As mentioned earlier, the peculiar power by which a human being attains his end is through proper use of his reason and free will; it is through this potential that we achieve happiness. But reason and will are the source of human freedom, because we can know reality objectively and judge what ought to be done. So, while animals act on instinct alone, human beings have to exercise deliberative judgment. This choice is “right” if it conforms to the reality of human nature by maximizing wisdom and love, and wrong inasmuch as it departs from attaining wisdom and love. Liberty, then, is an ordered freedom, an exercise of choice for the sake of an objective notion of happiness. This is in stark contrast to how the right to Liberty has been interpreted in recent decades as an utterly unrestricted power. This is best exemplified in the notorious “mystery clause” from the Supreme Court’s 1992 Casey decision: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” If this were the liberty defended by the Declaration, we could never have formed a society at all. Correctly interpreted, liberty does not mean we can do anything at all ; it means that we can work toward happiness in a multiplicity of ways. Pace Justice Kennedy’s remarkable notion of liberty, man is not free to determine the nature of reality, especially the reality of human nature and the happiness that flows from it. Nevertheless, we do have freedom, for God has given different gifts to different people, and each must realize the vocation to which God has called him; our liberty lies in the ability to realize that for which we were created.
Achieving and creating happiness generally isn’t accomplished the way the mind thinks it happens. Some people are able to pursue their assumptions and satisfy their belief system in their mind. They consider this success and feel good about their accomplishment. This doesn’t work for everyone. Some people are able to feel happy by satisfying their beliefs. But then their beliefs change and they end up chasing new assumptions thinking it will make them feel better. After a while they get tired of the chase or disheartened because the happiness is not lasting. Some people attempt to satisfy the beliefs in their mind all their life and still never feel fulfilled. Maybe their mind moves the target before they get there. Or maybe, just maybe, there is a greater happiness and fulfillment to be experienced than just satisfying criteria in the mind or compensating for its fears.