as important as qualities like lucidity and dignity. But if you really want it, the best way to find it is not to care too much about it.
I could write about this topic for hours, and find some happiness - or pleasure - in doing so. But I won't. I have other things that need doing.
I am not sure who but either the author or the reviewer confuse hatred of self with happiness. Both Christian utopians and secular utopians seek utopia to purge themselves of their hatred of self not to obtain happiness. They seek groups of likeminded people to swallow them, provide them with direction and assume their responsibilities not for happiness but to quench the burning hatred of self that eats at them from the inside.
The present pain and shared suffering is a desirable side benefit.
Not being a True Believer this dynamic disturbs me.