To be sure American philosophy teaches that "the pursuit of happiness" is strictly a personal matter for each individual free in mind and free in spirit. Indeed it provides the very philosophical framework for the freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
That these rights exist e.g. freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, et al compels me to believe that these freedoms can only be of any value if they are exercised and they can only be exercised when the government operates within the confines of its limited and enumerated powers in the Constitution of the United States. This in essence is what is meant by a nation of law.
The role of the government in the constitutional republic created by our founding fathers was an instrument established by the people as defined and limited by the Constitution to make and keep secure those god given unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness above all else.
Our beginning as a nation included the acceptance by the consent of the governed that it was the duty of government and the citizens to respect the constitutional rights of others to the exclusion of any coercion by government. The difference between a nation of laws and a nation of men was the same difference between freedom and tyranny.
In a police state these rights either do not exist or if they exist at all it's merely in writing only to be exercised by fools and martyrs alike e.g. the former evil empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had far more rights in their Constitution that we have in ours yet those who exercised these rights in the USSR were arrested and often times sent to the gulags or institutionalized for mental instability. Indeed one had to be crazy to believe these rights were intended to be exercised.
In a free society one can reasonably presume to exercise the enumerated freedoms without fear of reprisal, repercussion, restraint, repression or incarceration based on our understanding of and knowledge of our history as a people.
Surely all people desire to live their life in liberty and in the pursuit of happiness but it is here in this country, this country into which I was born by accident or design in this lifetime which offers an example for all peoples of all nations that share this planet that it is we who live in the United States have the right to live a life of liberty in the pursuit of happiness and it is that freedom which offers hope to all who are oppressed.
To insure that these rights can be exercised with fear in the country in which I was born by accident or design a numberless number of men and woman in and out of uniform did and still do offer to make the supreme sacrifice to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States both foreign and domestic.
Today in the country into which I was born by accident or design the complicity of silent acquiescence has given tacit approval to the ideology of the tyranny of man over man and the suffering of the many so the few can profit because our government has violated our constitution i.e. the social contract between the government and the people and our government has not been held accountable for violating the supreme law of the land.
I no longer have reason to believe that we are nation of laws and I can no longer deny that we are a nation of men that betrays the American Revolution by taking another step toward tyranny and disgraces all those who have died to ensure those rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have existed throughout our nation's history.
The country into which I was born by accident or design resembles that of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which had more than of its fair share of constitutional rights none of which were intended to be exercised freely.
To be sure we still the have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and the attending constitutional freedoms but when you need a permit from the government to exercise those rights the value of those freedoms is reduced further once freedom becomes conditional and thereby diminishes the value of freedom once again until it disappears.
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, in the country I was born into by accident or design the government has become lawless and corrupt and since every citizen is responsible for every act of its government in these times that try men's souls one must speak truth to power or be a willing or an unwitting participant in the lawlessness, corruption, and the tyranny which follows.