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.
The Western cult of happiness is indeed a strange adventure, something like a collective intoxication. In the guise of emancipation, it transforms a high ideal into its opposite. Condemned to joy, we must be happy or lose all standing in society. It is not a question of knowing whether we are more or less happy than our ancestors; our conception of the thing itself has changed, and we are probably the first society in history to make people unhappy for not being happy.
This belief in our ability to will ourselves happy also lies behind the contemporary obsession with health. What is health, correctly understood, but a kind of permission we receive to live in peace with our bodies and to let ourselves be carefree? These days, though, we are required to resist our mortality as far as possible. The domain of therapy tends to annex everything that once belonged to the art of living well. Food, for example, is divided not into good and bad but into healthy and unhealthy. The appropriate prevails over the tasty, the carefully measured over the irregular. The dinner table becomes a kind of pharmacy counter where fat and calories are weighed, where one conscientiously chews foods that are hardly more than medications. Wine must be drunk not for its taste, under this regimen, but to strengthen the arteries; whole-grain bread must be eaten to aid digestion; garlic must be bitten off raw for various health reasons.
the author doesn't have much control over his life, or cares too much what others think. if I told him his shirt was wrinkled he'd probably stroke out.