So I go away to Atlanta for a couple of days (more on my trip soon), and when I get back what do I find? Only that the greatest blogger in the world decided to highlight one of your typically awesome book reviews, which review then turned into an amusing back and forth with Peter Robinson over at Ricochet.
I don’t have much to add, except that Steve was right to highlight this quote from your review:
The best argument for children isn’t that they will make you happy or your life fun but that parenthood provides purpose for a well-lived life. Selfishness, in the end, is not sufficient.
I suspect this is a problem with most happiness studies — measuring someone’s transient state of well-being seems like a crude approximation of how we make important decisions and/or plan for the future. I think part of the problem is that in the past, for example when the Founders talked about the “pursuit of happiness” they didn’t have God far from their minds. Here is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church deals with the subject of “The Desire for Happiness” (Section 1718):
The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it:
We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully articulated.
How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you.
God alone satisfies.
The first two quotes are from St. Augustine, the last is from St. Thomas Aquinas.