Sick Rantorum

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That’s what emailer Charles F. calls the former senator/current influence peddler from Pennsylvania who apparently thinks that American presidents should think of themselves as having the moral authority of the Pope, but armed with nukes with which to enforce that authority.

In my LRC article today I quoted Rantorum as claiming that the founding fathers defined happiness as “doing the morally right thing.” I expressed skepticism over whether Rantorum had ever actually read an eighteenth-century dictionary to come up with this definition, which is probably a product of his own imagination. That politicians like himself should be able to use the powers of the state (taxation, imprisonment, executions, torture) to force the rest of us to abide by their personal definitions of “the morally right thing” is the main theme of Rantorum’s campaign. It was also a key feature of Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism, and all other forms of totalitarianism.

Emailer Matt W. dug up a copy of the 1768 Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson that defines happiness as follows:

HAPPINESS [from happy] 1. Felicity; state in which the desires are satisfied. 2. Good luck; good fortune. 3. Fortuitous elegance.

11:11 am on January 20, 2012